게시물 상세

One-Liner Quotes

 

A Korean Literary Translator’s Pick

 

2022.06.07

 

?

?

 

When was the last time you read a book about environmental issues that wasn’t written by an American or a European? Calling South Korea a part of the Global South or the Global Majority would be a bit of a stretch at this point in history, but we still have a unique perspective to contribute to world environmental discourse as the first country in modern history to transition into an international donor nation. There are still millions of Koreans who remember what it was like to starve and have to prioritize economic growth over environmental sustainability. South Korea will always have something interesting to say in any economic growth discourse, and this book, a science bestseller in a nation full of scientists, is our latest hope for a consensus that will save the planet.
The Earth Is Fine: It’s the Humans Who’re Doomed (Across Books) is by renowned science fiction author Kwak Jae-sik whose legendary prolific output makes us forget that he is actually an environmental scientist during the day. Kwak is a certified genius and graduate of KAIST, one of the world’s most prestigious STEM universities, where he studied Nuclear Physics, Particle Physics, and Chemistry. This book is written for a general audience and deals with the tyranny of climate change and how it affects humanity, and more importantly, how we can change things for the better.
In the first part, he lays the groundwork: what exactly do we mean by climate change, and what do environmentalists mean when they say Earth is doomed (hint: it’s not, it’s humanity that’s doomed). In the second, he discusses the various technologies such as alternative energy sources that we are utilizing to mitigate our energy consumption’s effects on our environment, such as hydroelectric power, the hydrogen economy, and why we can’t keep drilling into Earth’s crust for geothermal power (it causes earthquakes). In the third, he lays out a fascinating plan to save humanity from destroying itself, such as transitioning into 100% electric infrastructure and unleashing the power of the hydrogen atom.

 

?

?

 

While we’re on this science theme, why not also look at Genome Express: A Most Intellectual Journey in Revealing the Truth of Genes (Wisdom House) by Cho Jin-ho. OK, so a graphic novel on genetics is perhaps something you’ve already seen before, but this book really is different from other educational graphic novels! It brings together different scientists across space and time to explain how the genetic model came about: what is DNA, how did we discover it, how did we know where to look and what to look for, how does DNA “turn into” a human being, and what exactly happens in a zygote that creates cell division and specialization.
I was especially fascinated by Schrödinger (of the Schrödinger’s cat experiment fame) postulating on the existence of an “aperiodic crystal” as the true genetic material. This speculation would lead to scientists eliminating different components of the chromosome until they’ve successfully zeroed in on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) as the location of all our genes. But this is where it gets dicey: does DNA truly contain all the information necessary to create a living being from scratch? If not (and the answer, spoiler alert, is that it doesn’t), what more does an organism need to pass on genetic information to the next generation? And dare we call such vectors “genes” as well?
This book is an extremely well-written and illustrated philosophical treatise on the science of genetics, so full of surprising twists and turns and extreme close-ups of proteins and other molecules that it is clear, even to a mere literary translator who works mostly with fiction and poetry, why this story could only be told in graphic novel form.

 

 


Written by Anton Hur (Korean Literary Translator)

 

kbbok

Anton Hur (Korean Literary Translator)

#Kwak Jae-sik#Cho Jin-ho#Science#Environment#Anton Hur
If you liked this article, share it with others. 페이스북트위터블로그인쇄

Pre Megazine