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Updated: 2018.4.13 22:17
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Integrating Sciences and Humanities
[ Issue 153 Page 3 ] Monday, May 08, 2017, 16:05:17 Juhoon Lee Staff Reporter juhoonlee@kaist.ac.kr

As another season of countless colloquiums bloom on the KAIST grounds, one in particular emerges unique amongst the heavily STEM-oriented symposiums. In conjunction with the recent emphasis on interdisciplinary studies made by President Sung-Chul Shin, the School of Humanities and Social Science is hosting the Spring 2017 KAIST Humanities and Social Sciences Colloquium (HSSC). The event consists of six lectures spanning between March and June, each given by a KAIST professor adept in their respective field of sciences or humanities.

The colloquium aims to pursue studies beyond standard presentations tapered on a specialized field of study; instead, they also focus on the connection between STEM and humanities and social sciences that will enrich both academic spheres.

One such seminar from the extensive list was “Understanding Seismic Design, Learning from Architectural Heritage” given by Professor Dong-Soo Kim from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Professor Kim discussed the improvement of modern seismic design through the research of historical heritages that endured earthquakes over hundreds of years.

The recent Gyeongju earthquake imprinted on the nation’s shaken mind the necessity for preventative architectural measures. In an ingenious twist, Professor Kim and his team inspected heritage monuments at Gyeongju — most notably Seokgatap, a stone pagoda built at Bulguksa Temple. The monuments lasted for almost 1300 years despite numerous high-magnitude earthquakes to which Professor Kim expressed his surprise: “While the construction looks fragile, [our ancestors’] designs allowed the pagodas to keep in balance even on the yielding body of land.” Through a thorough analysis of the structure using modeling and replication of the tremors using historical data, the researchers identified key properties of the assembly that mitigated the destructive effects of the seismic waves.

All of the lectures are held on Wednesdays, at the School of Humanities and Social Science Building (N4) at 12 p.m. The colloquium welcomes all students, staff, and non-school affiliated people who wish to learn in depth about the integration of sciences with the humanities at closer proximity with one’s day-to-day life.

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