Wisdom of Korea (1997, January -- July)


Y.S.Kim (1997.1.7)

What did you do during the vacation? Most of you spent a sizable portion of your vacation time for updating your computer system. So did I. I even created my WWW home page. You are creating your home page for others to look at. Please send your name, name of your institution, your field of specialization, and your WWW URL address to Dr. Eun-Suk Seo [es83@umail.umd.edu].

If you wish to know what this is all about, create on your home page a link entitled "Korean Physicists in the World" with [http://physics.umd.edu/robot/kor.html]. If you reach this web page, click individuals.kor. You may then look at home pages of other Korean physicists.

We have created other helpful links. Many young people are asking me what to do two weeks before going to Japan. They say they read in the past some of my articles on Japan, but not carefully. They like to read them again but they do not have files. We have a solution to this problem. The Korean Web page has a link to a collection of my past articles on Japan. On the Web page, you will also see links to North.Kor, Poland, Russia, and USA.

If you still do not know how to use the web, you can send an e-mail to [robot@physics.umd.edu] with ILBON.KOR, NORTH.KOR, POLAND.KOR, ARASA.KOR, or MIGUK.KOR on your Subject line.

Since 1945, Koreans have been very busy in setting up the country largely under the protection of the United States, and we did not have much time to worry about other countries. Recently, Korea's economic affluence made us isolationistic. This is a very dangerous trend. North Korea has been an isolationistic country, and you know what is happening now.

We all realize that Japan is an important country to us, but our young people do not have any initiative to understand Japan. They say that they were not taught anything about that country in school. They also say that Japanese are unkind to Koreans.

Japanese are not going to change their character because of do-nothing Koreans. However, I seem to know how to make them to become kind to us. For this purpose, I have to explain why many Koreans think I am a strange person. Since I have a straight-forward personality, I am loved by those who like me, while I am hated by those who dislike me. There seems to be a sharp distinction in my case. I know the reason. I am a kind person to them if they know something about me. On the other hand, I appear to have a serious character problem to those who do not know anything about me. These days, many become converted after they find about me by reading a couple of my articles. To me, Japanese are very kind because I know something about them and I keep trying to learn more about their country. This is true for all other people in the world. Russians are very kind to me because I have some knowledge of Russia and keep trying to learn more about their country. Recently, Russians gave me a senior Gamtu (available only to Russians) in one of their academies. Frankly, I do not know what this means, except that they want to be kind to me. Remember this. Russians are kind to me not because I bribed them, but because I keep trying to understand them. Happy New Year!!


Y.S.Kim (1997.1.9)

I spend every year many hours on airplanes. Last summer, I met an American gentleman of about my age during a trans-Atlantic flight. Since I spent most of my adult life in the United States, we had many things to talk about including football players and opera singers. He then suddenly asked me where I came from originally. When I gave my answer, he said Koreans are extremely creative people. I agreed with him and asked him how he reached his conclusion.

He said he is running a real estate (boo-dong-san) firm in California and employes two Korean agents. According to him, these Koreans are extremely creative in ripping off Japanese businessmen who have invested heavily in the United States. He said also that Korean agents have this kind of reputation throughout California.

For many years, Japan has been maintaining a huge trade surplus with the United States. With the surplus money, Japanese started buying up hotels, resort entertainment complexes, and landmark buildings in the U.S. However, during the Reagan administration with James Baker as the Secretary of Treasury, the dollar/yen ratio dropped from 250 to 100 (Japanese will get back only 100 yens after investing 250 yens). To make things worse, the real estate price collapsed in the U.S. 1989. Thus, the disillusioned Japanese business people are now withdrawing their investments from the United States. However, Americans would not let those Japanese to go home with their money. For this purpose, Americans are using Koreans to strip Japanese investors.

If I tell this story to my Korean friends, they say "Great but Not So Great." They say "Great" because they think Koreans are teaching Japanese a lesson, but they say "Not So Great" because Koreans are only servants of Americans doing dirty work against their Asian neighbors.

This event allows us to construct many interesting theories. To Americans, Koreans are creative only when they serve American interest. This is not the way we want to be creative. If you are a research physicist, your own creativity means something entirely different to Americans. This is the hurdle you have to overcome before you appear creative to Americans. Most of our young physicists like to become like Steven Weinberg. They then should know what crucial step they have to go through.

I said many times before that Koreans are always creative when they want to screw up their own people. Japanese look like Koreans in front of Americans. If Koreans are skilful in screwing up Japanese, it is not a surprise to us.

Above all, this event tells us about Japan's basic weakness. As far as I can see, Japanese are very kind and highly disciplined people. But Japan is regarded by the people of the world as a country capable of giving troubles to others. Why?


Y.S.Kim (1997.1.16)

Many Koreans tell me it is totally inappropriate for me to say things about Japan or anything, because they do not want to admit that I know what they do not know. However, they ask me one question. The question is why Japanese politicians keep saying that Japanese are superior to Koreans and Chinese. They should know by now that they have to resign from their posts when they anger Koreans and/or Chinese. Why then do they have to repeat the mistakes their predecessors made?

Let me tell you the conclusion first. If Japanese feel they were screwed by Americans, they have to relieve their frustration by insulting their Asian neighbors. This is not unlike Korea's "No.1" physicists asserting that they are superior to other Koreans after being rejected by the U.S. physics community. Perhaps a more common phenomenon is a man beating his wife at home after being screwed by his business colleagues.

These days, the Japanese stock market is not doing well. Their Nikkei index is around 18,000 while it was as high as 33,000 in 1990. During the same period, the U.S. Dow-Jones industrial average went up from 2,000 to 6,700. Japanese know that the trouble in their financial market started from their real-estate venture in the United States. Thus, it is about time for us to expect another funny statement on Korea from a senior Japanese politician.

You may then think this habit of Japanese politicians started after Japan was militarily defeated by Americans in 1945. No! One hundred years earlier! As you probably know, Japan was ruled by the Tokugawa family from 1600 till 1867. In 1854, an American Naval officer named Matthew Perry came to the Tokyo Bay with nine U.S. warships. While he was only a commodore (equivalent to lt.colonel), he called himself an admiral representating of the U.S. president. He then forced the Tokugawa regime to sign a trade treaty with the United States. The treaty, which granted special privileges to Americans in Japan, was quite humiliating to Japanese.

Some of you will recall that Koreans were very unhappy when Park Chung Hee's government signed a humiliating peace treaty with Japan in 1965, and there were violent student demonstrations against the government. Likewise, in Japan after 1854, many Samurai swordsmen became disillusioned with the Tokugawa rule humiliated by Perry. They overthrew the regime and restored the rule by the emperor in 1967. This is called the Meiji restoration (We call Myongchi Yushin).

The key Samurai during this process was a man from Kyushu named Saigo Takamori. He was like Mikhail Gorbachev who dismantled the communist dictatorship in the Soviet Union but became utterly powerless after the pro-Western politicians quickly gained the power in Russia. Even though Saigo Takamori was the main player in overthrowing the Tokugawa dictatorship, he became powerless soon after the pro-Western politicians took over the Japanese government. He was ordered to commit suicide in 1877.

While Saigo was a credible politician, he argued that the only way to resist the American and other Western influence is to "modernize" Korea and eventually China. At that time, Korea did not even recognize Japan as a country, but he volunteered to go to Korea in order to persuade Koreans to cooperate with Japan. His offer was accepted by the Emperor but was rejected by the pro-Western politicians, and this was the end of his political life.

Saigo Takamori's grand idea was to combine Japan, Korea then China into one country presumably under the Japanese rule. This was a product of his frustration over Japan's weakness against the Western powers. When modern Japanese politicians make the funny statement after being screwed by Americans, they are imitating Saigo Takamori.


Y.S.Kim (1997.1.21)

When we talk about the weakness of Japan, we should keep in mind that we are not necessarily better than they are. We should learn lessons from their strengths as well as from their weaknesses. I will talk more about their weaknesses in my later articles. In the meantime, let us talk about one of our most serious weaknesses.

The Univ. of Maryland is only ten miles from the Whitehouse where the U.S. president lives and conducts his business. The Korean Embassy is not far from the Whitehouse. For this reason, I am somewhat familiar with the culture of Korean politicians visiting this area.

As you probably know, for a Korean politician, his most powerful card in the Korean political game is a photograph with prominent American politicians. It is thus a profitable business to arrange a five-minute meeting between a Korean politician and a well-known American figure. There are many "smart" Korean businessmen who are very skilful in this business.

I was once approached by a Korean professor who wanted to have a photo with the president of the Univ. of Maryland. He did not tell explicitly how much money he was going to give me for the service, but my feeling was that he was thinking of $10,000 to me as a brokerage fee for his nominal donation of $100,000 to the University. Instead of giving him harsh words, I pretended to be stupid enough not to understand his clever scheme. To him, I was an utterly powerless Korean despised by both Koreans and Americans.

From this, you can guess how much Korean politicians are spending for photos. At least one order of magnitude higher than the figure given above. It is completely beyond their imagination to spend that much money for Koreans in Korea.

Japan seems to have a similar problem. When their economic leaders accumulate wealth from dedicated Japanese workers, they invest money in foreign lands. When a baby is born in Japan, you may think that he/she will enjoy all nice things, including delicious candies, pretty clothes, as well as ingenious toys. You are absolutely right! On the other hand, you did not know that the baby comes to this world with the debt burden of $20,000 (per person). It seems to be beyond the imagination of Japanese business elites to spend their surplus money to make up Japan's national debt which is mushrooming at an alarming rate.

Do you think our Korean businessmen are better than their Japanese counterparts? Do you think the Korean science Gamtus are any better?

Wigner's Sisters

Y. S. Kim
Department of Physics, University of Maryland,
College Park, Maryland 20742, U.S.A.

Paper: physics/9703017
From: kim@umdhep.umd.edu
Date: Sun, 09 Mar 1997 11:16:12 EST (5kb)
Comments: Latex, 5 pages, from the preface of the Proceedings of the 4th International Wigner Symposium, edited by N. M. Atakishiyev, T. H. Seligman, and K. B. Wolf (World Scientific, Singapore, 1996).

Aabstract: Paul A. M. Dirac was a great physicist. Wigner used to call him "my famous brother-in-law." How did they become brothers-in-law? Did these two great physicists have the same view toward physics?

I have been asked by the organizers of this Symposium to write about Eugene Wigner's life. Yes, he was a great physicist and was a great human being. I have been fortunate enough to have been associated with him especially in his late years. However, it will require years of full-time research to write his biography if anyone decides to do so. In the meantime, there is a an excellent book about him entitled "Recollections of Eugene P. Wigner as told by Andrew Szanton" [1].

At this time, I would like to define the scope of my knowledge about Wigner by quoting a paragraph from what others are saying about me. In his review of the book entitled "Theory and Applications of the Poincar\'e Group" which I wrote with Marilyn Noz [2], Mariano del Omo has the following paragraph [3].

E. P. Wigner's noteworthy paper [Ann. Math. {\bf 40}, 149-204 (1939)] was the source of inspiration for the authors when writing this book. There is also a remarkable trace of some of Dirac's papers in the book.

According to this review, I am in a position to say something about Wigner and his brother-in-law whose name was Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac. When I was visiting Wigner frequently during the period 1985--90, he had two sisters living in the United States. They were all born in Hungary in a well-to-do family. His elder sister was in Binghamton (New York), and his younger sister was and still is in Tallahassee (Florida). The elder sister's health was deteriorating, and Wigner was always concerned about her and talking about her. The younger sister's name is Margit Dirac or Mrs. Paul A. M. Dirac. She is known as Manci in the physics community. One day when I was in Wigner's office at Princeton, he made a telephone call to Manci in order to say "Happy Birthday" to her. After a brief talk in Hungarian, Wigner laughed and told me Manci was complaining that his call disrupted her shopping trip. He then told me how she became Mrs. Dirac.

