Opening Remarks of Dr. Raphael A. Guerrero during the Physics General Assembly 2018

Dr. Raphael A. Guerrero, Chair, Department of Physics, School of Science and Engineering, Ateneo de Manila University

Welcome to our General Assembly for the First Semester of School Year 2018-2019. I am so happy to see all of you here, different batches of students, our faculty. We will have some fun and games later, but as part of the welcome remarks I would like to give an overview of where the Department is at as of this School Year.

A. Introduction of Students, Faculty, and Staff

First, I would like to introduce the faculty members who are here with us this evening. We have Dr. James Simpas, Dr. Obie Cambaliza, Dr. Pope Sugon, Dr. Mon de los Santos. Joining us this semester we have Mr. Jaren Rex and re-joining us this semester is Dr. Minella Alarcon. And Dr. Gemma Narisma who is also the executive director of the Manila Observatory. Another new faculty member we have Ms. Cathy de la Cruz. Another Faculty member we have Johanna Indias. The department will never work without our indefatigable staff members. We have Ms. Anna Asis, our Department Secretary. From our labs we have Mr. Ruel Agas. And our laboratory supervisor we have Mr. Numer Melaya.

Let us get a feel for the room. We have first year students. A freshman over there. Still very hopeful about the future. Our sophomores, we have the second year students. We have an exponential decay in numbers after one year. Our third year students. I think they have a class. They will be joining us later. Our seniors, the fourth year students. Thank you. Our superseniors, our fifth year MSE students. Some of them are here. Some of them are having their thesis updates with the MSE program. Joining us also are our graduate students. We have a healthy number. Hopefully, there will be less of them next year program after they finish their programs.

B. Mission and Vision

I would like to start by showing you our brand new mission and vision statements. One of the observations from the previous academic year is that our students are not aware of what the department is about. And that is true for many departments, not just in SOSE, but also in the other schools of the Loyola Schools. So this is who we are, our Department Vision. We are a center of excellence and we are seeking international recognition. What do we want to be known for? We want to be known for physics education and relevant research. We will also strive to serve society. No pressure there. Our priority areas are aligned with the priority areas of the School of Science and Engineering. And this will include earth systems physics–a very broad topic, but we are looking into disasters, undertstanding disasters, mitigating disasters, physics for sustainable development. We can have progress while still taking care of mother nature. And of course, teaching others to become better students of physics, allowing help to state of the country.. So this is who we are.

Now what do we do to get here to achieve this dream? We have our mission. So we will engage in scientific endeavors. We will do research. We will train you to figure out how the universe works. We will hopefully inspire you to make the world better. And we have all of these areas of expertise. This is now in alphabetical order. We have experts in atmospheric science, geophysics,, materials science, photonics, theoretical physics, vacuum and plasma technology, and of course all of of us are physics educations. Some of the best physics educators in the coutry are right here in your department. And through our faculty who will work together, who will always have the energy to teach you and to learn from you. We will help you become empowered. We will help you become productive members of the society through good sciece. Wow. That’s the dream. So our department is a center of excellence and all of us here are now part of that tradition of excellence. So make no mistake. You are in a center of excellence.

C. Research Laboratories

So here we have some of the research areas available. I will be asking some of the faculty members in charge of each research topic to talk to you a bit of what they are doing. For atmospheric physics, we have Dr. Cambaliza, Dr. Simpas, and Dr. Narisma. And they will introduce you to what they are doing and hopefully in a few years for our freshmen you will be working with them in trying to understand the thermodynamic engine that is the atmosphere.

The coordinator of geophysics will be joining us later. We will ask Dr. Maquiling for a few words. For materials science, Dr. Chan has a class. We will also have Dr. Chan have his few minutes with you. For Photonics, we work with light and its interaction with matter. We blast off with lasers. This is my favorite lab. No bias. Just see me if you are interested later in doing work with holography and flexible optics. For the other labs, we have Dr. Sugon who is working on things that are both real and not real. For vacuum and plasma, we have one representative Ms. Cathy de la Cruz, who have just joined the lab officially. She will be talking about their current experiment. We are also involved in our efforts in physics education and social involvement. Mr. Culaba is our social involvement coordinator for the School of Science and Engineering. But maybe Ms. Indias can talk to us on our NSTP activities. Ms. Indias and her team are going to Israel for that conference. Joining us also is Dr. Christian Mahinay. He is the coordinator of the Vacuum Coating and Plasma Laboratory.

