DAEJEON, Sept. 27 (Korea Bizwire) – The season of the Nobel Prizes is back, and Koreans are once again expressing their long-lasting dream of rearing a Nobel Prize recipient in one of the fields of science (chemistry, physics, physiology or medicine). Thus far, Kim Dae-jung, the late former President of the country, has been Korea’s only recipient, presented with the Peace Prize in 2000.
With the upcoming announcements of this year’s winners imminent (starting October 3), the National Research Foundation of Korea revealed recent survey results over predictions for potential winners.
The survey, which was carried out by 144 of Korea’s core researchers in basic science, suggested Narry Kim (Kim Bitnaeri) as Korea’s most likely candidate for this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Kim, who is both a professor at Seoul National University and a senior researcher at the Institute for Basic Science, is renowned for her studies of microRNA.
Other prominent potential recipients from Korea include KAIST professor Ryoo Ryong (chemistry), Harvard professor Philip Kim (physics), POSTECH professor Ihm Ji-soon, and SNU professor Hyeong Taeg-hwan.
Internationally, the scholars picked physicists Kip Thorne and Rainer Weiss as prospective winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics for their experiment with LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory). LIGO’s research team has been named several times as a prime candidate by various academics and media outlets, including Thomson Reuters.
In the chemistry field, autophagy researcher Yoshinori Ohsumi and UC Berkeley professor Jennifer Doudna, for developing CRISPR-Cas9, were found to be popular candidates.
The survey further revealed that 78 percent of respondents said that Korea is likely to see a winner in the scientific categories within the next 20 years. Of the respondents, 27 percent said that it would take approximately 6 to 10 years; 23 percent said in 11 to 15 years; and 22 percent, within 16 to 20 years.
An additional 48 percent said that long-term support for a specific research field was most essential for nurturing a Nobel Prize recipient. The answer was followed by ‘support of research field that is challenging and adventurous’ (17 percent), and ‘maintaining consistency in Korea’s science and technology policies’ (14 percent).
Meanwhile, although Korea has high levels of R&D expenditure relative to its GDP at 4.29 percent (2014), 75 percent of the spending was related to applied sciences for business, centered around conglomerates such as Samsung, LG, and Hyundai, with research in basic sciences lacking.
By Lina Jang (email@example.com)