Bolero songs and non-linearities: Six questions to Humboldt scholar Dr. Nguyen-Xuan Hung

Bolero songs and non-linearities: Six questions to Humboldt scholar Dr. Nguyen-Xuan Hung

Mittwoch, 11. Mai 2016

Multi-talented. Socially committed. Still both feet planted firmly on the ground. That's what Prof. Dr. Nguyen-Xuan Hung could be characterized as, if you were to describe him in a nutshell.

This summer term, our faculty has the honor to welcome Dr. Nguyen-Xuan Hung, an outstanding Vietnamese researcher who has tremendously contributed to transfer specialist knowledge from Vietnam to other countries and vice versa. Dr. Nguyen-Xuan holds a Ph.D.-title from the University of Liège, Belgium, and, on the initiative of Prof. Hackl, head of the RUB Institute of Mechanics, and as well as Prof. Rabczuk, head of the Institute of Computational Mechanics, Bauhaus Universität Weimar, he was awarded the Georg Forster Research Award by the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation in recognition of his extraordinary academic achievements. On the basis of this award, Dr. Hung is currently visiting Germany for six months to conduct a research project on the Development of a Framework Supporting the Design of New Materials in cooperation with Prof. Hackl, and Prof. Rabzcuk.

Dr. Hung is particularly known for his achievements in the development of structural element formulations. His key expertise includes finite element technology and its application to challenging engineering problems including dynamics, limit and shakedown analysis, fracture, as well as non-linear material response, among others. He has been one of the pioneers of the so-called 'Smoothed Finite Element Method' (SFEM), which has meanwhile become an established formulation used in commercial finite element software.
Moreover, Dr. Nguyen-Xuan devoted himself to improving the research situation in his home country Vietnam. There he has worked as an associate professor at the department of Computational Engineering at the Vietnamese-German University and as a director at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Technology at Hutech University, where he has been particularly active in supporting young Vietnamese researchers. Finally, his work has been awarded numerous prizes such as the Scientific Award for Excellent Researchers from the Vietnam National University and Nguyen Van Dao's Award for from the Association of Mechanics of Vietnam.

Read on for a short interview, which gives you an idea of the person behind these impressive achievements, titles and career positions.

1. What do you do in your leisure?

I rarely have free time but usually catch a breathe during my research time. Playing guitar and singing some bolero songs is really romantic, especially when enjoying it with my favorite singer – my wife. Quality of life comes from such simple things.

2. Who was the most inspiring person in your life?

I was born in a farmer family and my village is often very hot and sunny. It's hard there to make a living. When I was young, my parents grew rice and in addition, they had to climb the forest to find rattan and small bamboo for selling and feeding five children. In very hard times, there were no more options but to eat rice flavored with chili-salt. Having my life, my parents are actually the most inspiring persons. If they hadn't tried all their best and forced me on studying, I wouldn't have become a researcher nowadays.

3. In which country would you like to settle down with your family? Why?

It is hard for me to name a best place to settle down with my family. One important aspect is that I love where I was born and raised, where I have ever been. Each country has its own characteristics, its own culture and people, which makes me want to stay and experience. Currently, I am living with my family in Vietnam.

4. How did you feel when you discovered that you had distinct mathematical talent?

In fact, I have no distinct mathematical talent, but I study and know how to exploit it effectively for applicable purposes.

5. What is you first thought when you get up in the morning?

My children, breakfast and some close relatives, such as my parents.

6. If you had three wishes, what would you like to wish for?

- A modern and suitable research lab is what I'm dreaming of during my daily research work in Vietnam. If this first wish becomes reality, I could even be more productive than now.

- The second thing that I've been having in mind for a long time is to create a self-supplementing energy device for disabled persons or old people. This would help them control their legs and hands flexibly according to what they have in mind. I guess this wish originates from memories of Vietnam where they are trying to make a living in the street even though it's extremely hot and sunny.

- The last thing is really simple: Enjoying a delicious dinner together with my family and later watch cartoons like Tom and Jerry with my children.