Wisdom of Korea (2008, January -- June)

What did you do during the Winter Vacation?

Y.S.Kim (2008.1.10)

I hope you had good a holiday break. It appears that it is much easier for me to tell you than asking you to tell me.

Just like you, I organized what I had done during the past year, and made plans for the new year. Among those things, my internet activity is most closely related to you. You receive my mails, and you sometimes come to my webpages.

Right, I spent some time to update my webapges. I seem to have a about 200 html pages, every page needs constant updating. People seem to like my Einstein and other pages covering my research activities. Not less important are those pages dealing with my cultural background, namely my Korean background.

The question is why I have to worry so much about the Korean background. This is the habit I learned from my Jewish friends. Whenever things go wrong, Koreans curse their own background, and lament that they could not shake off Korean dusts. They seem to admire Jewish people for being able to achieve so much. Is it because Jews are intrinsically different animals? The answer to this question is definitely No, and my Jewish friends will agree with me.

The difference comes from how we approach the problem. Whenever Jews face difficult problems, they find solutions from their own historical background. Yes, like us, they reasons to curse their ancestors. One of my Jewish friends jokingly told me Jews have to suffer so much because King David stole the wife of an army captain. But the key is they find their own solutions from their own history and culture.

Tonight, I watched a TV program about how much early Jewish immigrants had to suffer when they came to the United States. Until recently, even these days, American very hostile to those who do not believe in Jesus, and Jews are quite vocal about their own religion. Without compromising their religious belief, they were able to get into the main stream of the United States.

Jews are able to find enough wisdom from their Old Testament to build bridges with the Christian world. Koreans believe in both Old and New Testaments, and there are no barriers against Koreans. Koreans should be able to better than Jews in the United States, if and only if they start finding wisdom from their own culture.

Let me go back to the question of webpages. Making webpages is one thing, but making Americans come to the webpages is another problem. Indeed, this is the most challenging problem for the rest of my life. Based on the number of visitors to each page, Americans find the Korea-related pages most interesting. There they seem to feel something original.

For your information, the most frequently-visited webpage in my site is the page dealing with Immanuel Kant. I was able to construct this page only because I am a Korean. I had to spend more than $3,000 from my fortune to visit the place where Kant was born and spent 80 years of his entire life. The place is also one of the most hazardous places to travel. I took a number of interesting photos from there. I am constantly updating this page. You may be interested in visiting


and click on Kant on the left frame.

Korea's English Problem

Y.S.Kim (2008.1.31)

Korea will have a new president soon, and we expect many changes in the government organization. I welcome his plan to abolish the ministry of science and technology. I also welcome his policy of strengthening English education.

However, can we solve the fundamental problems by changing the number of ministries? Vladimir Lenin is known as a historical figures who attempted to change the world. After his life-long experience, he said one can change the world (presumably the government), but nobody can change the people. Lenin's successors such as Stalin and Beria changed the world by murdering everybody who disagreed with them. In so doing, they had to eliminate most of their talented people. This is how their communism failed.

In one of my earlier articles, I said Korea's ministry of science and technology is the same as the ministry of military affairs during and prior to the Imjin Japanese invasion four hundred years ago. I still stand by my statement.

I know many things, and I am ignorant about more than many things. But I do know about Korean students in the United States. Their most serious problem is that they do not know how to use the language of English after spending seven years in the United States.

These days, Korean newspapers constantly talk about how to provide English teachers in public schools. Perhaps, it could be easier to learn English in younger years. However, can Korean schools provide better English education than the life in the United States? Americans speak English. You have to order food at Mcdonald's in English. You should ask questions to professors in English. You should speak in English to ask bank tellers how much money you have in account.

If Koreans cannot learn English in America, can they learn from their English teachers in Korea? I know how Koreans were in the United States fifty years ago. At that time, they were mostly interested in making their advancements within the United States. This is the reason why they had to manage their English problems. These days, however, most of Korean students here are interested in seeking Gamtu in Korea.

Ever since the Korean government installed its ministry of science and technology in 1965, Gamtu became the main ideology for Korean scientists and engineers. For this line of advancement, you do not have to speak English. This is how Korean students lost their ability to learn English in the best English class available in the world, namely the United States.

Yes, English is important, but Koreans students are not likely to learn it unless it means Gamtu.

Chinese New Year

Y.S.Kim (2008.2.7)

Since Tuesday (February 5), my American friends are saying "Happy Chinese New Year" instead of "Good Morning." Fifty years ago, not many Americans knew the Pacific Ocean existed. They heard about China, but it was as far as the moon even though they fought a bloody war against Chinese troops in Korea. They did not know Chinese had their own history and culture.

These days, Asian Americans are affluent in the United States, and they send their children to expensive universities. American merchants use the Chinese New Year to sell things to Asians and Asian Americans. This is how Americans learned about the Chinese New Year.

In Korea, we call this new year's day "Sul-Nal," and is regarded as the greatest holiday for the Korean race. Perhaps, in North Korea, their Sul-Nal is not as important as Kim Il-Sung's birth day. But their calendars specify lunar calendar days.

In China, their new year's day is very important. But, in Japan, nobody knows about the lunar calendar. Why? When Tokugawa regime lost its control of Japan, Japan's pro-Western politicians promoted their Emperor as the God-like supreme had of the country. They created the story that their imperial ancestor came from the heaven (not Korea) with the Western calendar. By the time Japan took over Korea in 1910, Japan was able to eliminate the lunar system completely.

As you know, I was born when Korea was under Japanese control. At that time, it was illegal to celebrated the Lunar New Year openly. Until 1960, this momentum continued. To many Koreans of my age, it is still a waste to celebrate two new year's holidays. However, as Korea became affluent, this Sul-Nal became the Christmas day of Korea.

I live in the United States. This Sul-Nal became important to me from American influence. Indeed, I intend to have dinner together this Saturday with my family and relatives at an expensive Chinese restaurant.

As far as I can see, Koreans did not celebrate this Sul-Nal fifty years ago partly due to Japanese influence and partly because Koreans did not have money. Koreans say their Sul-Nal is Korea's proud tradition. I do not know how it was 100 years ago, but this tradition was totally reconstructed during the past 50 years. I am not against reclaiming our own tradition and expanding it.

But, Korea had many traditions other than eating, drinking, and giving gifts. Traditionally, Koreans are diligent people. Koreans love to study and learn. Unfortunately, these days, Koreans want to go to first-class schools purely for rapid social advancement.

However, here is the sad truth. Korean students cannot learn things from their teachers. It is not because the teachers are ignorant, but it is because of the attitude of students. Korean teachers these days are much better educated and trained than those who taught me sixty years ago. My younger friends are asking me how I know so much about every thing. My answer is very simple. I learned from my teachers.

Indeed, learning from teachers is Korea's proud tradition. While we are expanding the Sul-Nal tradition so extensively, why are we destroying our tradition of learning from our teachers?

A Yonsei story

Y.S.Kim (2008.3.27)

Last week, I saw a TV news program showing briefly a New York church called "Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church." I forgot what the TV program was talking about, but I remember attending one Sunday service in March of 1960. I was invited to attend the service in commemoration of 100th birthday of Horace Grant Underwood. He was born in 1859, and was sent to Korea in 1885 by the Lafayette Avenue Church.

Why was I invited to this celebration? I do not wish to talk too much about myself, but I have my photo with his youngest grandson on one of my webpages. You are invited to visit by Korean background page.


and click on the second link.

According to the Church's webpage


Horace Underwood set up a missionary college called "Chosun Chritian Church," now called Yonsei University.

Apparently, the Lafayette Avenue Church is still flourishing, and I intend to visit the church again, and put some photos in my website.

After all, why am I working so hard for my webpages? The answer is very simple. My problem is the same as yours.

During the month of March, many students in Korea receive admissions from American graduate schools. All of them complete their PhD degrees, and most of them go back to Korea. Indeed, modern Korea was built by those U.S.-educated engineers, economists, military officers, industrial and financial managers. But not many of them stay in the United States to compete in the academic and research world.

