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Experts are needed for fine dust diagnosis / prescription and measurement

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  • Registration Date : 2018-05-31
Experts are needed for fine dust diagnosis / prescription and measurement의 대표사진

Reflections on Teaching

"Experts are needed for fine dust diagnosis /
prescription and measurement"

Professor Jinsang Jung, Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science

Will spring ever come back? In the spring of 2018, the gray sky on the Korean Peninsula, filled with fine dust, has changed the image of the season in which pink petals danced in the windflower. The landscape of daily life has also changed. People start their mornings by checking fine dust levels. While government measures have been announced, people’s anxiety remains because scientific identification of the source of fine dust and, thus, systematic responses are delayed. One day when the sky was murky with fine dust, news spread on the KRISS campus that Professor Jin-sang Jung (a senior researcher in the Center for Gas Analysis), in the Measurement Science major on the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS) Campus of UST, scientifically identified the effects of fine dust from China.

Identifying the cause of fine dust objectively is the first step toward solving social problems

““It is urgent to identify the cause of fine dust objectively and establish and guide appropriate measures accordingly, rather than keep producing sensational reports on the risk of fine dust.” Professor Jin-sang Jung, a highly recognized specialist in the field of fine dust measurement, received a lot of media attention with his research on how the Korean Peninsula was affected by fine particulate matter on emitted from firecrackers set off during the Lunar New Year festival period in China in 2017.

According to him, existing research on the effects of fine dust from China have employed the method of analyzing satellite images air currents. However, this method has limitations in understanding what kind of pollutants and how much of them are actually emitted from China. It goes without saying that scientific identification of fine dust’s source is the key to establishing the right measures.

Having come across a news report that the firecrackers used during the Lunar New Year period in China have a great influence on the country’s density of fine dust, Professor Jung thought that the effects of in the pollutants originating from China could be identified by measuring the composition of fine found in Korea during the same period. Prior to the full-scale experiment, he developed a measurement method and equipment. Then, during the last lunar New Year period, he undertook a real-time measurement of potassium and levoglucosan, which are indicators of biomass burning in Korea, as well as potassium that is an indicator of firecrackers coming from China. The result showed that the potassium level rose sharply while the levoglucosan level barely changed. This is the first time it was scientifically demonstrated that China's fine particulate matter is transported to the Korean Peninsula over a long range.

Professor Jung has expanded his research career and strengthened expertise with fine dust research for nearly 20 years, such as demonstrating that fine particulate matter emitted from forest fires in Siberian forests affected the Korean Peninsula by moving about 3,000 m south. It was during his master’s work that he started his research career in the field of fine dust, when he developed a gaseous pollutant measuring device. Before joining the KRISS, he worked at the Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University in Japan. Since 2012, he has developed measurement methods and equipment related to fine dust and conducted research tracking fine particulate matter emitted from the burning of wood and crops at the KRISS’ Center for Gas Analysis.

Requests for support ensue from overseas as well thanks to his pragmatic research approach to solve social problems

"Having carried out assignments at many sites, I have learned that there is a big difference in what college education has to offer and what is actually needed on the ground,” he said. “UST is the right place to narrow such gap.”

The Center for Gas Analysis of the KRISS is a world-class research organization that develops toxic gas measurement methods and standard materials, and conducts research on fine particulate matter measurement. It is also establishing standards for fine dust and conducting trace studies by utilizing them. In recent years, it has been spurring the development of a visibility meter to measure the degree of visibility deterioration caused by fine dust.

Professor Jung said, "UST is the best educational institution that can train the talents required by society, combining theory with practical training." So far, four master's degree graduates, who participated in an academy-research-industry course, were turned out by his lab. His teaching is not limited to the domestic arena. Since air pollution is closely related to real life, other countries are also keen on finding solutions. For this reason, Professor Jung has also continued to undertake his teaching and research activities in cooperation with foreign universities in Asia such as ones in the Philippines and Mongolia, where air pollution is a social issue, and train future generations of scholars and experts without limiting the sphere of his academic activity within Korea.

Asked if there was any difficulty in exploiting the new field and bearing fruit, he said, "The more I conduct research, the more I find my work exciting with new ideas added over time.” ”But the greatest difficulty that I have,” added the natural-born scientist, “is that I do not have enough time to spend on my research.”

Recently, Professor Jung visited eight cities in China for 12 days, from April 11 to 22, to confirm the real conditions of mainland China, which is known to account for more than 50% of the sources of fine dust in Korea, and to initiate joint research. It is his goal to continue to lead practical research required by society with a broad perspective.

Genius is 1% inspiration and99 % perspiration. You cannot get 1% inspiration if you just make blind efforts. To help UST students achieve that 1%, I am committed to working together with them for them to think creatively and grow into researchers who look at problems from various perspectives