Giants in History: Daniel Chonghan Hong

Revealing the physics of popcorn 

Daniel Chonghan Hong (03 March 1956 - 06 July 2002)

South Korea

South Korean theoretical physicist Daniel Chonghan Hong (3 March 1956 – 6 July 2002) achieved fame in the public sphere through his research into the physics of popcorn. Hong was also the first proponent of the diffusing void model of granular flow, which describes how granular materials such as particles move in a confined space. As a scientist, Hong enjoyed relating his research to everyday phenomena, in order to make the research more understandable, and he possessed an uncanny ability to explain the simple physics behind complex observations. His study on the physics of popcorn resulted in a published paper on controlling the size of popcorn by monitoring the pressure of the cooking chamber. The study attracted the attention of media around the world. Hong was also a science writer who tackled a variety of topics ranging from natural sciences to philosophy. 

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