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Steel in His Bones

E. Jardin & C. Schoch

Henri Gaye already had a brilliant career as researcher with Arcelor behind in when he yielded to the sirens of an offer to manage a laboratory at POSTECH University.

Henri Gaye arrived in Pohang, a city in the southeast of Korea in 2005.  He was pre-retired at the time from Usinor after a brilliant career that had earned him countless honors from the scientific community.  Professionally he had nothing to prove.  How then, from retirement in Bordeaux, did he land in this steelmaking region, with the Hyundai shipyards only a few leagues away?  In March 2005 at a symposium Henri Gaye was approached by Hea-Geon Lee, dean of the Graduate Institute of Ferrous Technology (GIFT) at POSTECH University in Pohang.  He was offered the position of manager of the Clean Steel Production laboratory.

An active retirement
In June, Henri Gaye visited the campus then, two months later, he and his wife decided to move to Korea.  He explains why: "Here, my working conditions (salary, research facilities) are exceptional." It should be noted that the GIFT is financed by POSCO, the spearhead of Korean industry that is trying to stand up to the Indian and Chinese steel giants by innovating.  Nothing but idle talk? Not really.  One example: "By dint of tenacity, POSCO has invented "Finex," a new iron-making process that will enable it to open a plant in India."

In October 2008, the GIFT will move to a new building with brand-new laboratories where gray matter is all that will be missing.  So doors will be open to postdocs specialized in materials science, chemistry, physics and mathematics who have a passion for steel.  They will be moving in an international scientific environment.  As a matter of fact, out of the 50 students in the lab that Henri Gaye manages, 13 of them are not Korean.  And Slovakian, Iranian and Russian students have applied for the next academic year to begin in March 2008.

Mini CV
1971: PhD from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh
1972-1984: engineer in the metallurgical physics and chemistry department at Usinor
1984-1991: manager of the physics and chemistry and structural analysis department at Usinor
2004: retired as experienced researcher at Arcelor
2005: manager of the Clean Steel Production Laboratory at POSTECH (Pohang, Korea)
Henri Gaye has been a member of the French Academy of technology since 2000.

On the web
http://www.sf2m.asso.fr/Innovation_Nodal/Part2Annuaire_Nodal.pdf directory of metallurgical innovation in France
http://www.bcg.com/publications/files/Beyond_Boom_Feb2007.pdf a report by the Boston Consulting Group on the boom of steelmaking companies