Ateneo Physics alumnus Jude Salinas is now a PhD student in Earth Systems Science at National Central University, Taiwan

Jude Salinas, PhD Student, Taiwan International Graduate Program - Earth Systems Science Program, Academia Sinica, National Central University, Taiwan

After finishing his BS Applied Physics degree at Ateneo de Manila University in 2012 , Cornelius Csar Jude H. Salinas went on to take his PhD studies at the Taiwan International Graduate Program-Academia Sinica of the National Central University, Taiwan.  Last December 2016, his paper entitled, “Impacts of SABER CO2-based eddy diffusion coefficients in the lower thermosphere on the ionosphere/thermosphere,” was published at the Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics. SABER stands for Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER) instrument is one of four instruments on NASA’s Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) satellite. To scan the atmosphere, SABER uses a 10-channel broadband limb-scanning infrared radiometer with spectral range of 1.27 µm to 17 µm. Different gases–O3, CO2, H2O, [O], [H], NO, OH, O2, and CO2–have different absorption properties at different electromagnetic wavelengths. This allows the bulk properties of these gases to be measured, such as kinetic temperature, pressure, geopotential height, volume mixing, volume emission rates, and cooling and heating rates–all across different atmospheric heights.

The atmosphere is the layer of the gas molecules surrounding a planet–or even a star like the sun. For the earth, the dominant atmospheric gases are Nitrogen (N2) at 78%, Oxygen (O2) at 21%, and Argon at 0.9%. Different gases have different masses, and the way these gases mix result to different layers of the atmosphere: troposphere (6-20 km), stratosphere (20-50 km), Mesosphere (50-85 km), thermosphere (85-590 km), and exosphere (590-10,000 km). At the thermosphere, the molecules become very hot due to absorption of ultraviolet rays from the sun, with temperatures reaching 2,500 deg Celsius, though it would still feel cold below O deg Celsius since the gases are sparse. Some of these hot molecules gets ionized, i.e. they shed off electrons, transforming the molecules into positive ions. These electrons and ions define the ionosphere. The density of the ionosphere may be determined by the frequency of radio waves that they reflect, which are usually from 2 to 25 MHz. The ionosphere is essentially a plasma, which is affected by the earth’s magnetic field and by the internal electric fields generated by the separation of positive and negative charges. Thus, the motion of the ionosphere is coupled with that of the thermosphere–and even with the lower parts of the atmosphere through wave motion, which makes the problem difficult to observe and model, except through satellite measurements and computational methods, such as those used in Jude Salinas’ work.

Below is an interview with Jude Salinas by Ateneo Physics News.

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Jude Salinas with a snowman during an extremely rare event of snow in Taipei in 2016. The last time that it snowed in Taipei was almost 50 years ago.

1. What made you choose to take BS physics in AdMU? 

I chose to take BS Applied Physics with Applied Computer Systems in Ateneo because my particular fascination for airplanes inspired me to understand the physics behind our atmosphere especially turbulence. It definitely helped that I enjoyed my physics class during my highschool, PAREF Westbridge School for Boys in Iloilo City.

2. How were you able to enter the doctoral program at Academia Sinica? Was it through connections or did you pass some tests?

The application procedures didn’t require any tests but it did require recommendation letters and proof of research skills. In my case, I believe showing that I had at least 5 conference presentations (4 international) helped. Indeed, the skills that I learned from my undergraduate research helped me a lot in both course-work and research.

3. What research you currently working on? 

My PhD research specialty is under the fields of atmospheric and space physics. I do research on the coupling of our lower atmosphere (less than 15 km) and our upper atmosphere (greater than 110 km) via the interaction of numerous atmospheric waves (e.g. Rossby/planetary-scale waves, gravity waves, etc.) with the background atmosphere occurring in our middle atmosphere (15 to 110 km). Our middle atmosphere is not in a state of radiative equilibrium everywhere and at all times. For example, in the mesopause (at roughly 90 km), the summer hemisphere is much colder than the winter hemisphere. In fact, the summer mesopause is the coldest point in our atmosphere. The interaction of atmospheric waves with our background atmosphere drives this. This is actually pushed further in that these waves which originated in the neutral atmosphere also affect our ionosphere, a region of our atmosphere that is dominated by charged plasma. Understanding the physics behind the coupling of our atmospheric regions is important in satellite operations, communications and space exploration. My research utilizes physical models to understand and consequently simulate observational data from satellites.

