A Vietnamese professor who shares a strong bond with Singapore

WVR - Having worked and taught at the National University of Singapore (NUS) for many years, Prof. Dr. Phan Thien Nhan affirmed that it is fate that helped him attach to and stay in Singapore, the Merlion Island state, until now.
A Vietnamese professor who shares a strong bond with Singapore
Prof. Dr. Phan Thien Nhan with colleagues and students at the National University of Singapore. (Photo: HA)

Born in 1952, in An Giang, Mr. Phan Thien Nhan graduated from the University of Sydney (Australia) in 1975, then completed his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sydney in 1979.

After starting his academic career as a lecturer at the University of Newcastle, he had worked at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sydney since 1991.

Fate with the Merlion island state

Prof. Dr. Phan Thien Nhan shared that the first time which he had opportunity to work in Singapore was in 1987. At that time, he was invited to teach at National University of Singapore (NUS) during his regular leave from the University of Sydney.

In 2001, when he returned to Singapore, he was conferred to Professor and stayed at NUS until 2004.

During that time, Professor Phan Thien Nhan founded the Faculty of Biological Engineering (now renamed the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering) at the University and was awarded the title of Founding Professor of this Faculty

After many years of living in California (USA), Prof. Dr. Phan Thien Nhan decided to return to Singapore in 2011 to lead a three-year research project at NUS. Like a fateful charm, he continues to stay in Singapore until now.

As a witness to the development of the Merlion island state for many years, Prof. Dr. Phan Thien Nhan sees that Singapore has changed a lot.

If other cities in the world usually have a change cycle of about 50 years, the change cycle of Singapore is only about 5 years or less. Fundamental changes are visible in Singapore almost every year, from new buildings being built, to the widening of roads, ect.

Especially, raising the standard of living for the people is always focused in Singapore. One of the advantages of this country is that it has excellent infrastructure that makes everyone feel comfortable when coming here, from clearing customs to catching a taxi, ect.

Furthermore, universities and research institutes receive special support from the Government. Research funds have very clear guidelines and are ready to support new and good research ideas.

From 2011 to present, Prof. Dr. Phan Thien Nhan works at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of NUS.

His research interests focus on fluid mechanics, hydrodynamic interactions, rheology of macromolecular fluids, and computational models involving liquids with complex granular structures.

He leads a number of research projects on ocean sediment transport from mining operations, projects on water purification technology using thin ceramic membranes, projects on 3D printing technology, and project on super-hollow airgel materials.

The biggest contribution of Prof. Dr. Phan Thien Nhan for the field of rheology is the model named after him (Phan-Thien-Tanner modeling) and its variations.

In 2022, he was also honored to rank 261st in the list of the world's top 1,000 researchers in Mechanical - Aerospace Engineering.

The ranking is based on a list of 3,637 published scientists in this field from the databases of Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Graph. Selection criteria include H-Index (minimum 30), industry contribution rate, awards and achievements of scientists.

A Vietnamese professor who shares a strong bond with Singapore
Prof. Dr. Phan Thien Nhan with colleagues and students at NUS. (Photo: HA)

Successful in Singapore, his heart remains set in Vietnam

Talking about his success, Prof. Dr. Phan Thien Nhan said that he has made great efforts on the path of education by working hard with the luck of being gifted with a clear mind. For him, hard work plus passion is the key to the success of any job.

Apart from his continuous self-study, he is also fortunate to have a good mentor, Prof. Roger Ian Tanner, member of the Royal Society of England, who gave useful advice when he was almost lost in his own inquisitiveness, without seeing a clear goal and the core in his research.

Prof. Dr. Nhan also added: “As one of the founders of GRAB Group, Antony Tan gave four factors to success, which I think are also core values for us and the young generation.

The first is sincerity: be honest with everyone, especially yourself, about your abilities. The second is humility: no one can do everything alone, we all need an effective team. The third is enthusiasm: you have enough enthusiasm to spend all your time pursuing your passion. Fourth is the heart: support and help others succeed, don't let them fall behind.

Since returning to work in Singapore, Prof. Dr. Phan Thien Nhan has always advocated gathering Vietnamese researchers to carry out his research projects. Along with some young intellectuals working in Singapore, he also runs a scholarship fund for high school students in Vietnam.

What makes Prof. Dr. Phan Thien Nhan pleased is that Vietnamese students integrate well into Singaporean society and most of them are successful in their jobs.

Now, having achieved many successes in his career, Prof. Dr. Phan Thien Nhan wishes to contribute to the homeland. According to him, Vietnam's policies need to be more transparent and open to be able to effectively promote overseas intellectual resources in the development of the country.

People form strong source of support against sabotage: Op-Ed
National digital transformation needs strong determination, actions: Prime Minister
EuroCham: EVFTA is a strong link between Vietnam and Europe
Power industry to see strong surge in development: insiders
Vietnamese professor honoured with UK’s Thomas Graham Prize 2023