Established the theory of structural analysis of transition state of organic reactions via the concept of cross interaction constant
Published more than 500 papers, trained 81 M.A. and Ph.D. students, organized research groups
Founded an international journal which is a leading force in the internationalization of chemistry research, and was registered as the first SCI journal in Korea
(Late) Professor Ikchoon Lee (1929~2016)
Honorary Professor, Inha University
- Academic background
B.S, Dept. of Chemistry, Seoul National University
M.S. in Chemistry, Graduate School, University of Birmingham
Ph.D. in Chemistry, Graduate School, London University
- Professional career
Research Fellow, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute
Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, College of Engineering, Seoul National University
Professor, Dept. of Chemistry, College of Science, Inha University
Dean, College of Science, Inha University
President, Korea Chemistry Society
Dean, Graduate School, Inha University
Commendation of the President
First Chungang Award
Culture Award, Seoul Metropolitan City
Commendation of the President
March 1st Culture Award
Professor Ikchoon Lee is a leading chemist who sped up the development of Korean physical chemistry, taking it to an international level via prominent research as well as devoting himself to the training of junior scholars and the launch of a major international journal.
Born in Euiju, Pyeonganbuk-do, Ikchoon Lee graduated from the Dept. of Chemistry, Seoul National University in 1956, when he went to UK and earned his master’s degree from the University of Birmingham in 1960, and Ph.D, from London University in 1962. After returning to Korea, he joined the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute as Research Fellow and became professor of the Dept. of Applied Chemistry at the College of Engineering, Seoul National University in 1965. As Inha College of Engineering was authorized as Inha University in 1972, he served as professor of the Dept. of Chemistry from the next year until 1994.
Professor Lee took the role as a pioneer in publishing excellent papers. During 1960s, his main research topic was the theory of reaction speed in organic chemistry. To theoretically understand organic substitution reactions, he continued his research using the theory of molecular orbital function. Since 1963, he has published in American journals research jointly made with colleagues during his study in UK. In 1971, he published a paper on valence isomerism, together with Myeong-Gwan Hwang, then graduate student at the Dept. of Applied Chemistry, Seoul National University. Back then, it was very rare to have a paper on a domestic research published on an internationally recognized journal. Lots of faculty members and graduate students at the Dept. of Chemistry of Inha University formed a research group together with him, carrying out research on the mechanism of organic chemical reactions.
Especially, the concept of the cross-interaction constant proposed by Ikchoon Lee is evaluated as an important contribution in the approach to analyze the structure of transition state of organic reactions. He designed a reaction model that simultaneously changes two substituents which can make electronic perturbation to the center of the reaction in transition state and then, showed a generalization of the two substituents’ electronic interreactions in an equation. In addition, he proved that the cross interaction constant becomes the basis to determine the organic reaction mechanism and to analyze the transition state. The concept theory of the substituent’s interactions was generalized and also included in a text book on advanced organic chemistry such as Neil Isaacs, Physical Organic Chemistry, 2nd ed.
Professor Lee also worked passionately for the advancement of research in Korea in chemistry and the training of next-generation scholars. He led the higher education to produce next-generation researchers by establishing a master’s course that produced the 1st generation of graduates at the Dept. of Chemistry of Inha University and established the doctoral course two years later. He was well known for his strict but untiring research guidance. He provided advice to 31 Ph.Ds and 50 masters. His students continued their research in physical chemistry after joining private sector companies, government funded institutes and colleges. He also donated a private fund of KRW 100 million to the Dept. of Chemistry at Inha University in 2006 to change the culture in the academic community.
Furthermore, he was active in a variety of Korean chemistry research to develop an international standard for research. Even during the 1980s when he was busy with education and researches, he led the establishment of an English journal, Bulletin of Korean Chemical Society at the Korea Chemistry Society. Also, he contributed to the development of the society, taking up the positions of President of the Korea Chemistry Society and the Chairman of the International Cooperation Committee of the same society in turn. He also served as member of the editing committee of an international journal of Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry from 1997 to 2002.
His diligent life-long science activities brought him lots of moments of glory. He won the Presidential Award in 1982 and 1994, respectively. In 1987, he won the first Chungang Award, in 1993, Culture Award of the Seoul Metropolitan City, and in 2012, he won March 1st Culture Award.
He led the advancement of Korean chemistry researches by active research ever since 1960s when the research environment was poor and by publishing papers in international journals. He published over 500 papers including an internationally recognized one concerning the investigation of organic reaction mechanism and transition state structure.
His achievements were impressive both in terms of quantity and of quality in the area of education and research. He established a firm foundation from which Korean physical chemistry research can further advance.