To future Chemists

To future Chemists

Every chemist knows what Chemistry is.

But, how many of us can put our ideas on Chemistry in words? Reflecting the times since my high school when I first learned Chemistry, its definition remains unchanged, but our perception on it has changed over time. Here is what I think Chemistry is to graduate students and postdocs, our future Chemists.

BK Director, Department of Chemistry Young Uk Kwon

Young Uk Kwon

Chemistry is a science of discovery!

Although modern Chemistry is founded on principles, there are still many discoveries to be made. Some of such discoveries will lead to new principles, making our understanding of the world of Chemistry richer. Will there be a time when all the discoveries are made eventually? History of science says not so. Each time a new discovery is made and each time a new principle is established, the horizon of exploration in Chemistry widens. There is ever growing space to explore.

Who makes the discoveries?

Who are going to be the discoverers? Those who are at the forefront of exploration will be the ones. That is, graduate students and postdocs. Graduate students and postdocs are the explorers of science. But, how will they know whether what they are seeing is a new discovery or not? How will they know whether what they have glimpsed is worth of further pursing? Only those with sharp eyes will be able to see and only those with deep understanding will tell its value.

Where and how to explore: Chemistry has two sides

Ever since Chemistry has started, it has two sides, academic interests and industrial applications. Many of fundamental principles of Chemistry were found during endeavors aimed at applications. Nowadays, many of the problems we hear from news, such as energy, environment, health, food, medicine, well-being to name a few are subjects of intensive researches in Chemistry. Certainly, Chemistry lies in the very cores of all these problems. On the other hand, the enormity of the scale and depth of these problems often far exceed the scope we chemists are used to. In order for future Chemistry to contribute to solving these problems, Chemists must be able to work together with others. Through collaborations, we Chemists will find a vast land to explore and make many important discoveries.

I hope these visions of mine of future Chemistry can be resonated by many of my present and future colleagues.

BK Director, Department of Chemistry Young Uk Kwon