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VN-French scientist honoured in France

Update: July, 20/2016 - 09:00
Honoured: Biologist Lê Kim Ngọc has received the Legion of Honour, France’s highest order, for her contributions to scientific development and her charitable activities for Vietnamese orphans. —
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The French government has decided to bestow the “Legion of Honour” on Vietnamese-French professor Lê Kim Ngọc, 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.

Ngọc was born in the southern province of Vĩnh 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.

Ngọc 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 Trần Thanh Vân, 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 Đà Lạt SOS Children’s Village in 1974 and the Đồng Hới SOS Children’s Village in 2005. They also provided funds to support children at the Đà Lạt and Huế SOS Children’s Villages in 1990 and 2000, respectively.

Prof Vân 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 Việt Nam’s central Bình Định Province’s Quy Nhơn City, where they are organising the programme Meeting Việt Nam, which is being held for the 12th time. First launched in 1993 by Vân, 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 VNĐ120 billion (US$5.5 million), to students nationwide. — VNS


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