Young-Kee Kim is devoted to understanding the origin of mass, which manifests itself as weight under the force of gravity. She has studied the two most massive particles, the W boson and the top quark, at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in order to better understand how particles acquire mass. Kim is former co-spokesperson (co-leader) of the Collider Detector at Fermilab experiment, and former deputy director of Fermilab.
In 2005, Kim received South Korea's Ho-Am Science Prize for outstanding achievements in basic research. The prize honors Kim's contributions at CDF to the understanding of fundamental particles and their interactions.