Ngo Bao Chau – “Mot hien tuong toan hoc”

I feel proudly when I received the news that Ngo Bao Chau received Field Model. It is the reputation of our Vietnamese’s mathematic ability. And we Vietnamese are very appreciated with this contribution to the universal knowledge of human beings.

The Fields Medal has been given to Chau to recognize his accomplishments in mathematics. Chau’s success in solving “fundamental lemma” is profoundly significant and has been listed by Time Magazine as one of the top ten scientific discoveries in 2009.

Most recently, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan officially invited Ngo Bao Chau to return to Vietnam to work and contribute to developing Vietnam into a powerhouse in mathematics.

His research is greatly recognized in many leading conferences. Link

I remember a recent conversation between Prof Ngo Bao Chau and Nguyen Trung Ha in VnExpress. It is a topic about the importance of mathematics towards the economy and society development.
I am supportive of what Nguyen Trung Ha perceived. That maths research is a real job need passion, and not everyone can do that.
Ngo Bao Chau is extremely exceptional, but not all my seniors and juniors who once attended IMO. I admires who is keen to pursue research path, like many research assistant I met in school.

Look at back, I have to confess that i have little interest in maths now, though sometimes I take a look at IMO problems. What i am interested is the new future of computing and technology, together with its social value and impact.

What a mathematician can do for the well being of a society? And actually I think an economist is better to the extent of social contribution. What a solving theory can directly to our life. It may take many years before it comes to reality.

Q, one of my friends who are pursuing applied maths, he made a quite hard living in Vietnam with his fellow research. I wish luck to him when he will study post doc  in Europe.

What Ngo Bao Chau can do if he returns to Vietnam. Maybe he start to teach Maths in Maths Institution with not more than 5 M per month.

Then I wonder whether that is worth to invest in maths, while there is so many other social problems needed to solve in Vietnam. We need more financial analysists and economists than mathematics. Ngo Bao Chau with his new image may bring a new wave of studying mathematics in Vietnam, but I hope many people will recognize the real nature of maths. It helps youths to pave the way to deploy knowledge, but not an ultimate way to make a living.

Just think about it like a normal career to contribute to universal knowledge of human being, it never benefit a single nation.

I was once standing in the stage to receive the silver medal of maths , but is it relevant to my studying now? I may doubt about the way I choose, but I believe in my dream calling me moving forwards.


My generation’s idol is Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Zack. I believe in entrepreneurship which can boost and empower our economy.

Side note: This story reminds me about a prof in LKY school: Vu Duy Khuong. He studied economics at Harvard and now lectures at LKY. He once made his effort in helping our country in order to reform economy, but he soon disappointed because of the politics in government and bureaucracy. I wish some day I could talk to him as a person shared a similar vision and ambition.


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