Manci was married to a very wealthy man in Hungary. However, at that time in Hungary or perhaps in other parts of the world, it was not uncommon for a wealthy man to have several wives (though not formally allowed). Manci's first husband was a very handsome person in addition to being rich. He was very popular among women. This was certainly not acceptable to her, and she separated herself from him after having two children. In 1934, Manci visited her brother at Princeton. He took her out for a dinner at a restaurant called "Annex" near the campus [4]. While they were enjoying their dinner, Manci spotted a lonely-looking man sitting at next table, and asked her brother who the man was. Wigner then looked at him, and he happened to be Paul A. M. Dirac. They then invited Dirac to join their table. This is how Dirac became Wigner's brother-in-law.

I met Mrs. Manci Dirac 1978 in Miami (Florida) while attending one of the Coral Gables conferences. I had a burning question to her husband, and I abruptly joined the their "husband-wife" conversation in the lobby of the hotel where the conference participants were staying. After I finished the conversation with Paul Dirac, Manci asked me where I came from originally. I told her I came from Korea in 1954 right after high-school graduation. She then told me that I must have been there during the Korean Conflict (1950--53). After I said Yes to her, she asked me how I felt about the result of the inconclusive war which left the country divided. It was quite clear to me that she was extending to a man from Korea her sympathy toward Hungary which is also prone to invasion and dominance by foreign powers, and I gave my appropriate answer to her. While she was talking, I also watched her husband who was a great physicist. He looked amused but did not show any emotion.

I met Mrs. Dirac again in the fall of 1988 while I was visiting Professor Wigner at Princeton. He invited me to join a family dinner consisting of his wife Eileen, his sister Manci, and himself. We all went to one of the "Big Boy" family restaurants in Trenton. Assuming that Manci knew about England because she lived there, I asked her a few questions about the British prime ministers, particularly about Anthony Eden who succeeded Winston Churchill but had to resign after the Suez crisis in 1956. Not many people talk about him these days. She explained to me the events during the Suez crisis like a history teacher, and she had her own opinion about what happened and what did not happen at that time. I do not know her exact age, but she must have been about eighty years old at that time. She sounded like a professional lady of my age.

Eugene Wigner also used to make his views known, and it is well known that not everybody agreed with him on the issues having to do with the communist world. Yet, I have to point out that he told me many many times Mikhail Gorbachev is a great man. Wigner always wanted to live peacefully with the people on the other side of the Iron Curtain. He had a distaste for the communist regime in Hungary, but his passion for his native country was so strong that I had to contact the science attache of the Hungarian Embassy in Washington. As a result, the Hungarian Ambassador invited Wigner to his residence during the spring meeting of the American Physical Society (April 1988) held in Baltimore. The Ambassador, presumably a member of the Hungarian Communist Party, was kind enough to send his own limousine to Baltimore's convention center where the APS meeting was held. He later arranged Wigner's membership in the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The Ambassador's name was Vencel Hazi. He did what he had to do, but I am still grateful to him. Indeed, he was a very good communist.

Let us go back to Manci. I told her that I was invited to the memorial service held at Florida State University (Tallahassee) for Paul A. M. Dirac in November of 1984 and I went there. But I was not able to spot her. I asked her where she was at that time. Her answer was that she was so sad that she did not want to show her depressed face to others. Indeed, she was talking like Queen Elizabeth or Margaret Thatcher. It is quite fortunate for the physics community that Manci took good care of our respected Paul A. M. Dirac. Dirac published eleven papers during the period 1939-46. It is not clear whether he knew Europe went through World War II. In either case, Dirac was able to maintain his normal research productivity only because Manci was in charge of everything else.

On the other hand, we were not fortunate enough to have Manci as a physicist. This is particularly so because there is a gap between Dirac's approach and Wigner's approach to physics even though they had the same ultimate goal in physics. Manci could have filled this gap if she had been born as a physicist. What was then their common goal? Dirac and Wigner both had a distaste for renormalization procedure, and therefore they did not accept the present form of quantum field theory as the ultimate theory. Yet, both of them believed that the uncertainty principle should someday be made consistent with special relativity if not general relativity [5].

During the period 1985--90, Wigner was keenly interested in approaching this problem by constructing representations of the Poincar\'e group using quantum phase-space distribution functions which are widely known as Wigner functions. Dirac, on the other hand, believed that fundamental laws in physics should appear as beautiful mathematics. His publication list indicates clearly that he was quite fond of building relativistic models using harmonic oscillators [6,7,8]. I was indeed fortunate to be able to explains to Wigner what Dirac did, and he used to enjoy listening to me.

Dirac wrote a number of papers on the Lorentz group. His best known paper on this subject is entitled "Forms of Relativistic Dynamics" and is in the special issue of the "Reviews of Modern Physics" dedicated to Einstein's 70th birthday in 1949 [9]. In this paper, Dirac writes down the commutation relations, which he calls the Poisson brackets, for the generators of the Poincar\'e group, and states that "the problem of finding a new dynamical system reduces to the problem of finding a new solutions of these equations." This is exactly what Wigner proposed in his 1939 paper on the "Inhomogneous Lorentz Group " [10]. Dirac's "instant form" and "front form" can be connected to Wigner's O(3)-like and E(2)-like little groups for massive and massless particles respectively [2]. As I said earlier in this report, I had a "burning question" to Dirac in 1978 simply because I wanted to understand Dirac's 1949 paper [9] in terms of Wigner's representation theory. Dirac of course gave me his clear answers in terms of what he said in his own papers, but he was not familiar with the papers written on the same subject by his "famous brother-in-law."

It is somewhat frustrating to note that these two "great brothers-in-law" did not have much communication with each other in physics. On the other hand, I was able to find many homework problems from this gap, and this is why I was able to write my first book. This will explain why Del Olmo made a remark about Dirac's influence on my book with Noz [2,3]. But this story is not restricted to me or to my book. The communication gap between these two great physicists offers a great challenge to many young physicists. Try to establish a bridge between Dirac and Wigner. It may become a very profitable enterprise.

  1. A. Szanton, "The Recollection of Eugene P. Wigner" (Plenum, New York, 1992).
  2. Y. S. Kim and M. E. Noz, "Theory and Applications of the Poincar\'e" Group} (Reidel, Dordrecht, 1986).
  3. M. A. del Omo, Math. Rev. {88a}, 160 (1988).
  4. The Annex restaurant is located on Nassau Street across from the Firestone Library of Princeton University.
  5. M. E. Noz and Y. S. Kim, "Special Relativity and Quantum Theory," Edited Volume consisting of Wigner's papers, Dirac's papers, and others (Kluwer, Dordrecht, 1988).
  6. P. A. M. Dirac, "Quantum Electrodynamics, Comm. Dublin Inst. Adv. Stud." ser. A, No.1 (1943).
  7. P. A. M. Dirac, Proc. Roy. Soc. (London) {A183}, 284 (1945).
  8. P. A. M. Dirac, J. Math. Phys. {4}, 901 (1963).
  9. P. A. M. Dirac, Rev. Mod. Phys. {21}, 392 (1949).
  10. E. P. Wigner, Ann. Math. {40}, 149 (1939).


Y.S.Kim (1997.4.4)

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first U.S. President to visit Korea. He visited in 1960. In December of 1952 (or January of 1953), before his inaugural, he came to Korea as a president-elect. After 1945, he served as the president of Columbia University, and he then became the first commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) before running for presidency.

During World War II, he was the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe in charge of destroying Hitler's war machine. This is how he became a hero among Americans and Europeans. What did he do before becoming the Supreme Commander? He was an obscure colonel, but was made a four-star general by Franklin Roosevelt who was the President at that time.

Can you think of anyone else in history who became promoted from a colonel (no stars) to a four-star general? What is the key element in Eisenhower's promotion? I would like to discuss this issue in response to many emails I receive from my young friends concerning the future of our Korean physics community.

If you watch Verdi's opera "Aida," the Egyptian army had three ranks, namely soldier, captain, and general. These days, there are about twenty ranks in the army, but basically they can be grouped into three as in the case of the old Egyptian army. The dividing line between captain and general is between the major (so-ryung) and the lt.colonel (joong-ryung). Thus, if a major wants to become promoted to a lt.colonel, he has to submit a dissertation, just like a PhD thesis. In the U.S. Army, most of the candidates do their dissertation research at the Army Staff School located in Forth Leavenworth (Kansas). Many of the Korean army officers also studied there. If you wish to become the Korean Army Chief of Staff, you have to go through Forth Leavenworth not far from Kansas City. Two weeks ago, many of you were in Kansas City. Did you know this?

The United States had a smaller army during the 1930s. Eisenhower studied at National War College in Washington. He was inspired by a business man named Bernard Baruch who had a deep interest in economic cooperation among American and European nations. Baruch College of the New York City University System is named after him. When Eisenhower was studying, Germany was becoming a military superpower, and the main issue was how to take deal with this problem. Eisenhower wrote his dissertation on this problem and designed a military unit consisting of the units from many allied countries. In order to be effective, Eisenhower concluded that the unit should be commanded by an American general.

After Hitler started the war, Roosevelt (president) and his military staff felt a need for military cooperation among allied countries. In order to find the man who would command the allied forces, they examined the promotion dissertations written by relatively young offices. Eisenhower's thesis was chosen. This is how Eisenhower got four stars at once. In his thesis, Eisenhower was talking about the job he would later carry out.

These days, particularly after the Kansas City dinner meeting, I receive many emails from my younger friends telling me they will do follow my orders for constructing a worldwide organization of Korean physicists. Obeying my orders is not enough. They should write down detailed plans for their jobs based on their own ideas, as Eisenhower did. I am very anxious to receive those proposals, and I will be very happy to broadcast them.


Y.S.Kim (1997.4.6)

I just came back from New York after spending the weekend there. While in the City, I found a parking spot on the 52nd Street near the 6th Ave. (called the Avenue of Americas). I was then able to walk into a hotel called New York Hilton. These days, this hotel is known as "the hotel" for Korean visitors. I asked the hotel clerk how much the lowest rent is. After some struggle, he found a cheapest room for me. The price per night is $275. I left the counter without saying anything, and went to the second floor where conferences are usually held. There appeared to be two lively conferences.

Until 1969, the American Physical Society used to hold its January meeting at the New York Hilton, and almost all research-productive physicists in the United States came to New York City to attend this meeting. The hotel rent was of course more reasonable than $275. I visited the second floor because the APS meetings were held there.

Until 1969, almost all Korean physicists were in the United States. Thus, the New York Hilton was a meeting place for Korean physicists. I propose that we have a reunion of those Hiltonians. For this occasion, and for no other purposes, I will be happy to spend $275 per night.

These days, young Korean physicists complain that their senior colleagues are always quarreling, and that this is not a good example for them. Yes, some of us have reached the age of showing "Nomang" symptoms, but this is a natural process for all human beings. The important point is that the Korean physics community started as a family-like fraternal society, and we should preserve this tradition.

In 1969, there was one Korean participant from Korea. Prof. Kim Chung-Hum of Korea University was spending his sabbatical year in the United States. He came to the New York meeting. I met him on the second floor of the Hilton Hotel. He was very busy in writing down everybody's address on his pocket book. I thought he was crazy at that time, but I did not realize that I would start doing the same job eight years later. I started editing my computerized address list in 1977.

After he returned to Korea, Prof. Kim sent me a photograph of his family including Mrs. Kim and youngsters. I believe one of the youngsters became Dr. Kim Soon-Wook who studied astrophysics at the Univ. of Texas. I always become happy whenever students from Korea Univ. tell me how they were "kihapped" by Prof. Kim Chung-Hum.

