April 30, 2005
Maths prof wins French honour

SINGAPOREAN mathematician Louis Chen has received the French government decoration for services to education.

Professor Chen, who is director of the National University of Singapore's Institute of Mathematical Science, received the title of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques on Wednesday night.p> He was presented the honour by French Ambassador to Singapore Jean-Paul Reau, for his contributions to relations between the two countries within the academic field.

Among his many achievements, Prof Chen, 65, is well-known as the father of the Chen-Stein method, a technique and theory used widely in the study of molecular biology and one taught in university courses.

He is also president of the California-based Institute of Mathematical Statistics, one of the world's top mathematical organisations. He is the first person in East Asia and the only ethnic Chinese to have reached this position.

Created in 1808 by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Palmes Academiques is one of the oldest of decreed distinctions given out on a purely civilian basis. Past Singaporean recipients of the award include the late theatre doyen Kuo Pao Kun, as well as renowned painter, the late Liu Kang.


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