Many people give many different excuses for avoiding the competition, and I also gave many different explanations in the past. If those Koreans face difficulties, I had to go through the same set hrudles in the past. Tonight, I wish to give another explanation.

During the Korean War, many young Koreans got killed on both sides of the battle line. There was a saying that, when a North Korean soldier dies, he shouts "Inmin Gonghwa-gook Mansei," while a South Korean soldier shouts "Baek" (background) when he dies. He shouts "Baek" because he was dying he did not have a "Baek" and was sent to the battle front. I hear that Koreans still talk about this story.

Yes, you need a strong "Baek" to carry on a meaningful life in Korea. If you are in a position to read my writings, you must have some "Baek" of your own in Korea. Then, do you think America is a Baekless society? This is the problem. Koreans do not have enough Baeks to assert themselves in the United States. This is the reason why most

of Korean PhDs return to Korea where they can live comfortably with their Baeks.

How about in the United States? If you do not have Baek, you have to construct one. When I look back 54 years my life in the States, I have been spending most of my time to build my Baek which will work in America. This is quite apparent in every webpage contained in my website. My Korean background page with my photo with Underwood's grandson is also designed to impress Americans.

During the past 300 years, Koreans have been very skilful in fabricating their Jokbos. Use this Korean wisdom to build your own Baek in the United States. This is precisely what I did.

From speaker to speakers

Y.S.Kim (2008.4.14)

When we buy a desktop PC, it comes with two speakers. Yes, all the audio devices these days have two speakers. Before 1950, one speaker was enough for each device. How did the word "speaker" become "speakers," like parents, eye glasses, trousers, etc.?

The concept of speaker is very old. People were interested in making their voices louder, and the history o speakers is as old as that of human civilization. Let us skip this history, and go into the story of producing stereophonic sounds.

In 1953, Japan's NHK radio tested a stereo broadcasting using two AM transmitters. One needs thus two radio receivers to pick up the stereophonic broadcast. It was the occasion of Suwa Nejiko's historic performance of San Saen's violin concerto N. 3. I have a story about her in one of my webpages


NHK also sent out this music program through their shortwave channel monophonically, and I tape-recorded the music using my SW radio and the Ampex taper-recorder belonging to my high school (tape-recorders were very rare and very expensive at that time).

By 1960, Americans developed the multiplex FM broadcasting system which we still use. All these would not have been possible without stereophonic recording. Do you know who developed the stereophonic recording technology?

The first stereo recording was made by Germans during World War II. It was the recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5. The pianist was Walter Giseking, playing with Wilhelm Furtwaengler conducting his Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. German engineers developed a mechanical record-cutting technology which can separate left and right vibrations of the needle ploughing through grooves of the 78-rpm plastic disk.

This first recording gives the beautiful and dynamic sound of Beethoven's music. In addition, this gives out the noise of bomb explosions. While this record was being cut, the city of Berlin was being bombed by American and British planes.

Yet, those Germans, musicians and listeners in the hall, were not disturbed by those life-threatening explosions outside. They knew they were making a historic engineering breakthrough. Their passion for music and engineering superseded the physical danger to them. They were changing the "speaker" to "speakers," while playing and listening to Beethoven's music.

There is a Japanese saying that necessity is the mother of invention. The telephone answering machine was invented by a Japanese man who borrowed money from many people but could not pay back. He was not afraid of getting calls from creditors.

If necessity is the mother, passion seems to be that father of invention. Many people ask me how much I am paid for my network service, including mass mail system and webpages. It takes time and hard work to construct webpages. I do this purely out of my passion for communication, and also for my own satisfaction.

I am mentioning this because I am not able to find many young Koreans with passion for inventing new knowledge. This is precisely the reason why Korea is not making a headway in pure research. But Koreans seem to have an excessive passion for Gamtu. If older Koreans are like that, we can dismiss them for their Nomang symptoms. The problem is that the situation is worse for young Koreans.

As late as 3 years ago, a Korean scientist threatened to physically beat me up for not surrendering my communication system to him. He had a Gamtu at that time. He is about ten years younger than I am. He is not able to see that the communication system like mine is run by passion, having nothing to do with Gamtu.

You do not beat up a man or women ten years older than you are in any civilization. Yes, this is just an incident of one man, but one man is too many. If our young people can change their passion for Gamtu to the passion for research, Korea can produce many Nobels.

Wilhelm Furtwangler

Y.S.Kim (2008.4.17)

While I am writing this article, one of the TV stations is showing a two-hour program of the New York Philharmonic's performance in Pyongyang, starting with the national anthems of North Korea. The NK anthem is very familiar to me because I was a regular listener of the Pyongyang radio when I was in Korea. While I am typing this paragraph, I am listening to the New World Symphony by Anton Dvorak (pronounced Dvorzak). As you all know, the Symphony conductor was Lauren Maazel.

I heard this symphony in 1952 in Busan. It was played by the Korean Navy Orchestra (the only orchestra Korea had during this war time) for American soldiers. Somehow I had a special access to this exclusive event. The occasion was to hear a famous American violinist playing Edward Lalo's violin concerto entitled "Spanish Symphony." I seem to enjoy talking about music. Let me continue.

The conductor of the Navy Symphony was Kim Saeng-Ryeo. Do you recognize his name? Perhaps not. As we are now, you had to be the No.1 to be recognized by Koreans. Koreans did not care about Dvorak because he was not Beethoven. My younger sister is bragging about her brother shaking hands with Gen. Maxwell Taylor shown on my webpage. She is telling everybody I am shaking hands with Gen. Douglas MacArthur, because MacArthur is the only relevant American general.

Likewise, to Korans at that time, Wilhelm Furtwangler was the only symphony conductor Koreans could recognize. Who was he. I mentioned his name in my previous article. He was the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, and all of the Beethoven records in Korea were the recordings of Furtwangler conducting Beethoven's symphonies. It was understandable because Japan was an ally of Germany before and during World War II, and America was not much of classical-music country.

Indeed, Furtwangler was a God-like figure during Hitler's Germany. He was of course immensely talented musician, but his prestige was multiplied by Hitler's political machine. Hitler needed German music and German musicians to drum up his nationalism.

After the War, Furtwangler was tried at the Nuremberg court for his collaboration with the Nazis, but was acquitted. The court dominated by Americans could not sentence him because they could not heart the feeling of music-loving Germans. Germans insisted that he was not a politicians but an artist. Furtwangler was allowed to continue his musical activities everywhere outside the United States.

What is the point of my article? Let me mention another example. Bill Hudnut an American politician who served in the House of Representatives. Before coming to Washington around 1980, he was the major of Indianapolis. Before becoming the mayor, he was a church minister preaching the Bible.

Hudnut became excited to be elected as a congressman and printed his business card. As soon as he arrived in Washington, he went to the Speaker's office to present himself. Tip O'Neill was the Speaker of the House. O'Neill asked this new congressman what his job was. Hudnut replied "I am now a congressman Sir." O'Neill then asked him "What is your real job?"

Yes, you should serve your country if there are opportunities, and if you are capable. Whenever there are elections in Korea, many people give up their fortunes and talents for Gamtu, but most of them fail. As for money, other Koreans can take your money and will become richer. But, the talent cannot be taken by other people.

Let me give another example. Korea's educational system is now in a very messy condition. In spite of the vast amount of resources poured into the system, Korea cannot produce researchers who can compete in the world. Korea had many talented educators in the past with the vision for world-wide competition.

I used to know one of them very well, and I am regarded as his best student especially among the Koreans who hate me. His name was Kim Won-kyu. I talked about him before. He was always talking about Eaton and Harrow, and thus competition outside Korea. You can go to


for the collection of my articles about him.

The question is what happened to his legacy? His influence in Korean education was thoroughly destroyed by nothing other than his greed for Gamtu. Very unfortunate for him, and for his country.

If you destroy you alone, it might be OK. However, it is a very serious crime if you destroy the talent of your country. If you have a PhD degree and stop doing research, you are murdering one PhD of your country.

PS. John A. Wheeler was a very influential physicist of our time. He left us on Sunday, April 13 at the age of 96. Many people are coming to my webpage to see his photos. You may visit


to join the world crowd.

