Ateneo Physics faculty Clint Bennett and Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr. attended the 2012 ISWI and Magdas School on Space Science in Indonesia

The Philippine MAGDAS delegation to the ISWI & MAGDAS School on Space Weather at Ciloto, Indonesia last 16-26 Sep 2012. From left to right:  1. Audy Cabral, Cagayan State University, Tuguegarao (TGG) 2. Clint Dominic Bennett, Ateneo de Manila University 3. Jackie Lou Liban-Zinampan, Cagayan State University (TGG) 4. Ian Jasper Daep Mangampo, Divine Word College of Legazpi (LGZ) 5. Renante Violanda, University of San Carlos, Cebu City (CEB) 6. Meldy Grace Mantala Comandante, Xavier University 7. Joseph Basconsillo, SN Aboitiz Power Group 8. Dr. Quirino M. Sugon Jr., Manila Observatory and Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine MAGDAS delegation to the ISWI & MAGDAS School on Space Weather at Ciloto, Indonesia last 16-26 Sep 2012. From left to right: Audy Quebral, Clint Dominic Bennett, Jackie Lou Liban-Zinampan, Ian Jasper Daep Mangampo, Renante Violanda, Meldy Grace Mantala Comandante, Joseph Basconcillo, and Dr. Quirino M. Sugon Jr.  (Photo by Muneeza Ali)

by Quirino Sugon Jr.

Clint Bennett and Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr., faculty members of the Department of Physics of Ateneo de Manila University, attended the 2012 ISWI and MAGDAS School on Space Science in Ciloto, Indonesia last 17-26 September 2012. ISWI stands for the International Space Weather Initiative of UN:

The International Space Weather Initiative (ISWI) is a programme of international cooperation to advance the space weather science by a combination of instrument deployment, analysis and interpretation of space weather data from the deployed instruments in conjunction with space data, and communicate the results to the public and students. ISWI is a follow-up activity to the successful International Heliophysical Year 2007 (IHY 2007), but focusing exclusively on space weather.

MAGDAS, on the other hand, stands for the Magnetic Data Acquisition System.  The MAGDAS network consists of more than 70 magnetometer stations around the world for the study of magnetic field fluctuations of the lithosphere, ionosphere, and magnetosphere.  The Primary Investigator of the MAGDAS project is Prof. Kiyohumi Yumoto of the International Center for Space Weather Science and Education (ICSWSE), Kyushu University.  The Philippine MAGDAS Network consists of 6 stations located in Tuguegarao (TGG), Muntinlupa (MUT), Legazpi (LGZ), Cebu (CEB), Cagayan de Oro (CDO), and Davao (DAV).  Representatives from the Philippine stations also joined the ISWI and MAGDAS school:

1. Audy Quebral, Cagayan State University, Tuguegarao (TGG)
2. Clint Dominic Bennett, Ateneo de Manila University
3. Jackie Lou Liban-Zinampan, Cagayan State University (TGG)
4. Ian Jasper Daep Mangampo, Divine Word College of Legazpi (LGZ)
5. Renante Violanda, University of San Carlos, Cebu City (CEB)
6. Meldy Grace Mantala Comandante, Xavier University (CDO)
7. Joseph Basconcillo, SN Aboitiz Power Group
8. Dr. Quirino M. Sugon Jr., Ateneo de Manila University and Manila Observatory (ICSWSE Subcenter)

Below is an interview with Clint Bennett by the Ateneo Physics News.

1. How were you able to join the 2012 ISWI and MAGDAS School in  Indonesia?

Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr. recommended me to the organizers of the MAGDAS school, which is the ICSWSE in Kyushu University.  He is the coordinator of the Philippine MAGDAS network through the ICSWSE Subcenter at Manila Observatory.  Our trip and accommodations were  funded by JSPS.

2. What were your initial impressions of Indonesia?

Indonesia is so similar to the Philippines in terms of geography and people. In fact, the first time I saw them, they look like Filipinos. My Indonesian friends told me that they mistook us Filipinos as Indonesians until we spoke. And in the ISWI and MAGDAS school, we were roomed mostly with Indonesians. We got to know them better.

Indonesian food was also very similar to Filipino food. We had the same crops and staple foods, such as sticky rice, kamote kahoy (cassava), and kamote (sweet potato). Even the vegetables were the same. They also had sapin-sapin, suman, and other sweets. The kropek was always present during meals.

