Vietnamese-Romanian doctoral student member of jury for int’l math competition
VietNamNet Bridge - Born in 1995, Tran Bach Hai is now a doctoral student at the University of Chicago. The young man born into a Vietnamese family was a member of the jury at the 2018 International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO) held in Romania.


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Mr Tran Bach Hai



In Bucharest, Romania, Tran Bach Hai is a name known by many people. He was one of six members of the Romanian national team attending the 2013 IMO.

He was the only member with foreign descent in the team: both his mother and father are from Vietnam. They were overseas students in Romania in 1970s and returned to the country in the 1990s to settle down. 

Born in 1995, Tran Bach Hai is now a doctoral student at the University of Chicago. The young man born into a Vietnamese family was a member of the jury at the 2018 International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO) held in Romania.

Tran Van Lu, Hai’s father, never thought his oldest son had an aptitude for mathematics until he was six years old.

On Hai’s birthday, a friend of Lu’s gave Hai 2 sets of Lego with 240 pieces. It took Hai less than 30 minutes to assemble. Then Lu decided to find a good teacher for his son.

“The teacher said Hai had good logical thinking and had an aptitude for mathematics,” Lu said.

It was the teacher who encouraged Hai to attend competitions for math lovers. He was brought by the father to competitions in the capital city area, in Romania, the region and other countries, from which he has over 40 medals.

Hai won the gold medal at the Asian mathematics competition held in the Philippines, gold medal at JBMO (Junior Balkan Mathematical Olympiad) and silver medal at BMO. When he was in the 11th grade, he won the bronze medal at the IMO when attending the competition as a member of the Romanian national team.

Welcomed by many prestigious universities in the US, Hai decided to study mathematics & statistics at University of Chicago.

Hai decided to choose statistics because of its endless applications. "In a world where data is growing exponentially, learning how to understand data is really necessary,” he said.

In July, Hai became a member of the jury board at the 2018 IMO held in Romania. Five years ago, he attended IMO as a contestant, and five years later, he came back as a jury member and had the chance to meet old friends who are still devoted to mathematics.

“Vietnam stands firmly among the world’s top 15. The medals show that Vietnam has many talents,” he said.

Hai has Romanian nationality, but he cherishes the hope of coming back to Vietnam at the age of 40.

“There are so many interesting things in the world for me to learn. So, I will still go and have experiences for some more time. When I am 40 years old, I will come back to Vietnam," he said.


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Le Thuy

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