Scientist works wholeheartedly for environmental research

October 29, 2021 - 08:06

Associate professor, PhD Hoàng Thị Thu Hương believes that doing scientific research is a long road, but the results are worth the hard work.

Associate professor Hương speaks at a conference on environmental affairs. — Photo courtesy of Hoàng Thị Thu Hương

HÀ NỘI — Associate professor, PhD Hoàng Thị Thu Hương believes that doing scientific research is a long road, but the results are worth the hard work.

Hương is a lecturer of environmental technology at the Institute of Science and Environmental Technology under the Hà Nội University of Science and Technology (HUST). She has worked there for 20 years.

Hương started her work at a centre offering consultancy on environmental affairs.

When she studied for a master's degree at HUST, she met lecturers who were leading experts in the environmental field, inspiring her to do more research in the field.

Hương started looking into children growing up in flower villages, which supply a large amount of flowers to Hà Nội, but their health is affected. Children with deformities and slow development account for a higher rate than in other areas.

“This is unfair. Children do not have the ability to choose their living conditions because this belongs to their parents. But their parents choose to live in a place due to short-term benefits or because they do not fully understand the long-term effects of pollution on people’s health. Since then, my research has focused more on the impacts of pollution on water ecosystems and the aquatic environment,” she said.

At that time, Hương studied the Cầu River basin and did research at a laboratory in Belgium.

“Many children are living in polluted environments, suffering the consequences of adults’ work. I have to do some specific things to help children and the following generations,” she said.

Hương said that scientific research has taken up a lot of her own time.

“I always stay up late and must give up pleasures of make-up or changing my hairstyle,” she said.

In Hương’s mind, in any field, if people want to achieve results, they need to nurture a love for scientific research.

“In the field of science, the further you go, the wider the door opens. At universities, research is mandatory. Without research, there is no new knowledge, lectures are never updated, and thus do not attract students' interest," said Hương.

Hương believes that teachers nowadays do not simply provide knowledge, but help students learn how to acquire appropriate knowledge by themselves.

Technology and artificial intelligence have greatly facilitated learning, research and work, but students and sometimes even lecturers are lost in the world of information. Lecturers not only teach basic knowledge but also help students evaluate multidimensional information.

“What I want is students who like to learn, love to explore and do useful work,” said Hương.

Hương's point of view is that students must be better than their teachers, which is considered the development of education.

In her opinion, students must pose at least one question per week. Even after graduation, students may not work in the field they studied, but the knowledge learned from environmental engineering will someday be useful in their lives and help them live with higher responsibility.

Hương now is searching for a team that includes both colleagues and students to continue the path of scientific research.

“Nothing is too easy, if you have followed your passion, you must be wholehearted. When you are wholehearted, life will never turn its back on you,” she said.

The results in Hương’s research journey include many highly applicable projects on protecting and preserving the environment of Hà Nội’s lake system with the community’s participation, research on building a predictive model of metal toxicity to aquatic species in Hà Nội’s lakes, and research on sustainable solutions to recycle and reuse wastewater for businesses and communities.

Along with that, many of her international publications have been highly appreciated by domestic and foreign experts. — VNS