By staff writers – Translated by Anh Quan
Ho chi minh forecast
The events were selected from the following areas: policies and mechanisms, natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, applied research, international integration, and prominent scientists.
This is the 15th year of the vote for the top 10 S&T events, attracting the participation of more than 60 journalists who cover the S&T sector from 25 press agencies. The nomination was assessed by prestigious managers and scientists.
Below is a list of notable S&T events in 2020:
1. Prime Minister approves Programme on national digital transformation
The Prime Minister on June 3 issued Decision No.749/QD-TTg approving the National Digital Transformation Programme by 2025, with an orientation toward 2030.
The approved program has the dual goal of developing a digital government, economy and society while establishing Vietnamese digital technology enterprises that have the potential to go global.
The digital transformation in Vietnam has seen more strong developments than ever, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has had such a strong impact on the socio-economic situation, trade, education, culture, administration and transport.
2. Successful research on SARS-CoV-2 virus
* Successfully cultivating and isolating SARS-CoV-2 virus
The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology announced on February 2 that it had successfully cultivated and isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the laboratory, enabling quicker tests for the virus.
With the achievement, Vietnam was then able to test thousands of samples a day when necessary. This also served as a basis for the development of a vaccine against the virus.
* Researching and manufacturing quick test kits for the SARS-CoV-2 virus
The Ministry of Science and Technology declared on March 5 the success of a research on a test kit for SARS-CoV-2 virus, making Vietnam among very few countries in the world to have succeeded in the research at that time.
The real-time RT-PCR research was conducted by the Vietnam Military Medical University and the Viet A Corporation as directed by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The project’s success is important at a time when the COVID-19 epidemic remains a global threat. Results also confirmed Vietnamese scientists’ high levels of professional skill and the ministry’s determination to have effective epidemic prevention and control.
3. Successful development of technology for flight control and balloon retrieval in the stratosphere
This is project VT-CN.04/17-20 on ‘Research to Approach the Technology to Use Balloons in the Stratosphere, integrated with Information Transceivers, to Monitor, Give Direction, Rescue, and Calculate Physical Parameters in the Atmosphere’ was carried out under the National Science and Technology Program on Space Technology in the 2016-2020 period.
The project was directed by Associate Prof. Dr. Pham Hong Quang from the Center for Informatics and Computing.
The project uses an IoT network at an affordable cost level for deploying sea and forest rescue tasks, monitoring off-shore fishing boats, floods, landslides, and forest fire data.
4. Science ministry receives draft Vietnamese history
The Ministry of Science and Technology held a ceremony in Hanoi on November 12 to receive a draft of Vietnamese history after five years of its compilation.
The draft history comprises 25 volumes of general history and five volumes of event chronicles.
The project, funded by the National Foundation for Science and Technology Development, was carried out by nearly 300 scientists from research institutes and universities, mostly in Hanoi, Thua Thien-Hue and Ho Chi Minh City.
5. Viettel makes first 5G call with locally produced equipment
Minister of Science and Technology Chu Ngoc Anh (left) and Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hùng make a call on January 17 with a Viettel-made 5G device (Photo courtesy of Viettel)
The Military Telecommunications Industry Group (Viettel) successfully conducted the first call using fifth generation (5G) technology in Vietnam on January 17 with Viettel’s gNodeB transceiver.
The gNodeB transceiver, made by Viettel, includes both software and hardware. The device was developed in six months, starting in June 2019.
In May 2019, the carrier used a foreign-made device to make a call via the 5G network. After 8 months, Viettel has helped Vietnam master 5G technology.
6. Locally-developed tracing app Bluezone launched
Bluezone, a locally-developed app that helps determine if a person has come in contact with a COVID-19 patient, was launched in Hanoi on April 18 by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) and the Ministry of Health.
Developed by tech firm Bkav, the app uses Bluetooth Low Energy, a wireless personal area network technology, to link smartphones within a two-meter distance.
