What do you think about success? We are going to meet Professor Lee Joong-hee of the Department of Polymer Nano Science&Technology. Recently, he was awarded the prize of monthly scientist. He advised our students on many things.
1. Please tell us what your lab is doing these days.
We are researching about functional nano materials. Functional means having high electrical conductivity, storage of energy and electrode materials. By using these materials of high function, we can apply them to daily life. Then we can expect it to be a transparent electrode, bio sensor or long-lasting battery.
2. You won the ‘Scientist of the Month Award’ in June. On what subject was it focused?
The subject was about Graphene, which is matter of electrode materials and what we call ‘miracle material'. Electrical currents in graphene move faster than in any other material we know of. Graphene is made up of a one-carbon-atom thick layer arranged in a honeycomb lattice. When this miracle material is applied in real life, we can expect that electronic display devicescan be more flexible, transparent and powerful.
There are many methods of making graphene. We researched methods of oxidation-reduction. In particular, one of these technologies was published in NANO-LETTERS. When the materials are oxidized, most of them decrease in electrical conductivity. But we reduced the degree of downsizing conductivity about 10,000 times that of the usual method. Also, it was a less toxic method.
3. What do you think makes an excellent paper?
I think that the direction of research and results from data are important. However, I think the most important thing for a high-impact paper is that the paper be accepted by reviewers. Actually, there are many cases of rejection owing to incomprehensible writing. Excellent papers need strong structure. Research topic trends are important, too. Because I have researched over 20 years, my subject is changing continuously. So I have to read the latest papers diligently and be interested in topics of other researchers’ projects.
4. Can you tell us why you are doing your research?
First of all, I like my job: doing research and teaching students. Actually, I have experience in running my own company. If I were not teaching someone or researching something I would have been a CEO now. Two companies which I used to run are major groups, but I wanted to stay at university more. Also, I feel very happy as an engineer.
5. What are you doing in your free time?
Usually I read books in my free time. I like reading books regardless of genre. I have been reading various kinds of books. Actually, I like hanging out with friends, but nowadays, I wish I could be alone for a day.
6. Please give some advice to students.
I majored in mechanical engineering. I didn’t expect to research regarding chemical materials, but now, I am a professor in the Department of Polymer Nano Science &Technology. So you should not make limitations for your capability and favor. While I have taught students,I saw many students who didn’t make an effort. I am really sorry for them. Just do things steadily with will and courage. First of all, find what you want to do, act it out steadily, and keep thinking about your target continuously. It means making priorities in your life. I think this is most important in your university life because sometimes you have to endure things for more important things.
We’ve now met the true teacher who said, “What my students want to study is my next research topic.” In addition, we listened to scholarly tips from a veteran researcher and to his helpful advice. Keep in mind this precious advice from Professor Lee and make small steps steadily. Your dream will come true.