Ngô Bảo Châu

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Ngô Bảo Châu
Ngo Bau Chau MFO.jpg
Châu in 2010
Born (1972-06-28) June 28, 1972 (age 50)
Alma materÉcole Normale Supérieure
Université de Paris-Sud
Known forProof of the fundamental lemma
Spouse(s)Nguyen Bao Thanh
AwardsClay Research Award (2004)
Oberwolfach Prize (2007)
Sophie Germain Prize (2007)
Fields Medal (2010)
Legion of Honour (2011)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversité de Paris-Sud
Institute for Advanced Study
University of Chicago
Doctoral advisorGérard Laumon

Ngô Bảo Châu (Vietnamese: [ŋo ɓa᷉ːw cəw], 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]

Early life[edit]

Ngô Bảo Châu was born in 1972, the son of an intellectual family in Hanoi, North Vietnam. His father, professor Ngô Huy Cẩn, 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 an herbal medicine hospital in Hanoi.

The beginning of Châu's schooling was at an experimental elementary school that had been founded by the revolutionary pedagogue Hồ Ngọc Đại, but when his father returned from the Soviet Union with his doctoral degree, he decided that Châu would learn more in traditional schools and enrolled him in the "chuyên toán" (special classes for gifted students in mathematics) at the Trưng Vương Middle School.[9] At age 15, Châu entered the special mathematics class at the High School for Gifted Students, Hanoi University of Science (Khối chuyên Tổng Hợp – Đại học Khoa Học Tự Nhiên Hà Nội[10]), formerly known as the A0-class. In grades 11 and 12, Châu participated in the 29th and 30th International Mathematical Olympiads (IMO) and became the first Vietnamese student to win two IMO gold medals,[11] of which the first one was won with a perfect score (42/42).[12]

After high school, Châu 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.[13] After visiting Châu's father, Paul Germain, secretary of the French Academy of Sciences, arranged for Châu to study in France. He was offered a scholarship by the French government for undergraduate study at the Paris VI University, then in 1992, he entered the 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 holds both Vietnamese and French citizenship.[14]


Châu became a 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.[12] Since 2007, Châu has worked at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, as well as the Hanoi Institute of Mathematics.[15] He joined the mathematics faculty at the University of Chicago on September 1, 2010. In addition, since 2011 he has been Scientific Director of the newly founded Vietnam Institute for Advanced Study in Mathematics (VIASM).[16] In 2016 Châu was Co-General Chair of Asiacrypt the first time that the Asian cryptography conference was held in Vietnam.[17]


Châu 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.[12] 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, Châu was awarded a Fields Medal in 2010.

Ngô Bảo Châu was the co-author of the Vietnamese children's book Ai and Ky in the land of the invisible numbers.


In 2004, Châu and Laumon were awarded the Clay Research Award for their achievement in solving the fundamental lemma for the case of unitary groups.[12] Châu's proof of the general case was selected by Time as one of the Top Ten Scientific Discoveries of 2009.[15] In 2010, he received the Fields Medal. By decree on 22 April 2011, he was awarded a Knight of France's Legion of Honour.[18] In 2012, he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[19] In 2021, he became an honorary member of the London Mathematical Society.[20][21]

Major publications[edit]

  • Ngô, Bao Châu. Le lemme fondamental pour les algèbres de Lie. [The fundamental lemma for Lie algebras] Publ. Math. Inst. Hautes Études Sci. 111 (2010), 1–169. doi:10.1007/s10240-010-0026-7 MR2653248 arXiv:0801.0446


  1. ^ Hàm Châu (2010-08-17). "Ngô Bảo Châu, "bom tấn" và "trống đồng" trong toán học". Khoa học & Đời Sống Online. Archived from the original on 2012-03-18. 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. Archived from the original on 2010-03-01. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
  7. ^ K.Hưng (2005-12-29). "10 sự kiện khoa học — công nghệ nổi bật năm 2005". Tuổi trẻ Online. Archived from the original on 2010-02-17. 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. ^ Koblitz, Neal (2011), "Interview with Professor Ngô Bảo Châu", The Mathematical Intelligencer, 33 (1): 46–50, doi:10.1007/s00283-010-9184-1, S2CID 120960918
  10. ^ "Đại học Khoa Học Tự Nhiên Hà Nội". HUS-VNU official website. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
  11. ^ "Ngô Bảo Châu". IMO's official website. Retrieved 2009-10-12.
  12. ^ a b c d Ham Chau (2009-02-15). "Ngô Bao Châu, sommité mondiale des maths". Le Courrier du Vietnam (in French).
  13. ^ Hàm Châu (2010-08-17). "Ngô Bảo Châu, "bom tấn" và "trống đồng" trong toán học" (in Vietnamese). Dân Trí.
  14. ^ "Le congrès international des mathématiciens" (PDF). Société Mathématique de France. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
  15. ^ a b "Top 10 Scientific Discoveries of 2009". Time magazine. 2009-12-08. Archived from the original on December 13, 2009.
  16. ^ "History". Vietnam Institute for Advanced Study in Mathematics. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  17. ^ "Asiacrypt 2016 Organizing Committee". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Ordre National De La Legion D'honneur" [National Order of the Legion of Honour]. 22 April 2011. Archived from the original on 15 February 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  19. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2012-11-10.
  20. ^ "LMS Honorary Members 2021". London Mathematical Society. Retrieved 2021-07-06.
  21. ^ "Ngô Bao Châu élu membre honoraire de la London Mathematical Society". Le Courrier du Vietnam (in French). Retrieved 2021-07-06.

External links[edit]