An Zhisheng (1941- ) is a native of Liuan, Anhui Province. An is a geologist and an environmentalist. He graduated from Geology Department, Nanjing University in 1962. He received his doctorate from Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Institute of Geochemistry, CAS in 1966. He was elected as academician of CAS in 1991 and the Third World Academy of Sciences in 2000. Currently, he is president of Xi'an branch of CAS and Shaanxi Academy of Sciences. Concurrently, he is serving as vice director of China Quaternary Research Committee, vice president of International Union of Quaternary Research (INQUA), member and vice president of Scientific Committee of International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP).
An Zhisheng's research interests include loess and the environment, stratigraphy, palaeoclimatology and palaeopedology, magnetostratigraphy and micromorphology. An was engaged in research on loess, its evolution and global climate change. He contributes outstandingly in loess and environment study and its linkage with global climate change. He introduced Quaternary Magnetic Stratigraphy to China firstly; He, along with Liu Tungsheng, CAS academician, brought the study of Chinese Loess to a new phase in combining it with the study of loess and environment. An put forward that the Chinese loess-paleosol sequence of last 2.5Ma is excellent records of East Asian monsoon changes. He systematically brought forward the "monsoon control hypothesis" for East Asian environment changes and lifted our understanding of East Asian environment changes to the dynamics level, hence provided explanations to the Chinese loess-paleosol sequence characterized by the alternation of loess and paleosol layers, and a series of other phenomenon related to East Asian environment changes. He reasoned the instability of monsoon climate, made clear the dynamic linkage between past East Asia monsoon and north-south hemisphere paleoclimates contributed to the study of global change, which gained world-wide recognition. He ascertained the age of LanTian pithecanthrope and the age of Australia Desertification. He suggested that the natural laws of vegetation distribution should be followed in the bio-environment remediation of Western China, semi-arid area and loess plateau should be the key regions in controlling Chinese desertification. He made exceptional progress in Xi'an air pollution source detection and countermeasures making. He has published over 100 papers in periodicals and publications at home and abroad. In his recognition of his contribution in China's Earth environment research development, he has been given for 7 times State Natural Sciences Award and CAS Natural Sciences Award of different class. He was also awarded Li Siguang Prize in Geological Science and Ho Leung Ho Lee Award for Science and Technology Advancement in 2001.