South Korea's Top five scientific issues in 2016

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Monday, January 16th, 2017

1.Baduk, the greatest human skill

Lee sedol

Lee sedol vs alphago

Google Deepmind Challenge match was a go match between Lee Se-dol and AlphaGo, an AI Go program developed by Google Deep Mind. Held in Seoul from March 9 to 15, 2016, the players played one game a day, over a total of five days.  The AI program’s 4 to 1 win has made it the best Baduk artificial intelligence program. In 1997, IBM's artificial intelligence "Deep Blue" won against world chess champion Garis Kasparov, or the artificial intelligence "Watson" won the US Quiz program by winning the championship title, but this was the first time that a human was beaten by a program. 

2.Construction of 4th Generation Synchrotron Accelerator 

A fourth-generation synchrotron radiation device, called the dream equipment, was built at POSTECH's Pohang Research Institute in Pohang, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province for only the third time in the world. The 4th Generation Synchrotron Radiation Accelerator is a state-of-the-art device capable of analyzing ultrafine matter, such as living cells and proteins, at a rate of 1,000 times faster than the existing three generations with a brightness of 100 million times. It is expected to be used in various scientific and technological fields such as identification of the cause of diseases through observation of living cells.

3.Overseas orders exceeding 500 billion won through ITER project


 Source: National Fusion Research Institute

Overseas orders totaled over KRW 500 billion through the joint development of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). Korea has been working with six countries including the United States, Russia, the European Union, Japan, China, and India in an effort to demonstrate the possibility of mass production of energy through fusion. It is under construction.
Under the 7-country Joint Implementation Agreement, the ITER organization and 7 countries in charge of the project. Korea has actively participated in the ITER project based on its experience in constructing KSTAR (Korean Superconducting Nuclear Fusion Research Equipment), the world's most precise fusion experiment equipment.

4.Einstein predicts 100 years of gravitational wave direct detection


Another me in the multiverse: Source: ESA

Scientists have confirmed the presence of gravitational waves claimed by Albert Einstein 100 years ago. The NSF and the Advanced Laser Interferometry Gravitational Observatory (Lago) LIGO research team held a press conference at the Washington DC Foreign Correspondents Club on February 11 on the detection of the presence of gravitational waves believed to distort space and time. Indirect evidence of gravitational waves has been found, but it is the first time in the history of human science that direct detection has been accomplished. Despite myriads of challenges over the last 100 years, no one has ever been able to detect gravitational waves directly. Domestic researchers also played a significant role in this gravitational wave detection. Since 2009, more than 20 physics, astronomy, and computer experts from the five universities including Seoul National University and Pusan National University, Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI), National Institute of Mathematical Sciences formed the Korea Gravity Research Partnership (KGWG) and provided critical information.

5.Humidifier disinfectant lawsuit

The humidifier disinfectant case is an ongoing domestic case brought on by the deaths or lung disease caused by a humidifier disinfectant ingredient contained in the mist of the humidifier. Victims have had fibrosis in their lungs due to using the disinfectant. According to the Environmental Health Civic Center, 239 deaths and 1528 cases of severe lung disease were reported in the worst chemical disaster in Korea's history. The disinfectant (cleaning agent) caused symptoms of lung injury (airway damage, dyspnea, cough, and rapid lung damage). Many of the victims were infants, children, pregnant women, and the elderly. The prosecution concluded that four products including Oxy, contained the toxin.