Winner of the Paiknam Scholar Award
Professor Kang Yong-soo (Department of Energy Engineering)
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During his 12 years at Hanyang University, Professor Kang Yong-soo of the Department of Energy Engineering has demonstrating the virtues of an educator and a researcher. For his endeavor, Kang was awarded the Paiknam Scholar Award on the 78th school anniversary. Expecting to retire in 2018, Kang reminisces his life as scientist and professor.
Life as a scholar
Kang began his teaching career at the Department of Chemical Engineering in 2005. While at HYU, Kang pioneered and led a new discipline from the basics to the application of the "facilitated transport phenomena in the solid state" and obtained excellent results by applying it to membranes and solar cells. As a result, about 185 papers were published in SCI international journals from 2005 to 2017 and Kang was able to win several awards, including the Paiknam Scholar Award. “The Paiknam Award was a great honor for me, and it leads me to think of myself as a lucky person. I should attribute all the credit to my lab students, who followed and supported me,” said Kang.
One of Kang’s best research is on the facilitated transport phenomena in the solid state and their various applications. The beginning of his research dates back to when Kang was working at KIST (Korea Institute of Science and Technology). “The first project assigned to me at KIST was separating oxygen and nitrogen from air. Each element can be utilized pragmatically in practical life, and the usage of the separation membrane was the key,” emphasized Kang.
Since then, Kang's interest has changed to the separation of olefin such as ethylene or propylene because it is one of the most difficult tasks to solve. “I was sponsored one billion won for this Creative Research Program by the NRF (National Research Foundation of Korea) to develop this fuekd for 10 years, which was a tremendous opportunity for me,” reminisced Kang. After 10 years at KIST, Kang realized that his specialization lies in the basic understanding of principles, not practical applications. As a result, he left KIST to become an educator at HYU.
Multi-player in research and education
In addition to personal academic achievement, Kang’s BK21 Project and the ERC (Energy Research Center) of the Leading Research Center Support Project also ushered science at Hanyang to advance. Kang also undertook the role as chairman and editor-in-chief of various academic societies at home and abroad, contributing to the development of the school as well as the broader society.
When Kang came to Hanyang University, he realized that he could not bring the research funds provided by KIST to his school lab. In need of research funds to satisfy the scientific desires of his and his students, Kang made a difficult decision. “I just called an executive director of Samsung Institute of Science, Dr. Kim Jong-min, to ask for research funding. He would have been very confused, because we have only met a few times before, but Kim decided to support me for the development of science,” said Kang.
After such vicissitudes in life, Kang was able to investigate how to overcome low ionic conductivity in polymer electrolyte for dye-sensitized solar cell and improving the separation performance of membranes. These are each utilized on strengthening solar cells and curtailing petrochemistry’s high energy consumption, enormous cost and inefficient use of space.
The Best Teacher Award is Kang’s most favorite prize as professor. “This award is given by students that I teach. I wish my students will have pride in themselves when learning about science and life,” said Kang. According to him, calmly waiting for opportunities while preparing one's own unique characteristics will help students realize their dreams.
Kim Ju-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Kim Sang-yeon
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