Wednesday, May 25, 2011

An encounter with a circumcised Japanese Jack-in-the-Pulpit

The circumcised Japanese Jack-in-the-Pulpit of the Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls, MA.

The tease in the title has to do with the Jacks in or out of the pulpit now engaged in a heated debate against the Reproductive Health (RH) bill pending in the Philippine Congress. Likewise, the ban on circumcision that will be put to a vote in the coming November elections in California.

Entry to the Bridge of Flowers.

Our encounter however is with a flowering plant in the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts - the perennial Arisaema sikokianum popularly known as the Japanese Dragon Arum or the circumcised Jack-in-the-Pulpit.  The picture tells why it has that male nomenclature.

We wonder how Filipinos would describe this Jack-in-the-pulpit in Padre Damaso terms. But here's the flora in botanical terms:

"Arisaema sikokianum is considered the most stunningly beautiful member of the genus Arisaema ... From an underground tuber in early spring ... the dark pitcher and two five-lobed leaves emerge on a 1' tall fleshy petiole (stalk). As the pitcher opens, it reveals a swollen, pure white protruding sex organ (spadix), which provides a dramatic contrast to the purple of the pitcher (spathe). Since Arisaema sikokianum doesn't offset or engage in sexual self satisfaction, more than one [are needed] to start a family..."

The Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, Mass., is said to be "the only one of its kind in the world."  This was built in 1908 and originally designed to carry trolley tracks across the Deerfield River between Shelburne and Buckland, which today are still small bucolic towns where the iconic McDo logo is nowhere to be found in their landscape.

The trolley line was abandoned in 1928.  The couple Mr and Mrs Walter Burnham initiated a concerted fund raising effort to convert the abandoned bridge "into a pathway adorned with decorative vines, shrubs, and a variety of flowers."

Through the years, the beauty of the Bridge of Flowers has been maintained by many volunteers who regularly assist the paid gardener.

Over 500 different varieties of flowers and plants are tended there by the gardeners to insure continuous blooming from early spring until late in the fall.  There are inconspicuous name tags beside them for those who are interested to order them from plant stores once they get home.

The Bridge is open free.  We noted that visitors from other countries like us have come to enjoy the palette of colors of the flowers of the many plants there.  

Camera bugs like us tend to spend more time with the flowers. Photo-ops galore!  And for this alone we dropped a token of gratitude in the donation box to help maintain the Bridge for others to enjoy through the coming years.

N.B. It goes without saying that we need the assistance of botanists who read this post to identify the nameless plants/flowers in the pictures.

JP Rizal@150. Rizal Day in Yokohama, Japan with General Artemio Ricarte

General Artemio Ricarte and his wife with Filipino visitors in their restaurant in Yokohama, Japan.  [Picture from Ambeth Ocampo's Heroes.]

The young generation of "peace time", that's before the second world war, had two hero icons, the dead Jose Rizal and the living General Artemio Ricarte, who were both steadfast in their patriotic resolve, never succumbing to the enemy, the Spanish and the American colonial masters in succession.

Rather than capitulate just like what his contemporaries did, even after deportations to Guam and Hongkong and imprisonment in Bilibid, the General chose to live in exile in Yokohama, Japan, with the unfinished revolution in his mind and heart.

The rebellion could have been kept alive by the memory of JP Rizal and the stream of Filipino youth who passed by on their way to the United States to pay him their respect as their living hero.

Filipino associations in the United States during those years celebrated Rizal Day with much ceremony on the hero's death anniversary. So did General Artemio Ricarte and the Filipino residents of Tokyo and Yokohama. 

In 1924, the executive committee for the celebration of Rizal Day at the Public Hall at the Yokohama City Park was composed of the General, Professor Jose Ranes, Pedro Bartolome, Jose Fernandez,Ursulo Aguilar, Dr. Gaudioso Estaris and Juan Roldan.  

