2023 Gilbert H. Cady Award

Presented to Shifeng Dai

Shifeng Dai

Shifeng Dai
China University of Mining and Technology, Beijing


Citation by Jim Hower

It is my pleasure to be the citationist for the presentation of the Gilbert H. Cady Award of the Geological Society of America’s Energy Geology Division to Shifeng Dai. Dr. Dai, a professor in the College of Geoscience and Survey Engineering, China University of Mining and Technology, Beijing, is the 43rd recipient of the Gilbert H. Cady Award of the Geological Society of America’s Energy Geology Division since 1973.

Shifeng Dai has established research programs in coal geochemistry and mineralogy. In particular, he has studied critical elements in coal and coal products. This includes studies of rare earth elements and also of the distribution and extraction of Germanium, Gallium, and Lithium from coals. He has enlisted a wide range of collaborators in his investigations, drawing in researchers not only from China but also from Australia, Russia, the USA, and many other countries. His 2012 publication with Vladimir Seredin on the distribution of rare earths is among the seminal papers in the critical elements discipline and many of his other papers are among the most cited works in the field. In that paper, they discussed the modes of enrichment and the distribution patterns of rare earths in coals, introducing concepts that are now fundamental aspects of any discussion of rare earth enrichment.

Dr. Dai has served the coal geology community as an editor of the International Journal of Coal Geology since 2007 and as an organizer of several international meetings. In 2023, he was the first author of the book Inorganic Geochemistry of Coal, published by Elsevier.

The Cady Award is both a recognition of the scientific and professional contributions by the individual and a statement by the society that the individual represents the legacy of the organization. Upon the 50th anniversary of the first Gilbert H. Cady Award, the Energy Geology Division of the Geological Society of America thus recognizes that Shifeng Dai stands among the best of our profession.


Response by Shifeng Dai

I am extremely humbled to receive the Gilbert H. Cady Award from the GSA Energy Geology Division. I would like to thank Dr. Jim Hower for nominating me, and Drs. Colin Ward, Maria Mastalerz, Robert Finkelman, Victor Nechaev, and Kuili Jin for their support. Thank you, the Gilbert H. Cady committee, for this prestigious honor.

Even though I am the recipient of this award, in reality, it is also awarded collectively to my friends and colleagues and to those research teams I have been a part of. I would like to thank all my current and past colleagues from the College of Geoscience and Survey Engineering, China University of Mining and Technology (Beijing). Particularly, I would like to express my sincere and special thanks to my Ph.D. supervisor professor Deyi Ren, who supported, guided and helped me in my Ph.D. Thesis and was a constant source of scientific inspiration on coal geology and coal geochemistry after my doctoral graduation.

I am indebted to a number of talented geoscientists throughout the world I have worked with over the years. I have benefited from guidance from them who generously gave their time and help. The number of my co-authors (335) is higher than the number of my co-authored papers (205). I would not be here to be presented the award without their help and collaboration. Jim Hower, who collaborated with me for 13 years and has co-authored 66 papers, is my collaborator with the most number of co-authored papers. Among many others, I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with and learn from, including Vladimir Seredin, Colin Ward, Robert Finkelman, David French, Victor Nechaev, Ian Graham, Baruch Spiro, Chen-Lin Chou, Igor Chekryzhov, Tim Moore, Jen O’Keefe, Irena Kostova, Nikki Wagner, Irina Tarasenko, Yiping Zhou, Yuegang Tang, Fenghua Zhao, Longyi Shao, Xibo Wang, Lei Zhao, Jingjing Liu, Xiaolin Song, Xiaoyun Yan, Qiang Wei, and Shaowei Zhang.

I also want to acknowledge all of my doctoral and graduate students and almost all of them love geology. I believe that their interest in geology is a significant factor for their future career. I extend special thanks to the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Ministry of Science & Technology of China, which provided financial support for my scientific research.

Finally, but foremost first, I would like to thank my parents, who tried their best to support my elementary, secondary, and higher education although I came from a poor peasant family, and for their never-ending support on my career of coal geology.

If I have inadvertently overlooked to mention any others who contributed to whatever small successes I have had, I sincerely apologize. Their names undoubtedly should appear, and I thank all of them for their colleagueship and help.