Samsung recognizes five Ho-Am Prize winners

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Samsung recognizes five Ho-Am Prize winners

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From left: Lee Sang-yup, Nam Hong-gil, Rev. Kim Ha-jong, Seung K. Kim, Hong Hei-kyung

Samsung Group yesterday honored the five winners of the annual Ho-Am Prize, who were announced last month.

Lee Sang-yup, a professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Kaist), operatic soprano Hong Hei-kyung and three others received the prestigious award along with 300 million won ($294,319) each at the Ho-Am Art Hall in central Seoul.

The other winners are Nam Hong-gil, a professor at Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology in Daegu, Seung K. Kim, a professor at Stanford University, and the Rev. Kim Ha-jong.

“The brilliant achievements of the recipients are proud assets for Korea and these people are models to emulate in our era,” said Kwun Sook-il, head of the National Academy of Sciences, during a congratulatory speech at the award ceremony yesterday.

“The winners of Ho-Am awards are the hope and future for our society.”

About 550 leaders of Korean politics, business, academia, media, culture and sports, as well as foreign emissaries based in Korea, were in attendance, according to the Ho-Am Foundation.

The Ho-Am Prize is given to Korean citizens who make the biggest contributions each year in science, engineering, medicine, the arts and philanthropy. The foundation said the winners are chosen through a four-month review process with seven expert panels screening candidates in each area.

Lee received the engineering prize for his pioneering work in systems metabolic engineering. According to the foundation, he also developed the world’s first biotechnology for producing gasoline from renewable resources using genetically engineered bacteria.

Hong, who was honored for her contributions to the arts, is an internationally renowned opera singer. Since debuting in 1984, she has performed with leading opera companies and orchestras around the world.

Father Kim is a naturalized Korean. Born Bordo Vincenzo, the Italian priest received the community service award for his work with the poor of Korea since coming here in the 1990s.

Nam, an acclaimed botanist, received the award in science, while Professor Kim was honored for his work in medicine.

According to the foundation, the winners this month presented a series of lectures at science schools, including Kaist, Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon Science School, Korea Science Academy in Busan and Korea Minjok Leadership Academy in Gangwon.

The Ho-Am award was established in 1990 by Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee. Ho-Am was the pseudonym of his father and Samsung Group founder Lee Byung-chull.

The foundation has named the 122 winners and awarded 18.4 billion won in prizes.

At the invitation of the foundation, Carol Greider, a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, held a lecture for Korean teenagers at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul on Wednesday.

BY moon gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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