Since then, the Korean physics community became much bigger, but we should keep in mind that the community started as a beautiful family. As I said before, we should plan on having a reunion meeting at the New York Hilton.


Y.S.Kim (1997.4.18)

As the Korean physics community becomes mature, many of us are producing original research results. However, if you are not careful, someone else may claim the originality. Thus, if you really want become a original researcher, you should also learn how to protect yourself against professional piracy. Here, it is easy to blame Americans for ignoring Korean names when important issues come, and I have some experience along this line. However, it is not enough to blame others. After your wallet containing $1,000 is stolen while walking on the street, it is totally useless to blame others.

Furthermore, the nationality is not the major issue. Korean always seem to have a temptation to steal things created by fellow Koreans. American seems to have the same kind of problem with other Americans. The other day, one elderly American physicist came to my office and spent one hour with me. He claims that he did two original works each deserving a Nobel prize. One of the two Nobel prizes went to a wrong person. For the other prize which he deserves, his colleagues are intentionally misinterpreting his work. I am not in a position to tell publicly whether he is right or wrong. However, I listened to him carefully. Of course he talked to me so candidly because he knows that I would be sympathetic to him.

Since he has a strong background in electronics, I asked him a question about the case of Armstrong versus Sarnoff. He told me that there are two things you should never do on professional piracy. One is to spend ten years in the court. The other is to commit suicide. I asked him whether Armstrong did both. He said YES and told me that this is why he is still alive and he is in my office instead of the court. I then asked him why he was in my office. He said holding conferences seems to be a good way of telling the world about his real contribution to science, and asked me how much it costs to run a modest-sized conference.

Howard Armstrong was a pioneer in electronics and invented most of the basic electronic circuits we use these days. David Sarnoff was the founder of RCA (Radio Cooperation of America) was responsible for converting Armstrong's inventions into consumer products, such as radios, TVs, transmitters, amplifiers, and radars.

Sarnoff's RCA was the domineering electronics company until Sony and other Japanese companies emerged after Sarnoff died in 1968. He used Armstrong's patented inventions without paying him a single penny of royalty. As a result, Armstrong staged ten years of legal battle against Sarnoff. After the ten years, he killed himself by falling down from his New York apartment. After his death, his wife continued the legal battle and won the case. However, Armstrong was still a loser.

In my article of September 5, 1994, I wrote about how the electronics industry was developed from Marconi's invention of wireless communication. I spell out what Armstrong did and what Sarnoff did.

Article of (1997.4.23), not on this web page.

April 21, 1997

Prof. (name delted)
Physics Editorial Department II
Tiergartenstrasse 17
D-69121 Heidelberg, Germany

Dear Prof. (name deleted):

I am responding to your email of March 26 (1997). In your email, you advised me to mention "Wigner's Collected Works" edited by Springer when I talk and write about Wigner. I assume that you are responsible for the Springer project.

As you know, Wigner wrote his last seven papers with me. It is possible that you did not know about this before March of 1997, but this was well known to some of the prominent editors in your project. In your email, you used the word "complement" indicating that those last papers were not included in your Springer project.

Since I already know the reason, I will not ask you why those papers were excluded. If I mention your project when I talk about Wigner's works, it will not bring anything positive to Springer for the following reasons.

  1. People will find out that your project does not include all the papers Wigner published (in fact, many people already know this). They will ask you and ask me why. I do not know whether you will be happy to answer this question, but I will not be.
  2. Since I continue publishing papers on the subjects initiated by Wigner, and since I studied at Princeton, I am widely known as Wigner's student even though I say clearly he was not my thesis advisor in my WWW home page. Thus, if I start mentioning your Springer project, there is a danger that people will think I did the Springer Collection (some people already think in this way). This is clearly not what you wish to happen.
In spite of what I said above, I regard your email of March 26 as a very friendly letter. In response, I am giving you my candid opinion. I have written two books and edited a volume on important papers on the Poincare\'e group. In addition, I edited many conference proceedings. I have plans to write more books, and I hope very much we can consider possible future cooperation.

I assume that you have received a package containing copies of the 1991 photo of Wigner and of Bulent Atalay's portrait of Einstein and Wigner. We will send you a copy of the poster for the 5th Wigner Symposium to be held in Vienna this summer. As you probably know, I started this conference series in Maryland in 1986 and 1988. During this process, I made some people very unhappy because I was only interested in making Eugene Wigner happy. This may or may not be the reason why Wigner's last papers were excluded in your project.

Sincerely yours,
Professor of Physics
Univ. of Maryland

Article of (1977.5.7), on on this web page.


Y.S.Kim (1997.5.17)

I came back last night from a brief trip to Los Alamos (New Mexico). I met there many Koreans including Korean physicists. They asked me to convey the following message to the worldwide community of Korean physicists and physics-related scientists.

As you know, Los Alamos National Laboratory was set up during WWII for developing nuclear weapons. For this reason, people still carry an impression that Los Alamos is a top-secret weapons place. It was true before 1950, but not now, especially after the end of the Cold War. The Laboratory is now one of the best research centers for fundamental and applied sciences.

The point is that Los Alamos Laboratory offers excellent opportunities for young Korean physicists who like to spend post-doctoral years in the United States. In the past, a number of young Koreans spent their post-doctoral years at Los Alamos before going home. Dr. Kwon Inhee spent three years there after her PhD from Iowa State University before joining SNU's CTP. Recently, Dr. Kim Hongjoo went to Korea to join SNU's High-energy Experiment group. He spent a number of years at Los Alamos after his PhD from Louisiana State University.

It was a pleasant surprise to me to meet there Dr. Chung Myung Shin. From my email database, I remembered him as a graduate student at Korea University who did his experiment at Kyoto University and KEK. He plans to spend his post-doctoral years at Los Alamos. When I told him how much I know about him, he appeared to be somewhat surprised. But I do not know whether he was happy or scared (hope not). Indeed, Los Alamos is an excellent place for young Koreans especially those who completed their degrees in Korea.

There are a number of senior Korean scientists who hold permanent positions at the Laboratory. I asked them to write their own articles about research climate there. From the conversations with I had with them, I got an impression that the Laboratory administration now has a much more positive view toward Korea and Koreans. The Laboratory developed this positive view because those senior Koreans have been creative scientifically and courteous to others in the scientific community of Los Alamos. Let us thank them, and let us congratulate them.


Y.S.Kim (1997.5.21)

I am getting many inquries about optics these days, my primary business appears to be optics or optical properties of matter. This is not true. I am a particle theorist worrying about internal space-time structure of relativistic particles. I am therefore working on representations of the Lorentz and Poincar\'e groups. These days, those representations are useful in classical and quantum optics.

Indeed, it is fun to rewrite theories of optics using the language of the Lorentz group. In order to market the research products along this line, I have worked with Dr. Daesoo Han of NASA in developing a conference series entitled "International Conference on Squeezed States and Uncertainty Relations". Its fifth meeting will be held next week in Hungary, and its sixth meeting will be held in 1999 in the scenic area in Italy near Capri, Napoli and Sorrento.

My scientific purpose in /this conference effort is to show to the world that Lorentz boosts are squeeze transformations. Dirac was the first one to see this in 1949 by introducing the light-cone coordinate system. In 1973, I started boosting or squeezing harmonic oscillator wave functions using the light-cone coordinate system. This is how squeezed states are generated theoretically. It is fun to see how squeezed states are applied to hadronic physics, optics, polarization physics, superconductivity, statistical mechanics, and classical mechanics. Mathematically speaking, squeezed states form a bridge between physics and the symplectic group.

I will be in Hungary next week and have been invited to talk about Eugene Wigner who was born in Hungary in 1902. Since Wigner left us in 1995, I have been involved in a genealogy/inheritance battle. The strongest weapon in this battle is of course my ability to write new papers on applications of the Lorentz group which Wigner introduced to physics in 1939. The Lorentz group is an all-weather physics and never becomes out-dated. If you are not sure about the future of your research line, please join my research group.


Y.S.Kim (1997.6.5)

I came back yesterday from Hungary after spending ten days there. While I was absent, Mr. Shun-Yong Zinn of the Univ. of Maryland sent out three job announcements. Mr. Zinn will become Dr. Zinn by the end of this August, and his advisor is Michael Fisher. I would like to emphasize again that Mr. Zinn wrote all the software programs for our communication system. Let us thank him.

While I was waiting for a minibus from my Budapest hotel to the Airport yesterday morning, there was a big bus parked in front of the hotel filled with Korean tourists. I was so happy to see them that I climbed into the bus and give them a two-minute speech. I told them that I am so happy to see Koreans from an advanced country. The "advanced country" turned them on. Otherwise, I would have looked like a crazy person.

I told them that Korea was a backward country when I moved to the United States in 1954, and I thanked them for transforming Korea into an advanced country while I was absent. I said I look like a "Chon-Nom" because I came from a backward country. They all laughed but they were able to sense that I am a highly educated person. One of them told me that it is very rare for an educated person talking plainly to "ordinary people" like themselves.

They seem to belong to the "M-1 generation" while young people these days belong to the "M-16" generation. The M-1 rifle weighs about ten pounds, and the M-16 about seven pounds. When I was in high school, I used to handle M-1 like a pencil and I think I can still dismantle/reassemble it while blind-folded. The M-1 people are very proud of what they have achieved, but the M-16 people are complaining that Korea is not yet an advanced country. What they are saying is also true. The absolute truth is however that it is the responsibility of the M-16 generation to complete the job of making an advanced country. You are not going to get anywhere by complaining and complaining.

If you belong to the M-16 generation and think all M-1 people are bad, try to meet some humble people. They are the ones who make the country moving forward. You will be happier if you learn lessons from them.


Y.S.Kim (1997.6.21)

John von Neumann is called Johann von Neumann in Germany, but his original name was Neumann Janos. He was in born in Hungary and received his pre-college education at a small high school called Budapesti Evangelikus Gimnazium (Budapest Lutheran High School).

On June 16, I received a package from this high school containing graduation photographs of the Class of 1920 and of the Class of 1921, together with school records of two famous persons. The 1920 photo contains Wigner Jeno (knwon to us as Eugner Wigner) and the 1921 photo contains Neumann Janos. From their records, I can find out what grade Wigner got in chemistry in his sophomore year, and also what Neumann got in his mathematics in his senior year.

Why did the high school send me those documents? Am I so great? No! They were simply responding to the kindness I have shown to them when I visited the school on June 1, 1997. When I went there I gave them 100 color copies of the photograph of Wigner and his wife taken in July of 1991. If you like to have a copy of this photograph, I will be very happy to send to you. Please send me your mailing address because I cannot send it by email.

Since I talked enough about Wigner, I would like to say tonight a few words about von Neumann. Von Neumann was born in 1903 and died in 1957 at Princeton. He had been a member of Princeton's Institute of Advanced Studies. He went to Princeton with Wigner in 1930. There he developed two new branches of mathematics. The first is called Game Theory which allows economists to formulate quantitative approach to the relation between individual instincts and the overall economic variables.

His most important contribution was to formulate the mathematical logic which electronics can perform. This is the reason why von Neumann is often called the father of computers. He was interested in building the machine which will perform the logic. He thus invited a number of electronic engineers to the Institute of Advanced Study and started making gadgets consisting of many vacuum tubes and transformers. However, the Institute directors decided that the vacuum tubes are too secular and thus not consistent with the objectives of Einstein's Institute.

As a consequence, those engineers went to IBM and other companies and started the computer industry. Indeed, this is the biggest mistake Princeton made. I think, in my earlier articles, I discussed a small mistake made by one of the Princeton personalities, and I hope to discuss more in the future.

