KAIST Promises a Festival of Science
President Kang Sung-mo emphasizes growth of the international community
"For Korea’s scientifics circle to earn the trust of the international community, there must be diversity and excellence. We must allow these factors to take root by encouraging a ‘feast of knowledge’ in the sciences. I will organize an open festival of science and knowledge at KAIST.”
President Kang Sung-mo of KAIST promised a “feast of knowledge” to enhance the diversity and excellence of scientists and engineers in Korea.
Beginning with the upcoming Research Day in May, KAIST will break barriers between fields and contribute to a new culture of knowledge sharing. In the words of President Kang Sung-mo, it will be a festival of science and knowledge.
The president will be opening the festival of science and knowledge not only to members of KAIST, but also to government-funded research institutes, universities, and even citizens.
President Kang said, “Our undergraduates and alumni are KAIST’ s most prized possessions. Companies like Google and Apple were founded by undergraduates, not professors. There is no passive creation. We will spread a culture of active creation based on diversity and excellence.”
◆ "Earning the trust of the world through scientific excellence"
"I met the CEO of Applied Materials, a global semiconductor company. He pointed to a four-level pyramid and explained to me his management motto. I borrowed the pyramid because I felt it is applicable to our scientific community.”
The four-level pyramid begins with Passion and Culture at the bottom, and includes Be a Trusted Partner in the second level, Find High Value Problems in the third and, lastly, Solve High Value Problems at the top.
President Kang emphasized that the culture of this four-level pyramid must be absorbed in scientific circles in Korea in order for scientists and undergraduates to excel in the world.
According to President Kang’s interpretation of the pyramid model, passion and culture must form a foundation for each scientist to grow into a trusted partner. High value problems are identified with trusted partners, and such problems are ultimately resolved. This is his recommendation for the scientific community in Korea.
President Kang said, “We will be able to achieve national excellence by adopting the pyramid model. Korea will become a trusted country if it pursues a culture of excellence; it will, perhaps, even lead the fourth industrial revolution.”
Another goal of KAIST is internationalization.
"When I participated in the last Davos forum, a young man from Israel talked to me on the shuttle bus. We discussed science, politics, and the economy. He then invited me for breakfast the next morning. There, I met Shimon Peres, the ninth president of Israel, along with 150 prominent figures from around the world. The young man I had met was the Jewish coordinator of an international network.”
President Kang highlighted the need to produce scientists with the capacity to organize and manage international networks. “We need scientists with international networking skills to continue collaborating with fellow researchers at Cambridge, Harvard, Stanford, and MIT. To broaden their horizons, I plan to provide undergraduate students with opportunities to attend the Davos forum and AAAS.”
He added, “Some students may be concerned that such experiences will delay their graduation, but they will be stepping stones to success. I hope for KAIST to produce talented people with a broad vision for the world.”
◆ Communication is key to community development
President Kang emphasized the role of communication in overcoming national and social issues, saying that “communication with some degree of autonomy is more important than anything else.”
"When I was working at Bell Labs, I had two colleagues. One of them had the habit of leaving his office door open; the other had the habit keeping the door closed. The scientists who left his door open seemed to spend more time interacting with those who entered his laboratory. In the end, his work had a greater impact than that of the other scientist. Communication with others helps to instill value in all that you do.”
President Kang called for more active communication with other scientists and research societies. In the past, scientists accumulated knowledge and produced results independently. But today, internal and external communication have become necessary because science and technology are now recognized as keys to national competitiveness.
Kang said, “Motivation is enhanced when autonomy and communication are guaranteed. For communication, students must be granted autonomy. They must enjoy basic autonomy even in small projects.”
He added that Korea must implemented systematic strategies for its scientists to gain international reputations. “We must create a culture in which we can conduct research with pride and honor, and to communicate freely without being overly self-conscious.”
In the final year of his term, President Kang plans to “support talented individuals and instill in them values and a strong work ethics so that they not only remain focused on their research but also contribute to community development.”
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