The“A0” brandname in mathematics

Published: 09/02/2011 05:00



“A0” stands for mathematics majoring classes at the Hanoi General University. The A0’s students’ achievements are higher than in other South-East Asian countries, which explains why A0 is the pride of Vietnamese mathematicians.

A0 system celebrated the 45th anniversary of its establishment in late 2010. The new official name for the mathematics majoring classes is very long so people still call them A0.
The name A0 first appeared in the 1965-1966 academic year when the then prime minister Pham Van Dong, considering the proposal by Professor Ta Quang Buu, Le van Thiem, Hoang Tuy…
- the famous Vietnamese scientists, made a daring and lucid decision: Opening mathematics majoring classes at high school level which would specialize in training Vietnamese mathematical talents. The classes were located at the Hanoi General University.
At that time, the classrooms of the Hanoi General University were not in Hanoi, but in Bac Thai Province. Hanoi’s students had to move to and study in Dai Tu Forest. For security purpose, all university classes were given code names. Mathematics classes all have the prefix A, first year university students studied in A1 class while second year students in A2. The name A0 was given
to high school classes, to differentiate them from university classes.
A0 turned out to be a lucky name. Since then A0’s students have gained 27 gold medals, 36 silver medals, 32 bronze medals in international mathematics and informatics Olympiads. The A0’s students’ achievements are higherthan in other SouthEast Asian countries!
The brand name A0 has become so famous that the Coporation for Financing and Promoting Technology (FPT) recruits all candidates who have graduated A0 classes even if they have fewer academic titles than the others. A0’s students are certain to be good employees!
A0 has produced a lot of talents for Vietnam, such as Professor of Science Dao Trong Thi, academician of the Third World Academy of Sciences, Chairman of Committee on Culture, Education, Youth and Teenager; Professor Dam Thanh Son, the famous theoretical physicist; Professor Tran Van Nhung, Secretary General of the State Professorship Council; Professor
Nguyen Dong Anh, Director of the Institute of Mechanics…
Professor Ngo Bao Chau, who won the Fields medal, the most honorable award in Mathematics, also came out of the A0 class.
Professor Ngo Bao Chau passed the entrance exam to A0 class in the 1986-1987 academic year, when A0 classes moved back to Hanoi. A friend of Chau’s related: “Chau and other three classmates who lived together with their families in Hanoi didn’t stay in dormitory which were reserved only for students from other provinces. Every day they had to ride bicycles to the class
in the morning and back home in the afternoon. They had to travel about 20 kilometers a day.
Each boy had 5-6 bowls of rice, one egg and fresh tomato for lunch. Such a plain meal was still considered too luxurious for us”.
A0 mathematics classes have gathered the best teachers in Vietnam, such as Nguyen Van Mau, Phan Duc Chinh, Le Dinh Thinh, Pham Tan Duong… “In 1986, before leaving for Poland to defend his PhD thesis, Mr. Nguyen Van Mau gave us four teaching hours in trigonometry. All the trigonometric syllabus was given in those four teaching hours”, said Ngo Bao Chau’s friend.
Trained in such a good environment, Ngo Bao Chau gained two gold medals at the International Mathematics Olympiads in 1988 and 1989.
The A0 system has been awarded the title “Hero of Labor in the Renovation Period”.

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