Binh Dinh - the destination of the world’s elite scientists

VietNamNet Bridge – The program ‘Rencontres du Vietnam’ or Meet Vietnam along with the open of the International Center for Interdisciplinary Science and Education (ICISE) has turned the central province of Binh Dinh into an attractive "revenue" for local and international scientists.


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Prof. Van with Georges Charpak (left), 1992 physics Nobel prize, and Norman F. Ramsey (right), 1989 physics Nobel prize (Photo courtesy of Jean Tran Thanh Van).

Seven professors who have won Nobel and Field awards will join over 240 foreign and domestic scientists in the 12th “Meet Vietnam”, scheduled to take place from June 26-July 17 at the ICISE in Quy Nhon and the Hanoi University of Science and National Economics University in Hanoi.

They are Ngo Bao Chau (2010 Field Medal winner), David Gross (2004 Nobel Prize in Physics), Carlo Rubbia (1984 Nobel Prize in Physics), Jerome Fiedman (1990 Nobel Prize in Physics), Kurt Wuthrich (2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry), Finn Kydland (2004 Nobel Prize in Economics) and Jean Jouzel (2007 Nobel Peace Prize).

The program has 12 conferences and seminars and three international physics classes, including the international conference entitled “Basic science and society” in Quy Nhon.

Participants will discuss the importance of science to social development with policy-makers and representatives from the private economic sector. They will give recommendations on issues related to basic science and society in Asian countries, especially developing nations.

In addition, the scientists will host talk shows in Quy Nhon city and at Vietnam National University’s Hanoi University of Science and National Economics University in Hanoi in July.

“Meet Vietnam” program is one of the Meet Vietnam Association’s activities that aim to become part of the national science and education development program. The association is also active in Vietnam with the grant of scholarships and the building of SOS villages for disadvantaged children.

Let's review the development of "Meet Vietnam".

From 'Meet Moriond' to 'Meet Vietnam'


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Last year former Vice Chair Nguyen Thi Doan presented the Friendship Orders to Prof. Van and his wife, Prof. Le Kim Ngoc for their contribution to the protection and care for Vietnamese children in the past 40 years.


In 1966, Prof. Tran Thanh Van, a Vietnamese-French scientist, founded the “Rencontres de Moriond”, one of the most widely anticipated annual physics conferences in the world.

This was a new model of scientific conference where scientists from all over the world met each others at a quiet place where they could relax through skiing, walking and discussions. Important results were presented every year.

“Rencontres de Moriond” has been held only once in Moriond, the former name of Courchevel 1650, a popular skiing resort in France.

“While I was writing my doctoral thesis, I felt a strong need to bring experimental and theoretical physicists together for informal exchanges in a relaxing context conducive to creative ideas, said Prof. Van on CERN Bulletin.

"During the winter of 1966, some 30 physicist friends met at Moriond, where, after some working sessions, we did some downhill skiing together. In this relaxed and constructive atmosphere we had lots of ideas for collaboration. Over the years other physicists joined us and it was thus that the “Rencontres de Moriond” was born,” Prof. Van said.

Initially held in mountain chalets where they did the cooking together, then in a hotel at the resort for practical reasons, the “Rencontres” finally ended up at La Thuile in Italy in 2004.

“The basic principle behind the 'Rencontres' is the concept of intensive work carried out in a relaxed atmosphere. So we tried to link Moriond to the idea of doing sport and Blois to the idea of visiting historic and cultural landmarks”, explains Van.

The “Rencontres de Moriond” was initially devoted to particle physics but were extended to include biology in 1970, astrophysics in 1981 and then nanophysics in 1994.

The main asset of the “Rencontres” is the mix of theoretical and experimental scientists. This means that immediately after a presentation of the latest experimental results on a topic, you get the possible interpretations from a theorist.

In 1989, 23 years after the first “Rencontres de Moriond” were held, Van decided to mix science with culture and instituted a series of interdisciplinary conferences in the spectacular historic surroundings of the Château de Blois, a jewel of Renaissance architecture. Thus the “Rencontres de Blois” was born.  

In 1993 the “Rencontres du Vietnam” was founded. Since then Van has been working on a project for an international centre for science and education in Vietnam.

