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March 13-15 2013

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Prof. Ngô Bảo Châu

Keynote Speaker

Professor Ngô Bảo Châu is a Vietnamese mathematician at the University of Chicago who was awarded the Fields Medal in 2010 and who is best known for proving the fundamental lemma for automorphic forms proposed by Robert Langlands and Diana Shelstad.

Ngô Bảo Châu was born in 1972 in Hanoi and at the age of 15 was admitted into a mathematics-specializing class of the Vietnam National University High School. In grade 11 and 12 he participated respectively in the 29th and 30th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) and became the first Vietnamese student to win two IMO gold medals, of which the first one was won with a perfect score (42/42).

After high school Ngô Bảo Châu prepared to study in Budapest, but in the aftermath of the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe the new Hungarian government stopped providing scholarships to students from Vietnam. He was then offered a scholarship by the French government for undergraduate study at the Paris VI University, but he instead chose to study at the École normale supérieure. He obtained a PhD in 1997 from the Universite Paris-Sud under the supervision of Prof. Gerard Laumon. He became member of CNRS at the Paris 13 University, where he stayed from 1998 to 2005. There he defended his habilitation degree in 2003.

Ngô Bảo Châu became professor at Paris-Sud 11 University in 2005. Also in 2005 he received the title of professor in Vietnam and thus became the youngest professor ever in Vietnam at the age of 33. Since 2007 he also worked at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, New Jersey. He joined the mathematics faculty at the University of Chicago on September 1, 2010, and was appointed in 2011 by the Prime Minister of Vietnam to head the Vietnam Institute for Advanced Study in Mathematics in Hanoi.

Prof. Ngô Bảo Châu Chau first came to prominence by proving, in joint work with Prof. Gerard 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. Prof. Ngô Bảo Châu eventually succeeded in formulating the proof for the fundamental lemma for Lie algebras in 2008. Together with results from Prof. 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.

In 2004 Prof. Ngô Bảo Châu and Prof. Laumon were awarded the Clay Research Award for their achievement in solving the fundamental lemma proposed by Prof. Robert Langlands for the case of unitary groups. In 2007 Prof. Ngô Bảo Châu received both the Oberwolfach Prize and the Prix Sophie Germain de l'Acadmie des Sciences de Paris. His proof of the general case was selected by Time magazine as one of the top ten scientific discoveries of 2009.

In 2010 Prof. Ngô Bảo Châu was awarded the Fields Medal in a ceremony at the International Congress of Mathematicians meeting in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. He was cited for his brilliant proof" of a 30-year-old mathematical cornundrum known as the fundamental lemma. This proof offered a key stepping stone to establishing and exploring a revolutionary theory put forward in 1979 by Canadian-American mathematician Prof. Robert Langlands that connected two branches of mathematics called number theory and group theory.

"It's as if people were working on the far side of the river waiting for someone to throw this bridge across", Prof. Peter Sarnak, a number theorist at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, said of Prof. Ngô Bảo Châu's breakthrough. "And now all of sudden everyone's work on the other side of the river has been proven", Prof. Sarnak said.

The Fields Medal, founded by the Canadian John Fields and first awarded in 1936, is widely viewed as the highest honor a mathematician can receive.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

14:00 Keynote speech and dialogue at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology in Hanoi (Vietnam)
Information and free seat reservation:
phone (04) 3869-3796, (091) 338-2255, email

Friday, March 15, 2013

10:30 Dialogue with lecturers and students at the British International School (in cooperation with the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education and Sai Gon University) in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)
(not a public event)

14:00 Keynote speech and dialogue at the Ho Chi Minh City Open University in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)

Information and free seat reservation:
phone/fax (08) 3930-6539, email

Meeting Number: 302 507 099
Meeting Password: 123