My current research is specifically about understanding the physics and chemistry behind the coupling of our lower atmosphere and our upper atmosphere by looking and explaining the variabilities of CO2 in the middle atmosphere. My JGR Space Physics paper lays the foundation for the rest of my PhD work. It aimed to calculate eddy diffusion coefficient profiles in the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere region (80 – 110 km) using satellite observations of CO2 and a one-dimensional photochemical and transport model. Eddy diffusion coefficients are a model parameterization for sub-grid scale motions like mixing due to breaking gravity waves. Calculating this is difficult because it is like calculating the diffusion that occurs when a wave crashes on a sea-shore or the diffusion due to turbulence. Only a few ground-stations have done this but of course, ground-stations don’t give a global coverage which is important. So far, no satellite-derived temperature nor wind dataset can be used to calculate this. Chemical species profiles and a one-dimensional model can also be used to calculate this but the chemistry of the utilized tracer must be well-known or it should be chemically inert. Our work used a CO2 as tracer because it is chemically inert in the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere region. We utilized recently retrieved CO2 profiles from the Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) satellite’s Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER) instrument. Our work provides the longest dataset on satellite-based eddy diffusion coefficient profiles derived from CO2. We hope to start an effort to calculate these coefficients using other satellite-derived chemical species. After calculating these profiles, we saw that they were very similar to eddy diffusion coefficients calculated by certain models that explicitly parameterizes breaking gravity waves with eddy diffusion coefficients. This led us to think that we may have just indirectly derived eddy diffusion coefficients that could parameterize breaking gravity waves. We are still doing more work to more robustly show this. Noting this though, we set these coefficients as a lower boundary condition in our electrodynamics general circulation model. This checked a recent suggestion that breaking gravity waves was the missing forcing that could completely drive the seasonal variations in thermospheric neutral density and ionospheric electron density. Similar to the aforementioned cold summer mesopause, the ionosphere and thermosphere is also not solely controlled by solar activity (Chapman mechanism) and in this case, geomagnetic activity. There are a lot of phenomena in our upper atmosphere that is found to require additional forcings from lower and middle atmospheric waves. Our work finally showed that our derived eddy diffusion coefficients cannot simulate the seasonal variations in the ionosphere and thermosphere. The first paper to cite our work further supported our suggestions by presenting a different dynamical mechanism centered on first-principles that they showed simulated the seasonal variations in the ionosphere and thermosphere.

4. How is your work in Academia Sinica related to your work at Manila Observatory and the Department of Physics in Ateneo de Manila University?

My current work is related to my undergraduate work at MO and Ateneo in that I utilized satellite data and did a lot of time-series analysis in both works. Interestingly though, I found out that the rainfall data from TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission of NASA) that I used for my undergraduate work was an instrumental observational evidence to the theory that ionospheric plasma bubbles are caused by convective activity in the troposphere via the vertical propagation of convectively-driven atmospheric waves through the middle atmosphere.

5. What is your normal day or week like? Are you a member of a Laboratory? Do you work alone or with a group?

I am a member of a laboratory under the Graduate Institute of Space Science in National Central University and also a laboratory under the Research Center for Environmental Change in Academia Sinica but we all do our research alone. It is our program’s policy that we should belong to two labs. In a normal week, I have one day for our lab meeting. The rest of the week is spent in the lab. On a normal day, I go to the lab and do the most important work from 9 am till 6 pm. It really depends, sometimes this could mean spending an entire day doing observational data analysis or modeling calculations or just reading and writing.