There could have been Rizal Days during the years the General was in residence there, and the commemorative programs could have been similar to this one held on 30 December 1924 --
  • Hymn—“Rizal, Jose Rizal”—Chorus.
  • Introductory Remarks in English—“Why This Night”—Mr. Pedro Bartolome.
  • Address in Japanese-English—“Eiyu Suhai” (Venerations to the Heroes)—Prof. Jose Ranes.
  • Violin Solo—“Nocturna”—Dr. Gaudioso Estaris.
  • Ballad Song—“Roses and Memories”—Messrs. Jose and Reynaldo Fernandez.
  • Speech in English—“The Philippines In Silhoutte”—Mr. Ursulo Aguilar.
  • Declamation in Japanese—“Last Farewell” (Dr. Rizal)—Mr. Yoshio Takahashi.
  • Address in English—“Youth Movement.” Mr. Soichi Saito (General Secretary, Japanese National Y.M.C.A.)—Introduction by Mr. Jose Gaerlan.
  • Ballad Duet—“Mother”—Fernandez Hermanos.
  • Address in English—“The Fatal Bullets of 1896”—Mr. Juan Roldan.
  • Declamation in English—“Last Farewell”—Mr. Jose Fernandez—(Dr. Rizal.)
  • Philippine Waltz—“Lulay”—Prof. Jose Ranes and Mr. Jose Fernandez.
  • Address in Tagalog—“Kuro-Kuro”—General Artemio Ricarte.
  • Orchestra Bell—“La Cinquantaine”—Gabriel-Marie—Mr. Yoshio Takahashi—(W. H. Reitz).
  • FREE TRIBUTE (TRIBUNA LIBRE)—Address in Spanish—“El Viernes Santo de los Filipinos”—Prof. Jose Ranes—(Traducido al Japones por el Teniente Sr. K. Kidori.)
  • Philippine National Anthem—Chorus.

Like all the pre-war Rizal Day programs we've seen, there was always a recitation of "Last Farewell".  Here, the execution of the hero was recalled through the "fatal bullets" and "firing squads" numbers.  We'd like to think that the latter could not have been a music band but a reenactment of the execution in Bagumbayan.  

We may presume that in his kuro-kuro, the General harped on his thoughts of the unfinished revolution, which he would eventually put together in his book “Himagsikan nang manga Pilipino Laban sa Kastila” (The Revolution of Filipinos Against the Spaniards) published in Yokohama in 1927.

In his lonely exile, the General could have been paid surprise visits by young Filipinos on their way to America for work and/or studies.  He was still their idol!

Back then there were no airplanes yet stopping over in Nagoya or Narita.  There were ports of call for passenger ships going to the United States, Yokohama in Japan being one of them.

No wonder then that in 1926, for example, 100 Filipino passengers called on him as soon as their ship moored in Yokohama.

As reported, "the steamship President Lincoln had not been many hours at sea from Manila, when the nearly one hundred Filipinos aboard set in motion a plan to pay their respects to their great countryman and patriot, General Artemio Ricarte at his home in Yokohama, Japan.

"Upon arrival at the Japanese port, the Filipino passengers, accompanied and enlivened by the Lincoln's jazz band, marched to the General's home. Beholding such a large number of his countrymen, and taken as he was by complete surprise, General Ricarte was pleased beyond measure. So was Mrs. Ricarte. But they soon began to show evidence of the hospitality for which they are famous, making the boys feel as welcome as if they were in their own homes.

"The president of the occasion, Mr. Vicente Bellaflor, spoke in Tagalog, telling of recent happenings in the homeland, to which General Ricarte listened eagerly. Mr. E. Duarte spoke in Cebuano, Messrs. V. Salvador and R. Mabalot, in Ilocano, T. Malabog in Tagalog, and V. Feliciano, A. Casim, Y. Bondaco and T. Tigson in English. Jaime Inosanto acted as secretary.

"General Ricarte, warming to the occasion, made a very interesting response, reciting some of the most important chapters of his life, and making an impression upon those of his attentive audience that they will never forget.

"The concluding remarks by the visitors were made by Mr. Dalmacio D. Yupano, who told the General of the motives that had caused them to pay their respects, and assuring the self-exiled patriot that he stood higher than ever in the popular esteem of the Filipino people.

"Then the march into the dining room, and behold! Long, flower-bestrewn tables stood heaped with all kinds of good things to eat. With excellent music by the orchestra under the direction of Mr. Daniel Jimenez, the happy feast proceeded. As the members of the, visiting party later made their way back to the ship, to resume their trip to America, the thought that was uppernost in the mind of each was: "Long Live General Ricarte.""

