Vietnamese Talents
Special award for Vietnamese Astrophysicist
  • | | February 22, 2010 05:37 PM

Vietnamese-American professor Trinh Xuan Thuan was awarded the UNESCO Kalinga Prize for his contribution to science in 2009. This award, created in 1952, recognises those who have a talent in interpreting science and technology for the public.

Professor Trinh Xuan Thuan

Trinh was born in Hanoi and moved to Sai Gon in 1954 when Vietnam was divided in half in accordance with the Geneva treaty. After finishing primary school, Trinh attended the French Jean-Jacques Rousseau high school. It is during this period that he acquired French language skills which enabled him to write popular books on astrophysics and cosmology, that are famous not only for their scientific accuracy, but also for their poetic language.

All his books have originally been written in French, but later, to meet the demand of large audiences, ten of his most popular books were translated into other languages, including Vietnamese. Up to 2004, Trinh has published more than 200 articles on the formation and evolution of galaxies, and on the synthesis of light elements in the Big-bang.

There are only a handful of famous astrophysicists who are permitted to use the Hubble Space Telescope, and professor Trinh is one of the special few. Trinh was awarded the American Astronomical Society’s Henri Chrétien Prize in 1992, Gran Prix Moron Prize by the French Academy in 2007, and most recently the UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize of Popularization of Science in 2009.

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