Let us go back to von Neumann. He is not a stranger to physicists. In 1932, he wrote a book entitled "Die mathematische Grundlagen der Quanten-mechanik (Springer-Verlag), which was translated into English in 1955. The English title of this book is Mathematical Foundation of Quantum Mechanics (Princeton University Press). As some of you know, this book is the Old Testament of quantum measurement theory. von Neumann did not stop here. He developed the mathematics called von Neumann algebra. This is a language of quantum mechanics taking into account uncertainty caused by entropy due to limitations of measurements. Indeed, this is a very lively branch of physics these days.

In 1995, another person from Wigner's Budapest high school got a Nobel prize. His name is Jozseph Harsyanyi. He got the prize in Economics. If one high school produced two Nobels (Wigner and Harsyanyi) plus von Neumann, it makes us to wonder. Should we talk more about this high school?

In the meantime, the following photos are available.

  1. photo of the high school campus
  2. class photo of 1920 with Eugene Wigner
  3. class photo of 1991 with John von Neumann
  4. portrait of Wigner and Einstein by Bulent Ataley
  5. color copy of the photo of Mr. and Mrs. Wigner which I took in 1991 with my Canon AE-1 camera.
If you like to have one of these packages, send your request to [kim@umdhep.umd.edu].


Y.S.Kim (1997.7.12)

I often hear complaints from Korean engineers and chemists that I work only for physicists but not for them. They are unhappy because their physicist friends get job news while they do not. The reason is very simple. Our physicists have a worldwide communication system while they do not. The ultimate answer to them is that they should construct their own network system.

However, I am the person who knows how difficult it is to construct networks like ours. I also know how difficult it is to transfer communication technology to others. The technology transfer is possible only if there is someone willing to learn at the receiving end. How many of you have enough patience to learn the technology from me?

In the meantime, there is a way to accommodate our engineers and chemists within the present network system. Modern engineering and chemical sciences are based on modern physics. At the same time, for economic reasons, physics is becoming more oriented toward engineering. Before 1970, most of Korean physicists in the United States studied particle or nuclear physics. There days, most of them study condensed matter physics having having to do with optical and electrical properties of matter. It is not uncommon for our physics PhDs to do their post-docs at engineering or chemistry departments. Many of our physicists now seek positions at industrial labs in Korea.

Since the boundary between engineering and physics is disappearing, we have a very simple solution. Let us encourage our engineers to join us as physicists. Yes, they like to maintain their identities. They can do this in their WWW home pages. We do not need a long story. Please tell your friends to send in the following information.

  1. Name
  2. Institutional address
  3. Field of specialization
  4. e-mail address
  5. WWW URL address
to Dr. Eun-Suk Seo [es83@umail.umd.edu].

The WWW program is relatively new, and please send in your URL address even if you are already on our network system. Our WWW headquarters is http://physics.umd.edu/robot/kor.html. Please check our web pages and send in your suggestions for improvement.

For all Korean scientists and engineers in the United States, there is one important question. There is a government-supported outfit commonly known as KSEA (Korean Scientists and Engineers Association in America, or something like this). What is KSEA doing? Some people ask me why I am doing the job KSEA is supposed to do.

The story goes back to 1970. In January of 1970, I met a person named Kim Hyung Ki while I was spending a night at my friend's house in Midland (Michigan). He was a high-ranking official in the Ministry of Science and Technology. He told me that he was making preparations for KSEA and asked me to give my opinions. He already knew about me and knew that I had a skill in organizing things. I told him that his effort will fail if the government attempts to create a Gamtu organization for scientists, because Koreans have a tendency to become bandits once they wear Gamtu. I told him that his ministry should create a low-keyed office for developing and maintaining an information exchange system. He said he understood my point.

In October of 1970, the same person called me and ordered me to attend the first meeting of KSEA to be held next day. I asked him why I was not told about KSEA earlier. His answer was that I was not important enough to be consulted. This was the end of my association with KSEA if there was any. These days, I see KSEA's yearly Gamtu tables from newspapers. Other than that, I do not know what they are doing. Do you know?

In the meantime, I have been developing my own idea which KSEA blatantly rejected. I am now ready to accommodate our engineers. I like them!



I have been sending out copies of the materials I received from the high school which Wigner and von Neumann attended. Due to overwhelming demand (mostly from non-Koreans), I have produced standard packages each containing

  1. photo of the high school campus
  2. class photo of 1920 with Eugene Wigner
  3. class photo of 1991 with John von Neumann
  4. portrait of Wigner and Einstein by Bulent Ataley
  5. color copy of the photo of Mr. and Mrs. Wigner which I took in 1991 with my Canon AE-1 camera.
If you like to have one of these packages, send your request to kim@umdhep.umd.edu.

Not included in this standard package is my picture with Wigner. I send this only to my closest friends. If you think you are one of those close friends of mine, you can so state in your request.


Y.S.Kim (1997.7.13)

I know many of you are anxiously waiting for my story about the Nobel-producing high school in Budapest. My story is very simple and dull. The high school attended by Wigner and von Neumann is exactly the same as your own Korean high school. As I said before, I will be happy to send you a photo of the campus of this high school.

As you know, I used to talk and listen to one prominent Hungarian. He told me enough about his high school and his teachers. At Wigner's time (still these days), Hungary's secondary educational system consisted of exams and exams. When I visited his high school last month, I was escorted by a young theoretical physicist named Tamas Czorgo working at the Central Research Inst. of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. According to him, Wigner scored No. 1 in their national exam for physics. Czorgo told me also that, like Wigner, he scored No. 1 in the same physics exam he took about ten years ago. He seems to feel obliged to do as well as Wigner.

I then asked him, between Wigner and himself, who is more important to him. He said Wigner is. I told him that he is wrong. To Czorgo, Czorgo should be more important than anyone else including Wigner. He then asked me how I think. I said, to me, I am the most important person. We laughed but I think I made an important point to him.

We then talked about a Hungarian physicist named George Marx, and we laughed again. He is a well-known character in physics teaching and has been saying crazy things not quite acceptable to others, but he is OK. I knew about him because he arranged Wigner's last trip to Hungary in 1987, and he knew about me. I met him in Estonia in 1990 and talked about many issues including Korea's educational system. Marx visited Korea and knows about Koreans.

George Marx's niece is an expert on genetics, particularly on genetic similarity between Europeans and East Asians. Marx told me that, according to his niece, the Hungarian genes are very similar (almost identical) to the Korean genes. He then bluntly asked me why Koreans are so anti-creative while Hungarians are so creative. This was an offensive question but he knew that I was not going to get angry. I told him that both Hungarians and Koreans seem to carry the Mongolian genes. I then said Korea has enough creative people whom he does not know about. Marx agreed with me when I said Korea was able to achieve a rapid industrialization because of many many creative people.

As I said in my previous mail, the Korean intellectual establishment is thoroughly corrupted by Gamtuism and more recently by money. The system suppresses new ideas. For instance, my network idea was put down by an official at the Ministry of Science and Technology. Then, is it enough to blame this relatively minor character for the lack of communication system? The answer is clearly NO. If you have ideas, it is your responsibility to prove that they work in the real world.

I get mails often from Korea's talented people who are frustrated. I give the following advice. If you have a talent, you will be the target of hatred. This is true everywhere in the world including Korea. The problem of Korea's talented people is that they seem to give up easily because they cannot withstand the hatred.

Here again, I do not preach what I cannot practice. In order to withstand hostilities, Koreans need stiff side belly. The Korean word for this effect "baet-jang." This concept seems to be unique for Koreans. Even Chinese or Japanese do not understand when I explain this concept to them. In January of 1994, I spent one week in hospital in order to remove my ruptured appendix. While there, nurses gave me many useless injections. One of them tried to poke through my side belly, but the needle would not go through, but it bent. This will tell you how strong my baet-jang is. The nurse had to try a different part of my body (I forgot where it was) to make it through. Remember this. A strong baet-jang is a very essential part of your talent.

Wisdom of Korea (1997, August -- December)


Y.S.Kim (1997.8.5)

I lived long enough to meet many interesting people. Among them are two US four-star generals. In January of 1954, I shook hands with General Maxwell Taylor who was the commander of the U.S. Forces in Korea at that time. I still have a photograph of the hand-shaking scene. I was in my high-school uniform and Taylor was in his combat fatigue.

Taylor later served as the Army Chief of Staff, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the Ambassador to Vietnam during the Vietnam build-up period (before 1965). I was thus able to show off my photo with Taylor to American friends. When the friends asked me what the occasion was, I used to tell a lie that I destroyed one Soviet-built NK tank with a gasoline bottle. This was a joke, but some Americans believed my made-up story.

The following story is equally unbelievable, but is a true story. I shook hands with another U.S. general last month. General John Tilelli is the present commander of the U.S. forces in Korea. He visited the University of Maryland on June 26. I am now old and high enough to exchange jokes with this four-star general, and I felt like "kihapping" his staff members consisting of colonels and majors.

On one of his side arms, General Tilelli was wearing an insignia for the U.S. First Cavalry Division (black horse on yellow background). This unit is now stationed in Fort Hood (Texas). If you are attending the Univ. of Texas in Austin, you should be able to spot the soldiers wearing the black-yellow insignia. In order to impress Tilelli, I told him that he should not be in Korea but should be in Texas. He then said I am only half-smart about the U.S. Army. If a general carries enough stars, he can wear the unit insignia most meaningful to him. In his case, he was the commander of the First Cavalry when the unit was sent to Saudi Arabia during the Gulf-war period, and he was proud of the mission he carried out. Yes, the First Cavalry and the 24th Division formed the main muscle of the U.S. Army in the Gulf region in 1990 and 1991.

In October of 1950, the UN (US and Korean) forces were ready to march toward north to liberate Pyongyang, and the UN Command initially positioned the First Cav. and the 24th Division in the left flank and the right flank respectively, while leaving the first Korean Army Division as a reserve in the rear. This meant that Pyongyang was going to be occupied by American troops first. This was going to be a disaster to Koreans, and had to be prevented at all costs. Under a strong protest from Koreans, the 24th Div. was replaced by the First Korean Army Division, but it was beyond Americans' imagination for Koreans to reach Pyongyang before their Cav. Division. This Cav. Division was initially created as a fast-moving unit during the horse era, and maintained its mobility during the post-horse era. In Korea, the Division was equipped with more than 1,000 motor vehicles including state-of-the-art troop carriers. In contrast, the Korean Division had only 50 Nissan trucks (junk cars at that time).

The race was very simple. Americans are on the wheels and Koreans had to walk. This was how the six-day race began. I would not tell this story if the result had been consistent with what young Koreans could expect these days. Yes, Koreans at that time were creative enough to produce miracles. It was a torturous to walk and run without sleep for six days, but they reached Pyongyang before Americans did. Remember that hard work is an integral part of creativity.

The commander of the Korean Division was Paik Sun-Yup with one star at that time. Two years later, in 1952, he became the Army Chief of Staff. He then became Korea's first four-star general. In 1950, he explained to his troops why Koreans had to get to Pyongyang before Americans, and said loudly "I will walk and you will follow me."

Gen. Paik, who was initially trained as an officer in the Japanese army, never understood why soldiers had to wear neckties. Thus, he always came to ceremonies in his combat fatigue without necktie. He did not carry his pistol, but he always had his water canteen hanging on his belt. Koreans were then quick to produce a joke that Paik was not carrying water in his canteen, but wine or whisky. They nicknamed the canteen as "Paik Su-Yup's Sool-tong." These days, it's official name is "Soo-tong," but our young soldiers do not know the history.

Two years ago, I met a Korean army officer. In order to kihap him, I asked him why the canteen is called "Soo-tong" instead of a more natural word "Mool-tong." To my surprise, he had a clear understanding of its history. He told me he can tell the alcoholic content of the liquid inside by looking at the canteen. I asked him how. He was quite scientific in his explanation, but I do not know whether his theory works in the real world. He said he definitely can tell, and I had to trust him. Who says Koreans lack imagination?