D. Academic Programs

Some updates regarding our academic programs. With our Freshmen effective Schooly Year 2018-2019, we now have two new versions of our two undergraduate projgrams. You are either in the BS Physics program or in the BS Applied Physics with Materials Science and Engineering program. For BS Physics, it is now a 4 year program. We modify the BS Physics program. We used the intersession terms–those are the June-July terms. And we are to squeeze everything with Ateneo core and CHED requirements–all in four years, theoretically. For BS Applied Physics  with Materials Science and Engineering, it took some work. We were able to reconfigure it, so that after four years, you will graduate with your BS Physics batchmates. You will graduate with the degree in BS Applied Physics at the end of four years. Then for one extra semester, you get your second degree, which means you get to march up on stage twice. You do it once for your first degree in Applied Physics and then your second degree in MSE. Youhave an extra semester. And we are you can use that extra semester for a minor or you could start looking for jobs. Whatever happens, after one more semester after your fourth year after you get your APS degree, you will have your second degree in Materials Science and Engineering. You will be working closely with the Department of chemistry, particularly with your reseach projects or thesis.

We also have to update our catalog numbers, so now it would be confusing. We have combinations of the old catalog numbers and the new catalog numbers.The old catalog number—or everyone here except the freshmen–you have PS subjects. Right now, you are enrolled in PS 197, that is Introduction to Quantum Mechnaics 1. We converted that to PHYS 141. The numbers now make sense. There is a pattern.  There is almost a pattern. PHYS 141 will be the new name of PS 197, but the content will be the same. For the freshmen, you will have the PHYS version of the subjects. Our graduate clases will also be updated, so that they are parallel with the undergraduate offerings. Now, we have PS 208 not even close to PS 197 in terms of the number. We are calling PS 208 as PHYS 241. It is the first graduate Quantum Mechanics course. Now there is more symmetry. You have 141 for undergrad and 241 for the graduate classes. For AS or Atmospheric Science, we have ATMOS. And we have different numbers. Some of the numbers will be parallel to the physics version, but some are independent. And for Physics Education–that’s PS ED—is now PHYS E, which will be confusing for Physics Education, but at least, for our catalog, that would be Physics Education, PHYS E. And there are new numbers as well.

E. Research and Publications

I checked SCOPUS recently. Scopus is a database which houses more than 36,000 journals and these are the journals which are held to the highest standards, at least in the academic commmunity. If you publish in a journal that is SCOPUS-indexed, you are doing good work. You are doing world-class research. As of today, the department has these articles indexed on SCOPUS.

We have  a journal article from the Geophysics Laboratory. The authors this year are  Adones and Dr. Maquiling. You have a journal article. And one of them will be graduating because of this article. We have one paper on Geophysics. Next, we have a paper from Dr. Mahinay and his team from Vacuum Coating and Plasma. They published a paper on modification of styrene. Using their plasma jets, they jmodify the properties of a certiain material. This is again at a level that is world class.

Another paper from the Dr.Narisma and her student in the Journal of Natural Hazards. They were analyzing storm surges. This is another priority area of the department. We have analysis of natural disasters. Hopefully, we can understand them better, so we can proevent the damange or reduce the effects on the populace. Another paper from Dr. del los Santos and his collaboration with Optics and Materials Science group in UP. He published a paper in the Journal on Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz waves. These are long wavelength types of radiation. This is still related to his doctorarate dissertation. Another paper again from Dr. de los santos. This time it is more on Material Science, but still involving long wavelength radiatoin. This was published in Thin Solid Films.

You notice that the journal articles can be very specififc, that is why you can have a journal about anything. And in the Japanese Journal of Applied Physics from Dr. Mahinay’s team. They expose organics to plasma and examine what would happen. The rice became better in terms of certain properties. And in the Meterological Society of Japan, we also have a journal. We have Dr. Narisma and she is testing different parameters in a climate model. This was just this year. We had seven SCOPUS indexed articles just for this year. And it is just September.

Looking at SCOPUS, this is for the department. If you go on the SCOPUS website and search the Ateneo de Manila University, you will come up with 1,100 hits. In the SCOPUS database, the Ateneo as a university has generated more than 1,000 papers. If you fine tune the search and look for Physics entries, this is what you will see. From 1988 to year 2000, the physics output in terms of articles in SCOPUS was just 3 papers. In 1988, there was a paper from Fr. Su. He had paper of his work in Manila Observatory. That was in 1988. From 2001 to 2010, over off-the-moon of 27 papers. Right now, in this current period, from 2011 to 2018. We have 37 papers in the database. The department now has the capability to perform world-class research. Our faculty have publication experience. The world believes in our expertise. This is an exciting time for us and especially for you. Because now we have the capabitity. We have the option to do world clas research that will help you add to this body of knowledge, which is called Science. And can help you do that. We have the ability to help you do that.

