High-School Diary of

Kim Young Suh

      In 1954, I was a high-school boy in Korea. Americans seem to like this photo. This photo was published first in the newspaper for American troops in Korea (1954). These days, they include this photo whenever they talk about me.
      Click here and here to hear what they say about me.
  • Professor Emeritus
    Department of Physics
    University of Maryland
    College Park, Maryland 20742
    Home page.

  • In this photo of 1954 (my graduation year), I am shaking hands with General Maxwell Taylor who was the commander of the U.S. Forces in Korea. Under him were more than 300,000 combat-ready American troops.

    General Taylor was a scholarly man and was keenly interested in Korea's educational system. He wanted to visit the best high school in Korea. He asked his Korean secretary which school to visit. The Korean secretary told Taylor about the high school he attended. He is also in this photo (far left).

  • Taylor served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Kennedy admiration, and made a plan to invade Cuba during the Cuban missile crises in October of 1962, resulting in the downfall of Nikita Khruschev of the Soviet Union from his position as the head of the Soviet Union.

      These Russian girls in Kazan reacted happily when I talked to them like a high-school boy. Do you know where Kazan is? Click here for this interesting Russian city! Click here for my photos from Kazan.
  • Korean high schools are single-gender schools according to the Confucian tradition.

    1. Boys should not sit down with girls. They should not talk to girls. These rules were very unnatural to teenager boys to whom girls started becoming attractive.

    2. Thus, the language style for boys is different from that for the girls.

  • So many years after my high school graduation, I still talk like a high-school boy whenever I meet the girls. To them, I sound like a talking toy, and they seem to enjoy what I say. To me, they still appear like toys.

  • I regard this aspect of my life as an extension of my high-school years. I enjoy talking with young girls wherever I go in the world. To them, I seem to appear like an innocent high-school boy.

      Silvana Mangano in 1949. She was born in 1930.

  • During our high-school years, we were not allowed to go to movie houses. Thus, the high-school graduation meant a great liberation. Right after our graduation, we went to movie houses very diligently.

    In 1954, an Italian actress named Silvana Mangano was a very popular among us. She starred in the film entitled "Anna." She danced there with a music entitled El Negro Zumbon. This dance song-and-dance scene is still popular and is available from this video.

  • Toward the end of this webpage, I talk about how I constructed Princeton's Einstein-Wigner-Kim Genealogy (Jokbo), and how I used my high-school background during this process.
    Click here to see where I used what I learned during my high-school years.

    Contribution of a New Culture

Alumni Contribution System!

  • When I went to Princeton in July of 1958, I noticed many of the buildings had personal names, such as Palmer Hall, Fine Hall, McCosh Hall, 1942 Hall, etc. Each building carries the name of the person or the group of people who contributed money to construct it. They were the graduates of Princeton University. The 1942 building was donated by those who graduated in 1942.

  • It was one year after Principal Kim Won-Kyu left our school in 1957, and the morale of our students was sinking. In order to lift up their morale, I decided to send $100 per year to our high school. This became the beginning of our alumni contribution system.
      Click on these figures to enlarge them.

Second Phase

  • In Korea (1958), it was a very strange idea for high-school or college graduates to make monetary contributions to their alma mater. Thus, I became well known to Koreans for this strange practice. Some people praised me, but most of them accused me of buying fame with money. Things are different these days. Koreans are making a progress along this direction.

    Ten years later in 1968, the graduates of the same high school decided to follow my example of sending money to their high school in Korea. The total amount of money was increasing every year.

Final Phase

    It went through several stages of evolutions, but I am most proud of giving, not the money but, the Culture of Alumni Contribution to my younger brothers. This culture is flourishing these days. If you made enough money, donate some to your school. This is the duty as a responsible alumnus. I become very happy whenever I hear the news like this:

  • By 2010, our high school was no longer a school without history. Many of our graduates became VIPs in their respective organizations. In addtion, many of us became in command of large sums of money. The alumni contribution became their business: large chunks of money!

Korean War (1950-1953)

      North Korean tanks came to Seoul in the morning of June 28, 1950. They were T-34 tanks developed in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv before World War II.

      In 2000, I was in Kharkiv and had a photo with Ukrainian friends. The T-34 tank was developed in this city, but they were mass-produced during World War II in Chelabinsk deeply hidden in the Ural Mountains.

