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Dr. Philip Kim wins Benjamin Franklin Medal

Posted May. 23, 2023 07:55,   

Updated May. 23, 2023 07:55


Philip Kim, a professor of physics at Harvard University, has been awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal, often referred to as the American Nobel Prize. On Monday, the Korean Academy of Science and Technology (KAST) stated that Prof. Kim received this year's medal in physics for his groundbreaking discovery of graphene. This new material is only one atom thick. This achievement marks the first time a Korean national has been honored with this award.

The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia has presented the Benjamin Franklin Medal since 1824, making it the oldest scientific and engineering award in the United States. Notable past recipients include Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Gates, among others.

Winners of the medal are recognized as researchers whose work closely approaches Nobel Prize-winning caliber, with 122 medal recipients subsequently receiving the Nobel Prize. An official from KAST stated, "Dr. Kim's 2005 publication in Nature, which first elucidated the physical properties of graphene, garnered significant attention from the global physics community. As a result, he is now considered the most likely Korean scientist to win a Nobel Prize."

Marking the 199th anniversary, the annual award ceremony was held in Philadelphia on April 27, and nine researchers were honored, including Kim, in the fields of chemistry, computer and cognitive sciences, earth and environmental sciences, electrical engineering, life sciences, and mechanical engineering. The Benjamin Franklin Institute award the winners a $10,000 cash prize and a gold medal.

Kim, an active member of the KAST, received his master’s degree in physics from Seoul National University in 1992 and his Ph.D. in applied physics from Harvard University in 1999. The news allegedly arrived late in the Korean scientific community because Kim did not want to inform his fellow researchers or academics even after the award was confirmed.