Scientists converge on innovative centre

Vietnamese-French Professor Jean Tran Thanh Van is the third physician in Asia to be awarded the Tate Medal for his contribution to physics. He has raised US$2 million to build an international centre for science and education in Viet Nam. He talks with Ha Nguyen about the ICISE.

Inner Sanctum: Why have you had chosen the southern province of Binh Dinh’s Quy Nhon City to build an International Centre for Interdisciplinary Science and Education (ICISE) in Viet Nam.

I chose the area because it is an ideal location for scientists to meet and work in Viet Nam. It also has beautiful beaches and countryside for them to enjoy. Quy Nhon is easily accessible from both HCM City and Ha Noi.

In addition, I decided to build the centre in Quy Nhon because I have confidence and trust in the local authorities and people.

I was really impressed by Vu Hoang Ha, former chairman of Binh Dinh Province, who said: ” You are bringing us something that money can’t buy.”

I have received strong support from Ha’s successors. They helped us with the lease, land clearance and infrastructure, such as electricity and water.

Their commitment is invaluable.

I wanted to build a bridge between Viet Nam and the rest of the world.

During the 70s, I raised funds to build shelters for abandoned children here, and in the 90s, I wanted a place for international scientists to meet, and finally, the centre provides just that.

Inner Sanctum: What are objectives of the project?

It aims to promote co-operation between scientists from across the world.

The centre will create favourable conditions for young researchers and scientists from different fields to exchange ideas and experience in an atmosphere conducive to developing their knowledge and personalities.

Inner Sanctum: When will the centre open?

We plan to open in August for the ninth International Meeting Viet Nam with the participation of hundreds of scientists, including Nobel Prize winners such as Jack Stainberger, George Smoot, Rolf Heuer and Ngo Bao Chau.

The 200,000sq.m seaside complex is expected to provide quality services for visitors.

Inner Sanctum: What activities have been planned for this year at the centre?

We will start with a conference on nanophysics from August 4-10; cosmology and general relativity and gravitation from August 11-17; and heavy flavours from December 15-21.

Inner Sanctum: You have headed more than 300 projects and published 115 books that have received international acclaim. How has your wife helped you?

We came from poor families in the central province of Quang Binh, and we travelled to France by ourselves to study.

When got married, we agreed to invest our time and lives into scientific research.

Our life is simple like normal people. Apart from her research, my wife’s time is taken up caring for our two daughters. They are our legacy and happiness.

Inner Sanctum: You have devoted most of your life to science. Why have you chosen to start this project now instead of taking time out to relax?

I have 45 years of experience in this field, so my expertise does not allow me to retire. I would like to continue contributing to our motherland because that is where my heart belongs. — VNS

Public by: Việt Nam New