Physics (물리 / Mulli)

물리 / Mulli
Translation and backgrounder by Stephen Mercado

A quarterly journal of science and technology related to the nature and properties of matter and energy, published by the Science and Encyclopedia Publishing House.

Cover of Physics (물리 / Mulli), no. 4 (2022).

Journal Title: The journal title has various renderings. Physics is the name in English. Its name in a simplified version of the standard McCune-Reischauer (M-R) transliteration system and the actual title in Korean are listed above. In the English version of the journal’s table of contents (TOC), the transliteration, rendered in all caps, is MULRI. Below it appears between parentheses the English version: (Physics).

Author Information: Editorials and anecdotes of the Revolution (혁명 일화) are unsigned. The research papers show author names but lack other information common to science papers, such as academic or professional affiliation, academic titles, areas of research or author biography. Given the journal’s title, it would be reasonable to suppose that some of the authors hail from the State Academy of Sciences (SAS) Physics Institute or a relevant academic department. Indeed, there is occasional evidence for this. In Issue 1, 2002, for example, an author of the article “High-Harmonic Generation in Two-Dimensional Monolayer Mg₂N” (17-19) cited an article of his under the name “K.H. Kim,” published abroad in 2020 in the journal ChemPhysChem. The foreign source identifies him, as well as his colleague Choe Myong Il, as members of the SAS Physics Institute.

Subject Matter: The articles touch on a variety of issues and techniques in physics, including such branches as acoustics, mechanics, and nuclear physics.

References: Most articles end with between one and three references to other scientific works. Domestic citations tend to be to such relevant journals as Kwahagwon Tongbo. Foreign citations are numerous, particularly to English-language journals such as the Indian Journal of Physics and the International Journal of Modern Physics, B. Also present are references to Chinese scientific journals, including 高压物理学报 (Chinese Journal of High Pressure Physics).

Sections: Each issue comprises a front cover; an unnumbered page with a framed quotation of one of the three generations of the Kim family; a TOC in Korean; the articles; a TOC in English; the publishing information; and the back cover. Regime messages/propaganda appear throughout the journal.

In recent years, the front cover has shown a lead quotation over the journal title, under which is the name of the publisher, the issue number and year of issue and the corporate logo. The TOC in Korean starts with two or three items, each either an editorial or an anecdote of the Revolution (혁명 일화). There follows some number of articles under the sections “Research Papers” (연구론문) and “Research Data” (연구자료). Some issues may include other sections. For example, the final section of Issue 4, 2021 is “Trends Data” (추세자료). Following the articles is an abbreviated TOC in English; there are no translations for the material following the section “Research Papers,” which is translated as “Original Papers.” Next, there is the publishing information. The back cover has included the journal’s International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) at the lower right corner over a bar code in recent years.

A side-by-side comparison of a page of the Korean and English TOCs.

Publisher: The publisher’s name in English is the Science and Encyclopedia Publishing House. It is the Kwahak Paekkwa Sajon Chulpansa in simplified M-R and 과학백과사전출판사 in Korean. The publisher’s name appears in Korean on the journal’s cover and in English on the copyright line on the publishing information page. In addition, the front cover includes the publisher’s logo: a globe, with a representation of the atom imposed at the top and an abbreviated version of the publisher’s Korean name, 백과 (Paekkwa), at the bottom.

Prior to Issue 3, 2018, the publisher’s name printed on the front cover was 과학기술출판사 (Kwahak Gisul Chulpansa, the Science and Technology Publishing House). Confusingly, the front cover for the 2016 and 2017 issues, as well as the first two issues of 2018, show the Science and Technology Publishing House name together with the Paekkwa corporate logo.

The publisher publishes an issue each quarter, starting in February, for a total of four issues per year. According to the table of contents and publishing information page, the first issue (February) of 2022 was cumulative issue number 252. The publishing information page also indicated that there was an editorial committee (no members named), the publisher was the Science and Encyclopedia Publishing House, the place of printing was the Moranbong Printing Plant, the date of printing was 10 February Juche 111 (2022), and the date of issue was 20 February Juche 111 (2022). The publishing information has shown changes over time; for example, in Issue 1, 2002, the place of printing was the Pyongyang General Printing Plant, and the journal showed no copyright line, ISSN or telephone number.