  • The most serious event during my high-school years was the Korean War which lasted from 1950 to 1953. From July 1950 to August 1951, there were no classes. In September of 1951, out-door classes were held in Busan. We then moved to a temporary campus early in 1952. We had classes there until we returned to Seoul in September of 1953 after the Panmunjom Cease Fire Agreement was signed in July of 1953.

  • The Korean War started when the NK army crossed the 38th parallel on Sunday, June 25, 1950. The school classes were held on Monday, June26, and we all thought the unification of the country was imminent. We all expected that our (South Korean) army (armed with US-made M-1 rifles) would march into Pyongyang in a week.

    However, things turned out to be different. We were all sent back from the school on June 27.

  • There are a number of the war stories which I am the only person who can tell. I will tell just one of them. After spending a sleepless night of June 28-29 at the ground of Suwon railway station, I was on a roofless cargo train car waiting for departure to Daejon.

    Suddenly, a four-engined American plane was flying toward the Suwon Airport. We then heard machine-gun noises, and we saw fighter planes messing around. I later found out the big four-engined plane was MacArthur's plane called "Bataan," and General Mac was coming from Tokyo to inspect the war front in Korea. A North Korean Yak fighter was attempting to shoot down MacArthur's plane, but American F-80 jet fighters chased it away.

    I saw them with my own eyes and later read the story written by the person who was the Korean Air Force Chief at that time. I also collected the photos of those three planes from various sources.

  • Click here for my website for the Korean War (1950-53).

Roofless Classrooms in Busan

      Our roofless classrooms were on this mountain in Busan.

      We were very happy to be back to our campus in Seoul (September 1953).
  • During the Korean War (1950-53), the city of Seoul was in the combat zone, and we had to study a temporary place in the south-eastern port city of Busan. One year in roofless open-air classrooms and two years in plywood box-like class rooms. Yet, our life was very rich. We were making transitions from boys to men, and girls were becoming attractive.

    We all had to study hard in preparation for the college entrance examinations. Many of us were planning to go colleges in the United States.

  • On July 27 of 1953, the Panmunjom Cease Fire Agreement was signed. We all returned to Seoul, and started classes at our original campus. However, the main school buildings were occupied by the British troops who came to Korea as a unit of the United Nations Forces. We thus had to study in the auxiliary spaces on the campus. Yet, I was very happy to be back to our original campus.

  • The following photos show the morning meetings at the Busan campus and Seoul campus.

  • Mr. Kim Won-Kyu used to give us long sermons every morning.

    1. People say this and that about him. Yet, they all agree that he was a talented and had an unusual passion for his job.

    2. Click here for his family photo of 1954. He had three sons and five daughters.

    3. Click here for my story about him.

  • Click here for more about our Busan period during the war years (1951-53).

Undergraduate Years (1954-1958)

  • In September of 1954, I came to the United States to become a freshman at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now called Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    The life was not easy for me, but I worked hard enough to get excellent grades.

  • On March 12, 1958, I received a letter from Princeton University telling me I was one of fifteen students admitted to the graduate program in physics. This was the happiest day in my life. Going to Princeton meant working with Albert Einstein, even though he died in 1955, three years before 1958.

  • Click here for my photos form Pittsburgh.

Princeton Years (1958-1962)

  • In this photo of 1961, I am making preparations for my paper to be published in the Physical Review, the standard journal of the American physical Society.

  • Thanks to my solid high-school background, I got excellent grades during my undergraduate years. Again, thanks to the high-school background. I completed my PhD degree in three years, but I was asked to stay there for one additional year as a post-doctoral fellow.

      Eugene Paul Wigner (1902-1995, Nobel 1963), photo from the Reviews of Modern Physics (1962).

    My PhD thesis was based on the research topic popular among the physicists at that time, having nothing to do with fundamental problems in physics. Yet, I had to publish a number of nonsense papers to get the job and to get promoted.

  • While that was going on, I started studying an important paper published by Professor Eugene Paul Wigner in 1939. This paper provides the mathematical framework for internal space-time symmetries in Einstein's relativistic world.

    However, it was impossible to understand its contents, because its description of massless particles was not complete. For this reason, Wigner was completely isolated from the rest of Princeton.

  • Yet, I felt that there is a deep truth in his 1939 paper. I continued studying this paper, and I was fortunate enough to ask Professor Wigner some questions about his paper while I was at Princeton until 1962.

  • Click here for my photos from Princeton.

  • New York City is one-hour train ride from Princeton. I went there often while I was at Princeton. I still like New York. Click here for my photos from New York.

