Ateneo Physics faculty Clint Dominic Bennett attends two ionospheric research workshops in ICTP, Italy



by Quirino Sugon Jr

Ateneo Physics faculty Clint Dominic G. Bennett  attended two workshops at the Abdus Salaam International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Italy. The first was the Workshop on the use of Ionospheric GNSS Satellite Derived Total Electron Content Data for Navigation, Ionospheric and Space Weather Research last 20-24 June 2016. The second workshop was the International Beacon Satellite Symposium 2016 last 27 June to 1 July, 2016.

GNSS is the Global Navigation Satellite System, a term which encompasses the Global Positioning System (GPS) of US and the GLONASS of Russia. GNSS satellites send positioning information to receivers on Earth via radio waves which pass through the ionosphere, where their propagation directions are bent or reflected in the same way as light beams pass from air to water. Comparing the satellite positions from the transmitted and received values provides information on the density of electrons in the ionosphere, positions of ground-based receivers, and the effects of solar activity on the ionosphere.

The Beacon Satellite Symposium 2016, on the other hand, was organized by Beacon Satellite Group of the International Union of Radio Science (URSI) Commission G. The symposium provides an opportunity for international ionospheric scientists to meet and collaborate on the study of ionospheric effects on radio propagation for science, engineering, and research applications.

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

1. Where did you go to in Italy?

I went to the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics to the attend the Workshop on use of Ionospheric GNSS Satellite Derived Total Electron Content Data for Navigation, Ionospheric and Space Weather Research last 20 – 24 June, 2016 and the International Beacon Satellite Symposium 2016 last 27 June to 1 July, 2016. The workshop focused on training the participants in using existing TEC calibration software and explaining the results in terms of Space weather events as indicated by indices such as Kp and Dst. The symposium on the other hand was actually a conference with plenary and parallel sessions. It was organized by the Beacon Satellite Studies Group of URSI Commission G, an interdisciplinary group, servicing science, research, application and engineering aspects of statellite signals observed from the ground and in space. There were around 200 participants in the symposium.

2. Who invited you to go to the conference?

I was invited by Dr. Endawoke Yizengaw from the Boston College Institute for Scientific Research. He is one of the Principal Investigators of the AMBER (African Meridian B-field Education and Research) project. The Manila Observatory is hosting two of the magnetometers for this project and Dr. Yizengaw has been here in Manila Observatory. My transportation and accommodation were shouldered by the conference organizers and sponsors: ICTP, ICG, Boston College and EGU.3. Did you present something?

A lot of us were invited as students and were not required to make a presentation. This is their way of encouraging Space weather research in third world countries. We were instead required to do exercises on TEC calibration and make a group report.

4. What are the talks that you found interesting? How are they related to your work at Manila Observatory and the Department of Physics? 

There were a lot of interesting talks. One of them was about the direct forcing of the thermosphere and ionosphere by small-scale gravity waves originating from the lower atmosphere. In the upper atmosphere gravity waves directly affect the thermospheric circulation by energy and momentum deposition and an interesting result is that gravity waves cool the upper atmosphere at a rate of -150 K per day.

Another one was about the detection of tsunami driven events in the ionosphere via occultation. They reported the ionospheric response to the great Tohoku earthquake and tsunami which occurred together with a minor magnetic storm. It was nice to learn that tsunamis can drive gravity waves to the ionosphere.

5. What are the interesting places and landmarks you visited? 

The Beacon Satellite Symposium included an excursion to Aquileia. It is listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site. It is an ancient Roman city in Friuli Venezia Giulia. It was one of the worlds largest cities during the Roman times and is now a major archaeological site with so much still to be excavated.

6. What are some key insights that you learned after the conference? 

The Beacon satellite symposium is evidence of growing interest in the study of Sun-Earth interaction. It has attracted a wide variety of international researchers from over 40 countries, a lot of them from non-academic institutions, to study the earth’s ionosphere and thermosphere and I think the Philippines can be part of this. It would be a big step forward if I could encourage students to be involved in this field of research.