Almost all of these young men could have come home and serve their country until the Pacific war erupted. An old man already, General Ricarte returned with the Japanese invasion forces, died and got buried in an unknown grave while being pursued by the American liberation forces "without seeing the dawn brighten over [his] land", in the words of JP Rizal.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Asian young scientists win top awards in ISEF 2011

ASIANS IN THE THREE 'BEST OF THE BESTS' IN ISEF 2011.  Matthew Feddersen and Blake Marggraff of Lafayette, Calif (left) received the Gordon E. Moore Award of $75,000.  Taylor Wilson of Reno, Nev. (third from left) and the team from Thailand (Pornwasu Pongtheerawan, Arada Sungkanit and Tanpitcha Phongchaipaiboon, right) each received the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award of $50,000. 

Not one among the more than 1,500 finalists in the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) would know if he/she/the team is a winner until their name gets called during the Special Awards night or Grand Awards ceremony at the closing of the 5-day youth event.

Everyone of course dreams of bringing home a Grand Award in his/her category (there are 17 of them). Usually, about 25% of the finalists would get rewarded for their excellent research project since plenty would get a fourth ($500), or third ($1,000), or second ($1,500) grand awards.   

Sometimes there would be 2 or 3 recipients of the first grand award ($3,000) but one has to be "Best of the Category" ($5,000) to qualify for the Gordon E Moore and the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Awards.

Four Asians--two individual and two team finalists--were in the running for the three 'Best of the Bests' this year:   

  • The team from Thailand--Pornwasu Pongtheerawan, 16, Tanpitcha Phongchaipaiboon, 17, and Arada Sungkanit, 17--was best in the environmental management category for showing the potential of the gelatin in fish scales as tbio-based food packaging plastics. They received the Intel Foundation Young Scientists Award for this work. 
  • The South Korea team was the best in the environmental sciences category.  Jinyoung Seo, 18, and Dongju Shin, 18, mimicked the wetting behavior of spider silk in the study of its water-harvesting efficiency. This work gained for them the Dudley R. Herschbach SIYSS Award, which entitles them to an all-expense-paid trip to the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar (SIYSS) and attendance at the Nobel Prize ceremonies, in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • The best in the computer science category is from China.  Lai Xue, 18, studied the "efficient implementation of tilt compensated compass and depth camera in interactive augmented reality."  This work earned him an all-expense-paid trip to attend the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, the host city, which changes every year, still to be announced.
  • The project of Raghavendra Ramachanderan, 16, of India was the best in the chemistry category. Her work dealt with "braving legendary challenges in drug synthesis."
This is not the first time that Asians were in the top three winners of the Intel ISEF.  Until 2009, all three 'best of the bests' received the same Young Scientists Award.  Yuanchen Zhu of China and Yi-Han Su of Chinese Taipei were among the recipients of the top prize in 2004 and 2008, respectively.

It's a dream prize for all who participate in the ISEF-affiliated fairs throughout the world.

The names of the above winners and others below who got first and second grand awards will be submitted to the International Astronomical Union (IAU)  for the naming of minor planets in the Ceres Connection.  These planets have been discovered by the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program, operated by MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory.  The Laboratory partnered with the Society for Science & the Public (SSP)and the Intel ISEF "to promote science education through the Ceres Connection."  

Here are Asian grand awardees this year in Los Angeles, California, by country: 