As of mid-November 2020, more than 23 million Vietnamese people had downloaded the app.
7. Completion of Hoan Kiem Lake’s embankment using advanced technology
On August 20, 2020, the Vietnam Science and Technology Joint Stock Company (Busadco) announced the completion of the 1,500-meter embankment around Hoan Kiem lake in Hanoi. It took 65 days to complete the project, and it was completed 2 months ahead of schedule.
Remarkably, this construction project applies non-metallic reinforcement technology, previously applied in the project on building technical infrastructure systems in rural areas to prevent natural disasters and climate change, which won the Ho Chi Minh Science-Technology Awards in 2016.
8. Vietnamese scientists become affiliates in important physics research published in Nature
For the first time, Vietnamese physicists have become affiliates of a breakthrough research project published in Nature – a prestigious global scientific journal.
The international experiment, named T2K and described in the article ‘Constraint on the Matter–antimatter Symmetry-violating Phase in Neutrino Oscillations’, was published in Nature on April 16, 2020.
It was carried out in Japan with a collaboration between around 600 physicists and engineers across more than 60 organisations from 12 countries worldwide.
Vietnam is the second country in Asia besides Japan to have neutrino research appear in the Nature Journal. This Neutrino group is working at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Education (IFIRSE) – a member of the International Center of Interdisciplinary Science Education (ICISE), located in Quy Nhon City, Binh Dinh Province.
9. Successful operation to separate conjoined twins
The twins, their parents and doctors pose for a photo on October 7, the day they are discharged from hospital (Photo: VNA)
Nearly 100 doctors and nurses from leading hospitals in Ho Chi Minh on July 15 successfully carried out an operation to separate twins born conjoined at the pelvis.
This success of the operation demonstrated the qualification of Vietnamese doctors and advanced development of the Vietnamese healthcare sector.
This is the second complicated operation to separate twins in Vietnam, following the first 32 years ago.
10. Assoc. Prof., Dr. Do Van Manh receives Asian Innovation Award 2020
The Hitachi Global Foundation on October 30 granted the 2020 Asian Innovation Award to Assoc. Prof., Dr. Do Van Manh from the Institute of Environmental Technology (under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology).
Dr. Manh is highly lauded for his research on the implementations of advanced biogas to exploit sludge from beer and sugar manufacturing plants to produce energy and organic fertiliser. The research contributes to environment protection and sustainable development in the Central Highlands and South Central regions.
More importantly, unlike previous technologies most of which had to be imported, Vietnam has gradually mastered and is now capable of producing 5G equipment, a strategically important step in Vietnam’s development of information and communications technology.
Off to a good start
Viettel was the pioneer in announcing commercial 5G trials in late November with coverage in the Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh and Hai Ba Trung Districts of Hanoi, where owners of 5G-enabled devices can now use the service for free at a speed of up to 1.5 gigabits per second, far higher than 4G.
Later in mid-December, Vinaphone also announced its 5G coverage in some central districts in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as well as two demonstration centres so that those without 5G devices can experience the new technological features.
Mobifone also quickly caught up by piloting commercial 5G services in Ho Chi Minh City.
According to some experts, mobile carriers’ rush to roll out 5G services at this time is merely competition between brands and does not precisely reflect what the domestic telecommunications market will look like in the future.
With 3G and 4G technologies, Vietnam was a latecomer, but with 5G, Vietnam is one of the frontrunners. Although the trials are just an initial step in the long process to widespread rollout, the carriers’ efforts have demonstrated the local communications sector’s capacity and readiness to provide the new technologies to the people.
With exceptionally fast speeds, extremely low latency and very high density (up to one million devices in one square kilometre), 5G is expected to revolutionise how society functions in the future, especially in the fields of advanced technology, healthcare, transport and education, laying the foundation for Vietnam to master and apply new technologies as well as succeed in its national digital transformation drive.
