10 Scientists Behind South Korea’s R&D Dominance

A global leader in research, development and innovation, South Korea is home to these 10 award-winning scientists who are pushing the frontiers of science.

AsianScientist (Sep. 11, 2018) – Home to electronics giant Samsung, South Korea is dubbed one of the most innovative countries in the world, competing neck-and-neck with Western countries such as Sweden. Among the most notable recent innovations from South Korea include a smart electronic skin, a heart mesh that keeps the heartbeat in sync, the humanoid robot HUBO, and the supercomputers that power weather and climate research in the country.

Korea is also among the top performers worldwide when it comes to research and development (R&D) spending which stands at 4.2 percent of its GDP. This is second only to Israel which spends 4.3 percent of its GDP on R&D. In terms of human capital, South Korea counts 7,113 researchers per million inhabitants.

Here are ten Korean scientists from the 2018 Asian Scientist 100 who are spearheading groundbreaking research and innovative culture in their respective fields.

  1. V. Narry Kim

    Photo: Institute for Basic Science

    Kim, director of the Institute for Basic Science at Seoul National University, received the 2017 Chen Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement in Human Genetic and Genomic Research for her studies into the role of microRNAs in development and cancer.

  2. Paik Soonmyung

    Photo: San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

    Paik received the 2017 Ho-Am Prize for developing Oncotype DX, the first multi-gene prognostic test for breast cancer patients that spares them from the side effects of chemotherapy.

  3. Yu Nam-Kyung

    Photo: L’oréal Foundation

    Yu was recognized as a 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Rising Talent for her work on Rett syndrome, a genetic neurological disorder.

  4. Kim Myung-hwan

    Photo: University of Akron

    Kim, who is head of the Battery Research Institute at LG Chem, received the 2017 POSCO TJ Park Technology Prize for his role in developing lithium ion batteries.

  5. Cha Hyung Joon

    Photo: Pohang University of Science and Technology

    Cha, who developed a protein-based adhesive inspired by mussels, received the Inventor of the Year Award from the Korean Intellectual Property Office. Unlike commonly used medical adhesives, the mussel-inspired bioadhesive is biocompatible and strongly adhesive even when wet. Cha has been listed as the inventor of 135 intellectual properties, including 23 international patents, 47 domestic patents, 34 international patent applications and 31 domestic patent applications.

  6. Jang Jin

    Photo: Young Samsung

    Jang received the Ho-Am Prize 2017 for his role in developing thin-film transistor displays, including flexible active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) displays and active-matrix liquid crystal displays (AMLCD).

  7. Pack Sangheon

    Photo: IEEE Xplore

    Pack, who is currently leading a global study developing a software-based networking system, won the 2017 IEIE/IEEE Joint Award for Young IT Engineer of the Year for his work on wireless communication.

  8. Son Young-sook

    Photo: Kyung Hee University

    Son received the 2017 L’Oréal Korea-UNSECO Award for Women in Life Science for her research on the ability of stem cells to self-heal.

  9. Lee Jong-heun

    Photo: International Meeting on Chemical Sensors

    Lee was recognized with the 2017 POSCO TJ Park Science Prize for his research on self-assembling nanoblocks and gas-detecting semiconductors.

  10. Choi Sookyung

    Photo: Ho-am Foundation

    A renowned particle physicist, Choi received the 2017 Ho-Am Prize for her discovery of a new class of subatomic particles named XYZ mesons. Together with her colleagues in the Belle experiment, Choi was the first to observe the X(3872) meson, a subatomic particle made of quarks and gluons. Although such exotic hadrons were first proposed over 50 years ago, they were only found by experimentalists in 2003 and subsequently confirmed by seven other experimental groups, making them the first and most well-understood type of XYZ meson.


    Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Photo: Pixabay.
    Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Shai Panela is an award-winning freelance science journalist based in the Philippines. She was part of the Asian Science Journalism fellowship program of the World Federation of Science Journalists in 2013 and covers stories in science, health, technology and the environment.

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