CHINA (9).
  • Lai Xue, 18. First Award and Intel ISEF Best of Category (Computer Science) Award for Efficient Implementation of Tilt Compensated Compass and Depth Camera in Interactive Augmented Reality.
  • Yizheng He, 18, Haoyan Kang, 18, and Jiayi Wang, 17.  Second Award in Computer Science for The Research on the Space Interactive 3D Mapping Method.
  • Jiaqi Duan, 16, Zihan Zhang, 18, and Sihan Jiang, 17. Fourth Award in Behavioral Sciences for Is Nephila clavata a New Species of Social Spiders? A Preliminary Study on Behaviors of Nephila clavata.
  • Fubin Li, 17, Yakang Li, 18, and Zhongning Hao, 15. Second Award in Biochemistry for Research on Functional Dietary Fibre of Wheat Bran.
  • Zehong Weng, 18.  Third Award in Engineering (Electrical and Mechanical) for Assistant of Walking Aid: Walking Aid Facility for the Old and the Relevant Patients.
  • Ka Chon Leong, 18 of Macau. Fourth Award in Engineering (Electrical and Mechanical) for TongueMove: Barrier Tree Tongue Controller.
  • Io Tong Chan, 18, Chi Kit Cheong, 17, and Ka Hong Lao, 17 of Macau. Fourth Award in Engineering (Electrical and Mechanical) forEnhanced Navigation System for Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle.
  • Yixin Zhang, 17,Yumeng Li, 16, and Anqi Wang, 17.  Fourth Award in Environmental Sciences for Research on Effect of Urban Rainfall Runoff Pollution on Water Environment and Amount Accounting.
  • Yimeng Shi, 18.  First Award in Physics and Astronomy for The Flow Feature around Insects and Bionic Wing Based on Wind Tunnel Test.
  • Kevin Sean Chen, 17.  Third award in Animal Sciences for hisSeeing What You Want to See: Visual Experience and Top-down Processing in Honeybee.
  • Yun-Chen Chien, 17. Third Award in Chemistry for Lighting Insulin with Gold Nanodots.
  • Yu-Jung Chen, 18.  Third Award in Computer Science for Maintaining Viewing Quality with Lower Number of LEDs
  • Janet Yun-Chen Sung, 18, and Nai-Wen Hu, 16.  Second Award in Physics and Astronomy for Studies of Cell Elasticity by Nonlinear Damping.
  • Raghavendra Ramachanderan, 16. First Award and Intel ISEF Best of Category (Chemistry) for Drug Synthesis: Braving Legendary Challenges.
  • Akansha Verma, 16, and Abhishek Khanna, 17.  Fourth Award in Animal Sciences.  Acmella oleracea: A Naturally Growing Weed as Effective Pest Controller.
  • Hetal Kanjibhai Vaishnav, 18, and Ankur Kanjibhai Vaishnav, 16.  Second Awrd in Environmental Management for Recycling Rexine Waste--A Novel and Economical Approach.
  • Pramoda Nekkare Vishnumurthy, 15, and Bhargava Chakrakodii Subbanna, 14.  Third Award in Environmental Management for Eco-friendly Ink from Terminalia chebula.
  • Manosij G Dastidar, 18.  Second Award in Mathematical Sciences for Integer Partitions and Sequences.
JAPAN (2).
  • Riou Tanaka, 16.  Third Award in Earth & Planetary Sciences for Gap in the Deep Sea?: Reconstruction of Sedimentary Environment of the Kurotaki Unconformity, Central Japan Based on Foraminifers. 
  • Nobutada Kawazoe, 17, Taiki Maehata, 17, and Rushia Kanai, 17,  Fourth Award in Earth & Planetary Sciences for Characterization of Volcanic Lightning and Modeling How Volcanic Lightning Occurs at Sakurajima Volcano in Kagoshima, Japan.
  • Haleeda Hilmi, 17, Tunku and Nurul Amira Salehin, 17.  Fourth Award in Environmental Management for A Fishy Detector. 
  • Zawin Najah Binti Zulkefli, 17. Third Award in Environmental Sciences for Green Based Conductive Polymer Sensor.
  • Mehwish Ghafoor, 15, and Ambreen Bibi, 15.  Third Award in Environmental Sciences for Degradation of Environmental Pollutants with Nanocomposites.

Angeli meets the press at her ISEF booth.
Miguel Reyes during a pre-ISEF project presentation.
  • Angeli Joyce Yap Dy, 16.  Fourth Award in Chemistry for Milkfish (Chanos chanos Forsskal) Serum as an Alternative Media Supplement for Culture of A549 (Human Lung) and HCT 116 (Colon) Carcinomas.
  • Miguel Arnold Silverio Reyes, 16.  Second Award in Engineering-Materials and Bioengineering for Synthesis and Characterization of Composite Plastics from Thermoplastic Starch and Nano-sized Calcium Phosphate for Film Packaging.

