Academician, Prof. and Dr. Ri Sung Gi is well known over the world as the inventor of vinalon.
He was awarded Kim Il Sung Prize, People’s Prize and the titles of DPRK Labor Hero and People’s Scientist for his distinguished feats performed in developing science and technology and chemical industry of the DPRK.
Ri was born in the closing years of Feudal Joson Dynasty (1392-1910), but had to suffer racial discrimination and contempt under the Japanese imperialists’ colonial rule over Korea. Being brought up in a nationalist family, he cherished a desire to study on behalf of the Korean nation.
He was recognized as a brain, while studying abroad under adversity.
He devoted himself to his research project with national dignity and scientific ambition and thus invented vinalon, polyvinyl alcohol synthetic fiber, for the first time in the world at his thirties.
His desire to do scientific research for the Korean nation would be materialized by President Kim Il Sung.
During the Fatherland Liberation War (1950-1953), Ri was embraced in the bosom of the DPRK and could continue his research into vinalon with the special confidence of the President.
After the war, the then February 8 Vinalon Factory was built to produce vinalon with limestone and anthracite inexhaustible as raw materials on the basis of his research and the vinalon industry was created in the DPRK.
He had made a number of scientific achievements, while continuing his research into improving the quality of vinalon.
He worked as the director of the Hamhung Branch under the State Academy of Sciences from February Juche 50 (1961) till February Juche 85 (1996), being elected to the Supreme People’s Assembly several times.
His typical work “Vinalon” (booklet) has been translated and published in other countries.
In his lifetime, Ri used to say as follows:
“If the coming generations ask about the history of vinalon, please tell them about the history of the Workers’ Party of Korea founded and led by great leader Kim Il Sung, not about the name of a scientist or a technician.
Then they will come to know how vinalon could be born in this era.”