Renowned Mathematicians Inspire Young People to Study Mathematics

Professors Ngo Bao Chau and Cedric Villani, two world renowned mathematicians recently delivered a talk on how to inspire young people to study mathematics at a conference held at the French Institute in Hanoi (L’Espace) which received high praise from young fans.

Professors Ngo Bao Chau and Cedric Villani won the Fields Medal in 2010 – popularly known as the Nobel Prize for mathematics and they have made great contributions to education in France and Vietnam.

With a desire to encourage young people to study mathematics, Prof. Ngo Bao Chau invited Prof. Cedric Vallani to Vietnam to impart his passion for mathematics to young Vietnamese. The French mathematician had prepared for the trip since 2013 which showed his love for Vietnam and his desire to help young Vietnamese understand more about mathematics.

Mathematics is not sheer figures and theorems, but an interesting subject which is on the list of the world’s 200 most favoured subjects in 2009 and 2014, Prof. Vallani said. He has a great passion for math but he also studies it in snatches. He can spend 20 hours per day researching math but sometimes no finger or operation for the whole day.

Prof. Ngo Bao Chau (left) and Prof. Cedric Vallani (middle) at the talks with Vietnamese youngsters.

Friendly manners of the two world renowned mathematicians
during the exchange with young Vietnamese people. Photo: Tran Thanh Giang

Prof. Cedric Vallani seats on the floor to talk his ideas of mathematics.

The talk draws a large number of young people.

Many young people seat around their mathematic ideals for listening to the talks.

Prof. Ngo Bao Chau tells funny stories relating to mathematics with the aim of sharing the passion to young people.

Many foreign guests attend the talks.

Prof. Cedric Vallani prepared for the exchange since 2013 that shows his passion for the Vietnam’s mathematics.

Prof. Ngo Bao Chau and Prof. Cedric Vallani were awarded the Fields Medal in 2010.

Answering the question: “Where is Vietnam on the world math map?”, Prof. Cedric stated that Vietnam is the home of many excellent students who have won prizes at international competitions. Vietnam is also a centre of basic sciences.

He added that Vietnam has applied mathematics to information technology and technology projects. To help mathematic students get good jobs after graduation, Vietnam needs to develop leading-edge and supplement industries. Theory should be developed parallel to practical application. In France, there are two clearly different conceptions of theory and practice in mathematics and there is a relationship between these concepts.

He explained that mathematic theory and practice need a link. At present, many information technology projects need a mathematic application and attract the participation of multi-sector experts, thereby giving great resonance. It is also time that mathematic application is brought into full play. Mathematics has been applied to different fields, like energy, environmental management, IT and heath care.

Exchanging educational methods at high schools and universities that inspire students to research the subject and form logical mathematic thoughts, both professors shared the same view that curriculums on mathematics as well as educational methods in Vietnam should be updated and reformed, which always trigger debates. Vietnam needs encouragement and to look for innovative ideas to improve the efficiency of teaching and inspire young people to study mathematics.

The talk by the two mathematicians attracted a large number of young Vietnamese who are passionate about mathematics. Thanh Thuy, a student from Vietnam National University, Hanoi said, “Stories about mathematics shared by these professors are from their own experience which serve as an impetus and bridge to help me and other young Vietnamese have more opportunities to develop ability in mathematic research”

– Prof. Cedric Villani was born in 1973. He works as a lecturer at Lyon 1 University and is the director of the Henry Poincare Institute, known as the Sorbonne of math in Paris. He has won many awards in his math career, including the 2010 Fields Prize.
– Prof. Ngo Bao Chau was born in 1972 in Hanoi. He now works at the French National Institute for Scientific Research and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. He is also a lecturer at the University of Chicago and heads the Vietnam Institute for Advanced Study in Mathematics in Hanoi. He, together with Prof., Cedric Villani, was awarded the Fields Medal in 2010.

Story: Bich Van – Photos: Tran Thanh Giang