Professor Ngo Bao Chau, a young Vietnamese mathematician, has been awarded the 2010 Fields Medal for his proof of the Fundamental Lemma in the theory of automorphic forms, by introducing new algebro-geometric methods.

The exalted award, comparable to the Nobel prize for mathematics, was announced and given to him at the 26th International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM), which is taking place in Hyderabad, India from August 19-27.

He is also one of only two young mathematicians to present a report at the congress.

The Fields Medal, the most prestigious global award for mathematical achievement, which is awarded every four years, is traditionally announced and given away at the ICMs. The medal, named after J. Fields, a Canadian mathematician who left a small legacy to fund it, is awarded only to mathematicians under the age of 40.

Chau’s award is a great honour for Vietnam, making it the second nation in Asia after Japan to have citizen awarded the medal.

Ngo Bao Chau, the youngest professor in Vietnam, was born in 1972 in Hanoi and majored in mathematics at Hanoi University of Natural Sciences’ advanced school.

In 1988, Chau won the gold medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad in Australia. In 1989, he won another gold medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad in Germany.

After leaving secondary school in Vietnam, he studied at the Paris VI University and then completed his PhD Degree in Orsay under the supervision of Gérard Laumon.

He is currently a Professor at the Science Faculty at Orsay and a member of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton in the US. In September 2010, he will take up a new appointment at the University of Chicago.

Along with Laumon, Chau was awarded the Clay research award in 2004 and in 2007, he was awarded the Sophie Germain prize and the Oberwolfach prize.

In 2009, his evidence proving the Langlands fundamental lemma was selected by Time Magazine as one of the 10 most outstanding scientific discoveries of 2009./.