'Science Culture' Comes to Life

Article excerpt

Byline: Perla D. Santos Ocampo, M.D. President, National Academy of Science and Technology

SCIENCE Culture, the latest column in the Manila Bulletin, discusses the most recent information about breakthroughs in science and technology (S&T) written by eminent scientists. Science Culture, an apt title for a national vision "A progressive Philippines anchored on Science," highlights the major contributions of Filipino scientists and the impact of science and technology on the countrys economic development. Almost every article that will appear in this column will be written by members of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), mandated by law as the countrys premiere advisory and recognition body on S&T matters. Other contributions will come from NAST awardees the creme de la creme in Philippine S&T.

Through the years, the Academy has focused on the scientific aspects of burning issues which affect the nation. Through several mechanisms including fora, roundtable discussions, workshops, and lecture series, a tremendous amount of scientific knowledge has been generated, and shared with the public, if we are to promote the welfare of the Filipino by elevating the level of science and technology in the country.

The Academy

The Academy is a popular monicker of the NAST. Established in 1979, the NAST or the Academy, which is now on its 28th year, is the nations symbol of commitment to science. It is exclusively composed of world-class Filipino scientists.

Members of the Academy are Filipino Scientists with doctoral degrees in any field of science who have demonstrated and earned distinctions in independent research or have contributed significant innovative achievements in the basic and applied sciences. To become an Academician, the title given to an Academy member, a scientist has to be nominated and his nomination approved by the majority of the full membership.

To date, the Academy has 51 living members distributed among its six divisional clusters: Agricultural Sciences, Biological Sciences, Social Sciences, Health Sciences, Chemical, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and Engineering Sciences and Technology. Ten of the 51 members are National Scientists. The rank and title of National Scientist, the highest possible honor that can be bestowed upon a distinguished individual scientist, is conferred by the President of the Philippines.

The Academy envisions "A progressive Philippines anchored on science." This vision, may sound ambitious, because of the sad truth that in the Philippines, science and scientists are the most "untreasured" among our national treasures. They never make the headlines the way politicians, professional boxers and other celebrities do.

It is such a wonderful privilege to have been serving the Academy as President for five years now. Likewise, it has been fulfilling to be working with the Executive Council (EC), the governing body of NAST. They are luminaries in S&T and include Acd. Emil Q. Javier (Plant Breeding and Genetics), vice president; and Acd. Ledivina V. Carino (Sociology), secretary. The other members of the NAST EC are: National Scientist Acd. Gelia T. Castillo (Rural Sociology), Ceferino L. Follosco (Mechanical/Agricultural Engineering), Acd. Evelyn Mae T. Mendoza (Biochemistry), and Acd. Teodulo M. Topacio (Veterinary Medicine).

I appreciate the efforts of the men and women behind this column especially because it will respond to a need to popularize S&T among our people, a need which must be met to promote and develop a strong science culture and environment in our country and inevitably enhance the quality of life of our people.

The people behind "Science Culture

My peers in the Academy have selflessly shared their time, energy, and even resources for the fulfillment of this endeavor. May I, in this maiden column acknowledge them.

Academician Ricardo M. …