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28/05/2019 - 07:18

The youngest member of Vietnam Physics Olympiad team

As an eleventh-grade student and also the youngest member of Vietnam Physics Olympiad 2019 team, Le Cong Minh Hieu has remarkably won the first prize at the national physics contest, and is about to take part in a competition against other countries at the Asian and International Physics Olympiads.

Le Cong Minh Hieu (third from right) at a commemorating ceremony for provincial outstanding students


Over 11 o'clock, Hieu was still busy with his studying in the physics room of Block E, Quoc Hoc high school for gifted students. I asked him whether he was a “bookworm” because he was studying as if he forgot about the time.

“Every day, I spend 3 hours practicing for the Asian Olympiad Physics. However, whenever I start my study, I usually forget about the time. Therefore, I have recognized many times that when I open the door other students has already left. At home, I just read book and play sport to stay healthy as well as to have the best spirit for the competitions,” shyly smiled the boy.

Hieu’s parents are ordinary labourers and do not pursue any scientific work. His father is a driver for a company in Hue city. Her mother works at Hue Textile Garment JSC.  Due to their shifts, they have spent most of the time at their workplaces. As a result, Hieu and his elder sister are trained for being independent. His sister helps him with his homework, while he supports her to do the housework.

Hieu’s father, Mr. Le Cong Thuy, said: “Due to the family’s difficult situation, Hieu has mainly studied by himself and not taken any further classes since he was a child. As my wife and I are not so well-educated, we could not help our children so much. My daughter has just graduated from Hue University of Economics with a distinction degree. Hieu has been oriented by his teachers to develop his capability of physics”.

“With a moderate paid job, we manage to bring up our children. Hieu’s expenses for the competition such as books and travelling are covered by the school. He reserves his scholarships for buying reference books,” added Mr. Thuy.

About his son's physics passion, Hieu’s father said: “When Hieu was a child, he loved to explore everything surrounding him. Hieu read plenty of books and enjoyed watching the TV program of science to learn about the natural phenomena as well as origins of daily issues. When he grew up, he enjoyed learning Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. He did not spend much time studying at home, but at school instead”.

“Obtaining” many high prizes

During the school year of 2016-2017, Hieu became an emerging phenomenon in Nguyen Tri Phuong secondary school for his intelligence, brilliance, and excellent learning results. At the ninth grade, he won the first prize in the Central Region Contest for using handheld calculators. However, it was a pity that he only won the consolation prize in the provincial math contest.

Passing the entrance exam to Quoc Hoc High School for gifted students, Hieu still cherished his passion for Mathematics. It was quite a surprise when the school’s physics teachers discovered Hieu's talents in this subject, so they convinced Hieu to join the competition team.

Through the tests, his teachers found that Hieu has inaccurately applied his knowledge in completing the test due to a lack of skills in solving a test. Days of practicing would help Hieu in overcoming these disadvantages.

His diligence along with his will and determination to overcome challenges helped him prove his talents in the contests. Within the two school years, Hieu “obtained" many awards, including the Gold Medal in the Olympic competition for Northern Coastal and Delta Region; the First prizes in physics provincial and national contests in 2019. Hieu was described as the one who never wants to be second in any contests.

I asked him whether he had ever felt regretful for not pursuing Mathematics. In a determined voice, Hieu replied: “I discover so many interesting things in Physics that might help me know more about the natural world and to develop a critical thinking and a scientific working method”.

“Obviously, to be successful, especially in passing the rounds of national, regional and international contests, I have to practice solving various exam questions as well as allocating time reasonably. Especially, I have to remain calm and be decisive with the questions,” revealed Hieu. The boy, born in 2002, is also highly concentrated during the lectures at school because “if you don't get the key points, you cannot study and broaden your knowledge by yourself”.

Winning 40 excellent competitors from other provinces to become one of the eight members of the national team to compete in the coming Asian contest in Adelaide City (Australia), Hieu shared: “My teammates and I have spent days practicing and improving our knowledge. During the team’s recent revision period right before the contest, we studied very intensive with two sessions a day. However, my experience in taking part in many contests helped me stay calm and be unsurprised especially at practical problems because I have carefully equipped myself with knowledge and test solving skills”.

Mr. Le Quoc Anh – Hieu’s class head teacher as well as his physics instructor said: “Minh Hieu is a diligent and hard-working student who always tries his best to study. He is full of talents and passion in studying. These characteristics brought success to him through the achievements that he continuously gained in the past few years”.

Hieu, who is at the age of “dependent” teenager, has a mature dream compared to his shy appearance: “I want to conduct scientific research and dream to discover the vast astronomy and universe someday”.

Story, photo: Hue Thu