    SINGAPORE (3).
    • Herng Yi Cheng, 18.  First Award in Computer Science for Composing Frusta to Fold Polyhedral Origami.
    • Qin Xiang Ng, 18, and Wei Liang Matthew Lee, 18.  Second Award in Environmental Management for To Investigate the Adsorption Potential of Orange Peel Biosorbents for the Removal of Copper(II) Ions.
    • Yuan Jin Tan, 17.  Second Award in Microbiology for Identification and Characterization of Bacterial Endophytes as Novel Bio-inoculants for Jatropha.
    SOUTH KOREA (4).
    • Jinyoung Seo, 18, and Dongju Shin, 18.  First Award and Intel ISEF Best of Category (Environmental Sciences) Award for Mimicking Wetting Behavior of Spider Silk: Studies on Water-Harvesting Efficiency According to the Fabrication of the Pattern of Wettability Gradient.
    • An Ji Hun, 17, and Junha Park, 17. Fourth Award in Animal Sciences for The Mechanism of Lysophosphatidic Acid-induced Procoagulation in HumanErythrocytes.
    • Tae Young Roh, 16, Ju Yeop High School, Yeon Ji Kim, 17, Paik Yang High School, and Beom Kwan Kim, 16.  Fourth Award in Engineering (Materials and Bioengineering) for Hatch an Egg with Insulation and Hot Pack Instead of Electricity.
    • Woongui Hwang, 18, and Doyeon Baek, 17.  Fourth Award in Environmental Sciences for The Way of CO2 Storage Using Formation of Carbonate Minerals by Aboriginal Microbes.
    THAILAND (2).
    • Pornwasu Pongtheerawan, 16, Tanpitcha Phongchaipaiboon, 17, and Arada Sungkanit, 17.  First Award and Intel ISEF Best of Category (Environmental Management) Award for Bio-based Packaging Plastics from Fish Scale. 

    • Thanasup Gonmanee, 18, Worrada Junmook, 18, and Narintadeach Charoensombut, 18.  Fourth Award in Engineering (Materials and Bioengineering) for Utilization of Mucilage Derived from Lemon Basil Seeds as Coating Substance for Fruit Preservation.

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Philippine high school students compete in the international science & engineering fair

    Team Philippines 2011. Front, l-r: Sean Cabiles, Angeli Dy, Regine Arcenal, Mark Dapar. Back, l-r:  Benedict Priela, Jeffrey Abulencia, Miguel Reyes, John David Caburnay and Edgardo Alegre  

    There are ten of them in Team Philippines 2011, but one could not make the trip to Los Angeles for this year's edition of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF 2011) at the Los Angeles Convention Center on 08-13 May.

    For the past decade, we've been involved in the selection of the country's delegates to this global event from among the best of young science  researchers in our private and public high schools.  They successfully passed three levels of screening from the local and regional to the national science fairs.

    This year, the '10 best' comprises four individual and two team projects (each team composed of three members) selected from the short list of 'bests' from the Department of Education secondary schools and the Philippine Science High School System.

    Individual finalists & their project titles. Top to Bottom:  Mark Lloyd Dapar, Angeli Joyce Dy, Benedict Priela and Miguel Reyes.

    The individual researchers are Mark Lloyd Dapar from the Bayugan National Comprehensive High School (Agusan del Sur), Angeli Joyce Dy from the Capiz National High School (Roxas City), Benedict Priela from the Holy Infant Academy (Calapan City, Mindoro), and Miguel Reyes from the Philippine Science High School-Main Campus (Quezon City).

    This is the second time that Dy and Priela are participating in the ISEF.  They were in the Reno, Nevada event in 2009 when they were still high school sophomores.

    Research teams & their project titles:  Janina Guarte & Edgardo Alegre (top); Jeffrey Abulencia, Sean Cabiles and John David Carburnay (bottom).

    The two team finalists are those from the PSHS-East Visayas Campus (Palo, Leyte)--Janina Guarte, Edgardo Alegre and Regine Arcenal-- and from the Victorino Mapa High School (Manila)--Sean Luke Cabiles, John David Caburnay and Jeffrey Abulencia.

    Our delegates are among the more than 1,500 student finalists from 64 countries vying for awards in the ISEF, the world's largest international pre-college science competition program of the Society for Science & the Public supported by the Intel Corporation and the Intel Foundation.

    There are 17 research areas in the competition.  Our individual finalists are in four:  Dapar in Medicine & Health Sciences, Dy in Biochemistry, Priela in Environmental Management, and Reyes in Engineering (Materials & Bioengineering).

    While the two team projects are classified under Energy & Transportation (that of Cabiles, Caburnay and Abulencia) and Plant Sciences (Alegre, Guarte and Arcenal), they will be in the separate competition of 256 team finalists from around the world. 

    Mark Dapar and Angeli Dy share interest in the human lung and colon cancer cells. 

    Dapar wanted to check if IR64 rice bran extract is effective against the two carcinomas. Indeed, his work showed that the extract is a "promising source of treatment for chemotherapy and chemoprevention" because it has bioactive compound/s of cytotoxic potential against both human lung and colon carcinomas, and of antioxidant potential against free radicals.

    On the other hand, Angeli Dy was looking for an alternative media supplement to the expensive fetal bovine serum (FBS) that is used in the culture of the two cancer cells. She experimented on the milkfish serum, which she found to be rich in proteins.  Her study indicates that milkfish serum, its mannose-binding proteins and albumin are potential replacements of FBS.

