Siguang Li

Siguang Li

Eminent Chinese geologist
Date of Birth: 26.10.1889
Country: China

Biography of Syguan Li

Syguan Li was an outstanding Chinese geologist and the founder of Chinese geomechanics. He was born in the Huangan district of Hubei province, China. He lived in a village for about 14 years and received his education at his father's private school from the age of five. During the Taiping Rebellion, numerous educational institutions were established in Hubei province to teach "new science" (western science) in contrast to traditional Chinese science. Due to his excellent academic performance, Li Syguan was sent to Japan in 1904 to study at the Osaka Higher School of Naval Architecture.

During his time in Japan, Li Syguan was influenced by nationalist ideas and anti-Manchu sentiments. In August 1905, he joined the Tung Meng Hui led by Sun Yat-sen and became its youngest member. In 1910, he returned to China and became an advisor to the Financial Administration of the Hubei Military Government after the Wuchang Uprising. He was later elected as the Minister of Industry and Commerce. However, when Yuan Shikai came to power and members of revolutionary parties faced persecution, Li Syguan left the country once again.

He studied at the University of Birmingham and obtained his master's degree in 1918. During his journey from England, he visited Moscow to gain a better understanding of the situation in Russia after the October Revolution. In 1920, Li Syguan became a professor and later the dean of the Geology Faculty at Peking University. In January 1928, he was appointed as the director of the Institute of Geology at the Central Academy. That same year, he was transferred to Nanjing to serve as the director of the Institute of Geology at the Central Academy and was later elected as the chairman of the Chinese Geological Society. Li Syguan frequently traveled to Europe and the United States to deliver lectures, participate in scientific conferences, and conduct research on geotectonics.

In 1931, he obtained his PhD in Natural Sciences from the University of Birmingham. From 1934 to April 1936, he taught in England and also received a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Oslo.

In November 1937, Li Syguan moved to Guilin and established the Institute of Geology at the Central Academy. In August 1948, he participated in the 18th International Geological Congress held in London.

After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Li Syguan received an invitation to become a member of the National People's Congress Standing Committee. However, he was warned by a friend in London that the ambassador of the Kuomintang government had received a secret order stating that Li Syguan must publicly reject the invitation or face arrest. Making a timely decision, he left London alone and traveled to France. Two weeks later, Li Syguan's wife, Xiu Shubin, received a letter from him stating that he was already in Basel on the border of Switzerland and Germany. In Basel, the couple purchased tickets for a ship sailing from Italy to Hong Kong, and in December 1949, they secretly returned to China. In May 1950, Li Syguan returned to Beijing and attended the second session of the First National People's Congress Standing Committee. He was appointed as the Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Chairman of the Steering Committee for Geological Planning, and the Chairman of the All-China Association of Natural Sciences.