F r o m A p r i l 7 to 9, 2021, Sohn Daew o n , a P r o f e s s o r f r o m t h e Department of Chemistry at Hanyang University, received the LG Chemistry Macromolecule Academic Award in the 2021 Korean Macromolecular Research Spring Regular General Conference for his contribution to the branch of polymer chemistry by proceeding basic physiochemical research on the solution, surface, and gel of high polymer. His research interests include the characterizations of polymeric materials in the solution state, at the air and water interface, and inside of bulk state. In his Polymer Physical Chemistry Lab (PPCL), many different techniques such as light scattering, X-ray, neutron scattering, Langmuir Blodgett techniques, AFM, surface force measurement, BET, DMA, DSC, viscometry, and cytometry are being used to characterize the polymer systems. He has published 150 peer-review journal articles and 16 registered patents so far. He is currently the Chair of the Research Institute for Convergence of Basic Science funded by the Korean Government and has been the editor of Polymer Bulletin since 2008.
Q . H o w d i d y o u f i r s t b e c o m e interested in polymers?
A. I f i r s t b e c a m e i n t e r e s t e d i n macromolecules and solution properties of Polymers, when I was a graduate student at Hanyang University. I was greatly influenced by Professor Han Sang-joon, who came to Hanyang University from Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) at the time.
Q . H a v e y o u e x p e r i e n c e d a n y difficulties as a researcher? If so, how did you overcome them?
A. During the Ph.D. program, my experimental results were not so consistent that I couldn’t write my graduation thesis. I had to repeat the same work continuously to check the tendency and get the results I wanted. Although my graduation was delayed by six months, it was an opportunity for me to learn the importance of repeated experiments as a researcher.
Q. As a researcher with outstanding achievements in polymer chemistry, do you have any visions or goals that you want to accomplish in the future?
A. I would like to continue to study the structure and properties of polymer gel, which is what I am currently working on. I also want to publish a book in the field of physical chemistry of macromolecules if I have a chance.
Q. Is there anything that you would like to say to the students at Hanyang University who are interested in polymers?
A. Macromolecule is an extensive academic field that includes synthetic polymers such as PET and polyethylene, and biopolymers such as proteins and DNA. It is also closely related to the industry of energy, environment, and health. I would like to tell my juniors to challenge themselves, since they will achieve as much as they do so. For the research and development, not only your personal efforts but also communicating with the people around you is crucial. For this, having the courage to challenge yourself, being open-minded, and being considerate is important.