More than 30 years ago when Le Ba Khanh Trinh won the gold medal at the mathematics Olympiad and the special prize, people thought that with his talent, Trinh would become a famous mathematician. Therefore, many of them have got surprised when hearing that Trinh simply works as a mathematics lecturer at a university in HCM City.
Mr Le Ba Khanh Trinh
In the 1980s, the name Le Ba Khanh Trinh was known to everybody in Vietnam, especially among school boys and girls. He was the idol of all students in the country after he found a unique way to solve the question at the 21st mathematics Olympiad, held in London in the UK.
However, the name has later fallen into oblivion. Many people asked each other: “Where is the Vietnamese mathematics golden talent?”
By a unique address at the International Mathematical Olympiad 21 in London (UK), won both the gold medal and special prize. By going for a while, the name Le Ba Khanh gradually "disappear". Many people ask themselves: "Gold's mathematical talent Vietnam where, right?"
The owner of the gold medal now looks, simple, with heavy glasses hanging down the nose. He is leading a quiet and simple life with the wife and children on a house on Le Quang Dinh Street of Binh Thanh Street in HCM City.
Trinh told Tien phong’s reporters that the special prize at the 1979’s mathematics Olympiad was an important milestone in his life which gave him the golden opportunities to communicate with many people and famous names in the world.
“I was so lucky that I won the gold medal at the Olympiad. If I had had to sit the university entrance exams, I would have failed the exams. I was good at mathematics, but I was just average at physics and chemistry,” he said.
Trinh related that many years ago, he even did not know what major he should follow. As his friends registered to study at the Da Nang Polytechnique University, Trinh also registered to study there. However, after that, following the father’s advice, Trinh registered to attend the exams to the Hue University. However, before the university entrance exams, Trinh won the third prize at the national mathematics competition for excellent students, and he was chosen to be a member of the national team to join the 1979’s mathematics Olympiad.
The team included four members, including Le Ba Khanh Trinh, who then won the gold medal, and three other members who then won the silver medals – Pham Huu Tiep, Bui Ta Long, and Pham Ngoc Anh Cuong.
As Trinh got 42/42 marks from the competition and had a special way of solving the questions, he also got the special prize.
“I only realized that I followed a wrong way to solve the question when there were only several minutes left. However, within just the several valuable minutes, did I find a special way of solving my problem,” Trinh recalled.
“When you were put under a pressure, you will find the best solution to your problem,” he added.
The teacher with the white chalk and black board
The prize brought Trinh the opportunity to study for six years at the Moscow National University. After the six year study, he followed a postgraduate training course with the Academician Andrey Alexandrovich Gontrar. Four years later, Trinh successfully defended the theoretical mathematics PhD thesis and then returned to Vietnam.
However, contrary to all predictions, Trinh did not become a famous scientist who could make a breakthrough in the Vietnamese mathematics. He became a lecturer, the thing that no one could imagine before.
The Hanoi-based Mathematics Institute invited Trinh to work for the institute. However, Trinh refused the job and decided to settle in HCM City. And over the last 20 years, he has been working as the lecturer of the mathematics faculty of the HCM City University of Natural Sciences, and the mathematics majoring classes of the High School for the Gifted under the university. Trinh has also been helping students review for the university entrance exams.
“Have you ever regretted your decision to become a lecturer?” To this question, Trinh simply said that the job is his “predestination” and that it fits his conditions and health.
A lot of Trinh’s students were chosen to the national teams to attend international competitions, and some of them got prizes. However, most of the students did not decide to become researchers, but followed other fields.
“Do you think that it is a great waste if the big talents, like you, all want to follow smooth path and uneventful life?” “Everyone has his own choice,” he replied.
Source: NLD/ VNN
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