3. What did a day in the school look like?

It was the most hectic school schedule I ever had. We started early at 8:00 a.m. and end around 6:00 p.m. with very short coffee breaks. And it was a busy week. We had school even on a Sunday, which was very unusual.

We also had other activities like aerobics in the morning, which they called as gymnastics. We also played tennis. Some of us went jogging along the highway. But we had to fit all of of these before the school started at 8:00 a.m. At night, we watched Hollywood films.

4. Where was the school held?

The venue for the school was Ciloto, a high elevation county in Indonesia. The weather there was very similar to that of Baguio City.

During our trip from the airport to the venue, we encountered a single flow traffic. We had to wait until sunset when the traffic reversed and went upward to Ciloto. That took several hours of waiting along the road. The reason was that Ciloto is weekend excursion place for the Indonesians. So people go up there on Saturdays and go down on Sundays. And since we arrive on a Sunday, the traffic was downward.

We actually took a long cut by hiring a guide who led us using motorcycle. Luckily, I changed some of my money into Indonesian Rupiah, so we had had money to pay him. But the road did not lead all the way to Ciloto, but only halfway up. We still had to travel for two hours.

The place was beautiful and scenic. It was a tea plantation area, because the weather was conducive to planting tea. The temperature was low and the humidity was high.

5. What was the school all about?

The school was about space weather in general and about all aspects surrounding space weather—the connections between solar activity, solar wind, magnetosphere, ionosphere, and the entire atmosphere. The topics were  mostly on the dynamics of the flow of energy from the solar wind and how this energy was deflected by the magnetosphere towards the poles. In particular, we discussed ionospheric disturbances, coronal mass ejections, and solar flares. We also discussed the coupling between the magnetosphere and the ionosphere by vertical currents of charge particles.

6. What particular topics were you interested in?

I concentrated mostly on topics related to the ionosphere: the sudden ionospheric disturbances, the interconnection between the ionosphere and the solar wind, the solar and ionospheric dynamo systems, and equatorial electrojets. There were still others, but I could not remember them now.

7. Did you give a talk?

As participants we were required to give our contribution to the school by talking about the research that we do or how we maintained the data and equipment. My talk was on ionogram simulations which was useful pedagogically in the sense that a learner would be able to relate electron density to ionogram data.

8. Did you have some side trips?

In one Saturday, we had an excursion to Bosscha Observatory in Lembang, West Java. It was one of the oldest observatories. The Bosscha Observatory was constructed by the Dutch starting in 1922. One important aspect was that it was established by the Dutch colonizers of Indonesia, in the same way that Manila Observatory was established by the Spaniards. In 1951, the Dutch handed the observatory to the Indonesians, and its operations were handled by the Institut Teknologi Bandung. The nice thing about the observatory was that they have so many telescopes, ranging from optical to radio, with different magnifications. And all of the telescopes were working. The place was well-maintained .

Another excursion was to Saung Angklung Udjo which is a cultural venue maintained by a private citizen who also runs it as a business. In particular, the venue showcased the angklung musical instrument. We attended cultural shows for tourists which were mostly foreigners. Angklung is a bamboo instrument similar in shape to harp but instead of strings you have bamboos that can vibrate. A single angklung corresponds to a single note. Angklungs follow the pentatonic scale.

Before the school ended, we had a reception dinner where there was a cultural presentation of Indonesian music and dance, using traditional Indonesian musical instruments such drums and kulintang.

9. What do you remember most about the school?

The school was very well organized in the sense that it covered all the essential topics related to space weather. In spite of the schedule being too heavy, there was so much to learn. The lecturers were so approachable.

10. Would you like to return to Indonesia someday?

Yes. The Indonesians are very warm and hospitable people similar to Filipinos. I made some Indonesian friends.

11. Any parting words for physics students?

Dr. Sugon and I are still new to studying ionospheric phenomena and space weather. We don’t know a lot of people in the Philippines studying these. Hopefully, we could encourage more people to do research in these fields.

Participants and lecturers in the 2012 ISWI and MAGDAS School on Space Science at Ciloto, Indonesia (17-26 September 2012)

Participants and lecturers in the 2012 ISWI and MAGDAS School on Space Science at Ciloto, Indonesia (17-26 September 2012)

Advertisements

About ateneophysicsnews
Physics News and Features from Ateneo de Manila University

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: