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Portrait of Alumni, Jong Woo Jin

“I am Korean, came from Brazil and I am studying in France” – likely this was the sentence I used whenever I met new people when I was in France, from 2006 to 2013."

"...The common reaction was: “Wow, you are from three very different corners of the world, Korea, Brazil and now France”. Then: “So, you speak Korean, Portuguese, French, English?…”. It's an interesting way to begin a conversation. Then, one of common next questions: “so where do you study in France?” - “École polytechnique”. Great!

I was born in South Korea and my family moved to Brazil when I was 14 years old. In high school, I developed my passion for Physics, so I entered University of Sao Paulo (USP) to study it, where I learned about the double diploma program between USP and École polytechnique: students studying mathematics or physics for at least two years in USP can apply for the entry exam of École Polytechnique. I passed the exam, so in 2006 I arrived in France. Back then, I was vaguely dreaming about becoming a great physicist, like great names we find among École Polytechnique’s alumni. Arriving in France, I realized that the world is much more than just studying Physics. Knowing many languages is an advantage, learning other subjects brings new ways of reflection (I regret that I didn’t study Economy when I had a chance to). Interacting with people and having solid communication skills is of huge importance in research, and the key point, there is a necessity of building a career and life plan. To be very honest, it was not easy to find a solution conciliating my old dream, my life style and professional needs. But fortunately the multidisciplinary and international curricula of École polytechnique allowed me a wide variety of options.

I am now a researcher in semiconductor physics. After my engineering and PhD degree from École Polytechnique and after experiences as postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge and again at École polytechnique, I’ve recently joined a small company in South Korea which develops sensors for fingerprint, x-ray, infrared etc. I am learning how emerging technologies are transformed into commercial products, connecting the “scientific evolution” with “daily life”. I cannot avoid the feeling of becoming a student again, in the sense of being learning new things, thinking in a new way, in new environment, but I enjoy this feeling, thanks to years I spent at École polytechnique."