For Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim, a doctor of chemistry and science journalist, German was her favorite school subject. “Yes, math and science were also really great, but I actually enjoyed the German lessons the most,” said the 36-year-old on Saturday at the award ceremony for the German Language Culture Prize in the Kurhaus in Baden-Baden.

Language has always played a big role in her life, said Nguyen-Kim – not just because she grew up bilingual with Vietnamese and German. “Incidentally, my love of language began at an early age. In elementary school, my dream was to become a writer.” Studying chemistry was a kind of detour to ultimately write books. In addition to popular science books, Nguyen-Kim is known, among other things, for the YouTube channel “maiLab” and for the ZDF series “Terra X: MaiBrain – Journey into the Brain”.

The Eberhard Schöck Foundation and the German Academy for Language and Poetry awarded her the main prize, the Jacob Grimm Prize, worth 30,000 euros. The jury praised Nguyen-Kim for her clear, understandable and modern language, which she uses to convey complex scientific content very well to a broad audience. Further prizes went to the German Gymnasium in Estonia’s capital Tallinn and the Digital Dictionary of German Sign Language.