Kaliningrad and Pittsburgh

Y.S.Kim (2008.5.7)

I used to be a regular listener of Radio Moscow in those Cold War days. These days, I watch the TV program called "Russia Today" every day. In recent months, this Russian program talks about their city of Kaliningrad often. This city is Russia's unique non-freezing harbor located in the Baltic wedge between Poland and Lithuania. Before 1945, it was a German city of Koenigsberg which served as the cradle of modern physics. However, after 1945, the city became a Russian city with a Russian name. Furthermore, it was a secret submarine base for the Soviet navy and was completely closed for 50 years.

Russians are talking about this city often because it is now Russia's No.1 commercial/industrial base. The Kaliningrad area imports auto parts and electronic components from Germany and Asian countries and send finished products to the Russian mainland. As you know, Russia is a big country and now has enough money from petroleum exports. Korea's KIA is one of the two auto companies operating an assembly line there. The other auto company is Germany's BMW. Samsung and LG must also be doing good business in Kaliningrad.

I went there in 2005 to study the origin of Kantian philosophy, and constructed a webpage. Since the city is changing everyday, I am changing the webpage everyday. Even if you have been to this page before, you should visit again because it is different now.

About three weeks ago, American TVs talked about the city of Pittsburgh extensively because there was a heated contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the Pennsylvania primary. This city is quite familiar to me because I lived there from 1954 to 1958. Fifty years ago, there were many steel mills in Pittsburgh, and it was sulfur-smelling smoky city.

Since then, those still mills went to Korea, Japan and Brazil. Then what is left in Pittsburgh. I am very happy note that the city was able to use its strong technological base to transform itself into a cutting-age high tech valley, especially in robotics, green energy, and biotechnology.

I am also happy to say that many Koreans went through this America's technology headquarters. I am becoming more nostalgic these days toward my boyhood days. Recently, I started collecting photos of those Koreans who have been to Pittsburgh. Please visit


and click on "Pittsburgh" on the top row. There are then various options on the left column. You can click on Kaliningrad, Pittsburgh, among other places.

What do those cities have to do with us? For you, it is easy to see others but it is very difficult to see yourself. Koreans can use these successful cities as their mirrors: adjusting themselves to the changing world. We Koreans did very well in the past. Then are we without problems? We can also study our problems by looking at the problems those cities are having. We will talk about this next time. In the meantime, look at those webpages. You will learn something.

Two cities and One country

Y.S.Kim (2008.5.12)

Last time, I talked about Pittsburgh and Kaliningrad as two cities going through changing industrial environment. I pointed out further that Korea's situation has been similar to what those two cities are experiencing.

Pittsburgh started with steel industry. After steel mills disappeared those steel worked migrated to other places, and the city lost about 40 percent of its population. Pittsburgh is now a hub of modern high-tech industry, and thus needs more highly educated population. It needs top brains in order to improve its industrial base.

It has an elite university called Carnegie-Mellon, and about ten percent of its graduates stay in Pittsburgh. This is a high percentage, but it is not possible to construct and maintain a modern industrial base. It requires people with many different backgrounds from all over the world. Yet, Pittsburgh is separated from the East-Coast Ivy-League belt by the Allegheny mountains. There are no direct airline flights from Washington to Pittsburgh. It is still regarded as a smoky city. People simply do not want to go to Pittsburgh. Thus, the survival of this city depends on how it solves this isolation problem. Americans usually solve this kind of problem by raising salaries.

Kaliningrad is a small Baltic wedge between Poland and Lithuania. It is blessed with rich natural resources. It produces the best amber in the world. Emperor Nero of Rome was quite fond of amber products from this area (first century). Russia's Catherine II had an amber room in her palace. Like Italy's Venice, this region is protected by two large lagoons providing a resting place for ships navigating in the Baltic Sea.

The Kaliningrad region became so rich that it was able to buy a large chunk of land in the western region of Poland including a city now called Berlin. This new area became Prussia which ate up the entire part of German-speaking region in Europe. As you know, Otto Bismarck was the Prussian general who achieved the unification of Germany.

The city of Kaliningrad was then called Koenigsberg. This city rich enough to buy up top scientists from Europe. Immanuel Kant was born there and spent 80 years of his entire life there. I do not know the exact name of his univeristy, but people call it "the University of Koenigsberg." Hermann Minkowski studied there and completed the Lorentz-covariant form of Maxwell's equations. While he was a professor in Munich, he has an unruly student in his class. His name was Albert Einstein.

Toward the end of World War II, one half of German population moved to western part of Germany in order to avoid Russian occupation. The remaining Germans were all forced to labor camps in the Soviet Union. The Stalin tower of Moscow State University was built by those Germans. Then, Russian and Ukrainian immigrant started making up the population of the region now called Kaliningrad. Soviet authorities used this area solely for their navy base, and nothing else.

The University of Koenigsberg was completely burnt down during the war, and its academic tradition is completely gone with German population. As I said before, Kaliningrad is now playing a new role in Russian economy. It brings in auto parts and electronic components from Germany and Korea. Kaliningradians assemble them into finished consumer products. Thus, this region consists of huge assembly lines for Russia.

Kaliningrad could not survive with naval bases alone. Can it survive with those assembly lines alone? Russians know the answer. They have to construct elite universities. One way to achieve this is to reconstruct the University of Koenigsberg. For this purpose, they changed the name of their Kalingrad State University to Kant State University. This is not enough. They need world-class faculty people.

It appears that Russians seem to know that the only way is to buy up the people from Europe, as the Czarist Russia did, and the old Koenigsberg did. According to what Vladimir Putin says these days, Russia seems to have enough money to do this. The question is whether Russians are smart enough to allocate the money for their scientists. This region has one political advantage. Putin's wife came from Kaliningrad.

Let us come back to Korea. Korea in the past was able to attract young Koreans who finished their post-doctoral programs in the United States. These days, however, only 25 percent of those scientists choose to go back to Korea. Korea cannot survive with this percentage. How can we then solve this problem? The problem seems to be very simple. The living standard in Korea went up substantially, but there were no significant improvements in the pay scale for our scientists.

Korea has enough financial resources to double the salary of every scientist. If this is not realistic, we can still achieve the same purpose by eliminating Gamtu-oriented positions from our scientific community. However, the second method (eliminating Gamtu) seems to be more difficult than the first one. Then from where and by whom? The ministry of science and technology thoroughly failed in the past. It deserve to be abolished.

We need more research along this line. The country's survival depends on this.

I will leave for Europe on May 17, and will be back on May 31. I will bring my hand-held computer with me, but I may not be able to handle job announcement efficiently during this period. I will be in Hungary and Austria, an then in Italy for vacation. I plan to visit Padova, Verona and neiboring areas to study art history.

Grand European Canal

Y.S.Kim (2008.6.1)

I came back from my European trip last night, and I am still tired. I have many stories to tell, but I will be very brief tonight.

When I went to Vienna from Budapest on May 21, I was on a Danube River high-speed boat. It took six hours, and passengers had to drink and exchange many useless talks. It was a ship of fools. I of course was able to present a piece of our Korean Wisdom.

The Danube and Rhine are two major rivers in Europe. Without them, the European civilization would be quite different. The Danube starts from Germany and flows through Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Hungary, and forms the border between Bulgaria and Romania, and goes to the Black Sea, and thus to the Mediterranean. The Rhine River starts from Switzerland and goes through Germany near the French border and the Netherlands Delta, and dumps its water to the North Sea.

Thus, our Korean wisdom forces us to the idea of connecting these two great rivers to make a grand European canal (Koreans think big). Right? But I am not the first one to come up with this idea. In 1992, Germans completed the Main-Danube Canal which connects the Main and Danube Rivers in southern Germany. The Main River merges into the Rhine near Frankfurt.

The Main-Danube Canal is about 100 miles long. I do not know who first came up with this idea, and how expensive it was to construct it. The canal is operational, and we can see many ships with German flags in Budapest.

