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Tobit James Narciso, a graduate of Philippine Science High School Diliman campus won bronze in the recent 20th Asian-Pacific Mathematical Olympiad held at the Ateneo de Manila University.
A student who earns more than seven points gets a bronze medal, silver for over 12 points, and gold for a score higher than 17 points. Total number of points is 35. Narciso had nine, besting nine other students from different schools in the country.
APMO started in 1989. It aims to discover, encourage, and challenge mathematics inclined students in Pacific rim countries. It also fosters friendship and cooperation among students and teachers, and information exchange on school syllabi and practices throughout the region.
APMO participants are given four hours to work on five questions, each question carries a maximum score of seven points. The questions are collected from the contestants at the end of APMO and kept confidential until the senior coordinating country posts them on the APMO website.
Contestants are not allowed to discuss the math problems over the Internet until the results are posted.
This year's APMO generated very low medal turnout with 17 gold, 12 silver, and 7 bronze.
The Philippines, which posted a total of 42 points and only one bronze medal ranked 17th among 28 participating countries. South Korea topped the APMO followed by Japan, USA, Taiwan, and Russia.
Science Education Institute Director Ester B. Ogena explained that “mathematics need not be a difficult subject given the substantial training and knowledge from grade school to secondary level.”
“I urge our dear students to put into good use the foundation they get in joining this kind of competition by taking up science-related courses. We need you to help us pursue our development goals through research and development geared towards building our capacity to innovate our industries and improve our economy,” she said.
Italian-Philippine Accord Signed for the Demonstration of Kobold Turbine for Marine Current Power Generation in the Philippines
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The Italian Government through the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Italian Embassy and the Philippine Government through the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have finally set the flow for the technology demonstration of the Italian Kobold Turbine for Marine Current Power Generation in the Philippines . The Cebu Strait was identified as the potential site for the installation of the Kobold technology. Marine currents at 4 meters/second is required by the Kobold to generate energy which is equivalent to wind velocity of 136 kilometers/hour needed by a wind turbine to also generate power. At present, the Kobold Turbine is installed at the Messina Strait in Italy and is generating power of 50 kilowatts. The Philippines was chosen for the demonstration project because it is surrounded by coastal waters, a good resource for marine current power. For DOST, the project will be monitored by the Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development (PCIERD).
DOST enlisted the Colorado Shipyard Corporation (CSC) and the Filipinas Fabricators and Sales, Inc. (FFSI) for the project. The agreement for the implementation of the demonstration project was signed on February 21, 2008 by Italy ’s Ponte Di Archimede (PDA), the developer of the Kobold represented by Mr. Lorenzo Matacena, Engr. Arthur Uy of CSC, and Ms. Alice T. Villanueva of FFSI.
|In the same wavelength. Italy ’s Ponte Di Archimede (PDA), the developer of the Kobold represented by Mr. Lorenzo Matacena (5th from left), Engr. Arthur Uy of CSC (4th from left) and Ms. Alice T. Villanueva of FFSI (6th from left). Flanking the signatories are (from left) Mr. Felipe Y. Pestano, FFSI, Italian Ambassador Rubens Ana Fidele, DOST Secretary Estrella F. Alabastro, Dean Pestano, FFSI, Mr. Luciano Fulcie, PDA, Engr. Raul C. Sabularse, Deputy Executive Director, PCIERD, Engr. Loreto C. Carasi, PCIERD Project Monitor.|
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Many were called. But not all stayed.
Those who heeded the call and worked for 25 years or more at the Department of Science and Technology or its agencies received loyalty medallions and certificates of recognition in a recent ceremony. The setting was rather austere—at the lobby of the brawny DOST main building in Bicutan science complex—perhaps inadvertent, but seemed characteristic of a mistaken and longstanding reputation of the people and institution jointly celebrating a milestone in endurance, among others.
The award called Gawad Lingkod Kagawaran went to the 1,005 employees or about a fifth of the DOST system’s entire workforce. It’s one of the high points of DOST’s golden anniversary celebration. DOST Secretary Estrella F. Alabastro led the awarding program.
