Korea on My Mind


Paul Drzaic
President, Society for Information Display

I had the opportunity to spend a week in Korea a couple of months ago, and as usual came back from my visit to this country energized regarding the future of electronic displays. A large portion of my trip focused on visiting faculty members and students at Korean universities. In this column, I'll note some impressions around Korea's university infrastructure.

The primary purpose of my trip was to help Hanyang University celebrate the 70th anniversary of its founding. Known locally as the "Engine of Korea," Hanyang University was commemorating this anniversary by holding a series of lectures and panel sessions on each of its seven different areas of focus. Electronic displays represented one of those areas, due to this technology's importance to the Korean economy. Professor Oh-Kyong Kwon organized the program on displays, and I was fortunate to be one of those invited to speak.

During my talk, I tried to stress the importance of connecting technical achievement to the very human needs that drive the demand for electronic displays. I managed to work in a reference to the Korean near-obsession with the video game Starcraft, which drew appreciative laughs from the student audience. A large number of students showed up to listen to a panel discussion held in English, and this group posed several insightful questions to me and the other speakers. These are smart young people, well-informed and eager to learn more.

I also had the good fortune to be able to visit Professor Jin Jang at Kyunghee University and see the superb infrastructure of students, equipment, and projects that he has set up there. At Kyunghee, I also gave an extended lecture on electronic-paper technologies to a group of faculty and students. The engagement by the students was strong, and once more, thoughtful questions came from that group. These are clearly people who are thinking hard about engineering new display technologies.

During the week, I also had great visits with leadership from Samsung and LG Display, which were both gracious hosts. There are amazing projects going on within these companies, spanning the gamut of hard-core product engineering to highly advanced research programs. I got a sense that these are enterprises that are not only taking care of near-term business, but also laying the groundwork for future advances.

Finally, I'll note the discussions I had with the leadership of KIDS (Korean Information Display Society), which is an organization focused on promoting display technology within Korea. SID and KIDS have been cooperating for several years now, primarily through the co-sponsorship of the yearly IMID (International Meeting on Information Display) conference. I had great conversations with Professors Y-S. Kim, K-W. Whang, and H-J. Kim, in which we discussed several ideas for expanding the relationship between SID and KIDS, using SID's international scope to connect more strongly with the Korean-based engineers that form KIDS' base. I look forward to another chapter in the ability of SID to provide value to our members worldwide and to continue to strengthen our presence in Korea. •