Panel Discussion

Science Breakfast by invitation only: "How Does Surface Science Contribute to Solve Global Energy and Environmental Issues?" Upon invitation of the Republic of Korea


The global energy and environmental crises have become essential issues for mankind. The energy crisis drives rapid developments in interface chemistry for nanocatalysts. Production of only one desired molecule that may be used as a fuel or chemical out of several thermodynamically possible molecules is called catalytic selectivity and is the foundation of “green chemistry.”

In this panel discussion, we will discuss the global energy and environmental crises and the role of basic science to overcome these challenges. We will share insights and perspectives of surface science in the research of nanocatalysts, renewable energy conversion, and environmental science.

The panelists are:

Prof. Jeong Young Park, one of the leaders in the field of surface physics and chemistry, the science of surfaces and interfaces of materials.

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Ertl, who won the 2007 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for his studies of chemical processes on solid surfaces.”

Kyungtae Kang, a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Chemistry, KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute Science and Technology) working on surface organic chemistry and molecular electronics.

Surface science has been combined with nanoscience, leading to the development of novel functional materials, new catalysts, and energy conversion devices. Surface science has evolved such that new instruments for surface analysis on the molecular scale could be used in a vacuum or at realistic conditions (e.g., at high pressures and at solid-liquid interfaces where chemical processes typically operate), which has led to new physical and chemical concepts at working conditions. Overall, the materials and techniques of modern surface science may bring the breakthroughs in global energy and environmental problems the world needs.

Prof. Jeong Young Park will give a short presentation on the role of surface science in addressing the global energy and environmental crises. The presentation will be followed by discussion with the audience.

Prof. Jeong Young Park is a group leader at the Center for Nanomaterials and Chemical Reactions, IBS (Institute for Basic Science), and an Associate Professor at KAIST. He is leading the Scale Laboratory that combines surface science and catalysis with atomic-level engineering (

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Ertl is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Physical Chemistry, Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in Berlin, Germany. Professor Ertl’s research laid the foundation of modern surface chemistry, which has helped explain how fuel cells produce energy without pollution, how catalytic converters clean up car exhaust, and even why iron rusts.

The panel will be moderated by Prof. Seung Bum Park, who is a world-renowned scientist in the field of diversity-oriented synthesis and chemical biology, medicinal and combinatorial chemistry, and a Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Seoul National University.


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