While talking to Europeans on the Danube speed boat, I pretended not to know about the Main-Danube Canal, and asked those Europeans about the idea of connecting those two rivers. Not many of them were interested in this subject. There was one person who claims to be knowledgeable told me this idea exists among some crazy people, but the canal does not exist. He added that the most economical way would be to connect two rivers to Lake Konstanz surrounded by Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It is in fact an excellent idea, but nobody attempted to build the canal in this way.

Here is the point. Why is the canal is a major political issue in Korea, while it was and still is nothing to Europeans? I have no answers to this question. Perhaps it is because the canal is not too useful to them, and it did not cost too much to build it.

George Will and internet power

Y.S.Kim (2008.6.14)

Do you know who George Will is. He is a newspaper columnist often making controversial comments on what is happening in Washington's political circles. His articles appear often in the Washington Post.

He was born six years after I was, and got his PhD degree seven years after I did. He got his degree at a relatively young age, and started his journalism career as a brilliant young man.

When he started writing in the early seventies, the American political climate was quite liberal, but George Will used to surprise everybody by presenting radically conservative views. These days, the climate is quite conservative, but his views are quite liberal.

This means that his views have been quite consistent since those old liberal days. I could even say that he has some ability to see what is to come in the future.

He appeared recently in one of the TV programs and he expressed his latest views. According to him, money used to be the ultimate tool of power, but it is no longer. The power comes from intellectual power. He was specific but not specific enough to be completely satisfactory to me.

In either case, let me continue the story by presenting my views. The intellectual power should include the communication power where internet plays the central role. During the past ten months, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton went through an intense competition for their party's presidential nomination. Their political views were almost the same. Then what made Obama get ahead of Clinton who initially was in control of the party organization.

Clinton's major effort was to strengthen her control of the party, while Obama was strengthening his internet network. How do can you build an internet power? I do not think there is a manual for this.

Let us go to Europe. Europeans think they will become as powerful as the United States if all European countries unite, and their politicians have been working on this for sometime. Their formula so far has been on economic issue (money issue), but they failed twice in their attempt to write the European constitution.

It is agreed that the ultimate instrument for unification is internet. But politicians do not understand how internet works among people's hearts and minds. This seems to be the European problem.

In Korea, we think we have a democratic system and we hope we can keep it. But recently, there appeared a candle-light power which nobody knows how to control. It is known that underneath those candle lights, there is an internet power.

Some years ago, I angered many people by declaring myself to be the life-time president of the Korean Physical Society. But I clearly knew what I was saying. I was far ahead of my colleagues in developing a network system, and I knew the network is much stronger than Gamtu.

Then there comes the question of how to build and expand one's internet system. The system starts with webpages The internet companies such as Amazon, Google, Yahoo and eBay did well by providing what people need. The Arxiv system also did OK.

As you already know, I put a large fraction of my resources in constructing webpages. I put there what I know about this world. The question is then whether you would be interested in what I put on those pages. This is the most challenging problem for me. You may go to my latest page


to see whether I am making a progress in making my webpages interesting to you. Your comments and criticism will be appreciated.

Architecture and democracy

Y.S.Kim (2008.6.30)

I will be in Athens (Greece) from July 13-15 on my way to Istanbul (Turkey). Since I am interested in architecture in connection with my physics research these days, as is seen in the webpage


I will visit the Acropolis Hill again to do more thinking.

Egyptians built huge stone structures to assert the power of their pharaoh. Athenians built the Parthenon temple to boast off their success in democracy. Throughout the medieval age, the Catholic church built their cathedrals to assert its authority over local politicians. It took Europeans several hundred years to build their cathedrals, under different rulers and different political systems.

We give credits to Italians for Renaissance arts. For paintings, Florence was the place where it all started. For architecture, the Renaissance took place in the Veneto area which forms the hinterland for the port city of Venice.

The most prominent architect was Andrea Palladio. It is very easy to follow what he did. He combined the Greek and Roman traditions. You can go to the webpage


for pictorial illustrations. He started out with rotundas (like the Jefferson memorial in Washington) with Roman roofs and Greek columns. He then mixed them up to create a harmonious combinations. His final work and masterpiece is Teatro Olympica in Vicenza.

The style of Palladio's work has been copied by many people throughout the world. Russia's Romanoff family invited Italians to build Palladian palaces for them in Saint Petersburg. When Japan occupied Korea, Japanese authorities built a huge Palldian building (designed by Italian architects) for their colonial government. This building used to be called "Joong-ang Chung" by Koreans, but was torn down in 1995.

The secret of the Palladian architecture is the harmony between Greek and Roman traditions. If the harmony becomes an important parameter in architecture, Koreans have something to say. Koreans believe in harmony with nature. You may go to the webpage


again to see some examples of the Korean architecture.

Speaking of harmony with nature, Koreans even developed a theory called "Poong-Soo Jiri." It deals mostly with the location and orientation of the house or graves, but it says very little about their shapes, presumable because traditional Korean houses have the identical shape. These days, while houses take various forms, the house shape should be included in our Poong-Soo theory.

Let us now talk about Korea's most prominent house, namely the presidential mansion called "Chung-wa Dae." Its Poong-Soo does not seem to be ideal. When a man enters this house, he is very big, but he becomes very small when he leaves that house. This house makes its resident small. There is something wrong with its Poong-Soo. You would agree that Korea will flourish if it is in the opposite way.

How can we improve the Poong-Soo of this blue-roofed house? If look at that house, you see that its shape is not in harmony with the natural environment. There is a triangular mountain in the background. The house is not in harmony with this natural triangle.

If the harmony with nature is to be the strength of Korean architecture, this blue-roofed house should be redesigned. This could be one way to improve the presidential authority in Korea.

Wisdom of Korea (2008, July -- December)

Earlier eesidents of Chung-wa Dae

Y.S.Kim (2008.7.4)

In may previous article, I talked about Chung-wa Dae's lack of harmony with nature. I will continue the story.

The site was originally chosen by Japanese authorities for the residence of their governor general of Korea, regarded as one of their provinces. Japanese also have their own Poong-Soo theory. Japanese take mountains very seriously. They think mountains have their own spirits serving as the source of strength. Many Koreans also have this kind of thinking.

My high school campus was located near Inwang San in Seoul, and the school anthem starts with "hard rocks of Inwang." When I have to resist tough pressures in the United States, I think of hard rocks of Inwang.

Let us go back to Chung-wa Dae. Japanese thought the authority of Korean kings flow from the triangular mountain to the Kyungbok Palace. In order to cut off this flow, they drew a horizontal line about one third up the mountain. This became the present location.

The original building was in westernized Japanese style with Giwa roof, with western style bedrooms, bathrooms, as well as steam heating system. The roof was covered with Japanese-style Giwa (same as the Korean style), The Giwa had a distinct color. It was green (not blue). I do not know what kind of chemical process they used.

The Japanese governor went back to Japan in 1945. He was of course a thoroughly humiliated person. The commander of the U.S. occupation army moved into this house. His name was John R. Hodge. He was an excellent military man, and an efficient administrator. He fed Korean well and did a very good job in managing public health, but he was very close to an idiot on political matters. He did not know the distinction between Joseph Stalin's democracy and Thomas Jefferson's democracy practiced in his country. He was thoroughly despised by Koreans when he went back to his country in 1948.

The first Korean resident of this house was Rhee Seungman. Rhee was a brilliant politician, but he also made a number of serious mistakes. The first mistake was not to consult his Poong-Soo experts on the house he was about to enter. He should have burnt down that house, and stayed in his Ewha Palace near Dong-dae Moon. Because of this mistake, Rhee also had to leave in humiliation.

In August of 1950, North Korea's Kim Il-Sung secretly visited that house and talked with one of the boiler workers there. I don't think he slept there. If Kim Il-Sung was in Seoul secretly, how do I know he was there? I read one of the North Korean publications later disclosed. In August of 1950, I heard Kim Il-Sung's live broadcast from Seoul. Kim's voice was coming from Seoul's AM radio with 970 khz. At that time, recording and relaying techniques were so backward that one could tell whether the voice was directly from the microphone or not.

While Rhee was there, he had an imperial mind. He was interested in raising a strong army. With his army, he was planning to kick out the communists from the North, and then to invade Japan. He called his house "Kyung-Moo Dae." Fantastic!