7. Do you have any parting message to our physics students?

There are so many ways for students to get involved in the study of Space Weather. The international community makes an effort to direct funding towards problems that face the world as a whole, such as space weather effects and monitoring of natural hazards. These creates the availability of financial support for students from third world countries.


Excavations in the ancient Roman city Aquileia in Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy

Art of Science and Engineering II: A talk on gravitational wave detection and nuclear fusion by Prof. Motoi Wada of Doshisha University

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The Department of Physics of Ateneo de Manila University cordially invites you to a talk entitled, Art of Science and Engineering II, by Prof. Motoi Wada of the Applied Physics Laboratory of Doshisha University. The talk will be held on July 14, 2016, Thursday, 10:00 a.m., at the 5th floor of the Rizal Library. Light snacks will be served.

This talk is Prof. Motoi Wada’s second talk at Ateneo de Manila University upon the invitation of Dr. Christian Mahinay, Head of the Vacuum Coating Laboratory of the Department of Physics. Prof. Wada’s previous talk was entitled, Art of Science and Technology, which was held last November 27, 2015, 1:30-2:30 p.m. at the Social Science Lecture Rooms 3 and 4He talked then about  Japan’s research in the fields particle accelerator physics and semiconductor industry–all with references to art and history.

Now, in Art of Science and Engineering II, Prof. Motoi Wada shall dazzle us once again with his breathtaking slides and videos as he talks on the latest updates on the LIGO experiment for gravitational wave detection and the engineering precision required to make such detection possible in Astronomy. Prof. Wada shall also talk about the cosmic recycling process–about how some stars die a violent death as supernovas, and how the dust and fragments from the nebulous smoke pull themselves together again through the force of gravity, forcing hydrogen atoms to combine to form Helium, resulting in nuclear fusion reaction that gives birth to new stars. But on Earth, the Hydrogen atoms that we generate do not have enough cumulative mass to form a star through nuclear fusion. So the only way perhaps is to force the fusion of Hydrogen by some other means aside from gravity, as Dr. Otto Octavius (Dr. Octopus) tried to do through the magnetic fields from his tentacles, before he plunged into the depths of the sea, holding the newborn star that could have destroyed the human race.

Is man-made nuclear fusion already possible with today’s technology?  How far are we before we can ditch fossil fuel, such as coal and crude oil, in favor of clean energies like nuclear fusion? Let’s ask Pro. Motoi Wada when we attend his talk on ARt of Science and Technology II this July 14, 2016. See you there!


Prayer for the repose of the soul of the father of Dr. Gemma Narisma of the Ateneo Physics Department



The Department of Physics of the School of Science and Engineering would like to express its condolences to the family of Andres Narisma, who succumbed to prolonged illness and joined our Creator this Wednesday morning, 1 June 2016.

Mr. Narisma is the father of Dr. Gemma Teresa T. Narisma, faculty member of the Department of Physics.

We will be grateful to the Ateneo community for your prayers for repose of Mr. Narisma’s soul and for the comfort of his remaining family.


“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.”  (2 Corinthians 1: 3-4)

Update: 3 June 2016

We have received word from the Department of Physics that Mr. Andres Narisma, the late father of Dr. Gemma Narisma, was cremated on 1 June 2016, the day he passed away.

The Narisma family will be observing a nine-day wake/vigil at their residence at 21 Jetta St., Village East, Cainta. Those who are interested
in paying their respects and sympathizing with the family may visit between 2:00 PM and 10:00 PM until the ninth day on June 9, with novena prayers and/or masses to be held every evening at 8:00 PM.

Volume holographic generation of optical Bessel Beams: a physics dissertation defense of Jonathan Manigo on 19 Apr 2016



The Department of Physics of Ateneo de Manila University cordially invites you to a Physics Dissertation Defense:

Ph.D. in Physics student name: Jonathan Manigo

Dissertation title: VOLUME HOLOGRAPHIC GENERATION OF OPTICAL BOTTLE BEAMS Schedule and venue: April 19, 4 PM at SECB 201.