Taking on challenges to rise up
Vietnam is pioneering 5G, an opportunity to master new technologies and catch up with the development pace of the world. But its position as a trailblazer means Vietnam cannot learn from anyone else’s experience and will have to find its own path to development. 5G will bring with it tremendous opportunities in the future but there are already also quite a few challenges at present.
First of all, carriers face a risk that 5G-enabled devices have not yet been widely popular with consumers at the time of mass rollout and that 5G business models are as of yet not proven to be effective.
In addition, demand for this technology is not yet very high, making carriers find it hard to balance costs and benefits. However, experts state that if Vietnam wants to develop, it needs to see a radical change of mindset and it must dare to meet the challenges head on, otherwise Vietnam will always be a technologically backward country.
The history of Vietnam’s communications sector has shown that successes have followed the appropriate decisions to embrace new technologies. In the early years of the Doi Moi reform when 95% of the world was still using analogue communications, Vietnam took the bold step and adopted digital communications immediately, resulting in the country achieving remarkable progress in this sector.
Then in 1997, Vietnam once again showed its progressive mindset by agreeing to open the door to the internet, opening a new living space and digital space for each of its citizens, connecting Vietnam with the world and laying a significant foundation for Vietnam to enter into important agreements such as the bilateral trade agreement with the United States and accession to the World Trade Organisation, helping deepen the country’s international economic integration and speed up national development.
The launch of 2G technology in 1993, followed by 2.5G, 2.75G and then 3G and 4G, has brought mobile phones, a luxurious item during the 1990s, to 100% of the population at the lowest possible cost. But it should be acknowledged that when transitioning to 3G and 4G, Vietnam fell behind the rest due to a failure to update policies and the management mindset, a lag in technology and lack of new competitive factors.
The fourth industrial revolution is taking place at a rapid pace around the world and 5G is one of the key technologies in this revolution thanks to its high speeds and low latency, essential to many sectors. Therefore all countries should take advantage of this opportunity and Vietnam is also taking proactive steps to get on-board the 5G train.
Vietnam has certain advantages as it can produce many types of equipment and infrastructure necessary for 5G. The Ministry of Information and Communications has affirmed that mastering 5G equipment is strategically significant nationally and Vietnam is one of the few countries capable of doing so. From now on Vietnam will actively act as a pioneer alongside the rest of the world with regards to technology, helping further stimulate the communications sector, making an even greater contribution to the country’s socio-economic development.
The first positive test result was confirmed by the Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute on December 28.
The woman on December 24 boarded the bus together with the 32-year-old man who illegally crossed the Vietnam-Cambodia border to his hometown in Vinh Long province.
The Ministry of Health announced on December 26 the man had tested positive for the virus.
Relevant forces scrambled to track down and quarantine those who had contact with the woman after hearing that she had travelled with the COVID-19 patient.
Local authorities have so far quarantined four residents and are now speeding up the tracing of other direct and indirect contacts.
Another man who had travelled with the male patient, dubbed patient #1,440, was confirmed by the Ministry of Health on December 28 to have carried the virus. The man lives in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Prime Minister on December 28 called on people to detect and inform local authorities about any illegal entrant who may pose a virus risk to the community.
The Hanoitimes – Hanoi is gorgeous and charming with its East-West architecture. Today, the emergence of modern architectural constructions has contributed to forming a dreamy and dynamic Hanoi.
Tubular house was the most popular type in the city, with the narrow width, a few tens of metres deep. If the owners are well-off, they would build two or three floors more. Then, influenced by French architecture, engineers began to use steel bending or embossing with cement and plaster to reduce the roughness of concrete blocks in home décor.
Modern architecture is a trend to use new, versatile technologies and materials. In the past, people often used wood, black steel, baked tile… to make structure, pillars and roofs. Nowadays, when metal technology develops, rust-proof super light-plated steel has replaced black steel and wood; unburnt tile has been used instead of baked tile.
