Su Ting China

Biography of Su Ting

Su Ting
Su Ting

Su Ting was born in Yunlung County, Yunnan Province on the 4th October 1913. He died on the 22nd October 2000. He was a prominent geomorpholist, geographer and palynologist.

At the age of nine he was sent to school in Hong Kong, attending St Stephen’s College between 1922 and 1925. He went on to Fu Jen Catholic University in Beijing, reading English Literature. He transferred to Yenching University where he studied or a degree in geography and geology. He graduated BSc in 1932 at the age of 19.

Su Ting relocated to Glasgow in 1934, having won a scholarship to study in Scotland. His PhD research was conducted into the Study of shoreline forms in South Western Scotland and overseen by Mr Alexander Stevens, Lecturer in Geography and chief scientist on Shackleton’s Trans-Atlantic Expedition of 1914-1917. An important aspect of this study was pollen research in Bute, which led to collaboration with other palynologists, including Gunner Erdtman, with whom he corresponded throughout his life.

Ting graduated PhD on the 25th June 1937, the first Chinese national to do so.

Following his graduation, he enrolled as a research fellow at the Institute of Geology, Academica Sinica, Nanking. Over several years, he worked at Guanxi University, Nanning; Chungking (Chongqing) University; the National Central University (Nanking) and Sun-Yat Sen University, Guangzhou. At these institutions he taught not only geography, but mathematics.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War he was still able to produce at least 32 publications in geography, anthropology and geomorphology. He fled Nanking during the Chinese Civil War, and relocated to Hong Kong, losing most of his possessions, but carrying his Palynology records. In Hong Kong he trained school teachers.

He was able to relocate to California in 1958, working as a Palynologist and Research Geologist at the University of Los Angeles. He began work on a pollen library of Californian plants. He retired on the 11th April 1979.


Printed Materials

  • William Su Ting China's forgotton palynologist- Palynology 2020

Archival Materials

  • R14/1 List of Research students and fellows, with index Feb 1897-Oct 1924


Su Ting
Born 4 October 1913.
GU Degree: PhD, 1937; Science and Engineering,
University Link: Graduate
Occupation categories: academics; geologists; geomorphologists
English snippet: First doctoral graduate by a Chinese citizen from the the University of Glasgow in 1937
Record last updated: 4th Dec 2020

Country Associations

China China, Yunnan, Yunlong
Place of Birth

University Connections

University Roles

  • Graduate