South Korea’s science and technology to change the world in 2021


In 2021, South Korea’s science and technology struggled to prepare a practical response system to the emergence of COVID-19 vaccinations and mutated viruses, and it was a year in which all industries have stumbled. However, the rapidly spreading digital transformation has changed our quality of life and opened up opportunities for new areas of growth. New opportunities have led to prioritizing environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives and to redrawing human imaginative power opening the era of the metaverse in the virtual world.

The Korean “Nuri” launcher was launched from the Naro Space Center in Goheung on October 21 / Source: Korea Aerospace Research Institute

[Space Development] Success and task of the launch of the South Korean space launcher Nuri.

The South Korean Nuri projectile was successfully launched on October 21 from the Naro Space Center in Goheung, Jeollanam-do about 500 km (310 miles) south of Seoul. During the first local launch, space reached an altitude of 700 km, but the three-stage engine burned for less time than expected. Thus, the final step, the satellite model, could not be placed in the target orbit, leaving a task unfinished. However, with this challenge, Korea has stepped up the country’s ambitions in space, the 10th country to independently launch projectiles, and achieved 12 years of fruit with pure home technology, paving the way for growth by as an advanced space nation.

[Accelerating digital transformation] Science and technology usher in the era of the metaverse

The era of the metaverse created by advanced science and technology is entering. Metaverse is a word made up of “meta” which means transcendence and virtuality and “universe” means universe. It refers to a three-dimensional virtual world where social, economic and cultural activities take place like the real world. In line with the COVID-19 crisis, face-to-face activities in the education sector have been reduced, and out-of-face education, games and entertainment activities using the metaverse have been expanded . As the craze for domestic and foreign metaverse grows stronger, related technologies and industries such as artificial intelligence and information and communication technologies should be continually encouraged and invested.

“Dosan Anchangho”, a 3000 ton class naval submarine that was loaded with SLBM and launched underwater on September 15 / Source: Republic of Korea Navy

[Defense Science and Technology] Successful test to launch a South Korean SLBM

South Korea has become the seventh holder of submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) ​​in the world. On September 15, the SLBM independently developed by South Korea successfully tested the launch. Dosan Ahn Chang-ho, the Navy’s first 3,000-ton submarine, is equipped with a cold launch pad with six SLBM launch tubes. Cold Lunch is a technology that pushes a missile out of water under high and high temperature gas pressure in a submarine launch tube and ignites an engine on the surface of the water. The missile fired from Anheung, Chungcheongnam-do, was hit with precision at the target point in the western sea area of ​​Jeju Island, 400 km to the south.

The COVID-19 pandemic continued into 2021 / Source: KOFST

[Pandemic Continuation] Vaccination against COVID-19 and emergence of the mutated virus

This year, the pandemic continued due to the rise of the mutant COVID-19 virus. As vaccination continues around the world, Korea has also quickly reached an 80% vaccination rate since the administration of the first COVID-19 vaccine on February 26. However, the outbreak of the mutant virus has created variables in the formation of mass immunity from vaccines due to and despite the increased vaccination rate, the spread of COVID-19 around the world is at its peak. . The government has implemented a step-by-step daily collection and vaccine pass system since November, but the recent emergence of Omicron has tightened distancing and emergency quarantine guidelines.

[Technological Hegemony] Cutting-edge strategic technology and scientific and technological hegemony are changing the global value chain

We are now living in the era of global technological hegemony. The vaccine nationalism that emerged when the COVID-19 pandemic and the competition for technological hegemony intersect has made this clear. been a recent outcry in the urea count. Technological hegemony encompasses not only infectious diseases but also most global issues such as carbon neutrality and human rights, and becomes a driving force for the reorganization of the international social order. As a result, as large countries stimulate the development and investment of advanced strategic technologies, quantum science technology, which has been named as a game changer, is attracting attention in the field of future core technologies.

[Climate Crisis] Science and Technology and ESG in the Age of Climate Change.

Recently, the climate crisis on the Korean Peninsula has become a reality. Over the past decade, the average annual temperature in South Korea has increased by 0.9 ℃ from 30 years ago, and the average sea temperature in July of this year was the highest since it began. of water temperature measurement in 1982. Consequently, science and technologies responding to climate change and ESG (environmental, social and governance) management appear to be hot topics. As companies that have declared ESG expand their practical investments and research, active collaboration with the science and technology community and innovation in science and technology is needed. Meanwhile, the “Carbon Neutral Basic Law” was passed in the plenary session of the National Assembly this year, which stipulates that Korea should reduce its national greenhouse gas reduction targets in the medium and long term. by more than 40% compared to 2018.

