Ruan Yuan (Chinese characters: 阮元) (1764-1849), was a scholar official in the Qing Dynasty in Imperial China. He passed the jinshi exam in 1789 and was subsequently appointed to the Hanlin Academy. He was famous for his work Biographies of Astronomers and Mathematicians.
Ruan Yuan was a scholar-official of renown in mid-Qing China prior to the Opium War, before traditional institutions and values became altered by incursions from the West. His distinction as an official, scholar, and patron of learning has been recognized both by his contemporaries and by modern scholars. He was also exulted as an honest official and an exemplary man of the ‘Confucian persuasion’. His name is mentioned in almost all the works on Qing history or Chinese classics because of the wide range of his research and publications. A number of these publications are still being reprinted today. Ruan Yuan was a follower of the Han Learning tradition.
Ruan Yuan, 1764-1849: The Life And Work of a Major Scholar-Official in Nineteenth-Century China Before the Opium War, Betty Peh-T’i Wei, 2006; ISBN 9622097855)