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Young Researcher Award at the Euro-Asian Pulsed Power Conference 2018

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  • Registration Date : 2018-11-16
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Story about Student

Young Researcher Award at the Euro-Asian Pulsed Power Conference 2018

Student Jeong-soo Bae (Integrative Course, UST-KERI campus, major: Energy and Power Conversion Engineering)

On a cold autumn day with golden leaves falling on the ground, I visited the Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute in Changwon to meet a student who made news worldwide by receiving an Outstanding Young Researcher Award in an international conference in September. While I was wondering whether he was proud for having received such an award, Jeong-soo Bae came to me. With a word of thanks for coming to see him, he gave me a cup of coffee with a pleasant smile, which relieved me. Bae started to talk, saying that he wanted to tell “a real story.”

A boy talented at running is awakened to studying

Bae was a track and field athlete when he was you. For six straight years from the third grade in elementary school to the second grade in middle school, he was devoted to running. He was emboldened by acclamation from his peers, who said, “Jeong-soo Bae is a fast runner.” But that did not last, and his enthusiasm began to fade. With frequent injuries and pain in his ankles, he skipped practice sometimes. Also, his parents objected to him being an athlete. In particular, Bae felt pressured to achieve and constantly maintain “records.”

One day Bae’s teacher came to him, when he was a class president, and criticized him, saying, “How can a class president have such poor academic results?” Badly hurt by these words, Bae made up his mind to study hard.

“I studied all subjects hard,” said Bae, “scores continued to rise. I worked really hard in high school. There was a roll call at midnight in the dormitory. After that, I secretly continued to study. I learned words by heart when I went to the toilet or ate. But if you want me to do that now, I can’t do it.”

Bae became interested in math and science. When he did not feel like studying, he studied math and science, and when he liked to study, he studied Korean and English. Bae was particularly fascinated with physics, which requires thinking and problem solving. As he thought that the demand for electricity will continue to rise, he decided to major in electrical engineering at a university.

“During an undergraduate course, I was doing a field research in a research lab for a semester. Doing practice and participating in R&D, I naturally developed an interest in power electronics-based DC-DC converter technology. And I was lucky to have an outstanding adviser,” he said.

A true teacher is a guiding light and mirror

Throughout the interview, Bae showed a lot of affection and respect for his adviser, Prof. Seong-rok Jang. He was even shy, asking, “Did I praise my adviser too much?” I was also envious that Bae has such a wonderful teacher. Bae felt he was always cared for in research and thus learned a lot from the diligence and sincerity of his professor. Bae was the first presenter at the conference. Having prepared for the presentation during the early morning of the conference day along with his adviser, he gave the presentation with confidence.

“Sometimes when I was tired of conferences and the thesis, I wanted to take a rest,” continued Bae, “however, my professor, who is always diligent, motivated me a lot. I did not have a role model. While I was working together with the professor, he naturally became my role model. As he always showed respect for me and talked with me a lot, I have grown a lot in many respects. But I still have a lot to learn from him.”

Bae regards admission to UST as a turning point in his life. He repeatedly mentioned the faithfulness of the faculty at UST and told me that he appreciated it. “Unlike a common graduate school, I was able to do research shoulder to shoulder with researchers in the research institute, both study and work at the same time, and enjoy the excellent research infrastructure,” he said. In particular, the greatest thing he learned at UST is to dream.

“In fact, studying hard and going to college are only vague goals,” he said. “At UST, I could work in KIGAM and choose the course of my future career, and I came to the realization that this is truly what I can do throughout my life. I began to cultivate a dream of becoming a researcher my country really needs.”

He has a dream to become a master of pulsed power

The seventh Euro-Asian Pulsed Power Conference 2018 presented Bae with its Outstanding Young Researcher Award for researchers in pulsed power. Pulsed power is the science and technology of accumulating energy over a relatively long period of time and releasing it very quickly, thus producing high voltage and high current. This conference had great significance for Bae. “I thought that research was only for the performance assigned to my research lab,” he continued, “but when I had to field questions after my presentation, I felt that I was doing world-class research. I was quite proud of myself, as I was answering questions from top researchers full of curiosity.”

After this conference, I made up my mind,” he continued. “I will not be complacent, and I will develop a technology that will boost my country. I want my name to be cited when it comes to pulsed power in conferences. I want to establish Dr. Bae in national research projects.

The young athlete who ran on a track continues to grow. Years ago, Bae was a victorious runner at an autumn sports meet, and now he has established a lifelong dream he will pursue. Without having to mind records, he discovered a course for a researcher with which he can continuously grow. All this was not achieved in a day. Bae has made steadfast efforts with ambition, and has steadily won “victories” in the research sector, which is very different from track and field sports.

When I heard Bae’s story, it occurred to me that “effort won’t betray you” and “results are always sweet” as Bae said. He still likes sports, and relieves stress with football. We look forward to seeing Bae as the master of pulsed power, glorifying Korea.