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World Neutron Science Olympics Held in Korea

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World Neutron Science Olympics Held in Korea


- Korea held ICNS 2017, the world’s largest conference in the area of neutron science -

- Exchange of research outcomes using neutron scattering, from basic science aiming to win a Nobel Prize, to application of technological innovations -


The world’s largest quadrennial neutron science Olympics was held in Korea in July 2017, after the country was selected as the host country in 2013. The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (President, Jaejoo Ha) and the Korea Neutron Beam User Association (President, Sung-Min Choi) jointly hosted the International Conference on Neutron Scattering (ICNS) 2017 at Daejeon Convention Center, from July 9 to 13.

Sponsored by the Ministry of Science, Infrastructure and Future Planning, Daejeon Metropolitan City, Korea Tourism Organization, and Daejeon International Marketing Enterprise, the conference was a venue where over 800 scientists from around 30 countries shared their latest research outcomes in the field of neutron scattering. At the opening ceremony on July 10, KAERI President Jaejoo Ha, an honorary co-organizer, and KAIST emeritus professor Manwon Kim delivered the welcoming remarks. Daejeon Mayor Sun-Taik Kwon and lawmaker Sangmin Lee also appeared to deliver congratulatory addresses.

Neutron scattering refers to the close analysis of material structures of millimeter to nanometer sizes and the study of the material properties using neutrons created by research reactors or accelerators. This branch of study is widely used in basic science including physics, chemistry, and biology, as well as a number of other areas such as material engineering, mechanical engineering, and archeology. In Korea, neutron scattering has been used in verifying the quality of state seals and in developing lithium battery materials, fuel cells for hydrogen cars, steel sheets for car manufacturing, and welding technology for steel sheets used in vessels. The area has thus contributed to the development of various industries in Korea and improvements in people’s lives. 

The world’s largest conference in neutron science, ICNS was first held in Hakone, Japan, in 1982, and has since been held in the United States, France, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and Australia. At ICNS 2013 held in the United Kingdom, KAERI and KNBUA were jointly selected to host the next conference, making Korea the third host in Asia following Japan and Australia in 2005. In Korea, KAERI has operated a national neutron science research facility at HANARO, the institution’s research reactor. In particular, as its most recent addition to HANARO, the cold neutron research facility, which was fully launched in 2011, has facilitated the application of neutrons for use in nanoscience and bioscience as well. “HANARO is the world’s leading high-tech neutron research facility,” explained KAERI President Jaejoo Ha. “Our institution will support HANARO to serve as the pillar of Korea’s science and industry.”

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