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Professor Trinh Xuan Thuan wins the 2022 Grand Prix de la Francophonie

The Vietnamese American astrophysicist has been internationally recognized for his research in extragalactic astronomy.

French Academy (Académie Française) has recently announced that the University of Virginia’s Astronomy Professor Trinh Xuan Thuan was the laureate of the Grand Prix de la Francophonie.

In total, there are 64 winners in different categories such as the “Grands Prix”, “Prize for Poetry” or “Prize for Literature and Philosophy” of the Grand Prix de la Francophonie this year.

Astronomy Professor Trinh Xuan Thuan. Photo: phatgiao.org.vn

Accompanied by 30,000 euros, the Grand Prix de la Francophonie honors “the work of a French-speaking individual who, in his country or internationally, has made an eminent contribution to maintaining and illustrating the French language”.

The Grand Prix de la Francophonie is an initiative of the Canadian Government and has been awarded annually since 1986. Another Vietnamese, doctor Nguyen Khac Vien, won this award in 1992.

Trinh Xuan Thuan was born on the 20th of August, 1948 in Hanoi. He obtained his Bachelor of Physics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1970, then his PhD in Astrophysics at Princeton University in 1974, under the guidance of the eminent astrophysicist Lyman Spitzer, father of the Hubble Space Telescope and one of the pioneers of the physics of the interstellar medium and of plasmas.
Since 1976, he has been a professor of astronomy at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and divides his time between the United States and France.

As an invited professor at the University of Paris 7, at the observatory of Paris-Meudon, at the department of astrophysics of Saclay, and at the IAP (Institute of astrophysics of Paris) of the CNRS, he collaborates regularly with French scientists.

Vietnamese language version of the book “Dictionary of the Lover of the Sky and the Stars” (2009) by Trinh Xuan Thuan/ Tri thuc Publisher 

In 2007, the French Academy awarded its prestigious Grand Prix Moron to Thuan for “The Ways of Light.” He was also the recipient of UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize in 2009 for his work in popularizing science. He received the Kalinga chair award at the 99th Indian Science Congress at Bhubaneswar. In 2012, he was awarded the Prix Mondial Cino Del Duca from the Institut de France. This prize recognizes authors whose work, literary or scientific, constitutes a message of modern humanism.

Thuan’s areas of interest are extragalactic astronomy and galaxy formation. His research has focused on the evolution of galaxies and the chemical composition of the universe, and on compact blue dwarf galaxies.

As an astrophysicist internationally recognized for his research in extragalactic astronomy, he is the author of more than 230 articles on the formation and evolution of galaxies, in particular dwarf galaxies, and on the synthesis of light elements in the Big bang. His articles are widely referred to in the world.

He is the author of many popular astronomy books which are written in French. They have all met the favor of a large audience and have been translated into some 20 languages, including English and Vietnamese, including “Dictionary of the Lover of the Sky and the Stars” (2009); “The Ways of Light” (2007); “Origins” (2003); “The Quantum and the Lotus” (2001); “Chaos and Harmony” (2001); “Birth of the Universe” (1993); “An Astrophysicist” (1992), and “The Secret Melody” (1995).