Vietnamese astrophysicist wins int'l award for humanizing science

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Well known Vietnamese astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan has won an international literary award from the French Institute for his efforts to popularizing science.

The Prix Mondial Cino Del Duca award, which includes a cash prize of 300,000 euros (around US$390,000), will be officially given on June 6 at the French Academy of the institute, officially known as Institut de France, a French learned society that manages around 1,000 foundations, as well as museums and castles, and grant many annual awards and subsidies based on the recommendation of its five academies.

This prize, named after late Italian film producer and philanthropist Cino Del Duca, recognizes authors whose work, literary or scientific, constitutes a message of modern humanism.

Besides his own research, the institute says, the Vietnamese professor has been writing many books to bring scientific knowledge to the public with a humanistic point of view.

The 64-year-old professor, who teaches astronomy at the University of Virginia, was a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion, and the recipient of UNESCO's Kalinga Prize in 2009 for his work in popularizing science.

His poetic and philosophical works of science are highly valued around the world. His writings include "The Birth of the Universe" in 1993, "The Secret Melody" in 1994, "Chaos and Harmony" in 2000, and "The Quantum and the Lotus" in 2001 with he co-authored with French Buddhist monk and philosopher Matthieu Ricard.

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