NAST to recognize eight outstanding young scientists

In Photo: Yñiguez, Perez and Hermosa

Stephanie Tumampos / Special to the BusinessMirror

EIGHT young Filipino scientists will be recognized as the 2017 National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Outstanding Young Scientists (OYS) awardees during the two-day NAST 39th Annual Scientific Meeting that starts on July 12.

Three of these OYS Awardees—Nathaniel Hermosa II, Jeffrey Perez and Aletta Concepcion Yñiguez—were presented to the media during a news conference on July 6 in Quezon City.

The awardees

The Ocean Protector.  Yñiguez is currently doing a research on marine biology and fisheries. According to the NAST, “Dr. Yñiguez led the development of the first integrated biophysical models for sardine fisheries and harmful algal-bloom management in the Philippines.”

This means she has focused her work on the computational models to further strengthen the sardine-fisheries industry in the Philippines. She also made significant contribution to the first Philippine early warning system for harmful algal blooms or red tides.

Yñiguez has already led and conducted yearly seminars on climate-change and marine-science summer camps in coordination with the Department of Sciend and Technology Science Education Institute Philippine Science High Schools and other public national high schools.

The Faultfinder. In the field of geology, Perez has excelled in his research on being one of the “faultfinders” in the country. “I’m actually one of the faultfinders,” Perez said during the news conference.

He added his work is not focused on predicting earthquakes simply because earthquakes, can never be predicted. Instead, what he does is understand fault distribution and segmentation and earthquake-generation potential. 

“The [6.7-magnitude] earthquake that occurred on February 12 [off the coast of Surigao del Norte] this year, we have already identified that fault since 2007,” Perez said. He added that Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has already pinpointed the Surigao fault and alerted the people living nearby. “The bridge transected by the fault fell down during the earthquake.

The Light Shaper. Hermosa, a physicist, is working on light and its applications at the National Institute of Physics of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman.

The most fundamental part of his research is in fiber technology.

“Our current fiber communication is binary,” Hermosa said, meaning there are only two ways where light can move in a fiber connection—horizontal and vertical. “If you can shape light, it can have almost infinite shapes, and infinite shapes means infinite information.”

Hermosa explained that through infinite shapes of light, one can send infinite amount of information at the same time. “This is what my research is focused on—how we can send a lot of information in one light.”

Recognizing young scientists

Other OYS awardees for 2017 are Phillip Aviola for his wildlife studies at the UP Los Baños; Dr. Lanndon Ocampo from the University of San Carlos, on industrial engineering; Mario Antonio Jiz II on medical sciences at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine; Jayeel Cornelio on the sociological sciences at Ateneo de Manila University; Krista Danielle Yu on economics at De La Salle University.

According to Luningning Samarita-Domingo, NAST director, in an interview with the BusinessMirror, the purpose of OYS is “to give due recognition to our scientists who are working hard and staying in the Philippines despite offers abroad where it is more lucrative”.

She added since these OYS awardees are young, “students can have their role model”.

The awardees are 41 years old and below and have made significant contribution to the science and technology in the country. 

“Students can relate to these young scientists and, eventually, inspire them to be scientists, too, and they can be given recognition,” Samarita-Domingo said, adding that these scientists earn a living while they are doing science in the country.

The OYS award has been given by the NAST annually for 40 years now. To become one, a scientist must be nominated by heads of institutions and organizations.

Samarita-Domino added the OYS awardees are traditionally recognized twice—during the National Science and Technology Week, which opens on July 11 this year, and on July 13 at the NAST meeting.

“We are contributing to the development of the Philippine economy with our role, [which is] giving recognition to our young scientists and contributing to the human-resource development of the country,” Samarita-Domingo said.

On the role of the NAST, Samarita-Domingo added: “We are harnessing top scientists so they can give advice…like on the issues of the environment, we give to the concerned agency of the government.”

Image credits: Stephanie Tumampos


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