Period of Adjustments (1962-1966)

  • In July of 1962, I became an assistant professor of physics at the University of Maryland, near Washington, DC. This is a photo of the physics faculty taken in the spring of 1963, and I am the youngest person in this photo.

  • The life was not easy for me in the highly competitive academic world, where everybody is afraid of his/her colleague becoming more famous than himself/herself.

    1. This is a human nature which can be described as Herod Complex. Among my colleagues, there were several people who got turned down from Princeton and went to other good graduate schools. Those people were extremely nasty to me. However, I always got help from appropriate persons whenever I was in difficulties.

    2. The University of Marland is only three hours of train ride from Princeton, and I continued following Princeton's leadership in my research. However, In 1965, I found out I should not trust Princeton's leadership in physics. Click here for why. The only Princeton persons I could trust were Albert Einstein and Eugene Wigner.

    3. For most Americans, including those in the academic world, the ultimate value is money. However, I was not brought up in this way in Korea. For Koreans, the family background still plays the important role. The genealogy is above the money. My ultimate aim in physics has been and still is to place my name in Einstein's genealogy.

  • Thus, my research line has been very strange to my American colleagues. Yet, the University of Maryland provided me enough freedom to do what I really wanted to do.

Greater Washington Area (since 1962)

  • The most rewarding aspect of my life at the University of Maryland is that the campus is near the city of Washington, DC.

  • When I came to this area in 1962, Washington was a sleepy southern town. Washington is now an international city. It was an exciting experience to witness its transformation process.

    I could meet many interesting people from different parts of the world. I had a photo with these two young ladies from Argentina at a riverside restaurant. The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts is seen in the background.

  • Click here for photos from this interesting city.

  • There is a large Korean community in the Washington area with many Korean restaurants and meeting places. Koreans hold many interesting meetings and festivals. I enjoy them.

    Many Korean politicians come to Washington to get supports from their American counterparts. We laugh at them, but the truth is that Washington is an important place for Korea as a democratic nation.

  • Some people say Washington is the capital city of South Korea. If this is the case, I hope Washington will become the capital city of North Korea soon, and it is said that Kim Il-Sung's great grandson lives in the Washington area. This seems to be the easiest way for two Koreas to become one country again.

  • Click here for Koreans in Washington.

Construction of the
Princeton Genealogy of Einstein-Wigner-Kim

  • Even though I was away from Princeton, I used to think the ultimate wisdom in physics comes from Princeton. However, in 1965, I realized that Princeton is not necessarily the holy place in physics. Click here for my explanation.

    After this incident, I decided to develop my own research line. When I was at Princeton, Eugene Wigner (1902-95) was No. 2 man there, only after Albert Einstein. Wigner received his Nobel prize in 1963, but not for 1939 paper, providing the mathematical framework for internal space-time symmetries for particles with space-time extensions, such as the hydrogen atom and the proton in the quark model.

  • In order to find my own way, I continued studying this paper. My friends told me I was wasting time for worrying about this worthless paper, because Wigner did not get the Nobel prize for this paper. Indeed, it was a great opportunity for me to transform into a historical document.

    1. The Massive particle has three internal degrees of freedom. They correspond to the spin of the particle. The massless particle has only two degrees of freedom, namely its helicity and the unobservable gauge transformation. Wigner's 1939 paper explains the massive particle, but not the massless particle.

    2. Einstein's energy-momentum relation for massive particles becomes that of massless particles when in the high-speed/small-mass limit. Does Wigner's three spin degrees of freedom for the massive particle become the helically and gauge degrees of freedom in the high-speed/small-mass limit, as in the case of Einstein's energy-momentum relation?

    3. One hundred years ago, Bohr was interested in the hydrogen atom, leading to the present form of quantum mechanics. Einstein was interested in how things look to moving observers. Then, how would Bohr's hydrogen atom appear to moving observers?

    We have to answer these three questions to make Wigner's 1939 paper a historical document. It was not an easy task, but I am proud to tell you that I carried out this task.

  • I published enough papers with my younger colleagues, namely D. Han and D. Son, on the issues 1 and 2.

    Contents of Einstein's E = mc2

    Particle Massive/Slow between Massless/Fast
    Einstein Energy
    E = p2/2m E =
    (m2 + p2)1/2
    E = cp
    Wigner Helicity
    spin, Gauge
    S1 S2
    1939 paper
    Gauge Trans.

