I discuss the public understanding of Albert Einstein and the theory of relativity in Korea during the period of Japanese Colonization, particularly in the 1920s. He and his theory were popular subjects both in journalism and in public lectures. In 1921 Einstein first appeared in Korean journalism with his visit to the U.S.A. to campaign for the establishment of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Since his visit to Japan in 1922, Einstein was frequently reported in Korean journalism, 58 times by The Dong-a Daily and 37 times by The Chosen Ilbo before his death in 1955. Chosŏn Education Association invited Einstein to Korea for promoting the Movement for Establishing Civil University, but in vain. A series of public lectures on the theory of relativity were held. Ch’oe Yun-Sik, a Korean mathematical physics student at Tokyo Imperial University, gave several public lectures on the theory of relativity in 1923. Those lectures were a part of the movement for Reconstruction (Gaejo) during the 1920s. In summary, Einstein and his theory of relativity were well known in Korea, and this was related with Korea’s cultural movement and independence movement against the Japanese Colonization Government.

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Einstein and theory of relativity in Korea during the 1920s

Zae-young Ghim   Faculty of Liberal Education, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea

I discuss the public understanding of Albert Einstein and the theory of relativity in Korea during the period of Japanese Colonization, particularly in the 1920s. He and his theory were popular subjects both in journalism and in public lectures. In 1921 Einstein first appeared in Korean journalism with his visit to the U.S.A. to campaign for the establishment of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Since his visit to Japan in 1922, Einstein was frequently reported in Korean journalism, 58 times by The Dong-a Daily and 37 times by The Chosen Ilbo before his death in 1955. Chosŏn Education Association invited Einstein to Korea for promoting the Movement for Establishing Civil University, but in vain. A series of public lectures on the theory of relativity were held. Ch’oe Yun-Sik, a Korean mathematical physics student at Tokyo Imperial University, gave several public lectures on the theory of relativity in 1923. Those lectures were a part of the movement for Reconstruction (Gaejo) during the 1920s. In summary, Einstein and his theory of relativity were well known in Korea, and this was related with Korea’s cultural movement and independence movement against the Japanese Colonization Government.

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