Commentary: Thanks to the free environment of the adoptive countries, these Vietnamese have excelled in their fields that their peers hold high regards.
Many Vietnamese became stars in the sky of the science world when they were honored in 2012.
Professor Trinh Xuan Thuan
In 2012, he had more success when he won the Louis Pauwels Award for the work Le Cosmos et Le Lotus (Quantum and Lotus).
In June 2012, he became the first Vietnamese who won the literary award Cino del Duca of the Institute of France for the works presenting the complex and subtle view of a scientist and a believer in universe and man’s place in the universe.
Dr. Tara Van Toai
The US Department of Agriculture’s website in August 2012 posted an article by Don Comis on the success of Vietnamese scientist Tara Van Toai, in seeking soybean genetic resources that are subject to flooding and disease resistance for U.S.
According Dr. Tara Van Toai, the soybean varieties in the US cannot live on flooded land. However, the test results on 21 soybean varieties in Can Tho, Vietnam, show that the three varieties of VND3, Phnom Penh and ATF15-1 are flooding and disease resistance in a wetland environment. In this study, Ms. Van Toai collaborated with Chinese, Brazilian and Hungarian scientists. In Vietnam, she worked with scientist Tran Thi Cuc Hoa and Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hue frot the Mekong Delta Rice Research Institute.
She said: “I was born and raised in the Mekong Delta. Rice was around me. My relatives were all farmers. From childhood, I was interested in learning about agriculture. I know and heard in many parts of the world, even Vietnam a lot of people do not have enough to eat. I think in the future, the study of agriculture can help people, firstly farmers, to harvest more from the field to create more food to feed the world’s increasing population.”
Professor Nguyen Van Tuan
Professor Nguyen Van Tuan, head of the research group on osteoporosis and genetics of the Garvan Medical Research Institute. He is a senior professor at the University of New South Wales, Australia. In addition, he was a senior research specialist of the Medical and National Health Research Commission of Australia (NHMRC Senior Research Fellow is an Australian government-appointed position for the most elite scientists in the country’s health sector).
As an experienced scientist, Professor Nguyen Van Tuan has more than 200 studies published in medical journals in the world. He is also a member of the editorial board of more than 20 medical research journals in the world.
Professor Nguyen Van Tuan has contributed much effort to the development of scientific research in Vietnam. Over the years, each year Professor Tuan spent time teaching at the National University of Ho Chi Minh City, Polytechnic University of Ho Chi Minh City, at hospitals.
Some research works of Professor Tuan have been published in Vietnam in the field of empirical medicine, osteoporosis, education … Two works published in Vietnam recently are “The quality of higher education: the view from integration perspective and “Go on scientific research”.
Professor Luu Le Hang
Prof. Le Hang and Prof. David C. Jewitt, director of the Institute for Planets and Exoplanets, University of California – Los Angeles, won the award for their discovery and characterization of trans-Neptunian bodies, an archeological treasure dating back to the formation of the solar system and the long-sought source of short period comets.
The Shaw Award in Astronomy is considered as the “Nobel Prize of Asia.”
In March 2012, the Oslo-based Kavli Foundation announced the names of seven scientists as the winners of the Kavli Prize 2012 for three modern research fields: astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience. Prof. Luu Le Hang, a Vietnamese American astronomer, is one of the winners.
The Kavli Prize in Astronomy is called the “Nobel Prize for Astronomy” of the world. In 2012, it was given to David C. Jewitt from the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA), Jane X. Luu (Luu Le Hang), from Lincoln Laboratory, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Michael E. Brown from the California Technology Institute (Caltech).
They received the prize “for discovering and characterizing the Kuiper Belt and its largest members, work that led to a major advance in the understanding of the history of our planetary system.”
David Jewitt and Luu Le Hang spent six years making observations of the outer solar system. Then in 1992 they spotted the first known object in the Kuiper Belt, the region beyond Neptune’s orbit which is distant from the Sun by between 30 and 50 times the Earth-Sun distance. Since then they and others have identified more than 1,000 Kuiper Belt objects. Astronomers are particularly interested in these KBO’s because their composition may be close to the primordial material that coalesced around the Sun during the formation of the solar system.
Jewitt and Luu share the 2012 Kavli prize for astrophysics with Michael Brown, who followed in their footsteps and searched the Kuiper Belt for planet-sized bodies. In 2005 he found Eris, an object about the same size as Pluto but with 27% more mass. As a result astronomers had to rethink what it is to be a “planet.” The subsequent relegation of Pluto to “dwarf planet” status became worldwide news.
Prof. Luu Le Hang was born in Vietnam in 1963. She left Vietnam to the US in 1975. Since 2001, she has been a member of the technical staff at Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Stanford University in 1984 and a PhD in Planetary Astronomy from MIT in 1990. In the years 1990 to 1994, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at various institutions, namely, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, UC Berkeley and Stanford University. She was appointed Assistant Professor at Harvard University in 1994 and Professor at Leiden University, the Netherlands in 1998.
In 1991, the American Astronomy Association presented Hang the Annie J. Cannon Award. To recognize her contribution to discover over 30 asteroids, an asteroid is named after Luu Le Hang – 5430 Luu.
Professor Nguyen Hung
Prof. Dr. Nguyen Hung lives in Castal Hill. He is the deputy head of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).
Over the past 20 years, Dr. Hung, who has been honored as “the teacher of inventions,” has invented many medical devices that have become very useful for patients.
One of Hung’s most outstanding inventions is his revolutionary autonomous wheelchair, the Aviator, which Anthill SMART 100 ranked third in its list of top 100 Australian innovations for 2011.
This was decided by a panel of 100 expert judges who were looking for innovative ideas that were novel and that had the potential to be commercially successful by meeting the needs of a specific target market.
Anthill is an online business channel dedicated to the promotion of Australian innovation and entrepreneurship. It is one of the top 1000 Australian websites and founded the SMART 100 Index to identify and promote new innovations around Australia.
“I’m interested in research outcomes that can assist people with illnesses and disabilities to achieve greater independence, and the Aviator technology does exactly that,” said Prof. Nguyen Hung, who also developed Hypomon, a non-invasive diabetes monitoring system which is being commercialized by AiMedics and recently attracted a $1.94 million Commercialization Australia grant.
“This research is significant because we now have the opportunity to apply the same technological approach to other disability aids. In future we may be able to use it help people with a range of tasks in their everyday lives, and adapt it so that it can be applied to different types of disabilities.”