NERS Student O Hwang Kwon talks about the possible successors of fossil fuels at the 2023 Rackham King Talks

In his talk, “Which Would Be the Successor of Fossil Fuels—Renewables or Nuclear?”, O Hwang Kwon aims to convey the message of the urgent need for action as he firmly believes that by working together as a team, the world can successfully overcome the challenge of climate change.


O Hwang Kwon, currently a first-year Master’s student in Prof. Majdi Radaideh’s group, recently got the opportunity to talk at the 2023 Rackham King Talks on “Which Would Be the Successor of Fossil Fuels—Renewables or Nuclear?” Concerned and moved by climate change, Kwon urges a call for action. “A lot of climate scientists are saying that we have already passed the tipping point of global warming. Which literally means that the earth lost its resilience permanently.”, he said. 

Originally from the Republic of Korea, Kwon graduated from the Korea Military in 2018 and was selected as a beneficiary of a governmental oversea scholarship for Nuclear Engineering in view of the current crisis in South Korea in 2021, following which he joined U-M. “I have always thought that spreading ideas to people makes the world better,” said Kwon, who even published his own book that talks about self-management and self-discipline. A firm believer that TED talks are for preaching ideas worth sharing, Kwon saw the King Talks as an opportunity to share his research, interests, and ideas. His speech focused on the urgent need to replace fossil fuels with nuclear power or renewables to address climate change and highlighted that since every energy source has its own set of problems, we must focus on whether these problems are technologically solvable. He said, “I wanted to point out that many problems with renewables are not technical, which means that even with technological innovations, human beings would not be able to resolve them.”

After the King Talks, Kwon was happy to receive positive feedback from the audience and felt his message was well-received. He became much more confident about himself and learned that spreading beneficial ideas can be one of the most efficient ways to improve the world. In the future, he hopes to continue spreading his ideas and helping others in his field of Nuclear Engineering. He believes hard work and a supportive environment can help anyone achieve their goals.

Kwon expressed his pride in being a NERS student and gratitude towards his instructor, Professor Majdi, who has been a great mentor and increased his interest in Nuclear Engineering and Machine Learning. Overall, Kwon’s experience with the King Talks improved his language, communication skills, and confidence and cultivated an essential capability to be a good instructor. He advises anyone who is considering giving a KingTalk never to hesitate and to challenge themselves.

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