F. PhD in Physics Program

Our department has a rich history. We are better than ever. And for our grduate students, there is hope for you. The PhD Physics program was first approved in the early 2000. The first product of the PhD Physics program is here with us. We have Dr. Pope Sugon. It takes a lot of work to come with a PhD graduate. One of the requirement is that the PhD student must have a dissertation based on a published article. That is one of the greatest challenges for a PhD student. But fortunately, the deparment is now at the level that we are now consistent in generating publications. So it is up to the student to contribute to Physics to our knowledge of nature. For the first few years, it took a while: one graduate each from 2011 to 2016. Then something clicked in 2017. Now, we have a total whopping 6 graduates of the PhD in Physics program. What is nice about this, not just the numbers, is that our students go back to their schools in Mindanao. Some of them are in Marawi. Some of them are in CARAGA. Those are in Mindanao. They are helping elevate the state of Physics in the region. One of our graduates is one of the most active researchers in the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute.

Dr. James Simpas mentioned before that for a Center of Excellence to be really excellent, you have to help other centers, other institutions become excellent as well. With the PhD Physics program, I think that is what we are doing. We are helping other schools, other institutions become better.

This is where you are. That is what you are a part of. Again, thank you for being here this evening. And welcome to our General Assembly.  

[Credits: transcribed and edited by Quirino Sugon Jr]

Dr. Raphael A Guerrero with the faculty, students, and staff of the Department of Physics of the School of Science and Engineering of Ateneo de Manila University at the Physics General Assembly last 18 September 2018, 17:30 PM, at CTC 413-414.

Physics dissertation defense of Adones Dengal: Dynamics of a rotating sphere on free surface of vibrated granular materials


by Quirino Sugon Jr

The Department of Physics of the School of Science and Engineering of Ateneo de Manila University cordially invites you to a Physics Dissertation Defense by Adones B. Dengal this Monday, 12 November 2018, 3-5 PM, at Faura Building, Room 106. Mr. Dengal’s dissertation adviser is Dr. Joel T. Maquiling, while his panelists are Dr. Ramon M. Delos Santos, Dr. Raphael A. Guerrero,  Dr. Gil Nonato Santos, and Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr.


This study investigates the rotational dynamics of a low-density sphere on the free surface of vertically vibrated granular matter (VGM). The dynamical behavior of the sphere is influenced by the external energy input from an electromagnetic shaker which is proportional to ε, where ε is equal to the ratio between the square of the dimensionless acceleration Γ and the square of the vibration frequency f of the container. Empirical results reveal that as the VGM transits from local to global convection, an increase in ε generally corresponds to an increase in the magnitudes of the rotational ωRS and translational vCM velocities of the sphere, an increase in the observed tilting angle θbed of the VGM bed, and a decrease in the time twall it takes the sphere to roll down the tilted VGM bed and hit the container wall. During unstable convection, an increase in ε results in a sharp decrease in the sphere’s peak and mean ωRS and a slight increase in twall. For the range of ε values covered in this study, the sphere may execute persistent rotation, wobbling, or jamming depending on the vibration parameters and the resulting convective flow in the system.

Physics faculty honored at University Scholarly Work Awards 2018


From left to right: University President Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, SJ, Physics Department Chair Dr. Raphael A. Guerrero, Dr. James Bernard B. Simpas, Dr. Ma. Obiminda L. Cambaliza, Dr. Christian Lorenz S. Mahinay, Dr. Michael R. Mananghaya, SOSE OIC Dean Dr. Nina Rosario L. Rojas, and Loyola Schools Vice-President Dr. Maria Luz C. Vilches.

by Quirino Sugon Jr

Last 08 May 2018, 3:00 pm, 8 Physics faculty members received the Scholarly Work Publications Awards in categories A1 (PHP 50,000) and A2 (PHP 35,000) during the University Scholarly Work Awards 2018 at Room 413 Convergence Technology Center (CTC 413) of Ateneo de Manila University. The awardees are Dr. Joseph Raphael R. Bunao (1 + 0), Dr. Ma. Obiminda O. Cambaliza (8 + 0), Mr. Ivan C. Culaba (0 + 1),  Dr. Raphael A. Guerrero (3 + 1), Dr. Christian Lorenz S. Mahinay (0 + 1), Dr. Michael R. Mananghaya (3 + 0), Dr. Gemma Teresa T. Narisma (2 + 0), and Dr. James Bernard B. Simpas (1 + 0) (Table 1).  Their research papers may be grouped according to 5 different fields: Theoretical Physics (1 + 0), Atmospherics (10 + 0), Photonics (3 + 1), Vacuum Coating and Plasma (0 + 1), and Materials Science (3 + 0) (Table 2).

