“We know more about our universe than our planet earth.”
This was the surprising revelation of Dr. Arvin C. Diesmos, Scientist III of the National Museum, during the recently held “First Science Congress of Caloocan” organized by Association of Science Department Heads of Caloocan in partnership with the Young Christian Physicist Society of the Philippines, Scientific Career System and the Philippine Association of Career Scientists, Inc.
He explained that scientists’ estimates of the number of species on earth vary from 5 million to 100 million—with a very wide margin of error. Likewise, many of our scientific endeavors are focused on taxonomy, which pertains to naming and classification of species, while our knowledge of how these organisms live are very limited.
He also explained that the Philippines has a rich biodiversity because of our country’s complex geological history. Some parts of our archipelago were previously part of another land mass. This explains why some animals in Palawan cannot be found in other areas of Luzon; and other animals can be found exclusively in the Visayas, but not in Mindanao, he told.
He also discussed the threats to biodiversity namely habitat loss, and climate change.
“Try to be curious about your natural world,” he urged the student participants in the congress as he encouraged them to be aware of our biodiversity and conservation efforts.
Heart of a beautiful mind
In the same activity, Ms. Geraldine Ducusin, Supervising Science Research Specialist of the Science and Technology Information Institute- Department of Science and Technology (DOST-STII,) promoted the Philippine Men and Women of Science website.
The Philippine Men and Women of Science, which can be accessed at www.pmws.dost.gov.ph, is a semi-annual online publication of the DOST-STII. It is a good resource material for researchers who need information about scientists’ academic and professional contributions and affiliations.
Ducusin explained that the publication started way back 1964 as a printed publication with the title Philippine Men of Science. In 2012, the June issue for that year was uploaded to make the data available to the public.
One new feature of the website is “Heart of a Beautiful Mind” section wherein the stories about the lives of scientists.
“We like to tell the public about the human side of the scientists. We hope that these stories will be able to inspire kids,” Ducusin said.
Other topics discussed in the science congress were “Radiation Processing Applications” by Dr. Lucille V. Abad of DOST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute; “Agathis and Canarium Species as source of resins” by Forester Arsenio B. Ella of the DOST-Forest Products Research and Development Institute; “Breeding Rice Varieties in the Philippines” by Dr. Norvie Manigbas; and “Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Footprints” by Dr. FLorencia B. Pulhin of Forestry Development Center of the the University of the Philippines Los Baños Laguna. (S&T Media Service)