6. Can you describe the physical models and data sets that you use? How much computational power do you need for your models or to analyze your data? What is the computational infrastructure that allows you do such kind of research?

For my work, the data sets that I mostly use are satellite observations. I work with satellite-observations on temperature, CO2, electron density and neutral density. I also work with reanalysis datasets. Reanalysis datasets are datasets formed via complicated interpolation of numerous observations from ground-based stations to satellites. However, for my work, my methodology dictates I prioritize satellite data.

The physical models that I use include one-dimensional models and three-dimensional models. For the one-dimensional model, it is a photochemical and transport model that solves the continuity equation. The model includes the chemistry of the major non-nitrogen chemical species in the altitude range 0 – 130 km.

For the three-dimensional models, they are electrodynamics general circulation models developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in the US that solve the fully coupled, nonlinear, hydrodynamic, thermodynamic and continuity equations of neutral gas with the energy, momentum and continuity equations of ions in the thermosphere and ionosphere (from ~97 km to ~500 km). The external forcings accounted for are solar irradiance; geomagnetic energy; ionospheric convection; a specified upward and downward plasma flux at the upper boundary representing the interaction of the system with the plasmasphere; and perturbations at the lower boundary of the model by waves representing the interaction between the ionosphere-thermosphere region and the lower atmosphere.

The datasets that I have are all stored on our lab’s servers because of their massive sizes. The models that I use are also all ran on these servers. While my data-processing work are all done in either MATLAB or IDL, the models are all coded in FORTRAN for efficiency. An entire year’s worth of model run requires two days to finish. I also do decade-long model runs that require roughly a month to finish. In order to do this kind of research, one needs a powerful Linux cluster-system.

7. What are your five-year plans? Are you coming back to the country, pursue postdoctorate, or work in the industry?

My five-year plans include, of course, finishing my PhD and then, I’ll look for opportunities that can allow me to practice my training on atmospheric and space physics.

8. Any parting words for our Physics majors?

Whether you guys immediately opt to work or go to graduate school, understand that you guys will be starting your lives when you graduate. This is particularly difficult to understand for those considering graduate school. Some make the terrible mistake of thinking that graduate school postpones the reality that they are already starting their lives. This hinders them from always keeping in mind the more important things in life like being professional, being disciplined, being humble and thoroughly figuring out what they want in their lives. They’ve become blinded by the pleasure of finding things out (c.f. Richard Feynman). Doing advanced physics is cool but don’t ever lose sight that you have to juggle this with the advanced responsibilities of life. I’ve met numerous top-gun scientists and I’ve seen how their successes were founded not on how amazing they did their calculations and experiments but on how happily they lived their lives with their families. I credit my undergraduate adviser, Dr. Nofel Lagrosas, for constantly reminding me of these things when I was still in Ateneo.

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Left: Jude Salinas with his lab-mates and boss (left-most) on their way to an observatory in Taiwan’s Mt. Lulin. They were are setting up a telescope system for observing airglow emissions in the upper atmosphere. Right: Jude Salinas with his poster that won second place under the Mesosphere-Lower Thermosphere division of the Student Poster Competition during the Coupling, Energetics, Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions Workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.

Physics Chair Dr. Nofel Lagrosas meets the Ateneo Physics Freshman Class during ORSEM 2012

Dr. Nofel Lagrosas

Dr. Nofel Lagrosas, Chair of the Department of Physics

by Quirino Sugon Jr.

Last Saturday morning of 9 June 2012, during the Ateneo ORSEM (Orientation Seminar) week, Dr. Nofel Lagrosas, Chair of the Department of Physics, met with 21 freshmen students of Physics for the year 2012 at the Room 205 of the School of Management Building.  Dr. Lagrosas gave an overview of the Department of Physics, its programs, its research laboratories, and its alumni. Dr. Lagrosas also answered many questions from the students.  Below is an edited transcript of Dr. Lagrosas’s talk and his responses to the questions of the students in the open forum.

A. Materials Science Laboratory

In the department, by the time you reach third year, you start working in a lab. Sometimes we say in the department that the third year students are suppose to be slaves in the lab. You have these labs to work on depending on your course. You can choose these labs. Spend your time working on research topics. Don’t be afraid. If you are science student you should be eager to work on research.

For materials science lab, MSE students work in the MSE lab. Vacuum coating can handle MSE students also. There are research works here that collaborates with MSE and also with Photonics. If you are a pure physics, you can go to Photonics, Atmospherics, and Space Weather. There are also Theoretical Physics and Physics Education if you want to be in those fields. If you do your research in your third year in Material Science, it is easier to work on a similar topic for your second thesis in your fifth year. Have that idea in mind.

Whom do you approach in the Materials Science Laboratory? It is Dr. Benjamin Chan. When you enter Faura, it is the first room to your right. Just in case if you want to inquire, there are lots of facilities that you may be interested to play with, such as the electron microscope. Just approach Dr. Chan. Don’t tell him you wish to learn how to operate this equipment. Rather, tell him that you want to work with him and in the process you learn how the instrument works.

B. Vacuum Coating Laboratory

This is the Vacuum Coating Laboratory. The main person to ask would be Mr. Ivan Culaba. If you go to Faura, the Vacuum Lab is at the left side. The first room is the comfort room for girls, then for the guys. Next is the faculty room F-105. In the faculty room is Mr. Ivan Culaba and Dr. Jerrold Garcia. Dr. Garcia is one of our famous teachers in the department. You know why Dr. Garcia is famous? He is a good teacher. He teaches well. But he is also well-known for flunking students who are not doing their jobs. You will know a lot from him. He handles Classical Mechanics or Mathematical Physics. If he is going to be your teacher, make sure you do well.

The lab looks really wiry. Of course it should be the case and you cannot have a vacuum system that is small. It is suppose to be large. You can learn how to work the vacuum. You can bombard some surfaces with molecules. If there is air, it is harder for you to bombard, because the molecules that you evaporate won’t hit the glass substrate, but the air molecules instead.

This is one of the work done by a student in the vacuum lab. This is Jerome Unidad. He is now working for his Ph.D. In Italy. When he was a student here, he did a sputtering experiment using plasma and you can see the plasma here. It glows.

C. Atmospheric and Space Physics

You can also work on atmospheric science. There is me, Dr. Gemma Narisma, and Dr. James Simpas. We work on remote sensing, climate, and pollution studies.

We have NASA’s sun photometer for the AERONET (Aerosol Robotic Network) program. We also have DOAS (Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy). We do work for PM (particulate matter) concentrations. We get data from satellites that observe the ground and from sun photometer that tracks the sun. Dr. Simpas and I accompanied a scientist from NASA to the Dongsha Island of Taiwan. We went there to take a look at their instruments as part of their program. Dr. Narisma does the meteorological modeling and Dr. Simpas does the aerosol density analysis. Why aerosols? They are important stuff you should know in relation to climate change. Dr. Narisma is working on simulations for climate studies. She wants to know what is the temperature ten years from now. So if you wish to work with her, you need to have good computer programming skills. Does anybody of you know how to work with Linux? You can work with Dr. Narisma. These are their simulation of rainfall maps. For example, in Tokyo there is a low pressure area. But you need to know where that low pressure is. Dr. Narisma has just won the NAST (National Academy of Science and Technology) Young Scientist Award. Thus, you are in good hands.

Part of the job is data processing. This would be a good application for Physics and ACS (Applied Computer Systems) students. This work was done by my students, Paolo Baylon. He worked with me. After his fourth year, he went to ICTP (International Center for Theoretical Physics) in Trieste, Italy. He is now in taking his Ph.D. in Physics in University of Washington.