Korea-U.S. Missile guidelines ended after 42 years at Korea-U.S. Summit / Source: Blue House

[Termination of Missile Guidelines] “Korea-US Missile Guidelines” Ended After 42 Years, Pioneering Space Development

The “Korea-US Missile Guidelines,” which limited the maximum range of South Korean missiles to 800 km, ended after 42 years at the Korea-US summit in May. As a result, Korea will be able to launch missiles or space projectiles at sea or in the air. This means that space projectiles, which are at the heart of space development, will be able to be launched from waters near the equator, and attention is being drawn to whether Korea’s “first in space development” is ‘will open seriously with the end of the missile. guidelines.

[K-Disaster] Scientific and technological achievements in R&D against COVID-19

It has been a year of R&D achievements in the scientific and technological community against COVID-19. The main achievements include:
▲ Development by KAIST of a mobile negative pressure service for critically ill patients responding to infectious diseases ▲ Use of the mathematical modeling Corona 19 TF by the Korean Mathematical Society and the National Institute of Mathematical Sciences which predicts the spread according to scenarios using mathematical models ▲ Trend prediction based on science and evidence Support the establishment by KIST of a comprehensive COVID-19 prevention policy taking into account social and social aspects and establishing a system of cooperation with the authorities of quarantine ▲ SK Bioscience’s crosses over in the development of the first domestic COVID-19 vaccine. This year has been a year in which all fields of science and technology have struggled to prepare a practical response system for COVID-19.

Identification of the regulatory function of genes thanks to photo-3D decoding of the cancer genome map / Source: KAIST

[3D Genome Map] Building the world’s largest 3D cancer genome map

Professor Jeong In-kyung, KAIST of the Department of Life Sciences and the team of Dr Lee Byung-wook at the National Institute of Biosciences and Biotechnology, Korea Bioscience and Biotechnology Research Institute, have built the most large database of 3D genome maps in the world with more than 400 species. At the same time, analysis tools were developed to connect large-scale structural mutations and 3D genomic maps, and thanks to this, changes in 3D genomic structures and target genes could be identified based on mutations. structures of the large-scale cancer genome. The results of this study should provide important information for understanding cancer pathogenesis and developing anticancer drugs.

Source / Hyundai Motor Company

[Electric Vehicle Platform] E-GMP New Generation Electric Vehicle Platform

Hyundai Motor Group has developed and unveiled “E-GMP”, a platform exclusively for electric vehicles. E-GMP is a new technology-intensive platform that forms the backbone of Hyundai Motor Group’s next-generation electric vehicle lineup launched this year. E-GMP is assessed as having laid the foundation for a high performance electric vehicle model by increasing the competitiveness of electric vehicles by applying high performance motor, batteries, charging systems, modularization and standardization, and strengthening the stability of electric vehicles.

Research results published on February 24 in Nature, an international journal / Source: Nature website

[The principle of cancer cells] Identification of the principle that cancer cells avoid attack by immune cells

Researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the United States have revealed the principle that cancer cells only activate controlled T cells to avoid attack by immune cells. Korean scientist Lim Sun-ah participated as the first author of the Department of Immunology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the United States. The researchers found that the protein “SREBPs” activates only regulatory T cells, preventing them from attacking tumor cells without causing autoimmunity problems. The research team said that preventing SREBP activity in tumor cells is expected to increase the efficacy of immunocancer drugs, and this shows the possibility that immunocancer drugs can be used even in patients with little or no effect.

Identification of mitochondrial mechanisms involved in Parkinson’s disease and cerebral dementia

It revealed the molecular mechanism of mitochondrial quality management involved in the occurrence of various diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Mitochondrial abnormalities are very important for understanding molecular mechanisms as they are involved in the occurrence of various diseases, but there has not yet been a clear study. A research team led by Sunwoong, professor of anatomy at Korea University’s College of Medicine, found that a protein called Drp1 has the ability to selectively eliminate abnormal mitochondria. The mitochondrial mechanism presented in this study is assessed as an achievement that opens a new horizon in the field of brain science.

Source: Korea Federation of Scientific and Technological Societies (KOFST)

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