After Rhee left, Korea's second president moved in. His name was Yoon Bosun. He was a very humble man from the Yangban class. He did not like the name of his house and asked Koreans to submit a suitable new name for the house. Among the many submitted, he chose the present name. Koreans have a tendency not to see the difference between green and blue. His house had green roof, but was called blue-roofed house. These days, the house seems to have a blue roof. Do you understand the chemical process to make blue Giwa?

Yoon was forced out by Park Chung-Hee in 1961. In 1979, Park left that house in a coffin. I assume you know what happed to others since then.

Today, July 4, Americans are celebrating their independence day. George Washington was an important person for creating this event. Have you been to his private residence? His house was at a place called Mount Vernon in Virginia, about 15 km south of Washington, DC. As the the United States becomes more prominent as the world leader, Mount Vernon is becoming a very popular spot for foreign visitors coming the United State, and I started making a webpage for Mount Vernon. You are welcome to visit


to see what I am talking about. I do not have too many photos there yet, but I will add more in the future. Mt. Vernon is not far from my house. Like to see my house? Go to


I am leaving for Europe on July 6 and will be back on July 22. I will carry my small computer, but my mailing service may not be perfect. I hope you will understand.

Rhee and Constantine

Y.S.Kim (2008.7.28)

I came back from my extended tour of Europe. I went to Marseille and Paris (France), Athens (Greece), Istanbul (Turkey), and Amsterdam (Holland). Unlike my usual trips of attending conferences, it was a vacation trip. I could to whatever I wanted to do. As you know, I always wanted to learn new things and create crazy ideas of my own.

The Turkish city of Istanbul became a major city of the world after Roman Emperor Constantine the Great went there from Rome shortly after his Edict of Milan in 313 AD. He died in his new city called Constantinople in 324.

There are many stories about how Constantine became a Christian and adopted Christianity as the Roman religion. There are also stories about why he decided to move from Rome to Istanbul. I can understand why he adopted Christianity, but I was not able to understand why he had to leave Rome and move to a far-away place in the East.

By 300 AD, the Roman ruling class became quite corrupt, and there were many rebellions against the Emperor, but Christians supported Constantine. Thus, Constantine was able to suppress those rebellions in cooperation with Christians. During this process, Christians formed a strong organization of their own. This was the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church.

Then why didn't Constantine live comfortably in Rome with those Christians? I was not able to find the answer to this question from anyone or anywhere, except from our own Korean history.

Sixty years ago, Rhee Seungman became Korea's first president, but Rhee had to go through struggles after struggles before arriving at this point. He came back to Korea in 1945, but he had to eliminate a very strong communist base. He received cooperations from two major groups. One was a political party called "Hanmin Dang" (Hankook Minju Dang), and "Seobuk Chung-Nyun Dan." The Hanmin Dang was an extension of the traditional Yangban ruling class. It was a very strong political force.

The Seobuk organization consisted of young people who came from the North and wanted to go home after driving out the communists. These young people provided muscle power and fist power against violent communists. They did not have much root in the South, and they eventually joined the Korean army.

Yes, Rhee and Hanmin Dang got along OK, but they became split after the communist base was eliminated. Hanmin Dang was willing to recognize Rhee as the president, but they wanted to have the real power, while Rhee wanted all the power as the president. In the end, Rhee prevailed and Hanmin Dang lost. The reason is very simple. Rhee was enjoying the respect from all Koreans, rich or poor, educated or illiterate, from Honam or Yeungnam. Hanmin Dang, as traditional Yangbans, was isolated from the ordinary people.

>From this story, we can figure out why Constantine had to move away from Rome. By 300 AD, Rome's imperial house was totally isolated from the people, while Christians, through their church organizations, were able to communicate with ordinary people. It was inevitable that the emperor had to lose in the power struggle between him and the church dignitaries.

When Constantine moved to his new city, he did not go with those Christians, but with his military people and construction engineers. With his construction crews, he started building a new church. It took 200 years to complete. This 1500-year-old stone structure is still in excellent shape. It is known as Hagia Sofia, Istanbul's No. 1 address.

Constantine and East Sea

Y.S.Kim (2008.8.10)

In my previous mail, I said Emperor Constantine moved from Rome to Istanbul because he lost in a power struggle with Rome's Christian establishment. Istanbul was a commercial center at that time, but it was nothing compared with the administrative infrastructure available in Rome.

From the Egyptian civilization, Romans inherited the tradition of the emperor commanding a strong army. In addition, the emperor was the head of a strong construction company. Egyptians built pyramids, but Romans built roads, aqueducts, and arenas. When he went to Istanbul, he brought with him his construction company. This is the reason why he was able to start building the cathedral now called Aya Sofia.

This construction technology was inherited by Moslems. Those Moslems moved to Spain and were very busy in construction activities. In Spain, Christians picked up the construction technology those Moslem engineers to develop a new architectural style now called Gothic style.

As you know, Queen Isabella of Spain kicked out all Moslems and Jews from he country during around 1500 AD. But she kept all those Moslem architects in Spain. She needed them to build churches.

More recently, do you know who was the most "useful man" to Adolf Hitler? His name was Albert Speer. He was an architect, and became in charge of constructing the war industry. Speer impressed Hitler by presenting his design of Berlin as the capital city of the world.

Let us come back to Korea. In order to assert the king's authority, Daewon Goon rebuilt Kyoto Palace in order to assert the king's authority. It worked negatively for him because he had to collect taxes from the people.

More recently, did you know Park Chang Hee used Korea's construction industry as his political power base. If you go to the webpage for my Korean background ( http://ysfine.com/kobak ), you will see a photo of Seoul taken in 1950 before the war destruction, and a photo of 1975 (toward the end of the webpage). I do not have a photo of 1960, but it cannot be better than that of 1950 because of the war destruction. Rhee's Chayoo Dang government did not do anything in terms of construction.

Park took over the government in 1961, but he was not able to start his economic machine until 1965, only after he made a peace deal with Japan and started sending Korean troops to Vietnam. Thus, the difference between those to photos of Seoul represents the accomplishment Park made during the ten year period from 1965 to 1975.

Based on this result, Park developed his idea of becoming a life-time president. You know what happened since then.

As for Park's contribution to Korea's construction industry, Park granted a special pardon to a young man who turned out to be an important construction man. This young man was one of the leaders of anti-government demonstration when Park was negotiating with Japan for a peace deal in 1964. He was arrested and convicted for his illegal demonstration. Because of his criminal record, this young man could not get a job in the construction company owned by Chung Joo-Young. Thus, he submitted a petition for pardon to Park.

This man recently became the president of Korea and is called MB in mass media. He is a construction man, but his idea of the Grand Canal did not sail well. But he still has many excellent opportunities ahead of him.

For instance, he can solve the Dokdo problem using his construction resources. Yes, he can transform the island into a livable place, but this is not a practical solution. First of all, its cost will be prohibitive. Secondly, it will unnecessarily provoke our Japanese neighbors.

Then what? Dokdo is close to Wooleung-do. Japanese cannot complain about anything we do on this island. At present, there are no airports there, and there are not reliable ferry services to Wooleung island. But it is possible to convert this island into a resort place, or a temporary hiding place for those corrupt people to avoid investigations. If the transportation to Wooleung island becomes intense, then there will be more Koreans visiting Dokdo. Some of them will eventually settle down there doing business with those visitors.

When I was in Korea until 1954, Cheju-do was thought to be an unapproachable place. Mr. MB should be able to produce be able to produce his construction ideas toward our East Sea.

J. Walter Christie

Y.S.Kim (2008.9.4)

Do you know who Walter Christie was? He was an American engineer born in 1865 and died in 1944. He made a history-making contribution, but his invention was not appreciated by Americans. He was penniless when he died. Why should he talk about him? Let me start with a background story.

I have more than 100 webpages in my website, and I constantly monitor which pages are visited frequently. Recently, my tank page became very popular. You may visit


to see my tank page which has recently been updated and expanded in response to the page viewers.

