The High Cost of a Right Answer
Random Samples, Science, Volume 277, Number 5331, Issue of 5 September 1997

The saga of a Korean mathematics professor, who says he was dismissed after pointing out a mistake made by his superiors, is causing a minor furor in mathematics circles worldwide.

Myung Ho Kim, 40, was an assistant professor of mathematics at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul when he found an error in a math problem in the university's entrance examination. The problem:

[Three non-zero vectors, A, B, and C in three-dimensional Euclidean space satisfy the following inequality :

                   |xA + yB + zC|>=|xA| + |yB|

for all real numbers x, y, and z. Show that the three vectors are perpendicular to each other.

Kim pointed out--correctly, mathematicians say--that no three nonzero vectors satisfying the hypothesis exist, and proposed that the question be disregarded in scoring the exam. No changes were made; instead, Kim was denied a promotion and let go in February 1996.

University officials say Kim didn't meet promotion requirements. Kim, claiming his dismissal was retaliation, sued. But the courts ruled against him after both the Korean Mathematical Society and the Korea Institute for Advanced Study declined to come to his defense.

Kim has appealed to Korea's supreme court--and the court of international opinion. Eminent mathematicians, including Michael Atiyah at Cambridge University, have taken up his cause, as have Korean-American scientists. And Kim, now an unpaid research assistant at the University of California, Santa Cruz, vows to keep up his fight. "I want to show young Korean scholars there is justice alive in Korea," he says.

비교: SAT 오류 지적한 미국 고등학생

For further developments,
  • 'The Crossbow Incident: A South Korean's breaking point'(LA times, 2012.3.8)

  • Out of Jail, Ex-Professor and His Crossbow Fight South Korea's Judiciary(Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 2012.3.14)

    The movie, 'Unbowed' is made. See below.

    * '의도적인 법 위반'으로 '입시부정의 길' 터놓은 양아치 법조 패거리의 '사회 정의 죽이기'들

    '부러진 화살' 영화에서 역할: 문성근(김용호, 신태길 합친 역), 이경영(중간에 사표쓴 이회기), 박원상(박훈), 김지호(서형, 연합뉴스 장재은), 김응수(박홍우), 박수일(검사: 백재명, 신동국, 박혜경)
  • 김용호: 드러난 법위반 테러 속내, 박홍우 범죄 비호
  • 증거조작하다 법정에서 고발당한 이회기, 신태길
  • 양승태: 재임용 관련 위법논리 개발
  • 김용담: 강제징용 관련 위법논리 개발 지시
  • 검찰, 헌재, 법원이 개발한 국민의 고소고발 원천봉쇄
  • 민일영, 김시철의 원세훈 무죄 공모, 김소영의 최민호 비호