This article was modified and updated on 2000.2.29


Y.S.Kim (1997.8.10)

I have many Japanese friends. Ten years ago, they used to talk as if Japan would take over the entire world, but these days they ask me whether Japan could rise again. Their question comes from the lack of confidence in their business and political leaders. I say that I am not strong enough to solve my own problems, but I am still allowed to voice my opinions. I tell them that while I am not worried about Japan's economic recovery, they have a more fundamental problem, which is their "kokoro" problem.

As soon as you land on the Japanese soil, you will be divided into two parts: one is your "karada" and the other is your "kokoro." The "karada" means your biological body or your animal base. The "kokoro" is the rest of you after subtracting your karada. Perhaps the closest English translation of this word is "heart and mind." The concept of "kokoro" plays the most important role in e-mail. Transmission from one computer monitor to another monitor is a very trivial matter these days, but the transmission from the monitor to the "kokoro" of a human being is the most difficult step. Communication is not complete unless it reaches from one kokoro to another kokoro. I happen to know this principle, and this is the reason why I am ahead in communications.

I usually tell my Japanese friends the following two stories in connection their kokoro problem.

(1). On August 15 (1945), Japan's NHK broadcasted their Emperor's speech to the entire world. The speech came from a 78-rpm disc which was recorded the day before. The record was played at the NHK headquarters which at that time was located at Tokyo's Atagoyama hill about 1 km south of the Emperor's Palace. The place became a broadcast museum in 1956 after NHK moved its operational center to the Shibuya (south-west) district of Tokyo.

When I visited the Atagoyama museum last year, I saw the 78-rpm disc containing Emperor Showa's speech, but I was not surprised. The museum displayed also the radio receiver from which the Emperor heard his own speech. I assume that he had been using this radio in his bedroom during the period of the war against his bitter enemy, the United States. Alas, the Emperor's radio was a product of RCA which was the symbol of American high technology at that time.

Yes, Emperor Showa and his assistants were all Japanese, and they could not get rid of their "hakurai" mentality (everything from the West is better than their own). However, what is the purpose of the museum authorities to display this American radio set? They do not seem to know that this is a disgrace to Japan. This is especially so because Japan at that time had much better radios than RCA's third-class product which their Emperor used.

Then how do I know how good Japanese radios are and American radios are? Before 1950, most of the radio sets in Korea were made in Japan, and I used to repair them using American-made parts thrown out from the U.S. military bases. The most sensitive element in the radio was and still is the high-frequency amplifier. For this purpose, Japanese used the vacuum tube numbered 58 (called go-hachi). Americans used the tube numbered 6Sk7. They perform the same function. Thus I used to replace burnt-out Japanese 58 with American 6SK7. However, they had two different filament voltages (2.5 V for 58 and 6.3 V for 6SK7), and the repair operation required rewinding the power-source transformer. If I have this much background in electronics, I should be able to tell Japanese that they have a serious kokoro problem in connection with their Emperor's RCA radio.

(2). Two years ago, I purchased a Japanese video containing an computer animation of the life of Confucius. The video was well made, and I learned many new things about Confucius. I learned for the first time that Confucius liked music. Everything is OK, except one. The face of Confucius in this computer-constructed video was that of Abraham Lincoln. True, nobody knows how Confucius looked, but he definitely did not look like Lincoln. Japan's Emperor Meiji was a very nice-looking person. To my eyes, he looks much better than Lincoln. It is quite safe to say that Confucius looked much more like Meiji than Lincoln. Perhaps Toyotomi Hideyoshi looked like "Saru" (=monkey, Toyotomi's nickname in Japan), but Japan had many other handsome persons throughout their history. Why then Abraham Lincoln? This video indeed reflects the seriousness of Japanese kokoro problem.

I do not hesitate to tell this story to any Japanese. I told the story to a Japanese gentleman whom I met at a Korean restaurant in the Washington area. He told me that he also saw this video but disagreed with me on the face Confucius. According to him, Confucius in that video does not look like Lincoln but an unknown a Westerner with a thick beard. I agreed with him, but my basic point remained unchanged. I then asked him why the video makers are so stupid. He then said that they are interested in making money and Japanese youngsters would watch the video only if Confucius was so portrayed. He said he knew for many years that Japan has a very serious kokoro problem, and he appeared to feel the kokoro problem much better than I do.

I then asked him what his business was. He said he is a clergy man in Rev. Moon Sun-Myung's Unification church, and he likes Korean food. Moon's unification church does not have much base in Korea, but his movement seems to be very successful in Japan. I do not know how much spiritual backing Rev. Moon receives from Japanese young people, but it is premature to speculate on possible link between Moon's success in Japan and Japan's kokoro problem.

I am of course telling these stories to you because we may have even more serious kokoro problems. I have discussed our kokoro problems in the past, and will talk about more in the future.


Y.S.Kim (1997.8.12)

Many people ask me how long I stayed in Japan. I tell them I stayed there for 20 days. Then they ask me how I know so much about Japan. The reason is that, throughout my high-school years, I was told by my teachers and parents to compete with Japanese. However, I after I came to the United States, I had compete with Americans. Whenever you compete, you have to understand and respect your rivals. This is Sonja's teaching. The United States fought a long and costly war in Vietnam but lost it. It was not because the U.S. was weak, but because Americans never learned to respect Vietnamese.

Japanese are quite proud of being the first Asians to pick up the Western civilization. They claim that they translated many Western books into Japanese, and that Chinese and Koreans picked up Western ideology by reading books written in Japanese. For instance, they claim that Chinese communists learned Marxism by reading Marx's books translated into Japanese. When Japanese claim that Japan is the No. 1 country in Asia, they mean that Japan is closest to the West among the Asian nations.

However, there is one flaw in their logic. While the Western civilization is based on Christianity, Japanese still do not know how to believe in Jesus. In contrast, Koreans seem to expect too much from Jesus. I do not know the cause of this difference, and I do not think anyone knows exactly why Japanese and Koreans are so different on this particular issue.

True! There are many "gazza" Christians in Korea, and Koreans always fight within their own churches. Being a Christian does not necessarily mean that he/she is an ideal person in Korea. Yet, the net effect is that Koreans know much more about the Bible than Japanese do. Since the Bible is the constitution of the Western world, we can claim that we are far more Westernized than Japanese.

This logic works only if we know how to use our Bible knowledge to understand the Western world. Korean Christians use the Bible to establish communication with their God, and this is good. However, how many Koreans use their Christian background to communicate with their Western friends? It is not appropriate to use this network discuss religious issues. However, communication with Westerners is a mighty important issue these days. For this purpose, the Bible could play the pivotal role if we choose to get ahead of Japan. I intend to write a number of articles in the future on this hidden asset which we have. Please, in the meantime, do not hesitate to contact me if you have ideas.

Article of (1997.8.18) not on this web page.


Y.S.Kim (1997.9.2)

I received a number of inquiries about the word "Herod Complex." I introduced this word in one of my earlier articles, but I will explain again. When Jesus was born, his area was ruled by a king named Herod. After hearing the rumor that a new king (Jesus) was born, and he ordered his troops to kill all new-born babies. King Herod could not afford another king.

Being No.1 in his/her class is an honor which makes his/her parents very happy. However, if you were once in that position, you cannot accept anyone else being No.1 throughout your life. As a consequence, you may be led to commit atrocities like Herod. Many young Koreans tell me directly that I sound like Herod when I curse those who claim to be "Korea's No. 1." They then add that I am not likely to commit atrocities because I know that I am a Herod, and that they will feel safe with Herods who know about themselves than those who do not know.

I enjoy listening to this story about myself, but what they say is not true. I do not know I am a Herod if I am, and I am not different from those dangerous Herods. I invented the word Herod complex from Herod- like behaviors of other people. Indeed, for many years, my profession has been taking care of those Herods. My most recent experience is about Eugene Wigner. The issue has been and still is who is closest to Wigner, and I talked enough about this problem.

It is very easy to explain the word "Herod complex" to Americans, Europeans and Koreans because they have a strong Bible background. When I use this word to explain atrocious behaviors of some of the famous physicists, they ask me how I solve the problem. I then tell them that the ultimate solution is to behave like Jesus. They laugh and ask me whether I like to be crucified. It is not easy to behave like Jesus, but this does not prevent us from constructing a model based on what Jesus did.

Jesus was born in the kingdom of Herod, and was crucified by the Roman governor named Pontius Pilate. Instead of fighting against those existing powers, he created his own kingdom, namely the Kingdom of Heaven. Here, I do not want to get into religious issues. What is clear now is that the Western civilization is based on what Jesus preached nearly 2000 years ago, and the Bible still serves as the constitution of the Western world. Indeed, Jesus was the creator of the Western Empire which Koreans and Japanese admire so much.

Most certainly, I am not great enough to create an empire. How many of you are as great as Jesus? Here, however, we can add our Confucian modesty. According to Confucius, you should "build your own house" before making any attempt to build a kingdom. This has been my attitude in physics, and I am in a position to tell my younger colleagues to do the same.

Then where is my house? Recently, I was invited to submit a short essay to one of science magazines in Korea, and I had the pleasure of writing it in Korean. There I explain candidly where my house is, and you are welcome to look at it. The editor told me that this article will be published in the September or November issue. In the meantime, if you are impatient, I will be happy to send you a preprint.


Y.S.Kim (1997.9.3)

On Monday, September 1, I was on a trans-Atlantic flight from Amsterdam to Washington, and I was sitting next to a young man from Greece. He is a graduate of Ball State University in Indiana and is now a software engineer working in the Washington area. He said he did not want to become a PhD because academic people are bad. When I asked him whether he was referring to those ancient Greek philosophers and scientists whom we admire so much. He said YES, and this is the reason why young Greeks do not seek academic life these days.

I did not ask any further questions on this point because I was able to predict his answers. In our own history, academic people committed many atrocities. Furthermore, I have been and still am experiencing the imperfect world created by the academic people. Yet, the winners in the competition make lasting impacts on history. As I said before, you have to behave like Jesus to win.

I then asked him whether he knew there is a strong Greek influence on Christianity. He said YES, and I then asked him whether he can give some specific examples. He said he is not a Bible scholar even though he goes to his Greek orthodox church. He then asked me whether I can give some examples. I then told him the following story from the New Testament.

A crowd of people are all set to stone a woman who got caught in an active adultery. Jesus comes and tells the crowd that the one who does not have any sins can throw the first stone. This scene is an influence of Socrates and Plato who set the tradition of finding the truth through dialogues. I am of course proud of observing this point from my Bible background, but it is highly unlikely that I am the first one to discover this. There were and still are many Christian scholars, and they should have done it.

In either case, I had to go back to the Bible whenever I had become frustrated while talking with my physics colleagues, especially with those high priests. This is how I made the above observation. Many young Koreans complain that I have a strange way of talking to them. Instead of telling them what to do, I ask a series of questions in order to lead to the main point. Here I am trying to imitate Socrates, Plato, and Jesus.


Y.S.Kim (1997.9.8)

Ismet Inonu was the president of the Republic of Turkey during World War II, and he is loved by all Turks because he skillfully kept his country out of the War. He had a son named Erdal who published with Wigner in 1953 the "Inonu-Wigner paper on group contraction." This group contraction technique plays a pivotal role in deriving the internal space-time symmetry of a massless particle as that of the infinite-momentum limit of a massive particle. Together with my Korean colleagues, namely Han Daesoo and Son Dongchul, I wrote many papers on this subject.

