Person: Kim, Ki Hang
Ki Hang Kim was a Korean mathematician who worked in America. He published on semigroups and Boolean matricies as well as in many other areas.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- We note that the Korean ordering of his names would be Kim Ki-Hang and, for reasons we will explain below, he also used the name Kim Ki-Hang Butler.
- The situation with Kim's names is, however, even more complicated since in 1960 he took American nationality and at that time changed his name by decree of Court from Ki-Hang Kim to Keyhany Keem.
- Despite this change of name, he only seems to have used the new form for a few years before reverting to Ki-Hang Kim.
- By age 12, Kim already knew some Chinese, Japanese, English and Russian, and had skipped a couple grades of school.
- It was in the position of being controlled by Japan when Kim was born.
- At this time Kim was in the part of the country controlled by the Americans but both they and the South Koreans were ill-prepared for war.
- Kim, now fourteen years old, was acting as an interpreter to the American troops.
- The Americans offered Kim the chance of coming with them as they left and gave him six hours to decide.
- Kim went and left his parents and siblings.
- Kim travelled with the Americans to Taegu Airbase (sometimes spelt Daegu, and also known as K-2).
- In the Army, Kim served as an interpreter for intelligence units in Korea and Japan.
- After a year in the Army, Kim passed a high school equivalency exam.
- Before joining the U.S. Army, Kim filled out a Declaration of Intent for the Immigration and Naturalization Service on 25 November 1954, at this time for the purpose of joining the U.S. Air Force.
- After two years service, Kim was discharged from the U.S. Army and, in December 1957, entered the Mississippi Southern College in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA.
- In January 1960 Kim received American nationality under the name Keyhany Keem.
- At this stage Kim would have wished to progress to a Ph.D. but he did not have the funds to set out on such a programme.
- Kim was awarded the degree of Ph.D. in February 1971 for his 125-page thesis On (0,1)-Matrix Semigroups and, before the award of the degree, was employed by Pembroke State University, North Carolina as an associate professor of mathematics.
- His early papers, published under the name Kim Ki-hang Butler, are Binary relations (1971), On Kim's conjecture (1971), On (0,1)-matrix semigroups (1971), On a Miller and Clifford theorem (1971), and An identity in combinations (1971).
- The local newspaper Robesonian (Lumberton, North Carolina) regularly reported on Ki-Hang Kim's activities while he served on the faculty of Pembroke State University.
- For example he delivered the talk On Kim's conjecture at the Seventy-Seventh Annual Meeting of the American Mathematical Society held at Chalfonte-Haddon Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, January 21-24, 1971.
- Kim continued to publish under the name Kim Ki-hang Butler until 1976 when Fred William Roush joined the faculty at Alabama State University and the two began a collaboration.
- From this time on, Kim published as Ki-hang Kim.
- Kim's first book was a published version of his Ph.D. thesis which he followed with at least seven more books, most written jointly with Fred William Roush.
- (Kim was also the solo author of the fundamental 1982 reference "Boolean matrix theory and applications," which grew out of his thesis and is still regularly cited.) Their interests were broad: MathSciNet groups their publications in 21 subject areas.
- The final Kim and Roush paper, in 2006, was their only paper in tropical geometry: they proved a result conjectured by Develin, Santos and Sturmfels.
- They were tenacious, working on some problems for years.
- One of them, Anthony Hudson, told me that Dr Kim was one of the best teachers he had ever known.
- Dr Kim sometimes said that mathematics was his avocation as well as his vocation, and often worked 7 days a week.
- In his last years he had a number of health problems, including heart problems requiring a quadruple bypass operation and kidney failure requiring dialysis.
- Let us end with the following assessments of Kim's character.
- Dr Kim was glad to talk with ordinary people like the custodians of our building as well as with famous mathematicians, and he always remembered the custodians generously at Christmas.
- Kim's story is notable for the ability and drive by which he emerged from difficult circumstances and went on to great success.
Born 5 August 1936, Anju, South Pyongan, Korea (now North Korea). Died 15 January 2009, Montgomery, Alabama, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin North Korea
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive