Inaugural Statement

 

- Seung-Hun Lee, The 31st AKPA President

 May 9, 2015

 

 Dear AKPA members,

 It is my honor to serve as the 31st AKPA President. My term has just started on May 1. Firstly, I would like to thank the members who volunteered to serve on the new Executive Committee (EC) and various other Committees (http://akpa.org/2014-01-31-05-24-56/current-officers).

 

I will make every effort to ensure that our organization continues to promote excellence in research among young physicists. Furthermore, with your help and input, the new administration, EC, other committees, and I will work hard to make AKPA a better organization, representing Korean Physicists in the US, as well as continue its contributions to society and to the history of Korea and the US.

The new EC had its first teleconference on May 6 and exchanged many ideas about the future activities of AKPA. We will soon seek the opinions from the AKPA membership to assess the current activities. Your opinions will be important for us to plan and improve the future activities of AKPA. We need your help and participation.

 

In the mean time, I would like to end this by sharing with you an essay that I wrote while I was visiting Aspen last January.

 

I am looking forward to working with you for AKPA.

 

Yours sincerely,

Seunghun Lee

 

 

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Aspen and Missing Person

 

If you have a chance to visit the Aspen Center for Physics, it will not be long before you discover a small stone plaque at the center of the backyard. The plaque commemorates Benjamin Whisoh Lee, the Korean-born physicist who would have gotten a Nobel Prize in Physics had he not left us prematurely in a tragic car accident. Benjamin Lee was a trustee of the Center. It brings melancholy whenever I stand in front of the plaque. I cannot help but think that about 40 years ago he must have walked the same little pathways, hiked/skied the same mountains, and enjoyed the surrounding beautiful scenery.

 

In Aspen, I recommend you to go to the Aspen Mountain, either for skiing in the winter or for hiking in the summer. Once you get off the Gondola, take the Buckhorn slope to the Tourtellotte Park. It is situated on the top of the mountain. From there, you will see one of the most beautiful panoramas in the region; mountains all around you, covered with white snow and trees. A landscape that must have been there for millions of years. Standing there, you may feel, as I did, a beautiful moment in this ephemeral life of ours. You may even ponder the meaning of our life.

 

In the novel ‘Missing Person’ by Patrick Modiano, the Winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature, the author portrays people whose life leave the merest blur behind them. The traceless beings. Like beach (wo)men who enjoy the beach for a while and vanish. That we are all beach (wo)men and the sand keeps the traces of our footsteps only for a few moments.

 

I have two kids of young age. When my family vacations in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, they like to go out to the beach early in the morning to find shark teeth in the sand; tiny black triangular shaped teeth, worn by many years of waves. When they find one, their faces brighten up with joy. I am not sure if they think of the Great White that lived out in the deep ocean for a short while, and left it as a remembrance of its own existence.

 

I humbly hope that my two-year tenure as President of the Association of Korean Physicists in America (AKPA) that started on May 1, 2015, will become, with inspiration and help from all of you, like a shark tooth in the sand. A tiny black stone that will brighten up one or two faces, at least, of the next generation ethnic Korean physicists, filled with hope and audacity.