Fermi National Laboratory

Volume 23  |  Friday, August 4, 2000  |  Number 14
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Jean Trân Thanh Vân

by Judy Jackson

Before there was the World Wide Web, there were international physics conferences. After there was the World Wide Web, there are still international physics conferences. Electronic communi-cation has changed the particle physics world forever, but there is still no substitute for the chance for scientific colleagues to meet together face to face.

Of course, not all physics conferences are created equal. Some are more worthwhile than others, and some are so highly regarded that they have become icons for the spirited international interaction between theory and experiment on topics of high current interest. Some people really know how to throw a conference.

The acknowledged maestro, the dean, the Pearl Mesta of physics conferences is a diminutive Vietnamese theorist from the University of Paris at Orsay. He is the founder and organizer of three of the most respected scientific get-togethers going, the Rencontres de Moriond, the Rencontres de Blois, and the Rencontres du Vietnam. Beginning with Moriond in 1966, through the Rencontres du Vietnam held in Hanoi just last month, these annual events have inspired and excited generations of physicists, experimentalists and theorists alike.

Jean Tran Thanh Van with APS Award On July 8, in his home town of Paris, the Division of Particles and Fields of the American Physical Society honored Jean Trân Thanh Vân with a Certificate of Appreciation, "in recognition of his many contributions to particle physics and international understanding."

Citing the 35 years of lively discourse at Moriond, the "intellectual and human values that animate the Rencontres de Blois," founded in 1989 and the vision inspiring the seven-year-old Rencontres du Vietnam, the DPF expressed heartfelt thanks for "creative and sustained service to particle physics, international understanding, and the humane aspects of science."

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