PIFI专家感想系列:英国布里斯托大学Chris J. Hawkesworth教授


  英国布里斯托大学Chris J. Hawkesworth教授是国际著名的地球化学家和岩石学家。他两次获中国科学院国际人才计划(PIFI)国际杰出学者项目的资助,应王强研究员之邀访问中国科学院广州地球化学研究所开展学术交流,对提升该所的同位素地球化学研究水平有重要意义。以下是他的来访感想。


My PIFI experience in China

I visited Guangzhou, Guangdong Province and Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, from December 5 to 19, 2019 as a guest of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. I gave three well-attended lectures on the topic of "The onset of Plate Tectonics on Earth", and how that is best established, and participated in an open workshop with graduate students and post doctoral researchers working on different aspects of the geology and evolution of Tibet. I was extremely well looked after by Yue Qi in particular, together with Qiang Wang and his colleagues.


It is always a delight to visit China, and I had a very rewarding time. I am hugely impressed by the investment both in general infrastructure, and in higher education, that has taken place in recent years, and many of the laboratories in both Guangzhou and Nanjing compare very favourably with the best laboratories in the UK. We had a number of useful conversations over the tectonics of Tibet and how best to constrain the timing and the cause of uplift of the Tibetan Plateau. A couple of papers have been submitted for publication, and a new approach has been developed and this will be submitted shortly. These are interesting times in the attempts to link physically plausible tectonic mechanisms to the geological and geochemical evolution of Tibet, and it will be fascinating to see what emerges from the next programme of research in that area.


If there are challenges to be met, one is perhaps ensuring that high standards of questioning and engagement are maintained. Professors are not always right and they do need to be questioned, and there is a sense that some institutions do this better than others. This is an issue in the UK as well, and so it need not be regarded as a China-specific issue. However, the issue of spoken English should remain a priority. I accept that in many ways this is unfair, but it is something that has been addressed in recent decades by, for example, the French. Personally I would encourage (a) that large research grants are linked to a good command of English so that research leaders can showcase their research nationally and internationally, (b) the research groups devote one to two days per week speaking only English, whether or not native English speakers are present, and (c) I would offer the choice of Ph.D. theses being submitted in English or Chinese.


I hope these suggestions are useful, not least as overall I had a most rewarding and engaging time throughout my visit to China.