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Winners of Best Scientist Awards Announced

Posted April. 20, 2007 08:10,   


Kwon Wook-hyeon, professor of electrical engineering, and Lim Ji-soon, professor of physics, at Seoul National University, Choi Jin-ho, professor of chemistry at Ewha Woman’s University, and Seo Jin-seok, professor of medicine at Yonsei University, have been selected as the winners of the 2007 Most Outstanding Korean Scientist and Engineer Awards.

The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies announced Thursday the four prize winners of the presidential awards who will all receive 300 million won ($315,000).

The awards, known as the most prestigious awards in Korean scientific circles, were established in 2003 by enlarging the Korea Scientific Technique Awards launched in 1968.

Kwon, an internationally renowned scholar in the system control area for the invention of the concept of “Receding Horizon Control,” will receive the award in recognition of distributing relevant technologies by writing textbooks that have systematically organized theories in English.

In addition, Kwon was also commended for his contribution in helping his students start up venture companies by providing the technologies he developed for free. He encouraged his students to launch their own businesses based on practical technologies. His research lab has been the cradle of 12 venture startups, including Humax, a set-top box manufacturer.

“The most regarding part has been helping my students launch their businesses by pursuing both theories and applications,” Kwon said.

Lim will receive the award in recognition of achieving a breakthrough in research on carbon nanotube and hydrogen storage materials by pioneering the new area of “Computational Solid State Physics,” a formula to calculate the total energy of solids.

“When Korea was hit by the financial crisis, I gave my future much thought and decided to focus on integrating fundamental science with applied science. I think this can be attributed to my receiving such a big award,” Lim said.

Choi will receive the award in recognition of setting up a base for fusion science. He introduced a “nano DNA bar code system” for the first time by applying biotechnologies to his work. “I think I received the award because I’ve been able to focus on my research with the belief that the country must find its driving force for growth in science and technology,” Choi said.

Seo, a world authority on molecular imaging, will receive the award in recognition of his contribution in early diagnosis and eradicating diseases by developing tracer material. “I think today’s outcome can be attributed to pursuing a breakthrough in fusion technology, such as nano-bio technology, by moving away from the existing concept,” Seo said.

Meanwhile, the MOST also announced 79 scientists would receive certificates of commendation ahead of Korea’s 40th Science Day, April 21.

Shin Seong-cheol, a professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Han Min-gu, professor at Seoul National University, and Kim In-se, president of Pusan National University will receive “Innovation Master Medals,” the highest order of Korea’s Science and Technology Merit Award.

The award ceremony will take place on Friday at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology in Seoul.