By Matin Durrani
The Republic of Korea – known colloquially as South Korea to outsiders – has transformed itself over the last 50 years from a nation based primarily on agriculture to a hi-tech industrial powerhouse.
No longer in the shadow of its neighbouring powerhouses in Asia – China and Japan – the country is fast becoming a hotbed of top-quality research, as you can find out by reading the new Physics World Special Report on the Republic of Korea.
We delve into some of the areas of science, including synchrotron science, graphene and fusion energy, where Korea is leading the way.
The report begins with an overview of the country’s research scene, including interviews with Kookrin Char (head of physics at Seoul National University), Hawoong Jeong (head of physics at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) and Cheol Eui Lee, a nanophysicist at Korea University in Seoul, who is also president of the Korean Physical Society.
Don’t miss either our profile of Park Systems – a successful hi-tech company that builds advanced atomic-force microscopes but has had to fight hard to succeed in the competitive Korean business environment, dominated as it is by giant firms such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai.
Finally, we have a fascinating interview with physicist Se-Jung Oh, president of the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) – an ambitious $5bn programme to set up some 50 research labs in the country. If the IBS succeeds, it looks as if Korea will finally shake off its follow-my-leader mentality and become one itself.
Read the Physics World Special Report: Republic of Korea now!