Born in Ho Chi Minh City, Võ Tiën Phong learned his earliest lessons of dãna (generosity), prajñã (insight), and mettã (compassion) when visiting Buddhist temples with his grandmother and parents. In addition to these Buddhist virtues, Phong's parents were committed to giving their children the educational opportunities they never had because of the Vietnam War. This commitment to education led them to the United States when Phong was ten.
Phong has long been fascinated by numbers and equations. After graduating from MIT in mathematics and physics, he continued working toward a master's degree at the University of Manchester, with the help of a Marshall Scholarship, where he is currently studying theoretical condensed matter physics, a subfield that explores exotic material properties. Through his research, Phong hopes to elucidate fundamental laws of nature and to propose beneficial new technologies.
When not working with equations, Phong loves sharing what he knows through teaching. He has cofounded a science outreach program for underserved students. Continuing educational development work, Phong hopes to expand access to and improve the quality of science education in Vietnam and the US.
Phong hopes to become a professor in condensed matter physics who also works to reform science education. Through this work, he seeks to exemplify the Buddhist virtues of dãna, prajñã, and mettã.