Vietnamese Talents
Vietnamese physics professor wins 2018 Dirac Medal
  • | VNA | August 16, 2018 04:29 PM

Vietnamese Professor Dam Thanh Son from the University of Chicago was recently named one the three winners of the 2018 Dirac Medal and Prize by International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP).

Vietnamese Professor Dam Thanh Son (photo: UChicago News)

Son and the two others winners – Subir Sachdev of Harvard University and Xiao-Gang Wen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – received the honour for their independent contributions toward understanding novel phases in strongly interacting many-body systems, introducing original cross-disciplinary techniques.

All three winners study how quantum mechanics affects large groups of particles, known as many-body systems.

In its announcement of the laureates, the ICTP wrote that Son was the first to understand that gauge/gravity duality could be used to address basic questions in strongly interacting many-body problems.

ICTP's Dirac Medal, first awarded in 1985, is given in honour of Paul Dirac, one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century. It is awarded annually on Dirac's birthday, August 8, to scientists who have made significant contributions to theoretical physics.

Dam Thanh Son was born in Hanoi to a pharmacy-professor father and a biochemistry-associate-professor mother.

In 1984, he won a gold medal in his first time competing in the International Mathematical Olympiad at the age of 15. A year later, Son went to Moscow, Russia, to study physics at the Lomonosov Moscow State University.

Talking about his decision to study physics instead of maths, Son mentioned the impact of his uncle who was a teacher, Dam Trung Don, who guided the Vietnamese national physics team for years, and his growing love and interest for the science.

Son gained international prominence for his application of ideas from string theory to the understanding of nuclear matter under high temperature and high density. The scientist is the author or co-author of more than 100 scholarly publications.

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