Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to join you today at the Center for Theoretical Physics of Complex Systems of IBS to celebrate the PCS Inaugural Symposium.
Let me first thank Director Sergej Flach for organizing this meaningful event. I would like to also extend my gratitude to the KAIST president, Kang sung-mo for being here to bless this event. My gratitude also goes to today’s speakers who made this symposium a scientific success. Special thanks are to those from overseas who have come a long way to be here today. Last but not least, I appreciate all the hard work and effort put in by all members of the Center and the IBS Headquarter staff who made this symposium possible.
Science and technology has been a key driving force for national growth of Korea since 1966 when the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) was established out of assistance from United States. Since then, Korea was able to become one of the world’s top economies thanks to its fast-follower strategy. However, in today’s knowledge-intensive economy, a proactive initiative to secure creative and fundamental knowledge is essential for a nation to keep ahead. To be globally competitive, Korea needs to acquire a stronger basic science capacity, which will help to expand the boundaries of the world’s new knowledge. The urgent need for a higher scientific impact resulted in the foundation of the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) in 2011 to transform the nation into a leading country in science. To this end, IBS has prioritized scientific excellence in the selection IBS Center directors, and up until now we have 25 Centers which are up and running, and a new Center will be staring in November. Director Sergej Flach is a globally recognized scientist in the nonlinear and complex systems of condensed matter physics and theoretical physics. We are very lucky and grateful to have Sergej as a director for this Center and this exemplifies IBS’ strong dedication to bringing in the world’s best minds to IBS.
Today’s symposium marks the official start of the Center. I have high expectations for the Center to become the global scientific hub in the field and deliver outstanding research outcomes. It will also be the wish of the Korean condensed matter theory and statistical physics community as well as the international basic science community. According to the current government plan, the first stage of the construction of the HQ buildings is supposed to be completed in 2 and half years’ time. Once the construction finishes, this Center will be relocated to the Expo Science Park that it can make the best use of the extensive research infrastructure in Daejeon city. That will signal the true beginning of the Center. Until then, we need to build up the Center with the best possible scientists and let it be widely known internationally. It may be a slow process but we should strive for the successful institution of the Center. This symposium is the first step towards that vision.
Having said that, I sincerely hope that you will have a wonderful time at this symposium.