Tu Guangchi, who was born in 1920 in Beijing, graduated from South West Union University in 1944 and received his doctorate in geology from the University of Minnesota in 1949.
As a renowned mineral deposit and geochemical scientist, he is credited with establishing the field of geochemistry in China. He helped to develop the world famous Institute for Geochemistry in Guiyang. During his term as director of the Institute for Geochemistry in Guiyang, Tu fostered the growth of research on ore deposits and environmental sciences, both of which had tangible effects on mineral and water resources in China.
Tu was selected as an academician of the Chinese Academy of Science in 1980 and academician of the Russian Academy of Science in 1987. He received a University of Minnesota honorary doctorate of science degree in 1999.