Senior researcher looks for successor

Published: 26/02/2011 05:00


Researcher Nguyen Dinh Dau, 91, is one of the greatest researchers of Vietnam at present. He has won many a record number of prizes for his research.

Researcher Nguyen Dinh Dau, 91, is one of the greatest researchers of Vietnam at present. He has won many a record number of prizes for his research.

At the age of 91, the senior researcher is still in good health and continues to work. However, his biggest concern is finding a successor to whom he could hand over his great researchprojects.

Achievements of 70 years

Mr. Dau was born in 1920. During 70 years of research, he published 30 books of his own and around 40 books as co-author. His research focus on four areas: land registration, monography, mapping, and Vietnam’s traditional industry. All of these increase the knowledge about the country’s history and daily life of Vietnamese.

The study of land registration in Vietnam requires the access to ancient books written in Chinese scripts. each village had a land registration book, so there are nearly 16,000 books for nearly 16,000 villages in Vietnam. He has collected and translated into Vietnamese over a half of them and has published almost all.

By the end of 2010, Mr. Dau had published 17 land registration books for villages in provinces from Ha Tien to Thua Thien-Hue city, which covers over half of the country.

He has also written monographs on the cultures of many provinces, including HCM City, Tien Giang, Dong Thap, An Giang, Ca Mau, Phu Yen, Binh Dinh and Khanh Hoa.

Dau is the owner of the largest collection of maps in Vietnam His has collected around 3000 maps, including the maps that the government doesn’t have.. Dau said that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has asked his permission to digitalize the maps but the task has not been carried out. most of his world maps were bought overseas. There was a map at the French National Library in Paris, which was not allowed to be photocopied so he re-drew it manually for research.

In September 2009, he organized a map exhibition in Hanoi showing evidences that Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Paracel and Spratly) islands belong to Vietnam. On display were ancient maps, including maps drawn by Chinese, in which the two archipelagoes belong to Giao Chi (Vietnam today) or Chinese maps of the Qing Dynasty from 1910, which didn’t include the two archipelagoes.

Seeking a successor

Among Mr. Dau’s work, the research on the Nguyen Dynasty’s land registration is praised as the largest historical research in late 20th century. In Vietnam, such research is often performed by state-owned research institutes, with huge funding from the state budget, Mr. Dau has invested his own effort and money. This shows Dau’s enthusiasm and great contribution to the country.

Asked about what he plans to do with 70-year worth of work, he said: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Public Security presented me a certificate of merit and they asked me to help the government with its historical research. However, I still wish to find someone who has genuine passion for research. Some agencies want to buy my works but I have not made a decision. If there is someone who really loves research, I will immediately hand over my works and documents to him”.

Researcher Dau was born in 1920 in Hanoi. He is a patriotic intellectual. After the August Revolution in 1945, he was appointed as the Minister of Economics.

In 1953 he graduated from the Paris Catholic University in France and settled in Saigon.

He has traveled to many countries and he can read documents in Chinese, English, French, Latin, Spanish and Portuguese.


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