Where are Korea’s Nobel scientists?

Korea naturally has a sense of competitiveness with its island neighbor, Japan. Sports is a prime example, especially in soccer. After liberation, the Korean national team competed in its first match against Japan in March 1954 in Switzerland for a World Cup regional qualification match. And it beat Japan by an overwhelming 5 to 1. In a total of 75 matches against Japan, the Korean national soccer team has won 40 games, tied 22 and lost only 13.

In economics, Korea has rapidly caught up to Japan during its two “lost decades,” the period between the 1990s and 2000s following Japan’s strong economic growth. Samsung Electronics, Korea’s representative corporation, once lagged far behind Japan’s Sony.

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[W]hen is Korea due for a Nobel Prize? The Nobel Committee is thus far unresponsive, though Korea is making progress. In 2010, Philip Kim, a professor at Columbia University, almost won a Physics prize. The award was given to Russian-born Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, working for the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, for their work on graphene, a two-dimensional carbon structure with potential in the field of electronics. Scientific experts stated that Kim, who made major contributions to the research, which Geim also acknowledged, should have been awarded as well.

According to the IMD report in 2012, Korea ranked fifth in the world in scientific competitiveness while Japan came in second. In 2004, Korea ranked 17. Likewise, the government has for the past decade reinforced investment in the area of science and research and development.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

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