He received B.S. ('74) and M.S. ('76) degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Seoul National University , and Ph.D. ('80) degree in Solid Mechanics from Brown University.
After he spent one year ('79-'80) at California Institute of Technology as a Research Fellow in Aeronautics department, he taught at the department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign as Assistant ('80-'86) and Associate('86-'89) Professor.
Since 1989 he has been Professor of Engineering at Brown University. He also held visiting faculty positions at Harvard University ('87-'88 and 2002), Cambridge University , U.K. ('96) and University of California, Santa Barbara ('97).
Professor Kim has been working as an engineering scientist, as an inventor, and as an educator to contribute to the rapidly evolving society. His research interest is in an interdisciplinary area, solid mechanics of small scale material structures; nano and micromechanics of solids. For his research he has invented several new scientific instruments and analytical methods. Those include the Transverse Displacement Interferometer (1976), Stress Intensity Factor Tracer (1984), Analysis of Elasto-plastic Peel Test (1985), Large-Deformation Laser Moire Microscope (1989), Ceramic-Metal Composite Article and Joining Method (U.S.Pat-5,108,025; 4/28/92), Computational Fourier Transform Moire (CFTM) Analyzer (1993), Field Projection Method of Deformation Characterization (1996), Analysis of transitions in slip mechanisms (SDA and MDC slip)of single-asperity-contact friction (1998), Surface Roughness Evolution Spectroscopy (SRES) for microscopic residual-stress measurement (1999), Method of Multiple Asperity Indentation(2002), High Resolution Curvature Interferometry(2003), Vibration isolator with a tunable inverse pendulum(2004) and AFM Diamagnetic Lateral Force Calibrator (D-LFC) (2005).
He received the Melville Medal with R.J. Clifton from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers , in 1981, in conjunction with the invention of the Transverse Displacement Interferometer. He was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996 for his work in "Mechanical Behavior of Solid Nano Structures". He has been invited as a Midwest Mechanics Seminar Speaker of the year 2000, hosted by 9 Midwest Universities "Tour A: November 2-5, 1999; Notre Dame, IIT, UIUC, Purdue", "Tour B: Apr 3-7, 2000; Michigan, MSU, NWU, Wisconsin, Minnesota". He also received the 1999 Best JEP Paper Award with Ashraf Bastawros from the Electrical and Electronic Packaging Division of the ASME, He has been invited as a Southwest Mechanics Seminar Speaker in 2004, hosted by 5 southwest universities. He received the Ho-Am Prize in Engineering in 2005.
He was invited to give lectures for various organizations including Gordon Research Conferences (1987, 92, 93), Materials Research Society (1988, 90, 94, 96, 98, 99), American Physical Society (1989, 91, 00) other than various agencies and international conferences. He was also selected as distinguished invited speaker of year 1994 by the Adhesion Society. He has been continuously invited as a keynote or plenary speaker for various international symposiums and conferences. He served as Chairman of the Thin Film & Nano Structures symposium for the International Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ICTAM) held in 2004.
He is a member of American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Society for Experimental Mechanics, Adhesion Society , Materials Research Society and American Physical Society. He served as a Chairman of Experimental Mechanics Committee, Applied Mechanics Division ASME, 1991-93.