Korea Post is introducing three inductees of the Korea Science and Technology Hall of Fame - King Sejong the Great, Choi Mu-seon, and Woo Jang-chun - in the third series of the “distinguished figures who made contributions to Koreas advancement in science and technology” postage stamps.
Having instituted the promotion of science and technology as a governing philosophy, King Sejong the Great (1397~1450) enabled remarkable advances in many fields including astronomy, geography, printing, national defense, medicine, and agriculture. King Sejong and his scholars published A Calculation of the Motions of the Seven Celestial Determinants, which established a Joseon-centric astronomical calendar, and developed a number of devices such as a rain gauge, sundial, water clock, and honcheonui (armillary sphere) to conduct astronomical observations. He also worked with scientists to develop and improve artillery to bolster national defense capability. King Sejong improved the lives of the common people by promoting study of medicine and development of local medicinal ingredients, and furthered the advancement of art by employing domestic technology in the redesign of various musical instruments. Created by the king for the common people, Hangul, originally proclaimed under the name of Hunminjeongeum, has been recognized as the Korean peoples native scientific alphabet.
Choi Mu-seon (1325~1395) was a general and scientist from the late Goryeo period who developed gunpowder for the first time in Korea as well as gunpowder weapons. In the belief that gunpowder would be the best tool to defeat Japanese raiders, Choi learned how to prepare niter from Chinese engineer Lee Won or Lee Yuan, and after years of tireless effort and research, he succeeded in developing effective gunpowder. Later, Choi established Hwatong Dogam (an agency dedicated to developing firearms) and personally led the effort to invent a variety of firearms and cannons. The gunpowder and weapons developed by this effort played a significant role in defeating the Japanese raiders that attacked the coastal region of Jeolla province in 1380 and in improving the military capability of Joseon.
Woo Jang-chun (1898~1959) was a scientist and botanist who made profound contributions to Koreas food self-sufficiency as well as to the advancement of genetics and breeding science internationally. In 1935, he shocked international academia by proving experimentally the theory of synthesis of species. The theory claims that evolution occurs not only through buildup of beneficial mutations within the same species, which was a widely-accepted theory in academia, but also through interbreeding between different species of the same genus of plants. Dr. Woo also contributed greatly to the realization of Koreas food self-sufficiency by disseminating tangerine farming technique to the people of Jeju Island and developing Korean cabbage and radish ideal for local soil, as well as a potato that can grow well in the barren soil of Gangwon-do Province.
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