Why did the tank page become so popular? Last month, Russians sent more than 2,000 tanks to Georgia to show their muscles. The Republic of Georgia and Russia are separated by the Caucasus Mountains. Georgia used to be a province of the Soviet Union, where Joseph Stalin was born.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia became an independent country, and became very close to the United States. Americans need Georgia because it hosts and an oil pipeline which goes from the Caspian Sea to Turkey. Indeed, Russians have enough reasons to sent their tanks to Georgia occasionally. Those tanks make exciting scenes on TV screens. That is the reason why my tank webpage became so popular these days.

Do you know who invented battle tanks? The concept of steel-armored battle vehicles was developed during World War I by British army engineers. Those first-generation tanks were very ugly-looking. As the automobiles became more sophisticated, and tractors and bulldozers became the standard tools for agriculture and industry, battle tanks started taking their shape.

However, it was a difficult to develop a tracked vehicles which can move at the speed of automobiles. Tractors and bulldozers can move slowly, but tanks should run fast. Walter Christie the person who invented this machine. By 1920, America had a solid industrial base for automobiles. Christie found out the problem was with the suspension system, and developed the concept of each wheel having its own independent suspension system. In this way, the tank can maintain its stability while moving fast.

However, the American army bureaucracy did not understand this simple mechanism, and rejected Christie's new idea. As a consequence, Christie sold his technology to Poland and the Soviet Union. At that time, Russia was not a dangerous country to the United States, and American authorities did not care too much about Christie's petty project.

Using Christie's invention, Soviets developed their own tanks. The first tank in the Christie series is called the T-34 model. To Russians, Model T-34 was the savior of their country during their "Great Patriotic War" (World War II). If you meet Russian ladies and like to continue talks with them, mention T-34. This turn them on. Indeed, my tank page starts with photos of this T-34 tank.

These T-34 tanks are very important to Koreans. We all agree that the Korean War (1950-3) was the most significant event in Korea's recent history. On June 25 (1950), Kim Il-Sung started this war by sending 180 Soviet-built T-34 tanks across the 38th parallel near Dong-Du-Chun. These tanks destroyed the (south) Korean army in three days, and marched into Seoul on June 29.

Perhaps I am the first person to (almost) hear about these North Korean tanks. On June 4, three weeks before the 6.25 day, I accompanied my father who was one of the inspectors who went to the Dong-Du-Chun front to see what was going on there. He was a high-ranking officer in Korea's defense ministry in charge of supplies.

These inspectors were interested that the soldiers needed to perform their front-line duties. The inspectors asked the field commanders what they needed most. The answer was that they needed ammunition for their US-made M-1 rifles. They said they did not have enough ammo for target practices.

The inspectors asked another important question. What was going on the other side of the 38th parallel. The answer was that everything is quiet and normal, but they are building a road toward us at an unusual speed. The inspectors asked why? The field commanders said we do not know. Then the answer was dismissed.

On June 25, I was tuned to KBS's daytime program which lasted for one hour from 12:00 to 1:00 PM. The radio told us the broadcasting would be extended beyond 1:00 PM and advised to stay tuned. At 1:10 PM, the radio announced the North Korean "Puppet" army crossed the 38th parallel, and tanks were coming along the Dong-Du-Chun route toward Seoul. I was able to relate those tanks with the road the North Korean troops were constructing three weeks before. They were hidden at a place sufficiently far away from the front line. Please go to


to see those tanks.

There are some lessons to learn from this story.

  1. Korean (south) Korean army was equipped with semi-automatic M-1 rifles with 8 rounds, while North Korean troops used hand-cocked Mosin-Nagant rifles with five rounds. Thus, the South had superior rifles, but rifles are quite irrelevant against tanks. To the South, tanks were beyond their scope and imagination.

  2. Koreans were the not the first ones to make this mistake. When Japanese army attempted to invade Mongolia, they thought their new rifles with diameter 7.7 mm (known to us as 99 shik) were much superior to their old rifles with 6.5 mm (known as 38 shik). But those war makers did not know that Soviets has tanks which were early versions of T-34. The Japanese army got completely destroyed, and their generals were ordered to commit Harakiri (cutting their own abdomens).

    Koreans did not have enough military professionalism to learn lessons from this incident.

  3. Let us come back to Walter Christie who invented the Soviet T-34 tank. American military literature and mass media all tell he had a bad personality and was not able to get along with anyone (perhaps like me). This is the reason why Americans did not use his technology. I do not think it is a correct logic. One's personality cannot be the reason for rejecting his technology. It is more likely the fault of out-dated army bureaucracy.

    It is not the only mistake the U.S. army made. Brig.Gen. Billy Mitchell was the first one who strongly advocated airplanes in the army. He was court-marshalled. He was forced to admit he was a bad soldier in the court.

This sounds like an American story, but this is also an important Korean story. Koreans are notorious about ignoring their own inventions while relying on American or Japanese technologies. This is a great national loss. I can write a long story about this, but you should be able to understand the problem without being told by me.

Korea's construction industry

Y.S.Kim (2008.9.16)

Korea used to receive large sums of military and economic aids from the United States. The military aid program was quite successful from the beginning. However, we had to go through frustrating years on economic fronts. After the Korean War, Americans poured in money and materials, but they could not start Korea's economic machine, due to the corrupt government and the lack of management skills.

Toward the end of Rhee's presidency, the economic planners had two concrete ideas. One was to copy the method North Koreans used, namely their five-year plans. North Korea was ahead of the South at that time, and the five-year plan was the standard communist formula.

Another ideas was to use a new American initiative developed during the Eisenhower administration (1953-60). Americans had their own economic problems. American farms were so thoroughly mechanized that farmers produced excessive amounts of crops. Thus, grains were so cheap that farmers cannot enough money for their crops, not even for their farm machines and fertilizers. Thus, Eisenhower's administration developed a plan of buying up those surplus farm products using tax-payers' money. Of course, the plan was controversial, but the administration justified the plan by using those surplus agricultural products as foreign policy instruments.

Feed the hungry people of the world. They will like us. It sounded good to Americans. Koreans were hungary people at that time, Korea was the first country to receive the benefit of this new policy. The Korean government then developed the plan of constructing roads and bridges by hiring Koreans. The government would pay them with the grains from the United States. This plan was only talked about during the Rhee's presidency, but it was put into effect by Park Chung-Hee. This is the humble beginning of Korea's construction industry.

In the meantime, Americans also became smarter. Instead of relying on the government price supports for their products, American farmers started to feed their cows with those surplus grains. There are now surplus cows and beef. This is the reason why American beef is an important item in American foreign policy these days.

Since the Korean War, military tanks played a major role in foreign policy of the Soviet Union. During the Korean War, Soviets used T-34 tanks which destroyed Hitler's German army. After 1950, they added more weight to the T-34, and developed T-54 and T-55 models. They produced nearly 100,000 tanks of these models. But they did not have a chance to fight in major battles. Instead, they were used to suppress the Hungarian revolt in 1956 and the 1968 democracy movement in Czechoslovakia.

These days, Russian tanks look like ships with wheels. There must be a reason why they designed in that way, but I do not know why.

Last time, I wrote a tank story including Walter Christie, American engineer who ended up designing the T-34 tank for Soviets. I did not do well in writing. There were many typographical errors, and my logic was not so straight. I corrected and shortened the article, and included in the tank page. You may go to


to see the updated page.

I am leaving for Europe today and will be back at the end of this month.

Marx's grave in London

Y.S.Kim (2008.10.2)

I just came back from Europe after spending two weeks there. I spent six days in Lithuania to attend a conference. But I was more interested in studying the history and geography of that country, and I will talk more about them later. Lithuania, Poland, and Belarus form a hinterland for the Baltic city of Kaliningrad (Koenigberg before 1945). As you know, Kaliningrad has been my favorite city for sometime, because it was the geographical base for Kantianism which served as the philosophical base for Einstein and for myself (for you also).

On my way home, I spent three days in London and three days in Brussels. I saw the exhibition for Roman Emperor Hadrian at the British Museum. Hadrian is known as an brilliant ruler, but he was very brutal to Jews. I have many Jewish friends but they do not seem to know too much a•bout him. I think I now have enough information to write an article about what Hadrian did to Jews and the lasting effect of his action.

