War veteran holds doctorate at 84

A high-strength structural adhesive attracted particular attention of visitors at the national exhibition of scientific and technological achievements in the field of finishing building materials, which was held in the Sci-Tech Complex in Pyongyang in 2018.

The cement can be applied for sticking such architectural constructional materials as granite or marble plate stones and tiles to any concrete surface without using reinforcement bars and can also be used as a concrete waterproof material.

Its adhesion strength grows with the passage of time after application and it can stick any stone plate weighing hundreds of kilograms to concrete surface at once.

“The raw materials and additives of the high-strength structural adhesive are all locally-available things,” said developer Pak Pong Sil proudly.

People highly appreciate the technical specifications of the adhesive, but what they admire more about is the developer herself.

She is not a building materials expert and she was awarded a doctorate for the study of the glue at the age of 84.

An ex-servicewoman during the Fatherland Liberation War, she was enrolled in the chemistry department of Kim Il Sung University in 1952 in the height of the war.

The passionate student studied hard day and night, thinking about her comrades-in-arms who were shedding blood on the front line.

After graduating from the university with good marks, she became a researcher.

In the country, socialist construction was underway after postwar reconstruction, and in the stirring reality, Pak Pong Sil launched the study of the high-strength structural adhesive in order to contribute to increasing the speed of construction, though it was not her special subject.

“My mother used to say we should make everything the country needs and everyone should do it,” said Pak’s son Rim Kyong Ho.

Pak devoted nearly 20 years to the research.

In 1975 she introduced her adhesive into the construction of the iron bridge over the Chongchon River.

Afterwards, she further perfected the adhesive to ensure its use in various structures and different construction conditions.

And more decades passed that way, and she was awarded her PhD in 2018 at the age of 84 for a thesis on the high-strength structural adhesive.

The finding associated with her whole life was of great help in speeding up the construction of monumental structures in different parts of the country, including the Monument to the Three Charters for National Reunification, skyscrapers and other high-rise apartment buildings on Ryomyong Street in Pyongyang and the Yangdok Hot Spring Resort, and is still being applied to many construction projects.

“Any research can be of true value when it brings substantial benefits to the country. If my research finding is of help to the country, I will be able to take pride in my life, I think,” said Pak.