back to news Jan. 17, 2013

Lonnie Thompson Receives Award from People’s Republic of China

Lonnie Thompson, Distinguished University Professor in Earth Sciences and senior research scientist, Byrd Polar Research Center, has been awarded the International Science and Technology Cooperation Award of the People’s Republic of China.

The award recognizes Thompson as an “influential foreign expert in science and technology” who has made “outstanding contributions to promoting the establishment of strategic partnerships between foreign scientific institutions, universities, enterprises, or international academic organizations with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.”

Thompson received the award from the new president of China, Xi Jinping, in ceremonies conducted in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on January 15.

The International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Award of the People's Republic of China was established in 1993 to honor foreign scientists, science and technology engineers and managers, or organizations that have made important contributions to China’s bilateral or multilateral scientific and technological cooperation.

Thompson and his team have worked closely with Chinese scientists since they took a three-month trip in 1984 to western China, sponsored by a special U.S. National Academy of Sciences program to encourage scientific exchange between the two countries. Since 1984, the Ohio State team has conducted major ice core drilling programs on the Dunde ice cap in the Qilian Mountains, the Guliya Ice Cap in the far western Kunlun Mountains, Dasuopu at the top of the Himalayas, Puruogangri Ice Cap in Central Tibet and Naimona’nyi in the far southwest Himalayas. All these projects and expeditions were conducted collaboratively with Professor Yao Tandong, director of the Institute of Teibetan Plateau Research and a visiting scholar at the Byrd Polar Research Center from 1988-89.

This semester, Thompson is teaching a Paleoclimatology graduate class on Ohio State's main campus and in Beijing, via polycom. He also is planning his next drilling project in western Tibet with Yao.

Thompson has led more than 50 expeditions to ice caps and glaciers on five continents, retrieving ice cores that contain a diary of past climate conditions around the globe, some dating back farther than 750,000 years. His research has propelled the field of ice core paleoclimatology out of the Polar Regions to the highest tropical and subtropical ice fields.

Thompson is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, an American Geophysical Union Fellow, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Thompson is the recipient of the National Medal of Science, arguably the highest honor the United States bestows on an American scientist and the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the environmental science equivalent of a Nobel Prize. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Geographic Society, among others. Thompson was elected Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2009.

Read more at Ohio State Research News.