However, I will talk about it later. I am still tired. While in London, I went to the Highgate Cemetery to visit the grave of Karl Marx. You will be interested in my photo there.

His grave stone says "Workers of all lands unite." I work hard, but I do not think I am one of the workers Marx was talking about. The gravestone also says about philosophers. His opinion about philosophers is exactly the same as mine. You may go to


to see both English version and German version of what Marx said.

Emperor Hadrian

Y.S.Kim (2008.10.9)

When I went to Athens last July, I had a plan to visit the place where Socrates drank his poison. I was thinking of tasting the poison though I was not going to drink the whole bowl. I heard that Socrates died at a place in the Agora park not far from the Parthenon Temple.

It was a frustrating experience for me. I wondered around two hours in the Agora market place, but was not able to find a single sign indicating that place has anything to do with this great philosopher. Agora's environment is quite different from the British Museum in London or the Metropolitan Museum in New York, where Socrates is a very prominent figure.

There is a painting entitled "Death of Socrates" in New York's Metropolitan Museum. I have a photo of myself in front of this painting. You may visit


to see this photo. I was so impressed that I decided to do some research to see whether the story of the crucifixion of Jesus was derived from the poisoning of Socrates.

Instead, the most prominent person in Athens appears to be Emperor Hadrian of the Roman Empire. There were the Hadrian gate, Hadrian library, Hadrian's statue (with missing head) at the Agora market place. Hadrian also reconstructed the temple of Zeus. Athens is a city of Emperor Hadrian.

Hadrian served as the Roman emperor for 21 years (117-138 AD). He was born in Rome and spent his childhood in Spain. He held various government positions in the Greek-speaking areas of the empire, and he fell in love with Greek culture. He was particularly interested in Greek architecture. He also enjoyed travelling.

You do not have to go to Athens to see the trace of Hadrian. When he was not travelling, he constructed buildings. The Pantheon in Rome was built by him. There is a funny-looking structure called "Castel Sant'Angelo" connected to St. Peter's Basilica by a bridge across the Tiber River. This was built for Hadrian's tomb. There is a district called "Tivolli" north of Rome. It was hadrian's play ground.

When he became the emperor, Hadrian was 41 years old and was mature enough to see the world. He realized that the Roman territory was over-extended, and he decided to reduce military expenditure. He was a peace-loving emperor. At his time, the Roman army was fighting against the northerners in Britannia (Scotland), and also in Mesopotamia (Iraq). He built a wall in Britannia (now called Hadrian's wall) and disbanded the Roman army in Britannia. Hadrian decided to withdraw troops from Mesopotamia.

He thus had military professionals from Britannia and well-trained troops from Mesopotamia. He was able to form an elite army in the Judea and Philistine (Israel/Palestine) area. What did he do with his army? I will continue the story next time.

Koreans are somewhat disturbed by Japan's Nobel fortunes these days. In 1978, I wrote an article saying that Koreans should study Poland and Japan for Korea's own prizes. This article was rejected by "New Physics" (a journal of the Korean Physical Society). You would agree that the KPS was very stupid at that time. I do not know whether KPS is any better now.

One month before the announcement of the prize for Nambu and his Japanese colleagues, I set up a webpage for Yukawa Hideki. You may be interested in visiting


to see a photo of Yukawa and Feynman, as well as a story of Japan's first Nobel prize.

I knew my research program has its origin in Yukawa's philosophical base, but I was not able to say loudly in the past because of the prejudice against Japan in fundamental science. I thought the prejudice has now been greatly reduced. That is the reason why I put photos of Yukawa with Feynman and Einstein in my web site.

You may also google or image.google Yoichiro Nambu to click on the color icon to see my photo with Nambu taken in 2003. You may go directly http://ysfine.com/people/nambu.jpg.

Jews and Romans

Y.S.Kim (2008.10.15)

By the time of the birth of Jesus, Julius Caesar had concurred the Judea (present Israel) and started collecting taxes. We all know this from the Bible. Jews had a king named Herod. The Herod dynasty was friendly to Romans.

However, Romans started exploiting the Jewish treasury. As you know, gold was and still is the secular God for Jews. Emperor Nero (54-68 AD) was quite fond of jewelry and precious metals. He was also interested in amber products from the Baltic area which was beyond the Roman control at that time. When I was in Vilnius (Lithuania) last month, I visited the amber market and bought some items. I thought about Nero.

Nero was interested in gold stocks in Judea, but did not have enough military power to take them away from the Jews. Nero was kicked out by his military man named Vesparian who was the emperor for ten years from 69 to 79 AD. Vesparian knew how to use military forces and started taking away the gold from Jerusalem. Jews revolted against Romans, resulting in the struggle at the fortress of Masada in 72 AD.

Romans defeated Jews and took away all the gold stocks from Judea. Emperor Titus (79-81) was Vesparian's son. Titus had enough gold to build a huge colosseum in Rome, which still stands in Rome.

Romans did not stop here. Romans were interested in transforming Jerusalem into a Roman city. They started depopulating Jews from Jerusalem, during the period of Emperor Trajan (98-117 AD). Quite understandably, Jews were not cooperative. Emperor Hadrian (117-138), who succeeded Vesparian, was more resourceful. I talked about him my previous mail.

Hadrian withdrew Roman troops from Mesopotamia (Iraq) and disbanded his army in Britannia in order to consolidate the Roman territory. He used the troops from Mesopotamia and military professionals from Britannia to suppress Jews in Judea. Jews revolted again. The leader of this Jewish revolt was Simon Bar Kokhba. He was regarded as a messiah by many Jews because he was so successful at the initial stage.

Indeed, it took Hadrian's Roman army four years to put down this revolt. This military operation was so bitter to Romans that Hadrian decided to eliminate the Jewish state. He forced all the Jews to the coastal area now called Gaza strip, and sold them to Romans as slaves. He changed the name of this Jewish area into Philistine (now called Palestine). This is how Jews lost their homeland.

I have many Jewish friends, but they do not want to talk about this. For this reason, this aspect of their history is not well known to Jews themselves. I learned this from TV lectures given by Abba Eban who served as the foreign minister of Israel during the most difficult years of his country. He had a doctoral degree in history and wrote a book about the Jewish history.

While Jews do not wish to talk about this aspect of their history, why should I mention? The reason is very simple. We are in danger of losing our northern territory. What is going to happen if Kim Jong-Il dies? In the South, the true answer to this question is that we have no ideas. Our intellectuals are not able to produce a vision of our own future. This is the tragedy of Korea.

I seem to miss Rhee Seungman. When he released North Korean prisoners of war in July of 1953, he told them "I am your president. You are now free." He really talked like a president.

I started making a webpage about Lithuania. You may go to


and click on Minkowski's photo.

Agriculture and research culture

Y.S.Kim (2208.10.28)

When Korean young researchers could not compete in the world, they blame their educational system, their ancestors, and their cultural background. How about blaming themselves?

Yes, there are many problems with the Korean educational system, but Korea is the No. 1 country in the world in terms of pouring their national resources into education. Yes, there are many things in Korea not consistent with Western rationalism. They seem to come from our age-old feudalism based on agriculture.

What is wrong with agriculture as a research culture? Throughout human history, civilizations based on agriculture survived, but others did not. In order to grow crops, you have to first spread seeds and then wait. During this process, you have give water and fertilizers (human wastes until recent past). You need patience.

I have published many papers since 1961, and I still love my research life. These days, I am learning how to use a Linus-based operating system which is likely to replace Microsoft's Windows. It is not an easy process for an old man like myself, but I regard this as a farmer fertilizing his land. If I look back, I can be proud of only those papers based on my Korean agricultural background. Let me stop talking about myself.

The point is that Korean young people have more than enough resources to compete in the world. I am talking about cultural resources. The only problem is their refusal to use them. While Korea's resources are derived from the agricultural tradition, we read these days very disheartening news stories about how high-ranking government officials stole the money allocated to Korean farmers.

