In 2011, the HCM City University of Natural Resources and the Environment was established by upgrading the Junior College of Natural Resources and the Environment.
Huynh Thien Tai (first left) and his students
At the same time, the physics/chemical laboratory was also established to satisfy research and practice needs of students and postgraduates.
Huynh Thien Tai, the first manager, when recalling the first days of the lab, said he was like a fish out of water with equipment worth less than VND2 billion. However, he thought that it would be a big waste if he betrayed the facilities.
Tai and his co-workers began conducting research and experiments in the field of analytical chemistry with research on fuel cells – a type of uncharged battery, using chemical reactions to turn hydrogen gas into electricity.
Tai, who thought that he would devote all of his life to pedagogy, started publishing international articles in this research field.
|Tai and his co-workers began conducting research and experiments in the field of analytical chemistry with research on fuel cells – a type of uncharged battery, using chemical reactions to turn hydrogen gas into electricity.
In Vietnam, no enterprise uses fuel cells, and few scientists conduct research on it.
“This is a new direction of research and opportunity for us,” he said.
Since 2015, Tai has had 14 scientific articles on fuel cells published international journals. This is a great achievement for any scientist, and especially for a new researcher.
The laboratory is also the ‘cradle’ where works by many research teams of the HCM City University of Natural Resources and the Environment begin. Two or three international publications come out every year from the lab.
Phan Thi Thuy Vy is the co-author of two and the major author of one article.
After eight years, the laboratory has been cherishing students’ passion for scientific research and nursing tens of internationally published scientific articles.
“We cannot receive big investments like national key laboratories. The achievements are very encouraging and we take pride in them,” Tai said.
At present, the lab is managed by lecturers Huynh Thien Tai and Ho Thi Thanh Van. At the lab, they act as supporters who show directions to students.
According to Tai, when students have ideas or research topics, they propose their research plans and look for documents and carry out experiments, while lecturers only show directions they should follow.
Prof Nguyen Thanh Liem, head of Vinmec Research Institute of Stem Cell and Gene Technology and one of top 100 Asian scientists 2019, says that Vietnamese are quite capable of carrying out scientific research at the international level.
Four outstanding scientific researches with high applicability were honoured with the Tran Dai Nghia Award by the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) at a ceremony in Hanoi on May 17.