D. Ionospheric and Space Physics

If you are interested ionosphere and space physics, there is Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr. He coordinates the ICSWSE (International Center for Space Weather Science and Education) Subcenter at Manila Observatory, in collaboration with ICSWSE in Kyushu University. ICSWSE has more than 60 ground-based MAGDAS/CPMN (Magnetic Data Acquisition System/Circumpan Pacific Network) stations around the world and 6 of them are in the Philippines: Tuguegarao, Muntinlupa, Legazpi, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao. This is the worldwide map of the MAGDAS/CPMN stations. Notice these dots. These are positions of instruments. ICSWSE also has 3 FMCW (Frequency Modulated Continous Wave) radars and one of them is installed in the Subcenter. The radar is used for generating ionograms used for studying the distribution of the electrons in the ionosphere. The radar is also used to measure the vertical motion of the charges in the ionosphere, which can be used to deduce the strength of the ionospheric electric field.

E. Photonics Laboratory

In the Photonics Laboratory, the main person is Dr. Raphael Guerrero. He works with holograms for storing information. If you will be working in his lab, you will have a chance to work with holograms. If you are dealing with optics, you have to be careful. Everything must be aligned properly. One false move and you won’t get what you want to have. He is also working on florescence. Flourescence happens when light strikes on a material which then emits light in a different wavelength.. You can measure that emission. Why is flourescence necessary? If you scoop a water from the sea, you can measure its chlorophyll content which is dependent on the intensity light flourescence of water. You will also be looking at gratings. This is the work done by Stein Baluyot. When he was still an undergraduate student, he already have ISI publications. He worked with Dr. Nathaniel Hermosa before on bored helical phases of optical beams.

F. Theoretical Physics

For Theoretical Physics, there is Fr. Daniel J. McNamara, SJ and Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr. They work on the Geometric Algebra and Space Weather. One of their students was Javier Jalandoni who worked with the orbits of Trojan asteroids using perturbation theory .Javy was an SOSE awardee for his undergraduate thesis. Dr. Sugon went to the ISWI (International Space Weather Conference) in Egypt before because of his collaboration with the MAGDAS/CPMN project with Prof. Kiyohumi Yumoto of ICSWSE, Kyushu University. There is also a chance for you to travel abroad. Your generation have lots of opportunities if you just work hard.

G. Physics Education

Physics education research is led by Dr. Minella Alarcon. She was one of the chairpersons in the department before She was also my adviser. In Ateneo High School, the Asst. Principal for Academic Affairs is Dr. Alarcon’s daughter. We are working with the High School Science Department. Recently, Dr. Alarcon and her ALOP (Active Learning in Optics and Photonics) team received the SPIE award for optics education. She was organizer of the Optics and Photonics Education worshops. Her team travels to remote places such as Africa. This is Dr. Alarcon with her ALOP team members Mr. Maquiling and Mr. Ivan Culaba. We are employing their expertise to help our country in education. These are their collaborators from ICTP.

ICTP. If you are the theoretical physicist, ICTP is the International Center for Theoretical Physics founded by Abdus Salam. He is a Pakistani who won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in weak forces. When he won the award, he donated his money and established the ICTP through the United Nations. Italy won the bid to host the place.

H. Alumni

We have some students who went abroad because of their work. That is Paolo Baylon. He is now in Washington University. That is Mariel Dee. She went to France for her Junior Term Abroad (JTA). You can spend a semester there to study and, of course, to have fun. Armelle Remedio is also our graduate. She is currently finishing her Ph.D. in Max Planck Institute. Karl Jamandre is our student working on his Masters in Atmospheric Science under Dr. Narisma. Jude Salinas is my student who just graduated last year. He is going to Taiwan for his Masters in Remote Sensing. Joseph Angan graduated as MSE. Those three will be going to Singapore to present a paper in AOGS (Asia Oceania Geosciences Society). Some of the third year students are also going to Singapore to present part of their work. That will ok. This is going to be demanding part of your life. I hope you respond well to the demands of research work. And before I forget, that is Cheska Siongco. She graduated from Philippine Science. She is working on her Masters in ICTP. Hopefully, she gets accepted in Max Planck Institute in Germany.

What does this tell you? There are lots of things we can work out here. Our job as teachers is to help you succeed. We need also something from your side. I need you to be conscious that you must be industrious in your academic work.

