Sunday, August 20, 2017 - 7:31:50

Vietnamese-French scientist honoured in France

VNA Print

Le Kim Ngoc (L), her husband Tran Thanh Van (R) at a ceremony in July 2015 to receive the Friendship Order presented by former Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan (centre) (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The French government has decided to bestow the “Legion of Honour” on Vietnamese-French professor Le Kim Ngoc, a biologist, for her contributions to France’s scientific development and her charitable activities for Vietnamese orphans.

The Legion of Honour, or the National Order of the Legion of Honour, is the highest French honour for military and civil merits, established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte.

Ngoc was born in the southern province of Vinh Long. In 1956, she graduated from the Natural Science Faculty of Sorbonne University in France. Later, she studied for a PhD at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) also in France. Following the completion of her study programme, she was appointed as the director of CNRS.

Ngoc became well-known across the world after she introduced the concept of a “thin cell layer” in the 70s.

In the book Thin Cell Layer, published by Kluwer Academic, Canadian Prof Gamborg from Calgary University praised her work as a new method that had revolutionized flora biology technology.

Since 1970, along with her husband Prof Tran Thanh Van, she has run an association in France to raise funds for Vietnamese children, which became a member of the International Federation of SOS Children’s Villages in 1972.

The couple funded the construction of the Da Lat SOS Children’s Village in 1974 and the Dong Hoi SOS Children’s Village in 2005. They also provided funds to support children at the Da Lat and Hue SOS Children’s Villages in 1990 and 2000, respectively.

Prof Van also received the Legion of Honour from the French government, in 1999, for his contributions to France’s scientific development.

The couple, now in their 80s, visit Vietnam’s central Binh Dinh Province’s Quy Nhon City, where they are organising the programme Meeting Vietnam, which is being held for the 12th time. First launched in 1993 by Van, the meeting series created opportunities for Vietnamese scientists to access advanced science and meet with famous scientists from around the world and encouraging young Vietnamese scholars’ scientific studies and initiatives.

The couple were also honoured for their contributions to child care and protection, as well as to the country’s science and education sectors for the past 40 years.

Since 2001, they have had the support of Prof Odon Vallet of France’s Sorbonne University in sponsoring the Vallet Scholarship for Vietnamese students, providing approximately 25,000 scholarships, worth 120 billion VND (5.5 million USD), to students nationwide.-VNA
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