Ngô Bảo Châu

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Ngô Bảo Châu
Ngo Bau Chau MFO.jpg
Born (1972-06-28) June 28, 1972 (age 45)
Hanoi, North Vietnam
Citizenship  Vietnam[1]
Alma mater École Normale Supérieure
Université de Paris-Sud
Known for Proof of the fundamental lemma
Spouse(s) Nguyen Bao Thanh
Children 3
Awards Clay Research Award (2004)
Oberwolfach Prize (2007)
Sophie Germain Prize (2007)
Fields Medal (2010)
Legion of Honour (2011)
Scientific career
Fields Mathematics
Institutions Université de Paris-Sud
Institute for Advanced Study
University of Chicago
Doctoral advisor Gérard Laumon

Ngô Bảo Châu (Vietnamese: [ŋo ɓa᷉ːʊ̯ cəʊ̯], born June 28, 1972)[3] is a Vietnamese-French mathematician at the University of Chicago, best known for proving the fundamental lemma for automorphic forms proposed by Robert Langlands and Diana Shelstad. He is the first Vietnamese national to have received the Fields Medal.[4][5][6][7][8]


Chau was born in 1972, the only son of an intellectual family in Hanoi, North Vietnam. His father, professor Ngô Huy Cẩn[vi], is full professor of physics at the Vietnam National Institute of Mechanics. His mother, Trần Lưu Vân Hiền, is a physician and associate professor at a herbal medicine hospital in Hanoi.

At age 15, he entered the mathematics specialization class at High School for Gifted Students, Hanoi University of Science (Khối chuyên Tổng Hợp – Đại học Khoa Học Tự Nhiên Hà Nội[9]), formerly known as A0-class. In grades 11 and 12, Chau participated in the 29th and 30th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) and became the first Vietnamese student to win two IMO gold medals,[10] of which the first one was won with a perfect score (42/42).[11]

After high school, Chau expected to study in Budapest, but in the aftermath of the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, the new Hungarian government halted scholarships to students from Vietnam.[12] After visiting Chau's father, Paul Germain, secretary of the French Academy of Sciences, arranged for Chau to study in France. He was offered a scholarship by the French government for undergraduate study at the Paris VI University but he chose the prestigious École Normale Supérieure. He obtained a PhD in 1997 from the Universite Paris-Sud under the supervision of Gérard Laumon. He became a member of CNRS at Paris 13 University from 1998 to 2005, and defended his habilitation degree there in 2003.

He became Professor at Paris-Sud 11 University in 2005. In 2005, at age 33, Chau received the title of professor in Vietnam, becoming the country's youngest-ever professor.[11] Since 2007, Chau has worked at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey as well as the Hanoi Institute of Mathematics.[13] He joined the mathematics faculty at the University of Chicago on September 1, 2010. Moreover, since 2011 he is acting as scientific director of the newly founded Vietnam Institute for Advanced Study. He holds both Vietnamese and French citizenship.[14]


Chau first came to prominence by proving, in joint work with Gérard Laumon, the fundamental lemma for unitary groups. Their general strategy was to understand the local orbital integrals appearing in the fundamental lemma in terms of affine Springer fibers arising in the Hitchin fibration. This allowed them to employ the tools of geometric representation theory, namely the theory of perverse sheaves, to study what was initially a combinatorial problem of a number-theoretic nature. Chau eventually succeeded in formulating the proof for the fundamental lemma for Lie algebras in 2008.[11] Together with results from Jean-Loup Waldspurger, who had earlier deduced stronger forms of the fundamental lemma from this result, this completed the proof of the fundamental lemma in all cases. As a result, Chau was awarded a Fields Medal in 2010.


In 2004, Chau and Laumon were awarded the Clay Research Award for their achievement in solving the fundamental lemma proposed by Robert Langlands for the case of unitary groups.[11] Chau's proof of the general case was selected by Time as one of the Top Ten Scientific Discoveries of 2009.[13] In 2010, he received the Fields Medal and in 2011, the Legion of Honour.[15] In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[16]


  1. ^ Hàm Châu (2010-08-17). "Ngô Bảo Châu, "bom tấn" và "trống đồng" trong toán học". Khoa học & Đời Sống Online. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  2. ^ "Le congrès international des mathématiciens" (PDF). Société Mathématique de France. May 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  3. ^ University of Chicago (2011-03-15). "Homepage at University of Chicago". University of Chicago. Retrieved 2011-08-20. 
  4. ^ New Scientist Mathematics 'Nobel' rewards boundary-busting work 19 August 2010 "Aside from Lindenstrauss, this year's winners were Ngô Bảo Châu of the University of Paris-South, France, Stanslav Smirnov of the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and Cédric Villani of the Henri Poincaré Institute, Paris, France."
  5. ^ The Australian Mathematical Society Asia Pacific Mathematics Newsletter April 2011 (pdf) Interview "Vietnamese Mathematician Ngô Bἀo Châu - From A Mathematical Olympiad Medallist to A Fields Medallist" pp. 25–30
  6. ^ Hàm Châu (2005-11-18). "Hiện tượng Ngô Bảo Châu". Tuổi trẻ Online. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  7. ^ K.Hưng (2005-12-29). "10 sự kiện khoa học — công nghệ nổi bật năm 2005". Tuổi trẻ Online. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  8. ^ Hạ Anh & Hương Giang, "GS Griffiths: 'Trong giới Toán học, anh Châu vẫn là người Việt'", Vietnamnet. Retrieved 2010-8-19.
  9. ^ "Đại học Khoa Học Tự Nhiên Hà Nội". HUS-VNU official website. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  10. ^ "Ngô Bảo Châu". IMO's official website. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  11. ^ a b c d Ham Chau (2009-02-15). "Ngô Bao Châu, sommité mondiale des maths" (in French). Le Courrier du Vietnam. 
  12. ^ Hàm Châu (2010-08-17). "Ngô Bảo Châu, "bom tấn" và "trống đồng" trong toán học" (in Vietnamese). Dân Trí. 
  13. ^ a b "Top 10 Scientific Discoveries of 2009". Time magazine. 2009-12-08. 
  14. ^ "Le congrès international des mathématiciens" (PDF). Société Mathématique de France. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  16. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2012-11-10.

External links

  • Ngô Bảo Châu's homepage at the University of Chicago
  • Personal blog (in Vietnamese)
  • Ngô Bảo Châu at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  • "Ngô Bảo Châu's results". International Mathematical Olympiad. 
  • Ngo Bao Chau and Gérard Laumon's proof of the Fundamental Lemma for unitary groups.
  • The Oberwolfach Prize 2007 is awarded to Ngo Bao Chau (Laudatio by Prof. Rapoport)
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