H. Open Forum

Dr. Nofel Lagrosas and Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr with the physics freshman class of 2012

Dr. Nofel Lagrosas (left) and Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr (right) with the physics freshman class of 2012

1. Can an MSE student go to Astrophysics?

In depends on the astrophysics field. As long as there is anything material about it, there should be no problem.

2. Are we limited to the laboratories inside Ateneo? 

As chair, I am greedy. We prefer that you work with us. Why? It would contribute to research in the department. We don’t know the atmosphere outside Ateneo. So I don’t what to put you in that risk. But through your adviser we can form collaborations, usually with NIP (National Institute of Physics). It is suppose to be through the adviser. Stay as slave. As you grow old you will have chance to work with your own slaves also.

3. Do you do research on Cosmology?

We do work on space physics, but that only includes the ionosphere, magnetosphere, and solar wind. If you want to work on cosmology, you must talk to Dr. Jerrold Garcia. He is the only expert in Einstein’s General Relativity (GR) in the Department. He taught GR to Ian Vega. Ian later finished his Ph.D. in Physics in University of Florida and is now doing his postodoctorate work in University of Guelph. He worked with black holes. We also have another alumni, Reinabelle Reyes who finished her Ph.D. in Astrophysics at Princeton University and is now a postdoctoral fellow in University of Chicago. She became a celebrity when she verified Einstein’s General Relativity in cosmological scales.

4. After taking Masters and Ph.D, what are the job prospects?

The rule in life is the higher your degree, the higher you get paid. If you work in multinational companies, they employ Ph.D.s for the development of new technologies. That is where the big bucks are. You can also go to the academe. Our job as teachers is to inspire the younger generations to do science. That is another option. The third option is to go to government. DOST needs lots of credible Ph.D.s. You can also go to finance, but the cause of the financial collapse are few years ago are the physicists in Wall Street called the quants. Physicists do mathematical financial analysis. The differential equations they use are similar to those in physics.

You are not suppose to be without a job. Even as students, there is an opportunity for graduate school here or abroad. There are scholarships.

The Ateneo Innovation Center is the center for development of new technologies. You can always do projects there. Dr. Greg Tangonan heads the center. He is also a graduate of the department.

The Manila Observatory is where we work. The atmospheric people work there. You can do research with the research agenda that we have at the Manila observatory. You have to prove yourself. We prefer pure physics or ACS. We also have some students from MSE. Actually, Joseph Angan is an student working with me.

5. What is the average salary for physics graduates?

There is a wide range. We have a student who just graduated and he was offered Php 50,000 to work in Unilever.

6. Can we do particle physics?

We don’t offer particle physics. But there is one graduate student, Mike Andrews. He is working on particle physics under Dr. Sugon. He is going to Fermilab in Chicago this semester to do his research there. We don’t offer particle physics as a research track now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. We have the capability of sending you out. He was a Management Engineering graduate. But after graduation and working in a company, he went back to Ateneo and took up M.S. Physics.

7. What is the passing rate?

You will fail if you don’t do your job as a student. In terms of passing numbers, about 80 to 90 percent will pass.

In Physics 41, all of them passed. But sometimes, there are freshmen who were not asking help, even if they have problems with math. After some time, they folded up.. That is why, if you have problems with math and physics, always ask help.

8. Was there anyone injured in the laboratory?

So far, no one was seriously injured. If you start working in the lab, your job is to take precautions. You are not that clumsy. If you drop metal balls in lab, it shows that you are not suppose to be MSE.

9. Does a thesis have to be individual?

We prefer individual thesis, but there may be problems where there would be a chance for two to collaborate.

In the first week of July, there will be a general assembly on Wednesday. It will be a chance to meet other faculty doing research work. Don’t be ashamed to talk to them regarding research topics. But I shall advise you to enjoy your first and second years. In your third and fourth years, you will be doing serious research.

10. Are there competitions?

It depends on you. It need not be physics. Mariel Dee is a national Sudoku finalist. We prefer that you guys focus on your research.

