Ateneo Physics Department faculty Joel Tiu Maquiling to take doctoral studies on geologic hazard modeling at University of Padua

by Quirino Sugon Jr.

Joel Maquiling before the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi

Joel Maquiling before the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi

Joel Tiu Maquiling, faculty of the Department of Physics, Ateneo de Manila University, received a study grant through the Erasmus Mundus Mobility with Asia (EMMA) program. The grant is a 10-month doctoral exchange program starting from Nov 15, 2011 to Sep 30, 2012.  Mr. Maquiling will study at the Dipartimento di Geologia, Paleontologia e Geofisica, Universita degli Studi di Padova, in Padova, Italy. His adviser will be Prof. Rinaldo Genevois.

During his stay in Padua, Mr. Maquiling shall work on the Dynamics of Gravitational Processes as applied to snow avalanches, landslide processes, and ground water processes. This involves the analysis of triggering mechanisms of geologic hazards and their potential effects on the territory, in order to develop physical models capable of forecasting the spatial and temporal probabilities of hazard occurences. The research also involves characterization and monitoring of surface and subsurface geological and hydro-geological processes of the Italian northern-eastern region that may be of danger to the inhabitants. This is in line with Mr. Maquiling’s research interest in modelling large scale mudslides and landslides in Guinsaugon, Leyte, Southern Philippines.

Below is an interview of Mr. Joel Maquiling by the Ateneo Physics News:

1.  What are your perks and benefits?

There is a modest stipend that covers roundtrip airfare, comprehensive medical insurance, subsistence and accommodation allowance, not to mention getting to be in Galileo Galilei’s university, which is the University of Padua, and being in the cold region of the northern-eastern region of Italian Alps.

 2.  Will you do skiing there?

I hope so. I am not particularly good at skiing. My first skiing experience in Seattle was total disaster, but I expect my skiing skills to improve in Italy. Hahaha. I have more maturity now. This is the same feeling I had when I bungee-jumped the second time around.

3.  What do you do to prepare for the trip?

I psyche myself up for a lonely December in a foreign land–just kidding. It is my first time to spend the Christmas season officially away from home. And I’ll miss my mom, my brothers, my sister, Cristy-girl (our househelp), Miming (my cat), Melchizedek and Faustina (Doc Jerrold Garcia’s cats under my intensive care and expense), and everyone else associated with Ateneo. So I guess preparation is one of an emotional aspect, like detaching myself temporarily from my comfort zone which is the Ateneo, a place where I have grown accustomed to for the past 10 years or so. Well, at least now, I am gearing for hardcore research work. So I just focus my mind, heart, and soul to my research interest in geophysics, specifically landslide, mudslide, and avalanche modeling. I try to be happy at the thought of going to Padua, because it seems everyone is happy for me about it. So I guess there is little room to be lonely at some point.

The other day, a nice lady named Noemie sent me a photo of Christmas in Italy and it looked really, hmmm, solemn. She also sent me a photo of panettone, a traditional Italian bread served during Christmas. It really looked yummy. So I guess there are many things to look forward to during Christmas in Italy. I am hypnotizing myself now. Hahaha.

4.  Any special food that you would like to bring to Italy?

I am bringing with me five boxes of Lucky Me! and Nissin’s Ramen noodles. Just so I won’t miss so much the scent and flavor of my favorite foods. I hope I would grow accustomed to Italian food and cuisine. They say the best cuisines in the world are French, Morrocan, Italian, and Chinese—in no particular order.

5.  Do you know some Filipinos there?

There are many Ateneans in Italy doing graduate work and further studies. There is Cheska Songco, a former undergraduate research student of Dr. Nofel Lagrosas, who is taking up a diploma course on Earth System Physics at the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste. There is Jerome Unidad who graduated BS Ps-MSE (2009), who is now pursuing his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Naples. There is Sunshine Indias (BS Ps 2007), our former junior faculty, taking up her M.S. in Physics at the University of Trento. There is Lance Go, a graduate of BS Chemistry, who is now pursuing his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Padua. And lastly, there is Dr. Reese Macabebe (BS Ps 2002 and BS CEng 2003), a faculty of ECCE, who is on an EMMA six-months-postdoctoral-exchange program at the University of Padua. I am sorry if I forgot anyone else.

6.  Any special places where you wish to go to in Italy?

I have always felt I have connection with Venice, with Venetian ports, and goods. Hahaha. And I don’t know why. It is always nice to take a stroll in Venice, or ride the gondola, or just the water taxi, which is less expensive. And Venetian masks are wonderfully and exquisitely made. I don’t know. Maybe I’d like to visit some quaint Italian town, milk some cow, and just live a rural life out there in the Italian Alps–of course while doing my landslide and avalanche monitoring and research and modelling.  Hahaha.

7.  What do you plan to do after your studies?

I wish to establish a geophysics research laboratory housed in either the Ateneo Department of Physics or at the Manila Observatory. I hope this becomes part of some kind of an official disaster and risk management research group in the university.

8.  Any parting words for our students in physics?

I guess the best advice is to really prepare oneself academically first and foremost. Nothing beats excellence in the sciences, mathematics, and languages. It is like layers of skin that you “wear” no matter what part of the world you are in.

The next thing would be to find one’s research interest, one that does not feel like you are actually doing research, but rather one that makes you feel like you’ll be able to contribute to this field of interest, be of genuine service to others, and at the same time gain loads of fun, knowledge, and insight.  After all, I think this is one very important goal of hard core research—to be able to find some mechanism or principle to understand the laws of nature and make life better for our world without destroying our environment most especially during these precarious times.

Ateneo Physics News: Thank you, Joel, for the wonderful interview.

Joel Maquiling: Well, that was nice.


About ateneophysicsnews
Physics News and Features from Ateneo de Manila University

5 Responses to Ateneo Physics Department faculty Joel Tiu Maquiling to take doctoral studies on geologic hazard modeling at University of Padua

  1. Nestor says:

    Nice interview Joel and Pope, and best wishes! – Nestor

  2. Cita Diesta says:

    Joel, best regards from a former colleague from De La Salle Zobel.
    BTW.. try wine tasting and savor their italian pasta..(ano pa nga ba!) Cita

    • joel tiu maquiling says:

      OMG!!! Ma’am Cita!!!:))) How are you na po???!!!:))) Dito po ako ngayon (23-30 March 2012) for a physics conference!!!:))) I still remember you and DLZ up to now, Ma’am!!!:))) I hope you are great there!!!:))) Ciao, Joel

  3. joel tiu maquiling says:

    hahaha!!! I meant dito pa ako sa Tunisia, North Africa for one week po!!!:)))

  4. Boyet says:

    Hi Joel this is Boyet , ur coworker in Brunei, musta na , I’m now in bsb , married with 2 kids.hope to send my kids in ateneo. Hope to see u there

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