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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Director, Needham Research Institute
East Asian Studies

Professor Mei’s is an archaeo-metallurgist, specializing in the origins and role of metallurgy in Early China, and cultural interactions between China and the West.

He studied physical chemistry in metallurgical processes and the history of science and technology at the Beijing University of Iron and Steel Technology (now the University of Science and Technology Beijing, USTB) in the 1980s. He first came to Cambridge in 1994, as a Li Foundation scholar working at the Needham Research Institute, then began his PhD study in archaeology at the University of Cambridge with a scholarship offered by the East Asian History of Science Foundation, Hong Kong. After postdoctoral work in Tokyo and Cambridge he returned to China in 2004 as a professor at the USTB and Director of the Institute of Historical Metallurgy and Materials. In recent years he has been a leading member of the team formed to write the volume on non-ferrous metallurgy for the Science and Civilisation in China series, founded by the great British sinologist and historian of science Joseph Needham (1900-1995). He is active in a number of international research groups, and is currently President of the International Society for the History of East Asian Science, Technology and Medicine. In January 2014, he joined the Needham Research Institute as its Director.

Professor Mei is a Fellow of Churchill College, and Fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge.