Professor of Astronomy Trinh Xuan Thuan from the University of Virginia has been awarded the 2012 Cino del Duca Prize by France’s Simone and Cino Del Duca Foundation.

Thuan has become the first Vietnamese and only the second Asian to receive the award.

The 300,000 EUR prize recognises people whose work in literary or scientific, has constituted a message of modern humanism.

Thuan is the author of many popular books on the Universe, written originally in French. He has had 10 books published since his first one, Melody Secrets in 1988.

The French Institute said that Professor Thuan was successful in helping people to understand the splendid and surreal universe in simple language.

He also received the Kalinga Prize from UNESCO in 2009 and the 2007 Moron prize from the French Academy amongst others.

When talking with a Vietnam News Agency correspondent in Paris after the awarding ceremony, the Professor expressed his pride at being the first Vietnamese person to receive the world prize from the French foundation.-VNA