  • Category A1 (50,000 PHP). Peer-reviewed research article, or literary/creative work (short story, creative non-fiction or essay, play, or poetry, including translations of these) published in a journal and indexed in the Thomson Reuters (ISI) and in the Scopus database. Peer-reviewed books, including literary/creative single-author novel or anthology (of short stories, creative non-fiction or essays, plays, or poetry, including translations of these), published by a reputable international publisher and indexed in the Thomson Reuters (lSI).
  • Category A2 (35,000 PHP). Peer-reviewed books, literary/creative single-author novel or anthology (of short stories, creative non-fiction or essays, plays, or poetry, including translations of these), published by a reputable national publisher. In cases where the book is subsequently included in the lSI and Scopus Indices, an additional cash award of P15,OOO will be given to the author/authors following guideline C.1.d on eligibility. • Per article included in peer-reviewed conference proceedings (for oral presentations only).

Overall, for Publication Category A1, the Physics Department published 17 papers from 8 faculty members out of 89 distinct authors, which gives a faculty per paper ratio of 0.47 and an author per paper ratio of 5.24. On the other hand, for Publication Category A2, the department published 2 papers from 3 faculty members out of 5 distinct authors, which gives a faculty per paper ratio of 1.50 and an authors per paper ratio of 2.50. (Table 3)


Faculty Category A1 Category A2
Bunao 1 0
Cambaliza 8 0
Culaba 0 1
Guerrero 3 1
Mahinay 0 1
Mananghaya 3 0
Narisma 2 0
Simpas 1 0

Table 1. Number of papers published per publication category for each Physics faculty

Research Area Category A1 Category A2
Theoretical Physics 1 0
Atmospheric Science 10 0
Photonics 3 1
Vacuum Coating & Plasma 0 1
Materials Science 3 0

Table 2. Number of papers published per publication category for each Physics research area

Category Papers Faculty Authors Faculty per Paper Authors per Paper
A1 17 8 89 0.47 5.24
A2 2 3 15 1.50 2.50

Table 3. Number of papers published, number of all publishing faculty, number of authors for all papers, number of faculty members per paper, and number of authors per paper for each publication category


1. Dr. Joseph Raphael R. Bunao

  • Bunao, J.R. (2017). Spacetime quanta?: the discrete spectrum of a quantum spacetime four-volume operator in unimodular loop quantum cosmology. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 34, 035003. [Category: A1]

2. Dr. Maria Obiminda R. Cambaliza

  • Richardson, S.J., Miles, N.L., Davis, K.J., Lauvaux, T., Martins, D.K., Turnbull, J.C., McKain, K., Sweeney, C., Cambaliza, M.O.L. (2017/10). Tower measurement network of in-situ CO2, CH4, and CO in support of the Indianapolis FLUX (INFLUX) Experiment. Elementa Science of the Anthropocene, 5: 59. [Category: A1]
  • Salmon, O.E., Shepson, P.B., Ren, X., Marquardt Collow, A.B., Miller, M.A., Carlton, A.G., Cambaliza, M.O.L., Heimburger, A., Morgan, K.L., Fuentes, J.D., Stirm, B.H., Grundman, R., II, Dickerson, R.R. (2017/09). Urban emissions of water vapor in winter. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 122(17), 9467-9484. [Category: A1]
  • Lavoie, T.N., Shepson, P.B., Cambaliza, M.O.L., Stirm, B.H., Conley, S., Mehrotra, S., Faloona, I.C., Lyon, D. (2017/07). Spatiotemporal Variability of Methane Emissions at Oil and Natural Gas Operations in the Eagle Ford Basin. Environmental Science and Technology, 51(14), 8001-8009. [Category: A1]
  • Cambaliza, MOL, Bogner, JE, Green, RB, Shepson, PB, Harvey, TA, Spokas, KA, Stirm, BH, Corcocan, M. (2017/07). Field measurements and modeling to resolve m2 to km2 CH4 emissions for a complex urban source: An Indiana landfill study. Elementa Science of the Anthropocene, 5: 36. [Category: A1]
  • Miles, N.L., Richardson, S.J., Lauvaux, T., Davis, K.J., Balashov, N.V., Deng, A., Turnbull, J.C., Sweeney, C., Gurney, K.R., Patarasuk, R., Razlivanov, I., Cambaliza, M.O.L., Shepson, P.B. (2017). Quantification of urban atmospheric boundary layer greenhouse gas dry mole fraction enhancements in the dormant season: Results from the Indianapolis Flux Experiment (INFLUX). Elementa, 5, Article number 27. [Category: A1]
  • Heimburger, A.M.F., Harvey, R.M., Shepson, P.B., Stirm, B.H., Gore, C., Turnbull, J.C., Cambaliza, M.O.L., Salmon, O.E., Kerlo, A.-E.M., Lavoie, T.N., Davis, K.J., Lauvaux, T., Karion, A., Sweeney, C., Brewer, W.A., Hardesty, R.M., Gurney, K.R. (2017/06). Assessing the optimized precision of the aircraft mass balance method for measurement of urban greenhouse gas emission rates through averaging. Elementa, 5, Article number 26. [Category: A1]
  • Davis, K.J., Deng, A., Lauvaux, T., Miles, N.L., Richardson, S.J.,Sarmiento, D.P., Gurney, K.R., Hardesty, R.M., Bonin, T.A., Brewer, W.A., Lamb, B.K., Shepson, P.B., Harvey, R.M., Cambaliza, M.O., Sweeney, C., Turnbull, J.C., Whetstone, J., Karion, A. (2017/05). The Indianapolis Flux Experiment (INFLUX): A test-bed for developing urban greenhouse gas emission measurements. Elementa, 5, Article number 21. [Category: A1]
  • Kecorius, S., Madueño, L., Vallar, E., Alas, H., Betito, G., Birmili, W., Cambaliza, M.O., Catipay, G., Gonzaga-Cayetano, M., Galvez, M.C., Lorenzo, G., Müller, T., Simpas, J.B., Tamayo, E.G., Wiedensohler, A. (2017). Aerosol particle mixing state, refractory particle number size distributions and emission factors in a polluted urban environment: Case study of Metro Manila, Philippines. Atmospheric Environment. 170, 169-183. [Category: A1]

3. Ivan B. Culaba

  • Penado, K.N.M., Mahinay, C.L.S., Culaba, I.B. (2018/01). Effect of atmospheric plasma treatment on seed germination of rice (Oryza sativa L.). Japanese Journal of Applied Physics, 57(1), Article number 01AG08. [Category: A2]

4. Dr. Raphael A. Guerrero

  • Asuncion, A.J., Guerrero, R. A., (2017/05). Generating superimposed Bessel beams with a volume holographic axicon. Applied Optics, 56(14), 4206-4212. Pada, C.T., Guerrero, R.A., (2017/05). Fluid-enhanced tunable diffraction with an elastomeric grating. Optical Engineering, 56(5), Article number 054101. [Category: A1]
  • Patacsil, C., Calupitan, J.P., Enriquez, E., Guerrero, R.A., (2017). Electrowetting Actuation of Polydisperse Nanofluid Droplets. Advances in Materials Science and Engineering, Volume 2017, Article number 2532173. [Category: A1]
  • Guerrero, R.A., Pada, C.T. (2017). Transmission mode of a deformable diffraction grating with a refracting fluid layer. Optics InfoBase Conference Papers Volume Part F50-Freeform 2017, 2p. [Category: A2]

5. Dr. Christian Lorenz S. Mahinay

  • Penado, Mahinay, and Culaba 2018. (See Ivan B. Culaba) [Category: A2]

6. Dr. Michael R. Mananghaya

  • Mananghaya, M.R. Santos, G.N., Yu, D.N., Stampfl, C. (2017/12). Hydrogen Adsorption on Nearly Zigzag-Edged Nanoribbons: A Density Functional Theory Study. Scientific Reports, 7(1), Article number 15727. [Category: A1]
  • Mananghaya, M.R. Santos, G.N., Yu, D.N., (2017/09). Solubility of amide functionalized single wall carbon nanotubes: A quantum mechanical study. Journal of Molecular Liquids, 242, 1208-1214. [Category: A1]
  • Mananghaya, M.R. Santos, G.N., Yu, D.N., (2017/08). Nitrogen substitution and vacancy mediated scandium metal adsorption on carbon nanotubes. Adsorption Journal of International Adsorption Society, 23(6), 789-797.

