Nora G. Sproston and China

Nora G. Sproston was an English fish parasitologist, well-known in the fields of monogenetie trematoda and parasitic copepod, who worked in the UK Plymouth Laboratory of the Marine Biological Association from the 1930s to the mid-1940s. Like Dr. Joseph Needham, she was fascinated by Chinese culture. Following an introduction by Dr. Needham, she was appointed researcher of the Institute of Zoology, Academia Sinica in 1947, and then of the Institute of Hydrobiology after 1949. In order to meet the nation's demands, she rapidly adapted her research to fish disease prevention and treatment in the early 1950s, and was regarded as one of the founders of fish pathology in modem China. She not only studied practical methods of sterilizing various kinds of fish parasites by chemical drugs, but also nurtured some talented student like Yin Wenying (Yin became an academician of CAS in 1991). During these turbulent times, she was marginalized from research, mainly because she was a foreigner from an ' imperialist country' who expressed unwelcome political opinions. Finally, after the famine in the early 1960s, she left China in 1962. Sproston's experiences in China can be seen as an epitome of science serving socialist production in the 1950s, and to some extent reflects the social destiny of scientists in China.