    This table is from from the 1986 paper I published with my younger colleagues.

    I then went to Princeton, and showed this table to Professor Wigner. He became very happy, and agreed to publish papers with me. Indeed, we finalized the first two issues by publishing two papers: one in 1987 and the other in 1990. The issue is to extend Einstein's energy-momentum relation to the internal space-time symmetries.

  • In approaching Wigner, I used a piece of Korean wisdom. Let us look at the following pictures.
    Chung Il-Kwon talking to President Rhee, and Kim with Wigner (1986).

    Rhee Seungman was Korea's first president. He always wanted to hear the stories he wanted to hear. Otherwise, you were out!

    Chung Il-Kwon was a young officer in the Korean army. He had a talent of telling Rhee the stories he wanted to hear. As the army chief, Chung was the most influential man during the Korean War and during the after-war constructional process. I followed Chung's example when I approached Wigner. I told Wigner what he wanted to hear.

  • Here is the story I told him. In 1963, Wigner received the Nobel prize in physics. However, the prize was not for his 1939 paper on his little groups governig the internal space-time symmetry of particles in Einstein's relativistic world. The reason was that the physics world did not understand fully the implications of this paper. Wigner became very happy whenever I talked about his 1939 paper.

  • The best way to illustrate Einstein's relativity is to use the following figures.

    Toyotomi Hideyosi is an important figure in Japanese history. He unified Japan by brutally eliminating his rival warlords. He built his Osaka Castle and lived there with many wives and concubines.

    He is known as "Pungsin Soogil" in Korea. After unifying Japan, he appointed himself as the Emperor of the World. At his time, the Emperor of the World was the emperor of China in Beijing. In order to crown himslef as the Emperor, he asked Koreans to provide a safe pass to China. However, Koreans said Nyet. He then sent his troops to Korea to slaughter Koreans and burn down houses for seven years (1592-98). Later, it took for Koreans 100 years to reconstruct their country,

  • In Japan, he is known as "O-Saru San" (Mr. Monkey). Indeed, he is a monkey if humans look at him, but he is a human if monkeys look at him.

  • Here comes Einstein. How would he look to observers on a moving train? If the human body is too complicated, let us choose the hydrogen atom.

    During the early years of the 20th Century, Niels Bohr was worrying about the hydrogen atom, while Einstein was interested in how things look to moving observers. They met occasionally to discuss physics. If they talked about moving hydrogen atoms, there are no written record on this issue.

    The question then is whether the Bohr-Einstein issue of the hydrogen can be interpreted in terms of the scientific language Wigner constructed in 1939. The answer is YES. Let us look at this figure:

    This figure indicates most of the ground works were done by Paul A. M. Dirac, and I had an audience with him in 1962. I respect him and his writings are like poems. However, there are no figures in his books or papers. I translated his writings and formulas into pictures. Then, it is easy to integrate them.

  • So far, we did mathematics. In physics, the most cruel test is to see whether this mathematical shows up in the real world. The answer is Yes. Click here for explanations.

    In 1978, with my younger colleagues, I wrote a paper saying that Wigner's 1939 paper plays an essential role in studying moving quantum bound states, like the hydrogen atom or the proton in the quark model. I submitted this paper to the Journal of Mathematical Physic in late 1978, and it appeared in the Journal in early 1979. Here is the paper. This paper allows me to add the third row to the Einstein-Wigner table given above.

    Further Contents of Einstein's E = mc2

    Massive/Slow between Massless/Fast
    E = p2/2m Einstein's
    E=(m2 + p2)1/2
    E = cp
    Spin, Gauge
    S1 S2
    Little Group
    Gauge Trans.
    Bound States
    Quark Model
    1939 paper
    Parton Picture

    This table was published in my paper of 1989.
    Click here for further contents of this table.

  • Let us translate this table into the plain language:

  • OK. The genealogy is now complete. Click here for 100 years of the history of physics.

  • Both Einstein and Wigner came from Europe. Their way of thinking was heavily influenced by two philosophical giants named Immanual Kant and Georg W. H. Hegel. As you know, American philosophy is money. Kant and Hegel are strange names on American campuses.

    How about Korean philosophy? Even if you do not know anything about Kant or Hegel, you have to pretend to know about them in order to prove you are an educated person in Korea. I think I know something about them. Click here.

    Indeed, the above figure consists of three Kant-Hegelianists.

  • Click here to see how I talked to Einstein.