7. Dr. Gemma Teresa T. Narisma

  • Cruz, F.T., Narisma, G.T., Dado, J.B., Singhruck, P., Tangang, F., Linarka, U.A., Wati, T., Juneng, L., Phan-Van, T., Ngo-Duc, T., Santisirisomboon, J., Gunawan, D., Aldrian, E. (2017/12). Sensitivity of temperature to physical parameterization schemes of RegCM4 over the CORDEX-Southeast Asia region. International Journal of Climatology, 37(15), 5139-5153.
  • Ngo-Duc, T., Tangang, F.T., Santisirisomboon, J., Cruz, F., Trinh-Tuan, L., Nguyen-Xuan, T., Phan-Van, T., Juneng, L., Narisma, G., Singhruck, P., Gunawan, D., Aldrian, E. (2017/03). Performance evaluation of RegCM4 in simulating extreme rainfall and temperature indices over the CORDEX-Southeast Asia region. International Journal of Climatology, 37(3), 1634-1647.

8. Dr. James Bernard B. Simpas

  • Kecorius et al 2017. (See Dr. Maria Obiminda O. Cambaliza)

BS Physics-MSE student Aliena Miranda of AdMU receives award at MSE Summit 2018 research fair in UP Diliman


Aliena Mari P. Miranda (BS Applied Physics-Materials Science Engineering, 2nd from the left) during the awarding ceremonies at the Materials Science & Engineering Summit 2018 at University of the Philippines-Diliman

by Quirino Sugon Jr.

Aliena Mari P. Miranda (5 BS Applied Physics with Materials Science Engineering) of Ateneo de Manila University was awarded Best in Oral Presentation (undergraduate cluster) at the Materials Science and Engineering Summit 2018 Research Fair held last 16-17 March 2018 at the Engineering Theater of the University of the Philippines-Diliman. Miranda’s research was entitled, “Green synthesis of Fe2O3/graphene and MnO2/graphene nanocomposites for supercapacitor electrodes,” under the supervision of Dr. Erwin P. Enriquez of the Department of Chemistry of Ateneo de Manila University. Of the five participants in the Research Fair,  four are from Ateneo de Manila University. The two-day summit, with the theme “Sinagtala: A Focus on the Innovations of Philippine Materials,” has four events: Olympiad, ProdExpo, Career talks, and Research Fair.

Below is an interview with Aliena Mari P. Miranda by Ateneo Physics News:

1. How did you arrive at Ateneo de Manila University from high school?

I’m from Pasig City Science High School. I entered the Applied Physics/MSE program because I was interested in working on nanotechnology. Studying in a science high school helped cultivate my interest in the sciences, and luckily I was granted a scholarship to the Ateneo so I could pursue this interest.

2. What is the significance of your research?

With rampant pollution and limited resources, there is high interest in producing energy storage using environmentally-friendly methods and abundant materials. One device of interest is the supercapacitor, which, unlike the conventional dielectric capacitor, makes use of an electrolyte separated by a porous membrane. The electrodes have to be conductive, and have to have a high surface area to increase the energy it stores. Metal oxides such as iron oxide and manganese oxide have high specific capacitances but they suffer from low conductivity and low surface area. To address this, these metal oxides can be deposited in nanoparticle form onto graphene to increase their surface area and conductivity. The research shows that effective supercapacitor electrodes made of metal oxide-graphene nanocomposites can be created using green synthesis methods such as direct exfoliation and microwave-assisted hydrothermal synthesis, addressing the need to replace energy-intensive methods and toxic reagents. It also shows that iron oxide and manganese oxide increase the specific capacitance of graphene as the nanocomposites had higher specific capacitances compared to plain graphene.

3. Is this research a continuation of your BS Applied Physics thesis?

This research isn’t a continuation of my BS Applied Physics thesis, so the toughest part was getting used to the lab protocols for working in a chemistry laboratory. Working in a chemistry laboratory taught me to be more meticulous with my work especially since the reagents and tools we were using could be expensive.

I did my Applied Physics thesis under Dr. Christian Mahinay at the Vacuum Coating and Plasma laboratory where I worked on the characterization of DC-magnetron argon plasma using a Langmuir probe that I designed. I decided to start a different study for my MSE thesis because I was interested in Dr. Enriquez’s work on supercapacitors. Luckily, Mark Cabello, a previous graduate student, had been working on creating metal oxide graphene nanocomposites but they were designed for dye-sensitized solar cells, so Dr. Enriquez advised me to work from there to develop supercapacitor electrodes.