Because of his father's name, Erdal Inonu was drafted to the Turkish politics and was the foreign minister when his party was voted out recently from the government. When he went into politics, he donated all of his books to his university assuming that he would never return to physics. As part of my Wigner enterprise, I encouraged Turkish physicists to organize a workshop on group contractions and encouraged Inonu to speak about the paper he is proud of, namely the 1953 paper on group contractions. The Turkish physicists are of course eager to use his prestige to raise money for them. I will be in Turkey next week and will shake hands with Inonu.

Some people say that I was successful in resurrecting Erdal Inonu, and I seem to agree with them. However, Inonu was not the first person I had to resurrect. To me, the most important person I had to resurrect was myslef. Then am I the only physicist who needed a resurrection? It appears to me that every physicist needs it. Then when?

When you are a graduate student, you work on the ideas provided by your thesis advisor. After your post-doc training, you have to produce your own ideas. I regret to say that not many Korean physicists survive during this process. This is the reason why we keep saying that Koreans lack creativity. Indeed, this transitional period is your resurrection period. Jesus stayed in his grave for 40 hours before the resurrection on Sunday morning. If I look back, it took me four years for my first resurrection, even though I spent only one year as a post-doc. This means that I was struggling to resurrect myself while I was an assistant professor.

These days, it is quite normal for young people to spend four years for post-doctoral research. Thus, I am not different from others, and my resurrection experience can be helpful to those young people who are struggling to survive in research. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are interested in resurrecting yourself.


Y.S.Kim (1997.9.10)

If I go to Eastern European countries, ladies of age 40 ask me very intimate questions. They may appear old if you are a student, but they look very young and attractive to me. Is it because I look so handsome and intelligent to them? I am smart enough to know this is not the case. They usually ask me the following questions.

First, how old I was when I went to the United States. Second, how much money I had when I went there. Third, whether Americans were kind to me. And so on.

Typically, the woman of age 40 has a son or daughter reaching the college age. She is asking me the intimate questions because she is thinking of sending her son or daughter to a college in the U.S. Korean ladies do not ask me those questions. They tell me how well they live in Korea and how often they travel abroad. Last month, I had to send Express mails to Austria and Korea. It costs $19 to send it Austria, while the cost was $15 to Korea. It is a routine procedure for Koreans to register at the U.S. universities.

Indeed, we are very fortunate to be so close the U.S. The United States has many internal problems but is still admired by the people of the world. Why? The U.S. rewards hardworking people. This is more true for the students at the U.S. universities. Indeed, many Koreans studied in the United States, and more Koreans will come.

If you came this fall to the U.S. to study physics or engineering, please send your address, e-address, URL address to [es83@umail.umd.edu]. At each major university, Korean students maintain their own directory. We call this Jokbo program. Please update them and link to our directory system. If you do not, I will make "kihap" telephone calls.

The University of Maryland is going through a major computer up-grading process. We expect to invent more ambitious programs.


Y.S.Kim (1997.9.27)

This network system reaches may physicists in Korea. For instance this mail will reach more than 400 e-addresses at SNU. Likewise, most of the physicists at other universities are linked up to this network. Recently, we are making systematic efforts to reach active and dedicated researchers at industrial laboratories in Korea.

This mail will reach many engineers at various labs belonging to the Samsung Empire. I will continue adding more Samsung e-addresses in the future. This will give me some idea of how to expand this network to cover the entire research establishment in Korea. If you have ideas, please let me know. You do not have to be a Samsung person.

As you know, I am very insensitive to Gamtu distributions, and this sometimes upsets my friends. But I know that Prof. Rim Kwan is a very important person in the Samsung research establishment. He got his PhD degree in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University before most of you were born. He spent many years as a professor at the Univ. of Iowa at Iowa City. I visited his house in 1968 without warning while I was driving from Colorado to Maryland, and spent one Sunday afternoon with him. While we were talking, he made the following interesting remark.

In 1941, Japan had the fastest airplanes in the world. In December of 1941, Japanese Mitsubishi fighters (called Model Zero) destroyed all the battle ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Hawaii. From this, Americans learned the lesson, but Japanese did not. Americans started developing airplanes, but Japanese continued building expensive battle ships. From this remark, I was able to develop my statement that Japanese are extremely creative but the problem is that they do not know how creative they are. Some of you will remember my article on this subject.


Y.S.Kim (1997.10.17)

When I was in Turkey, I went to an Islamic mosque and prayed. Before going into the mosque, I had to take off my shoes, and this was not a strange custom for me. I also had to bow down to the floor toward the direction of Mecca. To be quite honest, I felt very good after the prayer.

If I tell this story to my American friends, they ask me whether I could get rid of the sins which I could not get rid of by going to the church. If I tell this to Korean clergy men, they become frightened. They tell me that I was caught by a satan. Did I increase or decrease my sins by praying at the mosque?

We are not interested in religious issues, but we can still talk about books. I have more than ten copies of the Bible of various versions. I also have two copies of the "Holy Quoran" (=Koran) given to me by graduate students from Egypt and Turkey, and I sometimes read them. But it is highly unlikely that I will produce anything revolutionary in either of these two religious doctrines.

However, there was a Christian scholar who was deeply interested in Koran and Islamic philosophy. His name was Thomas Aquinas. I will talk about him in my later articles. The best way to understand him is to find out a person equivalent to Aquinas in our Eastern history. If you are a Korean, you should know who Chu Hee (Chu Shee in Chinese) was. He was a public servant during the Song (Sung) dynasty in China. He was also a Taoist philosopher. While he was exiled in Bog-Kon (Fukien) Province, Chu Hee wrote a series of books before and after 1200 AD on the ideology now called "Neo-Confucianism." In Korea, his ideology is known as Sungri-Hak or Chuja-Hak.

Before Chu Hee, Confucianism was based on manuals on etiquettes telling you what you should do and what you should not do. Those manuals did not explain why you should do certain things and why you should. Chu Hee combined Confucius doctrines and Taoist philosophy to produce one of the strongest ideologies in history. There are many Christians in Korea, but our social order is still dictated by Chu Shee's philosophy. Our young people seem to blame him when they think they are not creative.

Let us get back to Thomas Aquinas. Did he then combine the Bible with Koran. No! There is a more fundamental issue involved. I would like to discuss this problem in later articles.


Y.S.Kim (1997.10.21)

As you know, I do not hesitate to make harsh comments on my colleagues whenever I feel necessary. In general, my articles carry anti-elite and anti-intellectual tones. Why? After all, I am one of those intellectuals whom I dislike so much. Do I then live in contradiction? Yes and No. In order to maintain the support base for my network system, I have to be anti-elite and anti-intellectual. Certainly, I am not the first one to build a support base in this peculiar way.

During the 3rd Century BC, Emperor Chin burned all the books and buried scholars alive. He did this to maintain his empire. Ronald Reagan started his presidential campaign right after he got elected to the governor of California in 1968. The first thing he did was to fire the president of the University of California System. I can list many other examples. In the case of Emperor Chin, the book burning was not fully effective, and most of the books survived. In China, the government never had a full control of the Chinese people.

Likewise, the rulers of the Roman Empire was not sympathetic to the books written by the Greek elites. They did not burn the books but "buried" them in the libraries of Alexandria in Egypt. After the death of Cleopatra, Arabs started moving into Egypt, and they became the owners of Greek philosophy by the time of Mohammed. Prophet Mohammed was born before and died after 600 AD. After his death, it took Moslem scholars sixty years to write the Koran based on what Mohammed preached. It took them 100 more years to formulate the Islamic philosophy. Westerners say that Arabs did not have their own philosophy. True, they simply inherited the philosophy initiated by those wisemen of Greece.

The Koran consists of 114 articles each discussing one subject or virtue in depth with a historical perspective. Based on the series of articles I have written and am going to write, I intend to publish a book entitled "Wisdom of Korea." This book is modeled after the Koran. Many of you have been wondering how I developed my unique style of writing articles. I am imitating those Islamic scholars who used Greek logic to document their own wisdom.

When did then the Greek philosophy come back to the Western world? Thomas Aquinas played the pivotal role. He lived in the 13th century in Italy and France. I hope to continue this story in my later articles.


Y.S.Kim (1997.10.23)

Ever since I started this computer communication system, many Koreans wanted to take away the network privilege from me. Most of them presented to me Gamtu tables where they rank above me. This is an easy way to to get all the credits for the work I do. Unless we get rid of these people, Korea will never become an advanced country. It is not a matter of who is getting the credit. Someone has to do the work.

There are however some young people who have contributed much to the network system. First of all, I have to mention Dr. Shun-yong Zinn who wrote all the software programs for this network system. He is now travelling in Greece and Turkey to study the early days of Christianity. Dr. Zinn will join Samsung in Korea next week and will continue providing innovative ideas on the network system.

Dr. Eun-Suk Seo has been and still is the co-editor of the Directory of Korean Physicists in the United States. Recently, she has picked up the technology of e-mail broadcast, and she will send out her test broadcast as soon as we receive a new job announcement. Dr. Seo will send e-mails from her address .

The participation in our network program is not restricted to any particular class of people. If you are willing to work, there is always a room for you. However, this is a network for physicists and related scientists/engineers. Before making a decision to participate, you should examine whether your network workload will interfere with your research programs.

For instance, yesterday, Dr. Eun-Suk Seo received a letter from Dr. John Gibbons, Assistant to the President (of the United States) for Science and Technology telling her that she has been selected for this year's Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Most certainly, her network duties in the past did not interfere with her research activities. If you get e-mails from her, remember that you are getting them from one of the most respected young scientists in the world.

What is going to happen to Y.S.Kim? I am making preparations to die but am not prepared to retire. I will be around. Please keep sending me your mails as before. If you have a plan to get rid of Y.S.Kim, please send me. I will be happy to circulate.


Y.S.Kim (1997.10.30)

Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a book entitled "Canterbury Tales" in 1387 AD. You should read this book if you wish to understand Britain and British people. Chaucer was an English diplomat who travelled to France and Italy which were more advanced countries at that time. Before joining the government, he studied physics, chemistry, and biology. It is not difficult to see his physics background in one of his Tales.

Two women and three men spend a night in a room with three beds. Chaucer makes permutations of these five people to generate very entertaining stories. Chaucer was not the only British physicist interested in permutations. Most of you have read Dirac's "Principles of Quantum Mechanics," but not many of you studied Chapter 9 of his book (4th Ed.) in detail. There, Dirac discusses permutations of similar particles. I published a paper on this subject in the American Journal of Physics, Volume 48, page 1048 (1980).

My paper was based on a homework problem when I was taking first- year quantum mechanics 40 years ago from Michel Baranger at Carnegie Institute of Technology. I was a senior (4th-year undergraduate) then. Before coming to Carnegie, Baranger was Feynman's student at Cornell and is now at MIT. If you read Feynman's 1971 paper on the quark model (Phys. Rev. D, Volume 3, page 2706), it is not difficult to see that Feynman was interested in Dirac's chapter on permutations and introduced it to his students. It is also possible that Baranger told Feynman about Dirac's permutations.

On his 70th-year celebration, Baranger was kind enough to invite me to join the feast, and I drove to Boston to spend two nights there. While I was coming back to Maryland (on Oct. 25 and 26), I spent one night at a hotel in Connecticut. In the lobby, I met a man from Liverpool (England) while drinking coffee. I asked him whether the Diana incident is an addendum to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. He said this question might offend some British people, and advised me not to relate Diana to Canterbury when I go to England. He added however that I might be an excellent student in his class. I then asked him whether he is a professor. He said he is retired, but was an English teacher (professor) at a small college in Liverpool. He then continued telling me about Chaucer and his Tales. I learned enough from him to tell you the following story about the Tales.

Princess Diana was a perfect character for Canterbury Tales, and all English people have been like this ever since God created England presumably several hundred years before the Christ. They were like that at Chaucer's time and during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Queen Elizabeth II could not cover them up. The man from Liverpool was of course asserting that Englishmen are like those in Canterbury Tales because they are smart and creative.

