Wang Yongjin: Addicted to cave sedimentation and paleoclimatic research, he often says that to do the best, do the best

He is one of the earliest paleoclimatologists in China to engage in the study of cave stalagmites isotopes, and he has always adhered to the concept of “education first”, he is Wang Yongjin, a professor at the School of Geographical Sciences of Nanjing Normal University.

Professor Wang Yongjin takes discipline construction as the starting point and team development as the link, integrates scientific research and postgraduate training, cultivates high-quality Quaternary research reserve talents for the country, and explores a new model of innovative education with university characteristics.



teach tirelessly

“Mr. Big” who devotes himself to teaching

When supervising graduate students in scientific problem research, Professor Wang Yongjin likes to tell stories, a seemingly boring scientific problem, after which he tells it, it becomes a vivid story. In fact, the interpretation of scientific problems is how to tell scientific stories well. In the group discussion, Professor Wang Yongjin’s body language was very rich, coupled with humorous language expression, the students learned knowledge in a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere.


Professor Wang Yongjin often imparts the most cutting-edge information to students in a timely manner, so as to stimulate students’ interest and enthusiasm for science. In order to better guide the work of graduate students, he spends most of his time in the laboratory, sorting materials and analyzing data with graduate students to help them broaden their thinking. In Chinese New Year’s Eve 2007, a doctoral student called Wang Yongjin to tell him that he had encountered a problem in scientific research. After hanging up the phone, Professor Wang Yongjin rode his bicycle to the office to help students answer their questions.

Professor Wang Yongjin is very strict with his students. In the summer of 2010, a doctoral student under his supervision submitted a paper that was accepted and ready for publication, but when the paper was finalized, Wang Yongjin found that the evidence was not sufficient, and immediately asked him to re-experiment and repeatedly argue until he was completely satisfied.

The student said that he “has higher requirements for the error in the data of the student’s paper than the requirements for publication.” In order to demonstrate the data in a doctoral dissertation, he ran back to the laboratory to re-turn the original data and examine them one by one, despite the lunar Chinese New Year’s Eve. What he taught his students was not only the knowledge itself, but also a meticulous, calm and down-to-earth scientific spirit.

Under the guidance of Professor Wang Yongjin, his students have achieved remarkable results in the study of Quaternary paleoclimate, and many graduate students have won the “Jiangsu Graduate Student Innovation Program” and the “Excellent Master’s Thesis Award” of Jiangsu Province, and he himself has won the title of “Excellent Master’s Supervisor” of Jiangsu Province in 2003 and “Excellent Educator” of Jiangsu Province in 2005.


Lead by example

Be willing to be an explorer of scientific research and innovation

Professor Wang Yongjin undertakes a large number of scientific research tasks and graduate student supervision. For 20 years, he has been obsessed with cave sedimentation and paleoclimatic research, leading the research team to explore and innovate. In scientific research, Professor Wang Yongjin pursues perfection in research results, and his mantra “Do the best you can do” has influenced generations of students. He persevered in obscurity to his research work, and this quality of fame and fortune and dedication to research was particularly precious.

Professor Wang Yongjin’s remarkable achievements in paleoclimate research are based on countless treks over mountains and rivers. Speaking of “field investigation”, Wang Yongjin has frankly said many times: It is arduous. On the one hand, he does not shy away from so-called negative words such as “bitter”, “tired”, “difficult” and “dangerous”; On the other hand, he never feared and ran away from it.

In the summer of 2001, Professor Wang Yongjin took his graduate students to Shennongjia Swan Cave in Hubei Province. Before entering the cave, it rained heavily. Time was limited, so they had to brave the rain and the road inside the cave was very slippery, but when they found that there were many high-quality samples in the cave, they were so excited that they forgot the difficulties and nervously collected them. When Wang Yongjin carried dozens of pounds of samples on his back, he accidentally slipped, and at the moment of falling to the ground, he instinctively stretched out his right hand to protect the sample tightly, and his left hand was cut a deep wound by a sharp rock because of the ground, and blood suddenly gushed.

Every time I recall those past events, I can’t see a little self-pity in Professor Wang Yongjin’s tone and demeanor to pay a lot for his career, but he is always happy, which makes people truly feel his open-mindedness and optimism. His thin, dark figure and deep streaks on his face show a weather-beaten past, which is a gift from long-term field research, witnessing his life footprints and accumulating a rich scientific research wealth for him. To this day, he still insists on pursuing a real “sense of the scene” in the wild.