4. What motivated you to join the contest?

I was motivated to join the contest because my friends and I joined the quiz bee in the same summit two years ago. Our professor in an MSE class, Dr. Jose Mario A. Diaz, told us we’d get bonus points if we won the quiz bee. Unfortunately, we didn’t win then, so I kept my eye on the summit and decided my MSE thesis was good material for the research fair. A block mate, and an org mate joined the research fair as well so we cheered for each other during the oral presentations.

Students should be encouraged to talk about their work with others so that they can get feedback from people other than their peers and teachers in their school. We got to interact with students from different universities and learn about their work, and it helped build this sense of community knowing that science is alive and well all around the country, although it could be better if more support was given and more resources were shared. One of the professors commented that I could approach them to use their facilities since I was having difficulties with characterization. Events like this MSE Summit gives me hope that science can flourish as a field in the Philippines.

5. Were you able to make it to the BPI-DOST awards?

Yes, I am one of the two awardees from the Ateneo to the BPI-DOST Science Awards. They decided to cut the nominees from three last year down to just two this year so the competition was tougher. I thought I wouldn’t make it because one of the panelists commented he didn’t understand my methodology, but somehow it worked out in the end. The results have not been announced online but we were emailed letters last week. The other awardee is Kariz Bautista, a fourth year BS Chemistry/MSE student who worked on modified nanocellulose derived from hyacinths under Dr. Jose Mario Diaz. The awarding ceremony is on 5 June 2018.

6. What are your future plans in 5 years?

I’m currently waiting for the results of my application for the Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship. My blockmate and I have passed the second screening, which was under the university we’re applying to, and now we’re waiting for the results of the third screening under the Japanese Government. In the meantime, I plan to finish my reading list and pick up a few online classes. If I don’t get into the scholarship, I plan on working in the construction industry.

7. Was your paper already published?

No, my paper has not been published yet. I haven’t had the time to make my work suitable for publication, and there’s still a lot to do.

8. Any parting words?

Getting started seems tough but it’s a crucial step. Don’t let your inhibitions get the best of you. I started studying physics not really knowing what I got myself into, but I braced myself for the ride. I can’t say I’ve always been passionate for physics, but sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and work through it.


Certificate of Recognition of Aliena Mari P. Miranda for winning the Best in Oral Presentation (Undergraduate Cluster) at the MSE Summit 2018 Research Fair in University of the Philippines-Diliman last 16-17 March 2018.

Erasmus+ ARTIST project for science teaching innovation at AdMU: An interview with Mr. Ivan Culaba of the Physics Department


The ARTIST partners during the kick-off meeting at University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany on January 2017. In the photo are Dr. Joel Maquiling (back row, 3rd from the left) and Mr. Ivan Culaba (back row, 2nd from the right) of the Department of Physics, School of Science and Engineering, Ateneo de Manila University. Source: Action Research To Innovate Science Teaching (ARTIST)

by Quirino Sugon Jr

Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University-Manila were chosen by the European Union’s Erasmus+ Program as its two partner universities in the Philippines for the ARTIST (Action Research To Innovate Science Teaching) project. The other eight partner universities are University of Bremen (Germany), Ilia State University (Georgia), Alpe-Adria-University (Austria), University of Limerick (Ireland), Gazi University (Turkey), Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University (Georgia), The Academic Arab College of Education (Israel), and Oranim Academic College of Education (Israel). The project coordinators are Prof. Dr. Ingo Eilks of the University of Bremen and Prof. Dr. Marika Kapanadze of Ilia State University.

The ARTIST project aims to innovate science education through classroom‐based and teacher‐driven Action Research–a cycle of innovation, research, reflection and improvement–by forming networks of higher education institutions, schools and industry partners in each partner country. The ARTIST project allows the partner universities to acquire state-of-the art audio-visual and science equipment for teacher trainings and instructions. Training materials on action research will be developed and used in workshops and courses.

Below is an interview with Mr. Ivan Culaba, manager of the ARTIST project in Ateneo de Manila University.

1. What is your role in the project?  Are there other AdMU faculty involved here? 

I am the manager of the ARTIST project in Ateneo. In the Department of Physics, Dr. Joel T. Maquiling and Ms. Johanna Mae M.  Indias are also involved in the project. Joel has accompanied me in the meetings and helped in the presentations. Joel and Johanna helped in the identification of possible industry partners. Johanna also visited the high schools for evaluation as possible network partners. Ms. Via Lereinne B. Chuavon of the Office of Social Concern and Involvement assisted us in the networking with high schools and communications with the Schools Division Office of Marikina City. I also had very constructive discussions with Mr. Christopher Peabody of the Department of Chemistry. Mr. Tirso U. Raza, of the Office of Facilities and Sustainability has assisted us in finding the source of the audio visual equipment and in the preparation of the rooms for their installation. Our technicians, Mr, Numeriano Melaya, Mr. Colombo Enaje, Jr. and Mr. Ruel Agas have been working on making the ADMU ARTIST Network Center and Physics Education Resource Center (F-230, Faura Hall) become functional.