Dissertation Adviser:

  • Dr. Raphael A. Guerrero

Dissertation Panel:

  •  Dr. Nathaniel Hermosa II (NIP-UPD), Dissertation Examiner
  • Dr. Nathaniel Joseph Libatique (ECCE), Dissertation Examiner
  • Dr. Ma. Obiminda Cambaliza (Physics), Dissertation Reader
  • Dr. Quirino Sugon, Jr. (Physics), Dissertation Reader


Abstract. Self-imaging beams consisting of three-dimensional intensity voids are generated via photorefractive volume holography. Reconstruction of a volume hologram recorded at 594 nm is performed with a Bessel read-out beam. The holographic output is similar in appearance to a Bessel beam, with the central spot oscillating between maximum and zero intensity over a propagation distance of 10 to 55 cm. The oscillation period for the on-axis intensity is 30 cm. The reconstruction is capable of self-healing, with a fully recovered central core after the beam propagates 40 cm. Dual-wavelength reconstruction at 632.8 nm produces an output beam with similar self-imaging and self-healing properties. A theoretical framework based on the interference of a plane wave and a Bessel beam simultaneously reconstructed from a volume hologram is able to describe our experimental results.


This dissertation is based on the following article:

IBM Research Scientist Dr. Paulito Palmes to give a talk on Deep Learning


Paulito Palmes to give a talk on “Deep Learning: Overview and Applications” on jan 21, 2015, 4:30 p.m., at CTC-313.

The School of Science and Engineering, Ateneo de Manila University and Ateneo Social Computing Science Laboratory cordially invites you to attend the 2016 SOSE Lecture Series featuring “Deep Learning Overview and Applications” by Paulito P. Palmes, Research Scientist at IBM Ireland’s Dublin Research Laboratory (DRL) and Balik Scientist on January 21, 2015, 4:30pm-6:00 p.m. at CTC313


Big companies such as Google (DeepMind, Google Brain, Google Photos), IBM (Watson), Microsoft (Skype translator, Cortana), Facebook (DeepFace, FAIR), and Baidu (DeepSpeech) are investing heavily on deep learning technologies for their cognitive computing applications. Information is continuously growing and a big chunk of this Big Data is unstructured information. All these companies are involved with Big Data processing and are confronted with the problem of how to automatically extract relevant information for monetization. Deep learning, which is a reincarnation of Neural Networks with much deeper processing layers, has been shown to be effective in extracting features and abstractions automatically for large scale unlabeled data. It is a generic algorithm which can be applied to image recognition, natural language or speech processing, and prediction. In deep learning, the bigger and deeper the network is, the more accurate and robust is its performance. Due to its highly computer-intensive requirements, most implementations use GPUs to speed-up training specially for very deep networks. There are two parts in the presentation. The first part is for the general audience. It starts with some background information and historical development of Neural Networks and its recent reincarnation. Some basic concepts on how the network learns patterns and the underlying mechanisms how it generalises will be discussed. The second part is intended to those who would like to see real applications and sample codes. A brief overview of Julia programming language will be covered followed by its application to image recognition using its Deep Learning module.

About the Speaker

Paulito P. Palmes is currently a Research Scientist in IBM Ireland’s Dublin Research Lab (DRL) working in the areas of data mining, cognitive computing, and biomedical engineering. He finished his Bachelor’s degree in Applied Math at the University of the Philippines (Visayas) and his Master’s degree in Computer Science (AI) from the Ateneo de Manila University. He went on to finish his PhD from the Toyohashi University of Technology, Japan. He’s third in the family to receive the Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) award in 2007 which was awarded during his teaching stint at the ADMU. His research interests are in the areas of data mining, machine learning, evolutionary computing, and biomedical engineering.


RSVP Name, Organization, Contact Number and number of participants by January 20, 2016 to: Ms. Jasmin Javier, jjavier(at), 4266001 local 5670, 09189633058 with subject header: SOSE Lecture Series.

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