“The aim of the project is to create a seedbed for scientific and educational development,” Van said. “There is a very large population of young people in Vietnam and remarkable economic development. Scientific training and education must remain a priority in the process of development.”

In 2013 a completely new conference centre – the ICISE – was inaugurated in Quy Nhon as part of “Rencontres du Vietnam”.

Why was Binh Dinh chosen for scientists' place?


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The International Center for Interdisciplinary Science and Education (ICISE) in Quy Nhon.




Professor Tran Thanh Van chose Quy Nhon city in Binh Dinh, a province in central Vietnam, for “Meet Vietnam” to create a separate space for scientists.

“I chose the area because it is an ideal location for scientists to meet and work in Vietnam. It also has beautiful beaches and countryside for them to enjoy. Quy Nhon is easily accessible from both HCM City and Hanoi,” Van said in an interview with a local newspaper in 2013.

"It is very common to organize conferences and workshops in big cities like Hanoi and HCM City. The objective of Meet Vietnamis to help the development of science and education in underdeveloped areas," Prof. Van explained.

Besides the introduction of elite international scientific conferences to Quy Nhon, Binh Dinh is a way to encourage the development of science and education in small towns.

Before choosing Binh Dinh, Professor Van spoke with many localities. He highly appreciated the enthusiasm, understanding the importance of “Meet Vietnam” project of Binh Dinh’s officials, especially former Party Secretary Vu Hoang Ha.

“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," Prof. Van further explained.

Van said he has also 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,” Van said.

“I wanted to build a bridge between Vietnam 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,” he added.

Scientific and educational projects

The ICISE was founded by Prof. Tran Thanh Van in 2013, with an investment of $6 million. This is his dream for nearly 50 years. It aims to promote co-operation between scientists from across the world.

Commissioned by the association ‘Rencontres du Vietnam’, the purpose of ICISE is to bring together scientists from developed and emerging countries to host conferences as well as to nurture the association’s long-held expertise in designing exceptional cultural and educational projects.

“I started building the centre in Quy Nhon in 2008 with great support from local leaders. My ultimate goal is to turn the facility into an international centre for scientists to meet and hold world-class seminars, as well as to bring top scientists to Vietnam to exchange ideas with local ones, and to create chances for Vietnamese scientists to access to the latest scientific achievements,” Prof. Van said about the ICISE.

The ICISE hosts between 10 and 12 high level international scientific conferences each year. Covering disciplines in the scope of fundamental or applied science mainly in the field of physics, the program will extend to cover a larger array of scientific disciplines as biology, medicine, social and human sciences. On average a conference gather 150 people during a six day period.

Located a few kilometers away from the city centre of Quy Nhon, ICISE provides a peaceful environment, removed from the city traffic to facilitate more intimate dialogue and an exclusive focus on work exchanges.

Its exceptional location on a wild 20 hectares site between mountains and sea makes it an inspirational and energizing place.

Based on this foundation, Prof. Van has suggested that Binh Dinh should invest in the development of public-aimed science, especially children. The first step is the establishment of a scientific space complex. The project has been approved by the Government and the Ministry of Science and Technology. This will be the scientific discovery space for children and the public, bringing science to the public and evoking the passion for science among the youth. This complex will develop into the Quy Hoa urban area of science and education, besides the Center ICISE.

Binh Dinh province has also approved a project to build a applied math institute, initiated by Professor Ngo Bao Chau.

With the enthusiasm of Professor Van and the support of local leaders, Binh Dinh promises to become a venue for high quality scientific exchange not only for Vietnam but also for the region.

Professor Tran Thanh Van graduated from the University of Paris with two BAs in Physics and Math in 1956. Two years later, he successfully defended his Master thesis and started to work in Elementary Particle Physics industry in 1966, he became a PhD in the same year. From then on, he was lecturer at the University of Paris and a senior researcher at the France’s National Centre for Scientific Research. He was awarded the French Legion of Honor Medal by the French Government as well as the Honorable Academician title by the Russian Academy of Sciences. He has written over 300 thesis and 115 books concerning physics issues

 
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Compiled by Khuyen Bui

Binh Dinh - the destination of the world’s elite scientists, tran thanh van, le kim ngoc, binh dinh, sci-tech development, IT news, sci-tech news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news,
 
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