Action Research for the Reflective Practitioner workshop at Ateneo de Manila University, 7 April 2017

3. How did you get involved in the project?


This project was conceived by Prof. Eilks and Prof. Kapanadze after their successful implementation of TEMPUS project SALiS. I met Prof. Kanapadze during the Active Learning in Optics and Photonics workshop at Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia in 2014, where she was the organizer. She invited me into the ARTIST project and I extended the same invitation to Dr. Lydia Roleda of the De La Salle University-Manila.

I became interested in the ARTIST project since we had just started with the NSTP activity wherein our Physics majors were assigned to Sta. Elena High School for the area engagements. While our students were facilitating in the high school students’ physics activities we were also engaged in the Physics training of the science teachers in the same school. We thought that the high schools would immensely benefit from the ARTIST project in line with the university’s thrust for greater social involvement and service learning.

The ARTIST project was approved by the EU commission on October 2016 but the first tranche of the budget was released on January 2017.

4. What were your ARTIST meetings in Europe all about? 

The kick-off meeting was held at the University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany on 18-20 January 2017. It was the first time that we met our collaborators in the project. The objectives of the project, deliverables, work plans, and financial management among other topics were discussed. The second meeting was held at the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Vienna, Austria on 14-15 September 2017. Progress reports on the networking with schools and industries, financial status of each partner university, scheduling of the workshops, planning of the e-journal ARISE and other matters were discussed in the meeting. The EU officials were not present in the meeting.


Physics Education Resource Center (PERC) and ARTIST Network office Room F-230, Faura Hall

5. How is the Physics Education Resource Center in Faura Hall?  

I am very happy that we now have a Physics Education Resource Center (PERC) where the Physics Education group can meet and hold meetings and where the valuable lecture demonstration experiment set-ups can be displayed and made accessible to the faculty of the Department. A number of the demos have been transferred from F-229 and SEC C labs to PERC. Acquisition and development of lecture demonstration experiments will be a continuing process. The next step is the documentation of the resources so that the faculty may know what demos are available and how to use them.

The room will also serve as the office of the ARTIST project. The science equipment which will be purchased under this project will be placed in this room. We have ordered Physics equipment which are aligned to the Physics topics in Grades 7-10, although they may also be used for senior high school Physics. The list covers mechanics, heat and thermodynamics, waves and sound, optics and electromagnetism. There will also be materials which will be locally fabricated like ticker taper timers, circuit boards and Plexiglass lenses.

6. What are upcoming activities of the ARTIST project for this year?

We have held two seminar-workshops on Action Research. The first one was held on August last year in Ateneo de Manila. Prof. Maricar S. Prudente, who is an expert in Action Research, was the main speaker. The facilitators were Dr. Lydia S. Roleda, Dr. Minie Rose C. Lapinid and Dr. Socorro C. Aguja. They are all from the Science Department, Bro. Andrew Gonzales, FSC College of Education, De La Salle University. There were about ten participants from Roosevelt College, Inc. and some graduate students.

The second seminar-workshop was held recently on 7 April 2018 at Faura Hall, Ateneo de Manila. It was organized by the ARTIST team of Ateneo and De La Salle. The same team of speaker and facilitators from De La Salle University ran the seminar-workshop. A total of 31 participants from the ARTIST network of high schools – Parang High School, Sta. Elena High School, Marikina High School, Colegio de San Agustin, and graduate students in MS Science Education attended the workshop.

Another workshop on Action Research will be held on 15-18 May 2018 at De La Salle University-Manila. The ARTIST partners from Germany, Ireland, Austria, Georgia and Israel will facilitate the workshop. The first three days will be spent on understanding AR and writing AR proposals by selected teacher-participants. There will be an AR symposium, open to other teachers, on the fourth day where AR case studies will be presented.

Come October 2018 the workshop on Action Research and a meeting of the collaborators will be held in Haifa, Israel.

7. Any parting thoughts?

We hope that this project will have a positive impact on the way science is taught in the partner high schools and the lessons learned from these experiences may be adapted by other schools in the country.


Participants of Action Research for the Reflective Practitioner workshop at Ateneo de Manila University, 4 August 2017