He then told me that Christianity, Royal Family, Cambridge, and Oxford are all covering up the real British character. As in Korea, those who knew how to write were separated from the real people. Chaucer knew how to write but was creative enough to make a link to the real people. The question then is whether that kind of obscene literature was allowed among those who could read and write at that time. Absolutely NO! However, church authorities were thoroughly corrupt, and Chaucer was largely talking about the lifestyle of the clergy people at his time. As we witness in Korea, a corrupt government cannot punish corrupt individuals.

By the end of the 14th century, the Catholic church in the Western world completely lost its moral authority, and many prominent scholars had to look for other ethical guidelines. This trend led Thomas Aquinas to study the Korean and Islamic philosophy. Did he then become a Moslem? No. What did he do then?


Y.S.Kim (1997.11.9)

I just came back from Zacatecas (Mexico) after spending four days there. I of course went there to visit physicists at the University. They say that Zacatecas is the oldest Spanish colonial city in Mexico and they still preserve a Roman-style aqueduct built by early colonial settlers.

At the University, the psychology building was next to the physics department, and I made a brief visit to see how Mexican psychologists look. In the lobby, I started talking with two students but the crowd quickly grew to about ten curious students. At one point, I told them that I visited a park named after Sigmund Freud while I was in Vienna (Austria) last summer, and that the Freud Park is the ideal place for young boys and girls to have intimate relations. Alas, one of the girls became so embarrassed that her face turned red. We all teased her.

I then asked them whether they know that human beings also have an instinct to fight and win. They all said YES, but I was surprised to hear from one of them that a Chinese scholar named Sun Tsu (Sonja) wrote a psychology book based on this instinct. When I asked him when Sun Tsu wrote the book, he said more than two thousand years ago, and that the title of the book is "Art of War." I was very happy to hear his answer that I old him to explain this to his fellow friends in Spanish, and he did.

This was my fifth visit to Mexico since 1980. Each time, Mexico is becoming a richer and smarter country while keeping their own traditions. Mexicans spend more than three hours for lunch break to allow them to take mid-day naps. But restless young people cannot sleep, and some of them hold mid-day dance parties in open spaces. They typically hold their parties in the town centers and on street corners. Naturally, this is also a popular custom for university students, and they hold rather noisy dance parties on their campuses. I went to one of those mid-day parties to take a few photos, but the students dragged me into the crowd and I had to dance with them.

Mexicans say that everything in U.S. is dollar, but everything in Mexico is fun. Koreans are (at least I am) more like Mexicans. Presumably because of this natural instinct, I became more creative after dancing with Mexican students. I now seem to have a couple of new ideas in physics. Koreans have much shorter lunch breaks, but our students can organize 15-minute dancing parties on their campuses. I strongly propose that we institute this system in order to enhance their creativity.

I wrote an article on this subject in July of 1996. Some readers said I show a "Nomang" symptom there and told me to withdraw the article. I disagree, and I would like to include what I said their that in my series of notes on how to use our Christian background in this competitive world. Read again my article "Creativity Festival" (1906.7.3).


Y.S.Kim (1997.11.23)

The main function of YSNET's Korean program has been and still is to send Korea's physics-related jobnews to most of (if not all) eligible candidates. On the other hand, the system is not yet perfect. One of the problems has to do with the accuracy of announcement. In most of the cases, immediately after the announcement is sent out, we receive the second request to recirculate it with corrections. Why could they not send the first version with error-free information?

In order to cope with this problem, we have a policy of one (and not more than one) broadcast for one announcement. We still accommodate corrections by depositing the corrected version in our robot system. The candidates can retrieve the corrected information from our robot system instead of sending me curse mails. Please check with our robot before taking action.

If this is an isolated instance, it is understandable. If this happens in most of our job announcements, then we have to raise an uncomfortable question of whether we know how to run our universities. This particular problem is due to the lack of coordination between the university's central administration and academic units.

Indeed, our recruiting process is hopelessly antiquated. In all advanced countries in the world, the faculty review process starts from the concerned academic department. If you like know how this is done in the United States, you may send an e-mail to with USA.JOB on your Subject line. You may also visit http://physics.umd.edu/robot to see how other countries are doing.

In Korea, each candidate has to send one ton of application package to the central administration. This stupid process is the remnant of those old days when a nephew or son-in-law of the university president had the priority. Furthermore, the faculty application process is the same as that for the high-school graduates who wish to become freshmen. If the central administration is not able to see the difference between those high-school graduates and their prospective professors, Korea is a hopelessly backward country.

Then, should we only blame the administrators for this kind of mess. No! The authors of the announcements should be directly responsible for the mistakes they make, and they are very apologetic. I do not wish to list their names. Then, are they the only ones to take the blames? No. One country's university is system is not less important than its banking system. We know very well that we cannot solve our banking problem only by blaming our politicians or business leaders. Likewise, Korea's university problems cannot be solved by the university administrators alone. We hope very much that we will not have to ask Americans and Japanese to run our universities for us. Perhaps you may be interested in reading my earlier article entitled "Japan's Immature Capitalism" (1996.2.26).


Y.S.Kim (1997.12.6)

Koreans in the United States worry about their own country, and this is natural. On the other hand, they can help Korea only if they in a position to do so. What I am saying is that I am more worried about the job prospect for our young physicists.

The following story is not printed in Korean newspapers, but is reported widely in the United States. First of all, Americans did not reduce their respect for Koreans and Korean workers, and they are confident that Korea will rise again. But the story is quite different on Korean leaders. Since 1992, the IMF has been sending warning messages to Korea, but Korean authorities kept telling IMF officials that they should talk only to third-world countries, not to Koreans. The Korean finance minister contacted twelve days before the country became completely bankrupt.

This story is quite familiar to me. I have been telling our young physicists they should start developing their own research lines if they wish to be creative. Then they tell me that they are only interested in becoming like Steven Weinberg, and that I should stay out of their way. What they do not know is that, when he was a graduate student, Wienberg was doing exactly what I told my younger friends to do. Then how do I know about Weinberg? The answer is very simple. Weinberg and I had the same advisor at Princeton, even though he was four years ahead of me. What happened to those Korean Weinbergs? Where are they?

For many years, Korea has been a job-producing country, and every US-educated Korean PhD was able to find a position in Korea. Ironically, this is the reason why Koreans stopped developing competitive spirit since 1979. Our young physicists thought they could become like Steven Weinberg while enjoying comfortable life in Korea. This will no longer be the case. Koreans should look for job opportunities in the United States. The only way to improve your job prospect is to improve your own ability to compete and compete. I and my friends of my age did it. Why can you not?

What I hope at this time is that the Korean financial crisis will not damage the morale of our students. The word "Shintak Tongchi" is hurting us all. You will be interested to know that I was a participant of one of the anti-Shintak demonstrations in 1947, and that I came from a country under the Shintak system. I think I did OK, and I want you to do OK.

The word "Shintak Tongchi" was introduced first on December 29, 1945 after the foreign ministers of three countries (US, Britain, and USSR) met in Moscow to decide the future of divided Korea. They decided that Koreans did not have ability to govern themselves and that Korea be ruled by a joint US-USSR commission co-chaired by Lt.General John R. Hodge of the United States and General Terenty Stikov of the Soviet Union. The Commission had two meetings during the two-year period (1946-47) but did not get anywhere. In the meantime, Koreans had to suffer, but most of us made out OK by doing hard work. Read one of my earliest articles "Koreans and Mohicans" (1992.11.30) to see how Korea was under this Shintak rule.


Collection of Letters from the readers (1997.12.8)

Dear All,

As you all already know about our country's economic crisis, why don't we make do something's good for our nation Right Now?

Our trial is very simple; just send some money to our family in Korea. ($100 or so.)

Thus it can be a part of our efforts to share the crisis! Actually, if you do that,then our Exchange Bank has to hold the official record for that money so that in somewhat good role in financial statement.

I've heard that some singapore students are already doing that campaign once in a month now!

Maybe this is small, but think about when things are get together! It must be big to do good thing!

If you have any question about that, please let me know it. Thank you for your reading!

Sender; Kyongok Kang (Graduate student, Kent State U.)
e-mail; kkang0@kent.edu
Tel; 330) 672- 6344


How can I send money to Korea?

I have sent $100 to my mom as a Christmas present last week (I usually do not send cash or expensive items). As a graduate student, this is not a small money. I always use a credit card, which keeps informing me the amount of money spent per month (excluding rent, phone, etc.). My last month's bill was $180. What gives me more load is the bank fee. What my mom got was $75.

I have heard that some Korean banks in New York City do not charge transfer fees for the money going to Korea. If this is the case, it would be much easier for me to send a present to people we care. I hope someone in NYC will find more about this possibility by contacting Korean banks there.

Imseok Yang [imseok@chaos.physics.tamu.edu] Graduate Student, Texas A&M University


More Profitable Approach

I thought it might be better if we do some investment in Korean stocks and/or bonds as well as sending some money to our relatives in Korea. Foreign investors sold Korean stocks when they saw some troubles in Korea which had some snowballing effects. As IMF money starts to flow and situation become hopeful, then people may start realizing that it is a good time to do some bargain hunting in Korean stocks. This may also have some snowballing effects. So intead of sending by hundreds, we may invest in the thousands in Korean stocks for our own benefis as well as for the Korean economy.

Charles Hongchul Kim [chkim@lbl.gov]
Lawrence Berkekely Laboratory


More Fundamental Approach

Reading the message below to send money, I am reminded of another incident when a similar suggestion was made. Just five years ago or so, right after the Rodney King trial in Los Angeles, a city wide riot broke out which to my understanding was more like parts of the L.A. community turning into hooligans looting local shops and causing damage to property. Some of the people targeted by hooligans were the Koreans in L.A. At the time, a call was made to send money FROM Korea TO the USA to the Korean community in L.A. I am not aware of how successful this call was but, I do not doubt that some money was collected. I do doubt, however, that the call to send money solved the problems which caused Koreans to be targeted in the first place.

The suggestion to send money to help the economic situation in Korea is an honorable one. If enough people participate, I also believe the sum can be significant. I myself send money back home, though for other reasons. However, the suggestion seems to me a shortsighted one. As suggested by Dr. Kim in his announcements, there are underlying problems which have caused this situation. In other words, the problem is not a lack of US dollars in Korea. We have been in this situation before, and we can come out of it again. Besides, some analysts have stated that the economic situation has been rolled back to the level of the mid 1980s. But, remember that was when the great increase in the Korean economy and standard of living began.

Instead of sending money, let me make a counter proposal. In a weeks time, there will be the presidential elections in Korea. Elections for the national assembly will follow in a few years. I encourage all those who can to participate in the vote. I also encourage people to encourage other people to vote. I would even go as far to encourage people with ideals who have the support of their community to run for office. In a democratic society, a minority cannot be blamed for difficulties experienced by the majority. We must decide on what we want and accept the consequences regardless of whether the consequences were foreseen or not. It is discouraging to see people, especially young people, who did not vote and yet complain about the situation the nation is in. The rate of voter participation has decreased considerably over the years. If anything this is an indication of the status of the place I call home.

Soun Pil Kwon [S.P.Kwon@iaea.org]
International Atomic Energy Agency
Vienna, Austria


Simple Economics based on Simple Algebra, Y.S.Kim (1997.12.8)

If a person is rich, he/she can afford to drive an expensive car. In Korea, rich people drive expensive cars.

Also in the United States, we can tell how rich a person is by looking at his/her car. Rich Americans drive very inexpensive cars. A simple arithmetics tells why. If you spend less money on your car, you will have more money to save and invest. I cannot teach this simple mathematics to my relatives and friends who visit the U.S. from Korea. I hope our physicists and engineers can understand this mathematics.