In order to compensate Korean farmers, the government appropriated a large amount of budget to those farmers who are in danger of losing their agricultural bases. How can anyone embezzle this their money? More astonishing fact is that there are more than 2,000 officials who voluntarily reported their misdeeds. There must be many more.

We all know that the Korean government consists of bandits, but we thought they take bribes only from rich people. This time, they stole from the money from those farmers who guard our cultural tradition. This total lack of respect also steals the research culture from our young people.

There was a similar atrocity during the Korean War, where many young people died not from the enemy fire but from a mismanagement of government funds. As a consequence, five high-ranking army officers were sentenced to death, and they were shot to death. At that time, this kind of thing would never happen again in Korea. Alas this happened once again. You my go to


and http://ysfine.com/wisdom/wk04.html#040226

to see what happened.

Jews and Koreans

Y.S.Kim (2008.12.1)

As you know, I have written many articles about a Korean man named Rhee Seungman, but I have not finished my series yet. I will do so later. When I was writing about him, Korea's public opinion was thoroughly against him, and my writings were mostly ignored. Let us wait a few more months, and let me write again.

In the meantime, I intend to write about the Jewish people. If you are in the research world, you have to compete with them. As I said many times before, in competition, the winners are those who understand and respect their rivals. This is Sonja's teaching.

In order to strengthen our competitive posture, it is a good idea to study systematically about the Jewish people and their culture. The best way to understand the Jewish culture is to compare it with our own.

Let me start this new series with the conclusions. My concussions are

  1. Jews and Koreans have their own rich histories. There are differences. Koreans were farmers and Jews were merchants.

    (2). Jews and Koreans work hard, but they often face difficulties. Whenever they have difficulties, Jews try to find solutions from their own history. Koreans blame their ancestors.

I have many Jewish friends. One of them has a very interesting character. As you know, I often do things quite differently from others. Whenever he sees something special in me, he asks me whether it is because I am carrying Korean genes. Of course, this is a racist question, but he is diplomatic enough to ask me when I appear to be better than he is. He seems to be quiet when he thinks he is better than I am. He is OK, and I regard him as a charming friend of mine.

How about Koreans? Koreans think Jews belong to a superior race in research, and it is not wise to compete with them. This is a wrong view. First of all, it is a racist attitude discriminating their own people. Secondly, Koreans are in the best position to understand Jews. Most of us have a good understanding of Jewish history from the Old Testament, but we do not make much effort to understand our Jewish friends and rivals.

Furthermore, we should learn more about how Jews survived and flourished after they were expelled from their homeland by Romans during the first century. You will recall that I wrote about this incident in one of my earlier article about Emperor Hadrian. I intend to write a series of articles on this subject for my own education.

In 1978, I wrote an article about this subject and submitted to one of the journals published by the Korean Physical Society, but the article was rejected. This article was written in Korean and was widely read by many Koreans through publications in various other places.

It has been 30 years since then. I thinks I became much wiser. Since then, I travelled around the world. I hope I could do a better job this time for my younger Korean friends as well as for myself. If you have comments or special requests, please do not hesitate to e-mail me. My e-address is yskim@umd.edu.

Abba Eban's Israel

Y.S.Kim (2008.12.14)

Abba Eban (1915-2002) was born in Capetown (South Afrrica), but his family moved to England soon after he was born. He received his PhD degree in history from Cambridge and joined the Zionist movement while in Britain. He went to Isarael after World War II and became active in Israel's politics. He became eleted to Israel's congress called Knesset in 1959. He also served as the president of the Weizman Institute from 1959 to 1966.

>From 1966 to 1974, he was Isabel's foreign minister and became known to the world, especially to Americans. In 1992, he narrated a series of ten one-hour TV programs on the history of Jewish people. This TV programs later appeared as Eban's book entitled "Heritage, Civilization and the Jews."

I watched all of his TV programs, and I have his book with me. I did not read the entire book, but check with this book whenever I have questions. His book is interesting to me because he often talks about Koreans unknowingly while talking about his own people. In other words, Koreans and Jews share many things in common.

Tonight, I will mention the most important aspect of the Jews and also of Koreans. Eban's point is that Jews, in spite of so many adverse conditions, were able to survive and flourish because they are forward- looking people and invest heavily in the future. More specifically in the education of their children.

In terms of children's education, Koreans are cannot be the second to anyone in the world, especially in strange countries. The United States is a relatively a new country to Koreans. Yet, we all know how crazy Koreans are for Ivy league schools. I am a superman among Korean ladies, because I and my son both went to Princeton.

As I said in 1978, there were Korean communities in the Soviet Union. Those Koreans were forced to move to Kazakhstan and uzbeckistan from the Vladivostok area in 1936. While keeping their their farming tradition, those Koreans invested their resources in their children's education. I become very happy whenever I meet those second-generation Koreans in Russia and in other countries.

When I went to St.Petersburg in 2003, I visited a small town called Pushkin (named after their renowned poet) to see Catherine summer palace. There, I spotted a group of twenty children who also came to the palace. I became curious and asked them where they came from. Those youngsters could not understand my English, except two girls of Asian origin. I asked them whether their ancestors came from Korea, and they happily said yes. They said they are sisters and came from Saratov, half way between Kazakhstan and Moscow.

We were very happy and took photos together. The elder sister had a camera. I also had my camera. You are invited to see my photo with them at


and click on "Koreans from Central Asia." You will see other Koreans from Central Asia I met since I started going to Russia in 1990.

The point is this. Those Russian children were not able to speak English, but the two Korean girls could. This means that their Korean parents are determined to send their children to the United States for their education. They will find money in one way or another. Koreans in Russia are also crazy about their children's education. Koreans are not behind Jews or any other minority groups in the education business. Abba Eban was talking about Koreans in his book.

Vienna, Christmas Greetins!!

Y.S.Kim (2008.12.22)

I was very busy. Like you, I had to attend many parties like. I will continue talking about the Jewish people next time. In the meantime, you are invited to visit two new webpages I am working on

http://ysfine.com/wdc/christmas.html for my Christmas greetings,

http://ysfine.com/world and click on Vienna.

I of course carefully monitor what webpages are most popular among those (about 800 per day) visitors. The seem to like the pages for my toys. They are



Happy Holidays!!

When Jews are creative

Y.S.Kim (2008.12.29)

It is said that Jews are creative people. Yes, some Jewish people made important contributions to our civilization. Let us examine how they did. I will talk about a number of those in this and coming articles.

Let me start with the conclusion. Jews become creative whenever they venture into the culture outside their own. I will then discuss how they were able to accumulate their own cultural resources admired by others. I will then conclude that there are no reasons why Koreans cannot do what Jews have done.

We can all agree that Apostle Paul was a creative person. He is known as the founder of Christianity. He was one of the high-class Jews thoroughly against the followers of Jesus. His original name was Saul, and he was very active in persecuting those early Christians. However, he had an eye decease, but was cured by a Greek physician. He then became interested in Greek culture and Greek philosophy, and he found out he was persecuting those under Greek influence. This is how Saul became became a Christian and changed his name Saul to Paul.

After the conquest of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC, the Middle East was under the Hellenic (Greek) influence, and it is quite natural for some religious people to pick up Greek ideas and Greek values. However, Paul was the only educated person who could address the Greek-modulated Jewish values intelligibly to the Roman world which was also under the Greek influence.

I made my point amply clear that Apostle Paul grew up in the strict Jewish tradition. He is now remembered as one of the most creative persons in history simply because he was interested also in the Greek culture totally alien to those orthodox Jews.

Among the Koreans of my age, I am regarded as an abnormal person because I talk about things quite strange to them. It is because I picked up ideas from many different places. In 1951, my father gave me a short-wave radio as a Christmas present. With this instrument, I was in touch with different parts of the world. If I say strange things, I did not create them. I stole them from the places Koreans could not reach or did not want to reach. I have a webpage dedicated to my shortwave readio:


Speaking of the places you cannot reach, most of you cannot go to the Whitehouse ground too easily. I can because my house is about 20 kilometers from that place. Tonight, I was there and took a number of photos of the Whitehouse Christmas tree. You are invited to the webpage dedicated to my house: