Vietnamese Talents
Vietnamese American astrophysicist wins French noble award
  • By Ham Chau | | May 10, 2012 05:13 PM

Professor Trinh Xuan Thuan, a Vietnamese American writer and astrophysicist, has won this year’s Cino Del Duca World Prize.


Professor Trinh Xuan Thuan (second from left) at a meeting with former Vietnamese State President Tran Duc Luong

The Institute of France, the country’s most senior scientific institution decided to award the prize to Thuan for his great efforts to popularise science.

The awards ceremony will be held on June 6 at the French Academy. Thuan will be also be presented with EUR300,000.

In its statement, the Institute of France said, “as a world-famous astrophysicist, Trinh Xuan Thuan has discovered the youngest galaxy in the universe via the Hubble Space Telescope. Working as a astrophysics professor at Virginia University, he opened a special class on astronomy for poets. He has also written books popularising science to the public in addition to his astronomical research.”

Thuan shared, “The award is a great encouragement for me to continue my efforts to pupularise scientific knowledge.”

Born in 1948 in Hanoi, Thuan studied at Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a French high school in Saigon before 1975.

He has taught astronomy at the University of Virginia since 1976, and is a research associate at the Paris Institute of Astrophysics.

He was a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion.

He pursued tertiary education at the California Institute of Technology, commonly known and did his doctorate thesis at Princeton University.

Among his popular works are The Secret Melody (1988), The Birth of the Universe: the Big Bang and After (1993), The Surveyor of the Cosmos (2002), Journey to the Heart of Light (2008), and The Cosmos and the Lotus (2011).

He has won several writing awards, including the Moron Award by the Institute of France in 2007 and the UNESCO Kalinga Prize in 2009.


Trinh Xuan Thuan (centre) and his friends in France in 2009 

Thuan (centre) and his wife attending a ground-breaking ceremony for an education and science international centre in Quy Nhon City

French readers queuing up for Thuan’s signature in one of his book

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