Y.S.Kim (1997.12.9)

People talk about my weaknesses and make accusations. Some of them are true. Perhaps my most serious weakness is that I am not able to forgive my personal enemies, quite contrary to the teaching of Jesus.

But some of you make false accusations. It is often said that I copied my initials (YS) from someone else. This is false. I was introduced to the physics world as YS in 1961. See my first published paper, Phys. Rev. Lett. Vol. 6, 313 (1961). I was a graduate student then.

In 1978, a hard-nosed Korean freedom fighter was visiting the United State, and was taking a nap in one of the fifth-floor rooms at Washington's Shoreham Hotel. While he was resting, in the same hotel building, the Korean Ambassador was hosting a big reception where many Korean and American VIPs were invited.

Next day, Korean newspaper reporters asked the freedom fighter why he did come to the reception. He became annoyed and said he did not know anything about the event. He said further he could not understand why the leader of the opposition party should be excluded from the national event like that. He paused for a moment and said "YS is not a bad guy." The YS he was referring to was Ambassador Kim Yong-Shik.

Indeed, this second YS (Kim Yong-Shik) was a career diplomat and was well known among Koreans in the United States and Europe. He was and still is in my father's age. He used to become very happy whenever I and my friends told him that he has very nice-looking daughters. He was indeed a very kind person and was always willing to talk with fellow Koreans. He was definitely not a "bad guy" even though Park Chung Hee thoroughly hated the above-mentioned freedom fighter.

The reporters quickly noted that the freedom fighter also deserved a YS title. This is how the third YS or Y3 emerged in 1978. How can the first YS of 1961 copy the name from the third YS of 1978?

In 1984 or 1985, the Korean Ambassador was Kim Kyung-Won, and the leader of the opposition party was Lee Min-Woo. When Mr. Lee came to Washington, the Ambassador went to the Dulles International Airport to greet him. Indeed, it was one of the happiest events for Koreans in the United States.

I met Dr. Kim Kyung-Won in 1951 when we were together in high school. He used to tell stories about how British MPs (MP = member of Parliament) conduct their business. He later studied at Harvard and got his PhD degree there. He simply practiced what he learned in school. We learn many and enough good things in school. Why do we not practice them? Mainly because many unknown Koreans practiced good things in the past, we made a substantial progress in democracy since 1978.

By now, you should know that the first YS (myself) is also a hard-nosed man. In my first YS paper of 1961, I say quite bluntly that A. A. Logunov was wrong. Who is Logunov? In 1961, he was an active Soviet researcher, but he later became the president of Moscow State University. When we established diplomatic relation with Russia in 1991, Korea started issuing entry visas to Russians. Academician Logunov was the first Russian to get the Korean visa with Visa No. 1.

In 1992, Logunov visited the University of Maryland, I was introduced to him by one of my colleagues. He seemed to remember the 1961 event, and was not friendly to me. When I ask whether Logunov is like King Herod to my Russian friends, they laugh and say that "Herod" is a very appropriate title for him. When I go to Russia next time, I intend to bring copies of my first YS paper and give to my friends. They will laugh.

In 1946, I came from the North to South because I was afraid of those Soviet troops. These days, I can kihap Russian physicists. You would agree that, in spite of all those unpleasant newspaper stories, Korea made some progress. We should of course do more.


Y.S.Kim (1997.12.15)

I am getting many e-mails urging me to collect money from our physicists to send to various places in Korea. Not many of you know that I am an expert in fund-raising, and I know what is involved in this business. I am for sending money to Korea and would like urge you to do so through your local channels, but this will not solve the fundamental problem.

The reason why Korea got into this mess is that Korean business people could not compete in the world without large government subsidies or favors. They will never be able to compete unless our scientists or engineers become able to compete in the world. The only way we can get out of this financial Shintak Tongchi is for you to learn how to compete. We should also learn how to respect research results produced by Korean scientists (we have zero ability to do this). There are no other ways.

This is the reason why I have been urging you to read some of my articles on our own wisdoms which we can use in competing in the world. Indeed, I have been recirculating some of my earlier articles on this subject. I will attach another article to this mail.

The Shintak Tongchi was introduced to Korea at the end of 1945, and we never got rid of it completely. For instance, Korea had about 100,000 soldiers before June 25, 1950. Three days later, the Korean Army had less than 5,000 combat-capable troops. The only way to rebuild the Army was to place it under MacArthur's Shintak Tongchi. Korea's defense is still under a Shintak Tongchi by the United States.

When the Shintak Tongchi was introduced in 1945, Koreans immediately staged anti-Shintak demonstrations. The leader of this anti-Shintak movement was Kim Koo, and the person ultimately responsible for suppressing the demo was John R. Hodge who was the commander of the U.S. Forces in Korea. Hodge was naive enough to threaten Kim Koo with death sentence. In the North, there were no demonstrations, because Soviet authorities did not even threaten. They simply executed the anti-Shintak Koreans.

Kim Koo was assassinated by Ahn Doo-Hee in June 26, 1949. For his funeral day, you may read my earlier article "Music as an International Language" (1995.10.20).

MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATURK - known as Kemal Pasa in Korea

Y.S.Kim (1997.12.17)

If you visit the home page of the Time magazine, you will be invited to vote for five persons who shaped up the 20th century. Visit WWW http://www.time.com. You will see a box saying

TIME 100 Poll
Who defines the 20th Century?

Before voting, you may be interested in how people voted before you did. For this purpose, you may press appropriate keys. Alas! You will note that the person named Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is leading in two of the five categories. I voted for him for one category, and I voted Mao Zedong, Henry Ford, Elvis Presley, and Richard Feynman for other categories. Who is then Ataturk?

When I was in Turkey last September, my host was nice enough to put me in a hotel on the west bank of the Bosporus Strait which lies between Asia and Europe. I was able to see Asia from Europe through my hotel windows, and watch many ships of various nationalities passing through the straight. I also spent one afternoon in the city center of Istanbul. There is a big statue of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Next to Ataturk, there was a young man named Ismet Inonu. As I said in one of my earlier articles, I went to Turkey to do some business with Ismet's son named Erdal who wrote group contraction papers with Eugene Wigner. Ismet Inonu was the president of the Republic of Turkey from 1938 to 1950. He succeeded Ataturk who was the president from 1922 until he died in 1938. While I was in Istanbul, I was thinking about writing this article. Then why now?

Let us get to the main point. Why is Ataturk so great? The answer to this question is very easy for Koreans to understand, but Americans and Europeans will never. He used to be known as Kemal Pasa to Koreans and was a very popular figure among Koreans before 1950. He got rid of the Shintak Tongchi imposed on Turkey by Britain, France and Russia after Ottoman Turkey was defeated in World War I. Koreans also wanted get rid of their Shintak rule.

He was a military man in Ottoman Turkey. But, after 1919, he organized enough military muscle to throw out foreign powers and set up a consti- tutional republic known today as the Republic of Turkey. He was the first president and was a dictator. He forced Turkish women to vote. He imposed the law forbidding a man to have more than one wife. Ataturk also enforced the separation of the government from Islamic religion. Truly, he was a great man for Turkey. Turkish people still have a strong passion to Kemal Pasa, and those Time magazine votes are believed to have come mostly from Turks.

In 1950, Turkey sent 5,000 troops to Korea, and many of them lost their lives. One of them lost his life in the following way. He did not treat a Korean girl nicely and was caught by Korean police. The Turkish commander demanded that he be punished according to the Turkish military code. Knowing that Turkish laws are harsh, Koreans handed him over to the Turkish command with the condition that he be not given death penalty on the Korean soil. The Turks agreed. They then rented a boat and sailed 12 miles away to international water. There they hung him to death.

Turks are very proud of themselves, and they are proud enough to make Mustafa Kemal Ataturk the hero of the 20th Century. Indeed, the world will be shocked when the Time magazine announces the result of the votes next March. You can now see how powerful VOTE is. Turks are smart enough to translate their pride into vote.


Y.S.Kim (1997.12.30)

These days, every Korean is worrying about Korea's financial crises. To most of our scientists and engineers, it is still a newspaper story. However, sooner of later, it will translate itself into our job prospect and job security. To the question of how to cope with this problem, I have already given my answer in one of my earlier articles. Improve your ability to compete in the world. The only way to improve your job prospect is to improve yourself, because it is much easier for you to improve yourself than changing the world or becoming the president of your country.

Furthermore, you should understand where you stand in this capitalistic world. In 1848, Karl Marx wrote a book called "Das Kapital" in which he introduced the word "surplus value." If you manufacture bricks from clays, you make a profit from the price difference between these two commodities. This profit is called the surplus value. Marx then argued that you have to put in manual work to produce this surplus value. Thus, the labor is equivalent to money.

Marx however did not preach properly how to manage this surplus value. According to Marx, since the surplus value was created by workers, they should be the sole owners of the surplus values created by them. In order to achieve this goal, Marx and Engels said "the proletariat of the world! Unite!" This was how communism was created. Unfortunately, in the past, communist dictators thought they should be the owners of the surplus values and they failed.

It appears that capitalists have a much better understanding of Marx's surplus value. When you repair your automobile in the United States, the repair shop gives you a statement itemizing materials and labor charges. If the labor charge is $80/hour, the worker usually gets $40. It is clearly understood that the remaining $40 goes to secretarial expenses, building maintenance, salaries of administrators, purchase of new equipment, and profit to stock holders.

Let us note another mistake made by a communists. China's Mao Zedong thought he was a Marxist, and he thought he could transform China's vast labor resources into money. He ordered every family to build an iron crucible in the backyard to produce iron and steal. This happened in the 1960s. But he did not realize that he was forcing his people to use the technology of Emperor Chin's China (300 BC). Mao did not know manual labor is not enough in the 20th century.

How do Koreans understand Marx's surplus value these days? When I ask young Koreans whether they heard about Marx's surplus value, they say YES. When I ask them what else is needed to produce the surplus value, they clearly understand my question. What else in addition to manual labor? Their answer is "royalty," which means that Koreans have to pay foreigners for the technology they use. For instance, when you buy a car costing $20,000, you are paying approximately $5,000 for the cost of research and development. This means that Koreans have to pay $5,000 to Americans and Japanese for each $20,000-car they buy or sell.

In the United States, Americans do not use the word royalty. They call this item "research and development." If the labor is provided by manual workers, the research/development is provided by scientists and engineers. This portion of surplus value is kept in the United States. When are we going to transform the royalty to research/development and save $5,000 for each care we sell? This cannot be done unless our scientists and engineers gain ability to compete in the world or equivalently improve their job prospects from the worldwide point of view.


Dear Prof. Kim,

Your article on the economy was interesting. Here is some of my opinion.

There is nothing wrong in the equation surplus value=Labor. The wrong thing Marx made is he neglected the "Conservation of the surplus value." The capital is nothing but a consequence of the labor. Value was transformed to different form through the market. Since capital is different form of the labor it has the power of the creating new surplus value. As you said, this is recognized in capitalism. Therefore capitalism is a better approximation to the ideal system.

So understanding the market is the most interesting aspect of the capitalism. It seems that in many ways the role of the market can be formulated as a gauge theory. For ex. exchange several times in market to get positive or negative result is similar to the expectation value of the Wilson loop or curvature in the value space. Perhaps all the Maxwell equations have a interpretation in terms of the economic terms.

Best regards, Sang-Jin Sin [sjs@dirac.hanyang.ac.kr]
Hanyang U. Physics D. Prof.
tel:82-2-290-0925, fax:295-6868

You may be interested in my earlier article enetiled "Maxwell and Marconi" (1994.9.5) in connection with the capitalization of Maxwell's equations.