Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Chinese scientist awarded top meteorological prize

A gold medal, a parchment scroll and a financial award of 10,000 Swiss francs were what prestigious Chinese scientist Ye Duzheng received Tuesday from Dr. A.I. Bedritsky, president of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), as the winner of the 2003 WMO top prize.


A gold medal, a parchment scroll and a financial award of 10,000 Swiss francs were what prestigious Chinese scientist Ye Duzheng received Tuesday from Dr. A.I. Bedritsky, president of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), as the winner of the 2003 WMO top prize.

A grand presentation ceremony was specially held in the People's Great Hall Tuesday morning, with Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu, WMO President Bedritsky, WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud and over 100 Chinese scientists and researchers coming to congratulate Prof. Ye, a veteran meteorology researcher and teacher, on winning the highest meteorological award worldwide.

Each year, all 187 WMO member countries and territories are invited to nominate candidates for the prize for outstanding work in meteorology and contributions to international cooperation in meteorology, also dubbed the "Nobel Prize in Meteorology".

Ye was awarded the prize by a WMO conference held in Geneva on May 29, 2003 after being nominated by Qin Dahe, the permanent representative of China to the WMO and director of the China Meteorological Administration (CMA). It is the first time that a Chinese scientist was awarded the honor since the inception of the prize in 1955.

Prof. Ye was born in north China's Tianjin city in 1916, the same year China began keeping a climate record. Eighty-eight yearslater, Ye was distinguished for his "over six decades of meteorological investigation, research and training, and marked service to meteorology not only in China but also in Asia and at global level", according to WMO Secretary-General Jarraud here Tuesday.

The Chinese scientist was the first person to stress the importance of the Tibetan Plateau, the world's largest highland with a spread over an area of 2.5 million square km and an averageheight over 4.5 km, as a heat source in summer and a cold source in winter.

The monograph by Ye and his research group on the meteorology of the Plateau is widely considered a major contribution to the understanding of the general atmosphere circulating over Asia. Theprofessor also extended his studies to include the general circulation over the whole northern hemisphere and published one of the world first research papers on the dynamics of the general circulation.

Having served as leader, executive member and founder of many international, regional and domestic scientific organizations suchas the Chinese Academy of Science, China Meteorological Society, Finnish Academy of Sciences and British Royal Meteorological Society, Prof. Ye also won a series of prestigious awards including the National Science Award, Scientific and TechnologicalAchievement Award of Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation and Tan Kah-kee Earth Sciences Prize.

"All the awards including the WMO Prize do not belong to me butto the group of Chinese scientists who dedicated their life-long energy and effort to atmospheric studies," said Ye during an interview with Xinhua.

According to the scientist, scientific studies are very similarto a stage play, whose successful presentation demands effective cooperation of all performers.

"It is impossible for me to accomplish all the tasks all by myself," said Ye, who was rated by Bedritsky as "a highly respected and world renowned scientist".

Ye graduated from China's prestigious Tsinghua University in 1940 and eight years later finished his doctoral studies in the University of Chicago, the United States, where the world famous meteorologist, Carl-Gustaf Rossby and his collaborators were carrying out researches on the general circulation of the atmosphere, particularly the then newly discovered jet streams.

"I benefited a lot throughout these years from Prof. Rossby's motto that facts are all the important," said Ye.

In 1950, Ye came back to his motherland, which he sincerely hoped to become stronger and richer. Ye cried the moment he arrived at China's mainland via Hong Kong with a feeling of "I am home finally".

Fifty-four years have passed since Ye's return, but the Chinesescientist has never regretted his previous decision of coming backto China and was always thankful to his Chinese origin.

Now, at an age of 88, Ye Duzheng is still busy with many research-related activities. "I am working eight hours a day but still find time is running short," said Ye, who has focused on theeffects of global warming since the 1980s and raised a concept of "orderly human activities" in 2003.

Ye has always carried a notebook with him in past decades to record his random thoughts and inspiration sprouting all the time."The notebook will motivate me to realize the ideas as soon as possible," he said.

"If the majority of my ideas can be realized, I will die without regrets," said Ye.

In addition to his outstanding scientific achievements, Ye was also widely remembered for his "kindness and immense enthusiasm tohelp his students." His former students all over the world regard him with respect and gratitude," said Farraud Tuesday here.

In 1995, Ye received the Scientific and Technological Achievement Award of Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation and donated the prize of one million yuan (121,000 US dollars) to the CAS Earth Sciences Division as a prize for outstanding young scientists on atmospheric studies.

"I will also donate the WMO money," Ye told Xinhua Tuesday while taking the check out of his pocket.

China is still lagging behind many countries in some aspects ofmeteorological studies. It is only when these young scientists canbeat foreign researchers at their age, the gap between China and foreign countries can be narrowed, said Ye.

"The most pleasant thing to me is not winning any award but to know that developing countries such as the United States have considered China as a real competitor. That means China has stand up as a country," said Ye, who still remembered his early days in foreign countries, being disdained and mocked for being a citizen of a weak country.


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