Professor Wang Yongjin’s quality of fearless and facing difficulties has deeply influenced his students, forming a good research atmosphere in the laboratory. Over the years, the students he has cultivated have become the backbone of education and scientific research, and they have also inherited the good qualities of Wang Yongjin, acting as the “pioneers” of their respective teams and constantly moving forward.


Be willing to give

The leader of the people who take root and cultivate virtue

Professor Wang Yongjin often emphasizes that before doing learning, we must first be a good “person”. He often cares about the mental health of graduate students, guides students to make life plans, and strives to be a new generation with goals, pursuits, tolerance, and innovation.

Many graduate students are prone to temporary confusion after enrollment. In response to this situation, Professor Wang Yongjin often uses scientific characteristics to enlighten students: earth science is to observe the world in the interaction between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere, which can be subtle, as small as the crystal structure, and need a microscope to observe; It can be as large as an entire continent and needs to be accommodated with a big heart. For the real world, system openness is the mainstream, while closure is individual. Wang Yongjin often walks into student dormitories to encourage students to take the initiative to exchange ideas. He firmly believes that every student is like a lock, as long as you find the right key, you can open the door of your heart to release your enthusiasm and live a beautiful life.

In addition to carefully nurturing students, Professor Wang Yongjin always pays attention to the training of young teachers in the college. At the Academy of Geosciences, he also had the status of “Party Branch Secretary”, a post he held for nearly thirty years.

Professor Wang Yongjin actively expands new ideas for cohesion of people’s hearts, explores the implementation of the “work method of cultivating people”, builds branches on disciplines, organically integrates party building work with scientific research and talent training, and strives to enhance the quality and efficiency of grassroots party building work in colleges and universities.

Driven by Professor Wang Yongjin and other old Party members and professors of the Physical Geography Party Branch, young Party members and teachers have deeply engaged in education and teaching, and gradually become the backbone of the college. The comprehensive strength of the physical geography team has been significantly improved, and dozens of papers have been published in top international journals such as Science and Nature, and it has been rated as the “Changjiang Scholar” innovation team of the Ministry of Education. Professor Wang Yongjin himself was awarded the Secretary of the Outstanding Grassroots Party Organization of Jiangsu Province, and in 2021, as an advanced model representative, he was elected as a representative of the 14th Provincial Party Congress, was elected as the Minister of Education Jiang Scholar Distinguished Professor, and won the honorary titles of “National Advanced Worker” and “National Outstanding Communist Party Member”.

In class, Professor Wang Yongjin always mentions the following sentence: “Geography students should write their papers on the motherland.” History should serve the present, and theoretical research should serve the country. Professor Wang Yongjin’s road to educating people is far from over, and just like his name, he is always moving forward.


Wang Yongjin is a professor and doctoral supervisor at the School of Geographical Sciences, Nanjing Normal University. Professor Wang Yongjin has long been engaged in the research of cave sedimentation and climate and environmental evolution, and has published 3 academic papers in Science and Nature, won the National 100 Excellent Doctoral Dissertation Award and the National Natural Science Foundation Outstanding Youth Fund in 2002, and his research results were selected as “Top Ten Scientific and Technological Progress in Chinese Colleges and Universities in 2008” and “Top Ten News of Basic Research in China in 2008”, won the first prize of the Natural Science Award of the Ministry of Education in 2013, and the second prize of the National Natural Science Award in 2014. In 2002, he was selected as the cross-century discipline leader of Jiangsu Province, in 2003 he was rated as the outstanding party worker of Nanjing Normal University, in 2004 he was rated as the outstanding party member of Jiangsu Province, and was selected as a distinguished professor of the “Changjiang Scholar Award Program”, and his research team was selected as the innovation team of “Changjiang Scholars and Innovation Team Development Plan” in 2005, the title of “Jiangsu May Day Labor Award (Team)” in 2007, and the secretary of the outstanding grassroots party organization of Jiangsu Province and the national outstanding worker in 2010. In 2016, he was awarded the title of National Outstanding Communist Party Member, and in 2018, the branch he led was selected into the list of “double leaders” teachers in the national colleges and universities to build the office of the secretary of the party branch.
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