1985: Finished high school (the one belonging to Hanoi National University) in Hanoi, Vietnam, and got selected for university studies in Russia (with a state grant). Went to the University of Foreign Languages to study Russian.
1986: Entered Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics.
1988: Chose “differential geometry” as specialty. Studied under Prof. AT Fomenko for 3 undergrad years 1988-1991.
1991: Finished Moscow State University with a “red” 5-year diplome (equivalent to MSc).
1991: Visited ITCP (International Center for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy), and got an invitation from Prof. James Eells (head of the Maths Dept of ICTP at that time) and Prof. Alberto Verjovsky to spend 2 years at ICTP as a “visiting mathematician”. Will stay a total of 4 years in Trieste, from late 1991 to late 1995.
1993: Became PhD student at SISSA (Trieste); the grant was for 3 years.
1994: Defended PhD thesis in Strasbourg, with Prof. Michèle Audin as supervisor. Got a post-doc grant for 2 years from SISSA right after the defense.
1995: Got a post-doc grant from Max-Planck Institute (Bonn), and got hired as a CNRS junior researcher (chargé de recherche) the same year. Moved from Trieste to Bonn and then to Montpellier. Stayed in Bonn for only 6 months (was afraid that CNRS wouldn’t let me stay more). Will stay in Montpellier for 7 years. While in Montpellier, studied computer sciences in a master class (didn’t take exams), and also applied for a job at BNP ParisBas once (but didn’t get hired — didn’t speak French well enough, and did the “wrong” maths that they didn’t need).
1997: Filed a public complaint against a Counsel of the Vietnamese Embassy in France for corruption and abuse of power, and won the case.
2001: Defended Habilitation in Montpellier (jury: Audin, Colin de Verdière, Dufour, Duistermaat, Fomenko, Gavrilov, Sikorav. The Habilitation is about integrable Hamiltonian systems.
2002: Became Professor (2nd class) at the University of Toulouse. Staying in Toulouse until now. Since 2002 working actively on Poisson geometry, and was a member of various committees of international conferences on Poisson geometry. (After Poisson2010 I decided to resign from these Poisson committees so that I can concentrate my efforts on building the field of financial mathematics in Vietnam).
2005: Published a book on Poisson geometry (with JP Dufour), and organized a 3-week event on Poisson geometry (with T Ratiu and A Weinstein) with 150+ participants.
2005: Became French citizen.
2007: Got promoted to 1st Class Professor by the French National Committee of Universitites (CNU)
2008: Did consulting work for an investment company in Vietnam for a few months. Resigned after finding out that “the head of the company didn’t have the same ethics”.
2009: Founded the Hanoi Center for Financial and Industrial Mathematics (with Do Duc Thai). Developed programs and international relations for the Center.
2010: Became an active coordinator for the Franco-Vietnamese cooperation program in mathematics (with L Schwartz, M Zinsmeister, P Thomas, …).
2010: Wrote 2 textbooks in Vietnamese (1 on probability and statistics, and one on financial mathematics). Still did some research work on geometry and dynamical systems (latest results include entropy of Poisson structures, and nonexistence of formal first integrals of generic Hamiltonian systems on the dual of a Lie algebra), but spent a significant amount of time learning/doing financial maths (writing a text on the principles of portfolio management).
2013: Since 01/2013 I’m the “service man” (i.e. “le chef”) of the Fundamental Mathematics Section (previously Labo Emile Picard, now Equipe Emile Picard) of the Institut de Mathématiques de Toulouse.
I’m married, with 2 children (the first one already finished high school)
I speak Vietnamese (mother tongue), French (parfois meme a la maison !), English (not very well, but sufficiently well for work), Russian (with nostalgy), a few words of Italian (mamma mia, ho dimenticato tutto), a few words of German (entschuldigung, ich spreche nicht deutsch), very few Spanish & Portuguese words (venga va), and also know some Chinese characters (maybe it’s time to learn Chinese, because they will be the No. 1 power in the world !)
I visited many countries around the world: US, Canada, Brasil, most Western and also Estern European countries, Japan, Senegal, … (I was also invited to China, Taiwan, and Hongkong, but for some stupid reasons those invitations didn’t materialize yet — I definitely want to go to these places one day).
I like mathematics, but hate the way fundamental scientists are being treated in Vietnam and France. So I decided to do something else also besides pure maths.
I write “popular” articles about science and education, and sometimes even about economy, for journals in Vietnam. The last time the journal “Tia Sang” (whose title means “The Light”) gave me their issues containing my articles, I was surprised by the number of articles that I wrote for them.
People who know me personally know that i’m smiling most of the times, and rarely angry. Trying to be “zen” in order to overcome all difficulties in this life.