QNS Outreach Manager Sunny Kim Receives the Ministry Award for Pioneering Science Outreach

March 25, 2024

Sunny Kim of the IBS Center for Quantum Nanoscience (QNS) has been awarded a commendation from the Korean Ministry of Science and ICT for her contributions to leading science outreach and promoting research results. She was honored for promoting the latest research achievements of QNS at the 2023 Korea Science and Technology Fair and significantly contributing to science outreach for youth and the general public.

Kim played a pivotal role in promoting the excellence of Korean basic science by widely introducing cutting-edge qubit technology in quantum computing, which QNS leads internationally.

Additionally, she has long been at the forefront of educating Korean middle school students on quantum mechanics and nanoscience. Collaborating with middle school teachers, she developed the "Nanokomik Hands-on Science Curriculum" for middle schools and has been distributing it nationwide for free since 2020. With the Nanokomok curriculum, students learn about nanotechnology in daily life and the mysteries of quantum mechanics and explore careers in quantum fields through a comic book and various hands-on experiments.

The cumulative number of participants in the Nanokomik curriculum has exceeded 30,000 students. One participant, inspired by her first encounter with quantum mechanics by QNS, expressed her aspiration: "The Nanokomik program seems to be a turning point in my scientific life. I will strive to become an excellent researcher!" A participant's parent expressed gratitude, saying, "It was a valuable time during which my child developed confidence and self-esteem while nurturing an interest and sense of accomplishment in new science."

Meanwhile, Kim has contributed to QNS’s science communications in Korea by organizing the "QNS Art Contest" three times. These contests aimed to share the charm of quantum with the public and induce national interest in quantum research that receives global attention.

The themes of the contests were "The World of Quantum" in 2019, "Spin Art" in 2021, and "Qubit" in 2024, receiving enthusiastic responses from the art community with over a total of 900 entries. The winners have expanded their reach to the public through the art exhibition at the Seoul Institute of the Arts, publications, and an artist residency.

QNS has devoted efforts to engaging and educating participants on quantum mechanics through the art contest. Kim collaborated with QNS researchers to produce various explanatory content, such as videos and webtoons, allowing participants to learn about quantum mechanics and express themselves in their voices. One participant who attended the kick-off talk for the contest said, "I opened my eyes to the world of quantum. I am grateful for being able to expand into a new perspective in the field of art."

Kim expressed her honor at receiving the award, stating, "Introducing science to the public creatively has been my dream since I was young. I am honored to see that passion bear fruit with this award." QNS director Andreas Heinrich said, "QNS values engaging with the public and believes in its power. Through our science outreach projects, I hope public interest in QNS and IBS will increase and advance basic science in Korea."