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The 1st Jeju Global Initiatives Summer 2011 Special Seminar Series

Brian Lee Ph.D. student of Harvard Graduate School


Seminar Title: My Story, Part 1. High school years Speaker: Brian Lee Seminar Description: A series of short stories about my four years in high school. These stories will include the International Chemistry Olympiad, Math team competitions, stories from everyday school life. These stories are going to be fun and interesting by themselves, and they will also show the experiences that have shaped my mental development.

Seminar Title: Who organizes and writes these science competitions, anyway? Speaker: Brian Lee Seminar Description: Our education centers around the use of tests. In school, we take tests to demonstrate our mastery of subjects. For college admissions, we compete with our classmates by taking tests. For job applications, we take tests to show how talented we are. There are many reasons that we take tests. But who are the people who write the tests, and why do they write tests? We will talk about the talent-matching problem and signalling problem.

Seminar Title: My Story, Part 2. MIT Speaker: Brian Lee Seminar Description: Our story continues with my first year at MIT. I’ll continue to tell stories from my four years at MIT, dealing with the legacy of my high school accomplishments and making a name for myself at MIT. I’ll talk about the research system in the U.S., as well as some of the more interesting things that MIT students do with their time.


Seminar Title: The American Education System Speaker: Brian Lee Seminar Description: The best minds in the world come from universities in the United States. These universities are the best in the world. However, the U.S. has a notoriously bad primary education system. I will explore the reasons for this paradox and how Korea can take the best of both worlds.

Seminar Title: Learning to Think Beyond the Tests Speaker: Brian Lee Seminar Description: To advance in society, one has to work hard. But why does working hard help you to advance in society? To the Korean people, the answer is obvious: you work hard to do well on tests, and doing well on tests lets you get the best jobs. But let’s look at it from another way. If you are a top Korean company, why should you hire the people who do well on tests?

Seminar Title: The Energy Problem (3 parts) Speaker: Brian Lee Seminar Description: Part 1: Physics of Energy Production. What is energy? We will talk about the math, science, and engineering behind energy interconversions of light, nuclear, chemical, potential, electrical, mechanical, and heat energy. This will be the foundation for the next two seminars. Part 2: Modern Energy Equation. Where does our energy come from? What do we use energy for? In this part, we will discuss coal, oil, gas, hydroelectric, nuclear, and solar energy as energy SOURCES, and agriculture, heating/cooling, electricity, transportation, industry as energy SINKS. When we think of energy, we usually think about electricity, but there are many other kinds of energy that we need to consider. Part 3: How to Deal with the Energy Crisis. We will talk about near-term and long-term future of the world. China and India are rapidly modernizing, and it is certain that their energy use per person will rise dramatically. 3

Seminar Title: Famous Chemists: Linus Pauling Speaker: Brian Lee Seminar Description: Linus Pauling is considered to be one of the best scientists of all time. He was primarily a chemist, but within chemistry, he was an expert in many different fields. Linus Pauling made significant contributions to physical chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and crystallography.

Seminar Title: Famous Chemists: Robert Woodward and E.J. Corey Speaker: Brian Lee Seminar Description: Robert Woodward and E.J. Corey are the grandfathers of modern organic chemistry. Woodward was eleven years older than Corey and pioneered the field of organic synthesis. He showed that a detailed understanding of structure could predict the products of a reaction. Woodward and Corey tackled progressively larger and more complicated structures, and for each molecule they conquered, they became less like men and more like gods. Oh, and I forgot to mention that both Woodward and Corey graduated from MIT!

Seminar Title: Mythbusters: Sleeping with a Fan in a Closed Room, and More Speaker: Brian Lee Seminar Description: Korean newspapers will sometimes report on deaths in the summer where an electric fan was the cause of death. However, outside of Korea, nobody has heard of this danger. We’ll investigate the mystery behind fan death. We will also talk about other “myths” such as blood test-personality matching. Two people may argue, but in the end, the only proof is experiment.


Seminar Title: Nutrition Science - The science behind healthy living Speaker: Brian Lee Seminar Description: Nutritionism is a field of science that is very recent. Throughout its history, nutrition science has been wrong more often than it has been right, and nutrition science turns out a large quantity of worthless experiments. This is not because scientists are incompetent. Instead, nutrition is a very, very difficult field to study. It is almost impossible to run a real experiment, and traditional scientific methodology is not suited to studying nutrition. We will talk about some of the reliable findings from nutrition science, and why there is so much unreliable science.

Seminar Title: Humanity's Obsession with Gold throughout the Ages Speaker: Brian Lee Seminar Description: Gold is without doubt, the one most sought-after metal in the world. Throughout history, people have killed each other in search of gold. Chemistry finds its roots in alchemy, a field devoted to the search for ways to turn lead into gold. We’ll talk about some stories from throughout history about this elusive metal.

Seminar Title: Environmental Regulation Speaker: Brian Lee Seminar Description: The chemical industry has perhaps done more than any other industry to improve living conditions for mankind. However, the chemical industry produces mountains of waste. For every kilogram of medicine produced, there are 25 kilograms of waste that need to be handled. For every liter of gasoline produced, there are _____ liters of waste oil. For every kW*hr of energy produced by burning coal, there are ____ tons of carbon dioxide released. Technology comes at the cost of environmental pollution. In the U.S., there are 1200 locations designated as “hazardous” under the Superfund program. These are locations that have been ruined by chemical waste from past decades. We will talk about what we need to do to clean up our environment, and the environmental costs of China’s rapid modernization. 5

Seminar Title: The Carbon Equation Speaker: Brian Lee Seminar Description: There is a fixed amount of carbon on the Earth. This carbon comes in many forms: carbonate rock, carbon dioxide, dissolved carbon dioxide, organic carbon, and decaying organic carbon. At the same time, there is a fixed amount of oxygen on the Earth. Oxygen and carbon have a very close relationship throughout the history of the earth. We will use these equations to talk about fossil fuels and renewable fuels.

Special Lecture: Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! Instructor: Brian Lee

Course Background: Richard P. Feynman was a famous American physicist who had a very interesting personality. He was humorous, entertaining, brilliant, and unafraid of authority in all of its forms. He was also very courageous as a scientist. He said this about science: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself -- and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you've not fooled yourself, it's easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that”. Course Description: We will read fifteen chapters from the book, “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”, and discuss one chapter per day. By discussing each chapter, we will talk about the larger issues that are mentioned. Students should read each chapter before class. Students are welcome to read either the original English book, or the Korean translation, “파인만 씨, 농담도 잘하시네! 1, 2”. The emphasis is not on ESL, but on scientific principle. 1. Always Trying to Escape 2. A Map of the Cat 3. Mixing Paints 4. Los Alamos from Below 5. Safecracker meets Safecracker 6. Uncle Sam doesn't need you! 7. Lucky Numbers 6

8. Americano, Outra vez! 9. But is it art? 10.Is Electricity Fire? 11.Judging Books by their Covers 12.Alfred Nobel's Other Mistake 13.Is Electricity Fire? 14.Found out in Paris 15.Cargo Cult Science

Course objectives:  To learn about Richard Feynman’s life.  To discuss what authentic knowledge is.  To realize that even the smartest people in the world can make big mistakes.  To discuss what science is, and why we do it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Brian Lee

MIT 졸업(화학 전공), 현재 하버드대학원 화학과 박사 과정. 국제화학올림피아드 미국 대표였고, 하버드-MIT 수학토너먼트 MIT 대표. 7