Hoang Xuan Han – outstanding scientist and cultural researcher

Posted at: WEDnesday - 14/05/2014 14:35 - post name: Nguyễn Thị Thùy

 
Hoang Xuan Han – outstanding scientist and cultural researcher

Prof. Hoang Xuan Han was born in Duc Nhon commune, Duc Tho district, Ha Tinh province on January 14, 1908. He studied Chinese (Han) script and Vietnamese (Quoc ngu) script before moving to Vinh National School.

In 1926, he received a Thanh Chung degree (finishing junior high school) and went to Buoi High School in Hanoi for a year. Then he studied Math at Lycée Albert Sarraut, a French lycyem in Hanoi. In 1928 he finished his high school studies and received a scholarship to study in France where he passed the entrance examination to various renowned universities such as Normale supérieure d’Ulm, École Polytechnique, École des Ponts et Chaussées, and Licence de Sciences mathématiques Sorbonne. He graduated in civil engineering in 1934 and mathematics in 1935. He also became the first Vietnamese person who got an M.A in Mathematics in 1936.

Prof. Hoang Xuan Han came back to his home country in 1936. He said no to the French offer for the post of a Director of Civil Engineering Service because they requested him to apply for a French citizenship. Instead, he became a professor teaching at Buoi High School with lower payment. He was also invited as a visiting professor for some universities in Hanoi.

Prof. Han and some of his friends such as Nguyen Xien and Ta Quang Buu established a scientific magazine and began composing a science dictionary, which helps to use Vietnamese language to describe new scientific concepts. In 1943, his book, which paved the way for the development of scientific terminology studies in Vietnam, was granted a prize of the Northern Association of Study Encouragement.

Prof. became an official member of the Association for Disseminating Vietnamese script when it was founded in 1943. He and some of his friends published a book, which introduced a new and effective methodologies for learning Vietnamese script. Thanks to his reputation, he was offered the post of the Minister of Education and Art by the Tran Trong Kim government in 1945.

After the August Revolution, Prof. Hoang Xuan Han and some other outstanding intellectuals had a chance to meet President Ho Chi Minh. In April, 1946 he was appointed as Head of the Political Sub-committee of the Vietnamese delegation at the Vietnam-France conference in Da Lat. After the conference, he taught several technical subjects for a training course of the Tran Quoc Tuan Military Training school.

When the national resistance war broke out, he was trapped in Hanoi and soon his family became an revolutionary underground agent which supported the revolution.

In 1950, Prof. Han and his family went to live in Paris. At that time, nuclear was a highly-demanded products during the Cold War. He soon graduated in nuclear engineering in 1956.

When living in France, he dedicated himself to the research of Vietnamese culture and had some valuable projects. He was also a member of the overseas patriotic organization in France, which helped him contribute more to the resistance war of the Vietnamese people. He once went to Geneva to meet the Vietnamese delegation during the Geneve Conference.

During the struggle against the US imperialists, as a member of the overseas Patriotic Association in Paris, Prof Han always supported Vietnamese people’s struggle for justice. He was also a well-known scholar who contributed greatly to not only Vietnamese culture but also science, education … with various valuable projects.

His most notable works include a science dictionary, some historical books featuring a glorious history and outstanding heroes of the country, and monographs published in newspaper and magazines.  

He also had research about the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa Archipelagoes, which contributed to proclaiming Vietnam’s sovereignty.

At the end of his life, he devoted the rest of his life to the research the Truyen Kieu (the Tale of Kieu) but the sudden death prevented him from completing the project.

Prof. Han spent most of his life abroad, but his heart always belonged to his fatherland and all he did was in the interest of his nation.

Prof. Han used to work with various newspaper including Khoa hoc, Thanh Nghi, Van Lang, Su Dia, Bach Khoa, Doan Ket, Dien Dan, and the Paris-based Social Sciences Journal.

He was granted Ho Chi Minh prize for some of his historical projects, the most notably about General Ly Thuong Kiet and Vietnamese calendar.

He was also presented the Independence Order, Second Class for his great contributions to his country in politics, science, culture, and education.

Prof. Han passed away on March 10, 1996 at the age of 88 in Paris and was cremated in L’Orme des Moineaux Les Ulis cemetery in France.

Author: Van Luan Translated by Dic
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