The Hanoitimes - Professor Ngo Bao Chau cautioned that the possibility of a Fields Medal remains a supposition, and admitted that he is “a bit nervous.” He gave a short interview to VietNamNet when he returned to Vietnam for a short time before leaving for India to attend the 2010 International Congress of Mathematics.
- Is the Fields Medal important for you? Why?
Professor Ngo Bao Chau: As for me, the Fields Medal remains a supposition. If it becomes true, this will be not only my pride, but also the pride of all Vietnamese young people who devote themselves to scientific research.
The Fields Medal, if I can receive the award, will mean a very high responsibility. Therefore, honestly speaking, I am a bit nervous.
- Your old teacher, who you gave a book with interesting mathematics questions, noted: “Students like Ngo Dac Tuan, Ngo Bao Chau, Dao Hai Long and Le Hung Viet Bao are people who can show their special individuality in all educational environments. Do you think that natural endowments or educational environment can play a decisive role in success?
- I think both the things are necessary and important.
- Can you see any differences in yourself before and after you made your achievements in mathematics? What are the interesting aspects of becoming famous in mathematics?
- I cannot see any differences. But maybe other people do not think so. It is quite interesting that many people take notice of you. However, sometimes you cannot feel at ease. The best way to do scientific research is to wholeheartedly devote oneself to sciences.
As I have become more famous, I feel that I have the responsibility to talk with VietNamNet’s reporter.
- What things would you do to help develop mathematics in Vietnam?
- Besides what I have been doing, such as training math students, I hope that in the time to come, we can organise some research teams.
I think that the future of Vietnam’s sciences depends on whether or not we can set up young research teams that can access the pulse of modern science.
I also hope that my voice will help the public understand more about the role of mathematics in particular and the basic sciences in our lives.
I hope that the voices of the scientists will be listened to attentively.
- What do you think we need to do in training students in order to have a good foundation for math research? Do you think we need to train students in math majors?
- In principle, I cannot see any problems in the model of specialized classes. I know many people say that the specialized classes are the places where “fighting cocks” are trained. This is not untrue. However, people should understand that nursing outstanding people is very important to the survival of the country. Meanwhile, parents need to help their children avoid becoming purely “fighting cocks”.
In general, there are still many problems in specialized classes. We are still trying to train students to attend competitions, and yet we do not pay appropriate attention to leading students to study the modern sciences.
On the afternoon of August 8, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan had a meeting with Professor Ngo Bao Chau at his home.Nhan congratulated Chau on his scientific achievements and expressed the hope that Chau will win the Fields Medal, the highest honor in mathematics. Nhan added that the Government of Vietnam wishes to see bigger contributions from Vietnamese scientists like Ngo Bao Chau, and affirmed the Government will create the best conditions for Chau to return to his home country to work, such as providing him with housing.
Dao Hong Tuyen, now Chair of Tuan Chau Ha Long Group, has also expressed his willingness to give Chau a villa at Tuan Chau tourism complex.