In the past ten years, Hanoi’s architectural situation has required professional architects to make a changey, as soon as possible, the local architecture shouldt be exposed to the architecture of developed countries and other countries in the region. Hanoi architecture is facing big changes of a key moment, that needs to be a breakthrough in quality as well as in quantity. So each architect has to share the thought and contribution to the that breakthrough. The social and communal characters of Hanoi architecture are posing new requirements. We have a responsibility to strive for a sustainable, orderly, pure, humane, visually-efficient architecture.
When the country is liberated and united, the hearts of millions of Vietnamese people will always head towards Ba Dinh Square and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. This is a sacred place that every Vietnamese and international friends want to visit.
Hanoi Opera House was built by the French in 1901 and completed in 1911 following the model of the Garnier Opera House in Paris (France). Today, the Opera House is one of the familiar, outstanding and attractive places of Hanoi City, a place where special cultural and performing arts are regularly held.
Long Bien Bridge was the first iron bridge spanning over the Red River, built by the French in 1899. During the war against the US, despite two major battles with many bombings, the bridge still stands firmly, defying the erosion of the time. Over the years, with prints of time, Long Bien Bridge is a historical evidence of a capital that has come out of war and has been developing more and more modernly.
|Hanoi Opera House, the hallmark of Hanoi. Photo: Thanh Hai|
|Sunset on Nhat Tan Bridge. Photo: Nguyen Van Hai|
|Dong Xuan Market, Hoan Kiem District. Photo: Tran Son|
|Dong Tru Bridge spanning over Duong River, built between 2006-14. Photo: Cong Tien Thinh|
|Thanh Nien Road between Truc Bach and West lakes. Photo: Pham Hung|
|A corner of the western Hanoi. Photo: Cong Hung|
|A bridge of memoir, Long Bien Bridge. Photo: Ngoc Tu|
|Vinh Thinh Bridge. Photo: Nam Khanh|
|Colourful urban nightlife by West Lake. Photo: Vu Van Canh|
|Cau Giay Park. Photo: Hung Thap|
|Me Tri urban area. Photo: Trong Nghi|
|Doctoral stone steles at Temple of Literature. Photo: Van Phuc|
|A corner of Hanoi at night. Photo: Nguyen Minh Chi|
|The spring comes. Photo: Duy Tuong|
|The Jade Well at Co Loa Temple. Photo: An Khang|
|Quan Thanh Temple. Photo: Nguyen Anh Tuan|
|Saint Giong Monument. Photo: Huu Nen|
|Foreigners ride bicycles to enjoy the beauty of Hanoi, City for Peace. Photo: Luu Phuong Binh|
Answering a reporter’s query on stepping up the consumption of agricultural products of pandemic-hit localities, Hai said that over the past time, the Government has instructed ministries, sectors and localities to carry out measures to ensure the implementation of the twin targets.
When the pandemic showed signs of worsening in Hai Duong and Quang Ninh provinces, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued Directive No.05 on January 28 on urgent COVID-19 prevention and control measures, in which the Government leader assigned Chairpersons of provincial and municipal People’s Committees to decide social distancing measures to be used based on the level of risk of each area.
However, as several localities put overemphasis on pandemic prevention and control, they imposed several measures which caused difficulties to the circulation of goods, particularly farm produce, in pandemic-hit areas, particularly Hai Duong Province.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has put forward solutions to address those difficulties, such as working directly with major domestic supply systems and major firms in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to help with the sale of farm produce.
It has also worked with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and localities to seek measures to ease consumers’ concerns about agricultural products from disease-affected areas.
At the proposal of the MoIT, the PM assigned tasks to each ministry and locality to quickly address difficulties in goods circulation and transportation, Hai said, adding that the ministry held a working session with related localities, ministries and agencies on ways to implement the PM’s directions. The ministry then issued a document guiding the consumption of goods produced in pandemic-affected areas, which received consensus from all stakeholders.