E-An Zen

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E-An Zen
Born(1928-05-31)31 May 1928
Died29 March 2014(2014-03-29) (aged 85)
NationalityUnited States
Alma materCornell University, Harvard University
AwardsRoebling Medal (1991)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Maryland

Dr. E-An Zen (任以安) was born in Peking, China, May 31, 1928, and came to the U.S. in 1946. He became a citizen in 1963. Since 1990 he was Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland.[1] He died on March 29, 2014, at the age of 85.[2]

He has contributed articles to professional journals and is a fellow of the Geological Society of America (Councillor, 1985–88, 1990–93; President, 1991–92); the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Mineralogical Society of America (Council, 1974–77;Pres., 1975–76). He is a member of the Geological Society of Washington (Pres. 1973), the National Academy of Sciences, and the Mineralogical Association of Canada.[3] Zen has been active in programs to bring geological knowledge to the general public.


Received A.B from Cornell University in 1951, M.A from Harvard University in 1952, and Ph.D from Harvard University in 1955.[3]


Research fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1955–56; and a research associate,1956-58. From 1958-59 he was a visiting assistant professor at the University of North Carolina. Geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey from 1959–80, and a Research geologist, 1980-89. Visiting associate professor at the California Institute of Technology, 1962; Crosby Visiting Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1973; Harry Hess Senior Visiting Fellow, Princeton University, 1981; and Visiting Fellow, Australian National University, 1991.[3]

Zen has worked primarily in the northern Appalachians, especially on paleogeographic reconstructions and the origins of exotic terranes in New England. John McPhee once remarked that Zen "is approximately as exotic as the rock he studies." [4]


He has received the Arthur L. Day Medal, Geological Society of America, 1986; Roebling Medal, Mineralogical Society of America, 1991; John Coke Medal, Geological Society of London, 1992; and the Distinguished Service Medal, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1979. He has also been honored for outstanding contributions to public understanding of geology (American Geological Institute, 1994) and with the Thomas Jefferson Medal, Virginia Museum of Natural History, 1995.[3]


  1. ^ University of Maryland. Dr. E-An Zen Archived 2010-05-31 at the Wayback Machine Verified 2011-01-20.
  2. ^ "Geology in Motion: E-an Zen: 1928-2014". www.geologyinmotion.com. Retrieved 2016-05-22.
  3. ^ a b c d Forum on Science and Innovation for Sustainable Development. Dr. E-An Zen Verified 2011-01-19.
  4. ^ John McPhee, "Travels of the Rock," in Irons in the Fire, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1997. ISBN 0-374-52545-5

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