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Vietnam’s leading physicist passes away

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Prof. Academician Nguyen Van Hieu, the person with significant contribution to the establishment of the Institute of Physics – Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, passed away at 11:52am on January 23 at the age of 84 due to kidney and lung diseases.

Vietnam’s leading physicist passes away ảnh 1 Prof. Academician Nguyen Van Hieu


Prof. Academician Nguyen Van Hieu was born on July 21, 1938 in Ha Cau Ward (formerly known as Cau Do) of Ha Dong District in Hanoi into a family of revolutionary intellectuals. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Physics with distinction when only 18 years old, and was assigned a position as a lecturer in the General University (now Vietnam National University – Hanoi).

He was then sent to work at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna (former Soviet Union). Only in 2 years could he publish 12 physics works, followed by a successful doctoral dissertation defense at less than 26 years old. Four years later, he was recognized as Professor of Theoretical and Mathematical Physics at Dubna Institute and Lomonosov University.

In 1969, Prof. Nguyen Van Hieu came back to Vietnam and had impressive contribution to the establishment of the Institute of Physics – Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, the Institute of Materials Science, Engineering and Technology University (VNU-Hanoi). He was the founder of the renowned program for physics development in 2015-2020, to be continued in 2021-2025.

Prof. Nguyen Van Hieu was the author, co-author and creator of many applicable research projects in various fields of elementary particle physics, theoretical solid state physics, photonics, space science and technology (via the intercosmos program).

During his 60 years of working, Prof. Nguyen Van Hieu was been assigned many different positions by the Party and the State, including Director of Institute of Physics, Director of Institute of Materials Science, Director of Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology. He was also a globally renowned scientist, being given the title of Academician of the USSR Academy of Science, Academician of the 3rd World Academy of Science.

He was also awarded many prestigious national and international scientific awards like the Lenin Prize for Science and Technology in 1986, the First Round Ho Chi Minh Prize for Science and Technology in 1996, the Independence Medal – first class by the State President (2009), and the title of People’s Teacher (2010).

Despite his weak physical conditions, Prof. Nguyen Van Hieu still actively took part in scientific forums and events with a friendly and helpful attitude. Most recently, he attended the seminar ‘Disseminating and Honoring the Spirit of Serving the Fatherland of Prof. Academician Tran Dai Nghia’ with his speech, which immensely inspired listeners in innovating and contributing more to the national development.

Prof. Academician Nguyen Van Hieu was a figure of great influence on the domestic science, not merely in the physics field. He was both a beloved teacher, a knowledgeable scientist, a sound policy maker admired by many generations of students and fellow scientists.

By Lam Nguyen – Translated by Vien Hong

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