Alexandre Yersin (1863-1943) was posthumously recognized as an “honorary Vietnamese citizen” in the central beach town of Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Province on Monday.
The title was granted to the Swiss and naturalized French physician and bacteriologist by the Yersin Fan Club on the occasion of his 151st birthday. The honorific was approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and announced by Le Thanh Quang, chairman of Khanh Hoa People’s Committee during the ceremony.
The club held an exhibition displaying a stamp collection and other objects that belonged to Yersin during his stay in Vietnam, Khanh Hoa Online reported.
Professor Nguyen Thi The Tram, chairman of Yersin Fan Club, said that Yersin was born in Switzerland and grew up in France but dedicated most of his life and affection to Vietnam.
“We will try our best to protect and promote scientific properties and humane values that he passed on,” she said.
Yersin was born on September 22, 1863 and entered the École Normale Supérieure in France in 1886.
He is remembered for having discovering the baccilus bacteria -- the cause of the bubonic plague,
An image of Alexandre Yersin featured in a stamp co-issued by France and Vietnam last year to mark his 150th birthday. Photo credit: Vietnam News Agency
Yersin migrated to Nha Trang in central Vietnam in 1891 to live and work. The foreign scientist was affectionately called Ong Nam (Mr. Nam/Fifth) by the local people.
He died on March 1, 1943 and was buried at Suoi Dau Commune in the province’s Cam Lam District.
Yersin was the founder and first president of the Indochina Medical School, which has since been divided into the Hanoi Medical University and Hanoi University of Pharmacology.
He founded the Pasteur Institute in Nha Trang where he conducted more than 50 medical research projects.
Yersin is also credited with the discovery of the Langbiang plateau (the location of modern day Da Lat) and developed rubber and quina trees in Indochina.