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Lê Văn Thiêm (March 29, 1918 – June 3, 1991) was one of the most prominent scientists of Vietnam in the 20th century. Together with Hoàng Tụy, he is considered the father of Vietnam Mathematics society. He was the first director of Vietnam Institute of Mathematics and the first Headmaster of Hanoi National University of Education and Hanoi University of Science.

Biography

Lê Văn Thiêm was born in 1918 at Trung Lễ Commune, Đức Thọ district, Hà Tĩnh province, to an intellectual family.

After the death of his parents in 1930, he moved to live with his older brother in Quy Nhơn and attended the Collège de Quy Nhơn. In this school, Thiêm appeared to stand out from the other students in science, especially mathematics. Within 4 years, he finished the 9-year education (equivalent to K-12 system of the US) and went to University of Indochina for his higher education. Because of the humble scale of the university at that moment, no Math course was offered. Therefore, he enrolled in the PCB (Physics - Chemistry - Biology) class.

In 1939, after passing the final term examination excellently, Lê Văn Thiêm was offered a scholarship to study at École Normale Supérieure. His education was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War, and only continues in 1941. He graduated with Bachelor Degree of Mathematics within a year, rather than the conventional 3-year time. Under the direction of Professor Georges Valiron, he defended his Ph.D. dissertation successfully in Germany at 1945 and then moved to the University of Zurich to work as a Math professor. There, he met and worked with Rolf Herman Nevanlinna for some years.

In 1949, following the call of Hồ Chí Minh, Lê Văn Thiêm returned to Vietnam to support the war of decolonizing Vietnam.

Moving through many positions in North Vietnam's science institutions and government, in the mid-1950s he was appointed headmaster of the National University of Advanced Education and School of Basic Science (now the Hanoi National University of Education and the Hanoi University of Science, Vietnam National University, Hanoi). In 1960s, he was one of the scientists who suggested opening two national high schools (Hanoi National University of Education High school and Hanoi University of Science High school) to foster Vietnamese mathematics talents.

In 1970 he became the first director of the Vietnam Institute of Mathematics. Later on, he also became the founder and first editor-in-chief of two of Vietnam's Mathematical Journals: Acta Mathematica Vietnamica (in Latin) and Vietnam Journal of Mathematics (in English).

Lê Văn Thiêm died in 1991 in Ho Chi Minh city.

Public recognition

Awards:

  • The 3rd degree Nation Liberation Decoration
  • The 2nd degree Labor Decoration
  • The 1st degree Independence Decoration
  • Hồ Chí Minh Award

A scholarship for Young Vietnamese Mathematics Talents was named after him.

He was the first Modern Mathematician of Vietnam to have his name used for a street (in Hanoi).

External links

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