“I didn’t know anything about science then, I was just a ‘katulong’ [helper]”, Noel Bonete quipped as he recalled his early days working at the then Forest Products Research Institute (FPRI), now Forest Products Research and Development Institute. “I was barely out of high school and had ‘zero knowledge’ in science and technology.”
Bonete told the crowd of senior DOST employees he eventually learned, as he worked on husks and charcoal, about the science of forest products and the importance of research in developing technologies.
Bonete spoke, most likely his first to such an audience, as the longest serving among his peers with an impressive 45-year service record.
The stories are rich in inspiration.
Linda Leopando, now Scientist II started very young at the then Philippine Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), forerunner of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute. “I was a scholar of the National Science and Development Board (NSDB), so I was required to render service in any of its agencies after graduating from college.”
NSDB, forerunner of DOST, was created in 1958 integrating PAEC and the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) into the new system. Other agencies at the time like FPRI, PAGASA [Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration], PHIVOLCS [Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology], and the Food and Nutrition Research Institute--all previously known by different names were eventually restructured into full agency status and integrated into the system.
NSDB became the National Science and Technology Authority in 1982, and then elevated into cabinet line agency as DOST in 1987.
“I started as a ‘daily’ employee, one who received wages on a daily basis,” Leopando recounts. Armed with a BS Chemistry education, she decided to work in isotope production. She now heads the Isotope Techniques Research Group of PNRI’s Atomic Research Division.
“I love my work, and this is why I stayed” for 43 years now, she explained. “Every problem we work on is unique and this is what makes it exciting. We also see the relevance of our work because our projects have industrial applications.”
On the other hand, Science Research Technician IV Gregorio Lee of Industrial Technology Development Institute [formerly NIST] began training at NIST when he was barely 15 years old.
“It was a UNESCO-sponsored training on glass blowing” in the early 60s. Glass blowing was a hit worldwide, thrusting the craft into a kind of art.
Age wasn’t an issue back then, so Lee was readily accepted for training following some preliminaries. He trained for three years at the old NIST building along Herran St. [now Pedro Gil] in Malate, Manila. In 1966, NIST absorbed him and since then never considered working in another institution. “Loyalist ako, eh,” he said, laughing.
For many years, he worked with glasses creating and repairing an assortment of glassware and also training many others in the art. When UNESCO eventually stopped supporting glassblowing projects, Lee shifted to calibration.
Of his 42 years in service, he has only one regret. “I wasn’t able to continue college”. That’s because shortly after he got a regular position at NIST, he got married, raised kids, and didn’t find time to go back to school. “This is why I cannot be promoted to higher positions.”
In over four decades of his stay in DOST, Lee looks back to the times of former Secretaries Ceferino L. Follosco and Ricardo T. Gloria as the “best years” because “employees received equal benefits”.
To the younger and incoming DOST employees, he has only one advice: “Habang narito sila sa DOST, ipagpatuloy nila ang pag-aaral. Mag-Masters at mag-PhD sila” [While they are working at DOST, they should continue studying. They should obtain master’s and PhD degrees].
So there, a golden nugget of insight from someone who’s ‘been there and possibly done some of that’.
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Dr. Caesar Saloma, a physicist and dean of the college of science at the University of the Philippines received the ASEAN Outstanding Scientist and Technologist Award in recognition of his outstanding research achievements in photonics and signal processing.
On the other hand, Dr. Lisa Ng Fong Poh, a virologist from the Singapore Immunology Network clinched the ASEAN Young Scientist and Technologist Award for her meritorious research and development efforts on Asia’s infectious diseases, particularly on emerging and re-emerging diseases.
Both received the awards from Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as a highlight during the opening of the 8th ASEAN Science and Technology Week July 7 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
Dr. Saloma has built a strong reputation in photonics research in which his group at the UP Instrumentation Physics Laboratory has published over 80 technical papers in prestigious science journals and popular science magazines in the US and Europe based on their numerous research works.