Dr. Chi Shing (CS) Wong Memorial Scholarship

The Institute for Ocean Sciences staff, friends and the Wong Family are establishing this award in memory of Dr. Chi Shing (CS) Wong.

Dr. CS Wong was widely recognized as one of Canada’s leading ocean geochemists and an icon in Canadian ocean sciences. He came to Canada’s west coast in 1968, after earning his Ph.D. from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, to set up an atmosphere-ocean CO2 facility, initially within Environment Canadabut soon transferred to Fisheries and Oceanswhere he remained until he retired in 2009. Dr. Wong had an exceptional capability to recognize an important science problem, to engage with the international community working on it, and to find the funding to support a meaningful contribution to that problem by Canada. In those early years, when few of us worried about time series, Dr. Wong recognized the opportunity afforded by the west-coast weather-ships to initiate the first atmospheric CO2 time series at an oceanic station (Station Papa). This atmospheric time series was accompanied by an ocean chemistry time series, the value of which has grown exponentially with time. While maintaining the carbon-cycle work in the NE Pacific Ocean, Dr. Wong recognized the emerging revolution in ocean trace-metal geochemistry toward the end of the 1970s.

With impeccable foresight, he included a cutting-edge clean room as part of design of the chemistry wing in the new Institute of Ocean Scienceat Patricia Bay, and immediately initiated elemental research using mesocosm enclosures moored in Saanich. This enclosure work presented the opportunity of researching metal cycles as they affected – or were affected by – biological cycles.       Dr. Wong recognized clearly the extraordinary opportunity presented by this setting, not only to research the cycles of metals in constrained ocean systems, but also to attract a community of leading international scientists from, for example, Japan, Germany, Britain, and the USA. From this basis, Dr. Wong brought about a NATO Advanced Research Institute in 1981 out of which came a turning-point book – “Trace Metals in Sea Water.”  His chosen co-editors formed a cadre of who’s who in ocean geochemistry, including Ed Goldberg, Ed Boyle, Ken Bruland and JD Burton.   If one pages through the papers included in that NATO book, one will find virtually the entire community who produced the first real understanding of elemental cycling in world oceans.

Dr. Wong recognized the value of collecting a time series at Station Papa and, against all fiscal odds, managed to maintain that observatory from 1982 to 2006. Establishing this observatory was prescient, given the changes now occurring in the ocean’s CO2 system, and it well illustrates Dr. Wong’s astute geochemical eye and remarkable tenacity.

Dr. Wong authored or co-authored well over 200 papers spanning several oceans and far more topics than highlighted here. He received numerous awards including Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC, 1999), but perhaps his favourite would have been the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize for the most outstanding paper in Science (Quay, Tilbrook and Wong, 1991).

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