Upgraded Korean universities by establishing a research-oriented university system
First overseas scientist who returned to Korea, giving up tenure
Professor of the KAIST and the Dept. of Chemical Engineering, POSTECH (1930~)
- Academic background
B.E. at the College of Engineering, Seoul National University (chemical engineering)
M.E. at the Graduate School of Bucknell University, USA (chemical engineering)
Ph.D. at the Graduate School of Princeton University, USA (chemical engineering)
- Professional career
1963 ∼ 1974
Professor of Northwestern University, USA
1974 ∼ 1987
Professor of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
1987 ~ 2001
Professor of the Pohang University of Science and Technology
Order of Civil Merit, Camellia Medal
Award of Merit, Korea Chemical Engineering Society
Award of Academy, Korea Chemical Engineering Society
Fostered the KAIST and the POSTECH as a research-oriented university
Professor Young Gul Kim is the first overseas scientist who gave up tenure in the USA and returned to Korea. He performed a core role to foster the KAIST and the POSTECH as a graduate school-led and research-oriented university. He also successfully convened big international conferences, enhancing the profile of Korean chemical engineering internationally.
Graduating from the Dept. of Chemical Engineering of Seoul National University in 1951, he went to the USA to study and received a master’s degree at Bucknell University in 1958 and a Ph.D. at Princeton University in 1963. After receiving his Ph.D., he worked as a professor for Northwestern University, one of the renowned universities in the mid- and north-American region for 10 years. There he devoted himself to research and education and received his tenure.
It was because of the Korean government’s ‘Overseas Scientists Invitation Program’ that he returned to Korea, giving up his stable career in 1974. The Korean government established the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science (KAIS) in 1966 and 1971, respectively, and encouraged talented science and technology persons who were overseas as a result of the past brain drain to return to Korea with exceptional rewards. Responding to this policy, many talented persons decided to return to Korea to contribute to the development of the country. Professor Kim was one of them and caused a stir as it was the first such case of someone giving up tenure in the USA.
After he returned to Korea in 1974, he took up the position of the Dean of academic affairs and Vice President of the KAIS (reorganized into the KAIST in 1988) as a professor of the Dept. of Chemical Engineering and performed the core role to establish the KAIS as the first graduate school-led university. Based on experiences in the USA, he established the framework of an academic administration system focused on research in the natural and applied science graduate school. Back then, Korea’s graduate schools did not have such a streamlined system. Especially, to acquire a Ph.D., he made it a requisite to publish a paper in an international journal and also for the promotion to a professor he required a published paper in an international level journal, which greatly enhanced the level of research objects performed at graduate school. With this enhancement invitation, promotion and remuneration systems for professors and graduation requirements for students commensurate to that of an international standard, the level of the Ph.D.s and the research capabilities of the professors of the KAIS were greatly enhanced. His accomplishments like these were also highly rated by professor Fred Terman of Stanford University, who had the role of the chairman of the survey team for the establishment of the KAIS that gave birth to the KAIS as the head of the US Coordinating Office.
He joined the POSTECH in 1987 when the university was established and made another challenge to establish a research-oriented university. He took up the positions of the professor-in-chief of the Dept. of Chemical Engineering and the first Dean of the Graduate School. Until his retirement in February 2001, he had devoted himself to foster the POSTECH as a research-oriented university. Helped by his devotion, the KAIST and the POSTECH grew into globally renowned research-oriented universities.
Promoted the internationalization of Korean chemical engineering by the successful convening of an international conference, PACHEC-III
He also took up the position of the president of the Korea Chemical Engineering Society for three years from 1981 and contributed to the internationalization of Korean chemical engineering. He invited one of the large international conferences, the Third Pacific Chemical Engineering Congress (PACHEC-III), to Korea and successfully convened the event as chairman of the organization committee with over 1,100 participants in 1983. And, in 1997, he led the establishment of the Asia Pacific Association of the Catalysis Society and held the first academic conference, APCAT-1, in Gyeongju, showing his international leadership.
Pioneer of catalysis research who is accredited internationally
Professor Kim is a path-finder who began research on catalysis in the area of chemical engineering and made great accomplishments recognized internationally. He led the development of the catalysis research area as the president of the Catalysis Research Center, which was the ERC designated by the Korea Science Foundation for nine years from 1991. He also contributed to the development of the Korean chemical industry via active academy-industry cooperation. Also, he worked as an editing advisor to renowned international journals such as Applied Catalysis and Catalysis Review.