    In her prize-winning work in 2009, she tested the cytotoxic potential of milkfish bile against the same cancer cells.

    Benedict Priela constructed a prototype model of a portable solar-heated vacuum desalinator, which he found to be cost-effective, energy-efficient, and environment-friendly.  "The device," he said, "can also be a vital source of potable water in disaster areas where water contamination and scarcity is a major problem."

    His sophomore year project entry in ISEF 2009 was a numerical chart that he tested to detect amblyopia among pre-school children, which can lead to blindness if not corrected. This was intended as an alternative to the alphabetical chart used by ophthalmologists.

    Miguel Reyes was looking at producing biodegradable plastic for film packaging from a composite of thermoplastics from cornstarch and nano-sized calcium phosphate particles. While the project is more on materials engineering, the impact is on the environment. 

    Jatropha curcas is more associated with bio-fuels. In fact, there is a company in the Dept of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR) umbrella whose thrust is to develop jatropha plantations in unused public lands for bio-fuel production.

    The PSHS-EV team used the bark extracts of this plant to produce a bio-pesticide against the larvae of cutworms, the bane of many important economic crops .  In their tests, they found out that the methanol extracts at pure and diluted concentrations were highly effective than the synthetic pesticide.

    Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) use synthetic dyes as photosensitizers. The challenge today is to find natural dyes to replace them.  The team from Victorino Mapa High responded with a study using the extracts from the flowers and stems of the edible purslane weed (ngalog to Ilocanos, gulasiman to Tagalogs). They found that the ethanol-extracted natural dyes from the flowers generated the best photoactivity (photovoltage and photocurrent).   

    We all wish that our delegates will come home with prizes for their scientific projects, special awards and/or the coveted grand awards. 

    Special awards come from 64 organizations in the form of educational scholarships, cash awards, summer internships, scientific field trips and equipment grants.

    Every finalist hopes to bring at least one of the Grand Awards in his/her category:  (a) the Best of Category, $5,000;  (b) First Place, $3,000; (c) Second Place, $1,500; (d) Third Place – $1,000; and (e) Fourth place - $500.

    For more than a decade of participation in the ISEF, the Philippine finalists have not come home empty-handed.  There were always special and grand awards to show off.  There had been delegates who've gone on stage to receive a First Grand Award.

    We've yet to have a finalist receive a Best of Category award, which is the key to the competition for the two Intel Foundation Young Scientist Awards of $50,000 each, and the lone Gordon E Moore Award of $75,000. Thus, the winners are the top 3 of the "Bests" in the 17 categories.

    Our finalists will face the judges for the whole day of Wednesday, 11 May, in their professional attire, or in their national costumes, in the case of our delegates.  The next day, the exhibition hall will be open to the public.

    Team Philippines 2009 coming out after the day with the judges in their national costume.  Angelica Dy (2nd from right) and Benedict Priela (4th from right) were sophomores then. They're in the ISEF this year for the second time.

    For sure, they're having some fun too amid the anxiety of meeting several sets of judges . They'll swap pins with other delegates, go to parties organized for them, and enjoy an exclusive night at the Universal Studios.

    One event that finalists enjoy is their encounter with Nobel laureates. Every year all delegates submit a question that they would like to ask one of the laureates.  Those whose questions deserve an airing are given a chance to stand up before the "Excellence in Science and Technology Discussion Panel" of Nobel Prize winners and shoot their questions. They'd be surprised that these scientists behave very much unlike the geeky persons they're pictured to be.  They're very much available for the photo-ops seekers.

    Photo-op with a Nobel laureate.  Delegates from another country in ISEF 2009 pose for a souvenir photo with Dr Dudley Herschbach.

    We'll check on our delegates if they had fun in their personal/pictorial encounters with Paul Berg (Chemistry, 1980), J. Michael Bishop (Physiology or Medicine, 1989), Martin Chalfie (Chemistry, 2008), Dudley Herschbach (Chemistry, 1986), H. Robert Horvitz (Chemistry, 2002), Douglas Osheroff (Physics, 1996), and Richard Roberts (Physiology or Medicine, 1993). 

    We keep our fingers crossed that Team Philippines 2011 will bring home honors for our country.

    Update:  YouTube video clip on Philippines Team Experiences at Intel ISEF 2011.