11. Can we perform nuclear experiments?

You can perform nuclear experiments. But in terms as a research area, we don’t have nuclear physics. But we can collaborate. We can send faculty members to do their training in the Philippine Nuclear Resarch Institute, such as Ramon de los Santos. It depends on what these institutions can offer to us.

12. Can we do medical research?

You can do medicine related research. We have alumni who went abroad to study medical physics. There is Dr. Rhonald Lua, a postdoctoral fellow of the Lichtarge Computational Biology Lab of the Baylor College of Medicine. There is also Dr. Adrian Serohijos, a postdoctoral fellow of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. They both work with protein engineering and drug design.

13. Can we minor in Finance?

You have that option but you need to have a permission. If you have seen your course curriculum, there are are free electives. You can use that for finance.

Freshmen students during the ORSEM 2012

Freshmen students walking around the Manuel V. Pangilinan Center for Student Leadership during the ORSEM 2012. On the left is the entrance of Faura Hall.

Ateneo Physics student Jude Salinas’s experience at the Asia and Oceania Geosciences Society conference in Taipei International Convention Center last 8-12 August 2011

by Jude Salinas (4 BS Applied Physics-Applied Computer Systems)

First Day, August 8

Jude Salinas, Joseph Angan, and Karl Jamandre in AOGS 8th Annual Meeting in Taipei International Convention Center

Jude Salinas, Joseph Angan, and Karl Jamandre in AOGS 8th Annual Meeting in Taipei International Convention Center

The Asia and Oceania Geosciences Society Conference was held last August 8-12, 2011 at the Taipei International Convention Center. Across the center I saw the Taipei 101, one of the tallest buildings in the world and one of Taiwan’s prominent landmarks. But if you if you just take the photo of just one portion of it you won’t be able to tell if it is a building.

Lunch for our first day is noodles with beef soup. I forgot what this was called. But I notice that food in Taiwan always has large servings.

I was with my batchmate Joseph Angan (5 BS Ps-MSE), together with our research adviser, Dr. Nofel Lagrosas. We watched the opening address of Nobel Laureate Samuel Chao Chunt Ting. His work is on Alpha magnetic spectrometer on the International Space Station. We can only understand until magnetic part. But we are physics people. We enjoyed it even if it still sounds so sophisticated.

I went through the through the exhibits and I wish to talk to the people there. One thing I don’t like about the exhibits is that the people there are not the persons working on the company he is presenting. One frustrating exhibit is that of NASA. I talked to the guy in physics. He cannot understand me. Then I asked where in NASA does he work. He said he worked only in the exhibit area. Because of that experience, everytime I walked around the exhibit I looked at the ID. In it is written the name of the person and on top of it is the school or company.

I met another person, a little girl. She looks so young, but she’s actually a postdoctoral fellow in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She said her group does research on earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano, and climate. Under the climate heading, she mentioned something related to my work: regional climate downsacaling of el nino and indian ocean dipole. I said I was interested in El Nino. She wanted to refer me to her research supervisor, but he was not around.

The fellowship night

The fellowship night

During the fellowship night, I enjoyed the food, especially the turkey. About 30 minutes after eating, I decided it is time to meet other people. I was holding my food with my head bent down. I saw IDs. I I want to meet somebody from Singapore. I saw a guy from Nanyang Technological University. So when I got my last meal, I went to his place, but he was gone. I was depressed. I continued walking. Then sombody tapped me in the back. It was the girl I met that morning. She was squashed between two guys and she was calling me.

“Dr. KOH Tieh-Yong is here,” she said as she pointed to a man talking in front of an Australian. Dr. Koh is from the Earth Observatory of Singapore.

I went to Dr. Koh and talked with him.

“Your work is interesting,” he said. “But you need to validate your results using raingauges. If you say Northern Luzon has wet and dry seasons, you only need one rain gauge in that area.”

Dr. Koh gave me his calling card and referred me to a particular book if I have other questions.

