Chen Xiaofei: To explore the earth and serve the motherland


On February 12, many research buildings were rising in the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province. On the north side of the campus, Chen Xiaofei, director of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences (ESS), has been busy for a long time in a temporary research building, Building 9 of Chuangyuan, which was transformed from an old factory building.


Chen Xiaofei is a leading figure in the field of geophysics in China, Distinguished Professor of Yangtse River Scholar, and Chinese Academy of Sciences Member. In November 2017, he had participated in the research of "Nonlinear Seismic Simulation" project and won the highest international award in the field of high-performance computing application "Gordon Bell Award".


Chen Xiaofei said that the so-called geophysics is to use physical methods and means to study the scientific problems of the earth. There are two main research directions. One is to use imaging and other methods to explore the solid earth itself. Through underground imaging, we can determine the burial location of oil, natural gas and various minerals, so as to carry out accurate mining. Another main direction is seismology. Chen Xiaofei admits that there is no one in the international academic circle who can predict the time, place and intensity of an earthquake, but that doesn't mean that the research on seismology is fruitless. First of all, although earthquakes are difficult to predict accurately, they can be roughly predicted. Through the study of the earth plate and the observation of the underground energy accumulation, scientists can roughly analyze the areas where earthquakes may occur. In addition, by using scientific methods, we can also calculate the consequences of an earthquake in a certain area. According to these research results, people can make targeted regional development plans to minimize the construction of important infrastructure in earthquake prone areas.


It is Chen Xiaofei's unchanging life belief that he lived a simple life and focused on learning. In 1958, Chen Xiaofei was born into a teacher's family in Benxi, Liaoning Province.  His dream from his childhood was to be a scientist. In 1977, Chen Xiaofei entered the University of Science and Technology of China with a full mark in mathematics. He was assigned to the major of geophysics and began his academic life. In 1986, with the recommendation of his supervisor, Chinese Academy of Sciences Member, Chen Yuntai, he went to the Department of Geosciences of the University of Southern California to pursue his doctoral degree. After 10 years of studying and working in the United States, he returned to his native country to work at Peking University. Now, Chen xiaofei feels that China has been in the world first-class level in terms of hardware facilities and financial guarantee for scientific research.

At the beginning of spring, Chen xiaofei said his dream is simple: To explore the earth and serve the motherland.