Calling cards. I wished we were warned that it is customary to give calling cards. Most people I met have calling cards. I have a calling card from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). One is ffrom a Filipna in Academica Sinica. There was also this girl from China whom I met in the elevator. She looks so young and friendly. Her name is Nat Tieng Ke. So if our department should send students to conferences, it must make sure the students should have calling cards.

A cultural dance in Taiwan

A cultural dance in Taiwan

The party was fun. There was a little traditional song and dance from from Taiwan. A scientist joined the song and dance.

Too bad I was not able to taste Taiwanese beer. I saw one but I didn’t try it because I was still hungry then. Then the night passed and I never got to drink. The party was nice. The food is good and I got to socialize with scientists.

Second Day, August 9

The second day, August 9, was the day of my poster prensetaton. My work was entitled, “A correlation of TRMM, GPCC and Ground based measurements of monthly raifuall rate in the Manila Observatory.” We posted it that morning. My presentation is still at 4:30 p.m., so I just left my poster there. The one thing that made my presentation unique is that it is full board., 2m x 1m. I thought the rule says nothing smaller than that, but it was actually the opposite. Others are 1 m x 1 m. The other posters are simply bond papers pasted on a cardboard.

There was an old professor from Taiwan. When he passed by my work he said, “Good for the Philippines!” I don’t know what he meant by that. Maybe he thinks it is the first time that such work is being done in the Philippines.

My work is in the Atmospheric Science Division, under the subdivision of Precipitation Science and Applications of Satellite Data in Asia. Solar and Terrestrial Science is in one Division.

I met a fellow Filipino in the conference. His name is Ernest Macalalad. His work is entitled, “Single Frequency Pseudorange corrections for GPS single point positioning using Taiwan ionospheric model.” He is staking up Space Science in National Central University. He is from La Salle. The Filipina earlier took her undergraduate studies in UST and her graduate studies in UP Diliman. Her name is Ferina Datoc. Another Filipino I met is a guy from PAGASA who is finishing his thesis in Taiwan. He is from UP Diliman. We talked a bit. It is nice to meet fellow Filipinos in Taiwan.

The eye of the storm

The eye of the storm

In the afternoon at 4:30 p.m. is my presentation. Before that there were two talks. One is “Paradigms of tropical cyclone intensification” and the other is “Regional climate change: the role of light absorbing aerosols and snow-albedo feedback.” What is intersting about these two talks is the aerosols. Together with me under Dr. Lagrosas is Cheska Siongco who is now in ICTP (International Center for Theoretical Physics), and Joseph Angan , 5th APS-MSE (Applied Physics-Materials Science Engineering). There are the three of us

The first talk is about aerosols. This is Josephs line of work. It has nothing to do with my work. So I fell asleep. Next talk on regional climate change has nothing to do with his work. I was awake but Joseph slept. I have nothhgn to do with aerosols.

There was also the research delegation of Dr. Gemma Narisma. With her is Karl Jamandre and Julie Mae Dado, her two graduate students at Manila Observatory.

The talk was on tropical cyclones . One thing I like about this talk is that it answers my usual questions while I was still doing research at the Manila Observatory: where is the physics here?. In this talk he described tropical cyclones. And you will hear physics terms. If you are a meteorology guy without any background in physics, you would not be able to understand him. My mind says, “Wow!” I now see how physics can really help in understanding these things. He would explain the Coriolis force in storms, the centrifugal force, and various conservation laws. I always wonder about the science in my research. I really felt there is some physics there. I am sure there is. I just have to contitue working.

Then it was my poster presentattion. I saw Dr. Shuji Shimizu of JAXA, Associate Senior Reserarch. EORC. He passed by my poster.

“Sir, this is your satellite,” I said to him. “JAXA and NASA are the ones responsible for the data I was using.”

And we talked.

On Wednesday, after touring Taipei, 101, we headed home.

Taipei International Convention Center

Taipei International Convention Center

A view in Taipei 101

An alien boarding a space ship