The Philippines joins the international community in celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on Thursday, Feb. 11.
In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring Feb. 11 as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science “in order to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.”
As the UN stresses that the world needs science, and science needs women and girls, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)- Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) pays tribute to five Filipina scientists and their contributions to Nuclear Science.
They are the following:
DR. ALUMANDA DELA ROSA
An expert in radiation chemistry, Dela Rosa is the only woman director and the longest-serving head of the PNRI to date.
In 1991, she was given the rank of Career Scientist IV under the Scientific Career System, the highest rank accorded to a Filipino scientist at that time.
According to PNRI, Dela Rosa’s leadership of DOST-PNRI from 1998 to 2016 saw several milestones.
“She led research teams that developed several radiation-modified products from natural polymers found in indigenous materials. Such products include rubber latex, plantation trees, cellulosic waste, and carrageenan extracted from seaweed,” the PNRI said.
Dela Rosa was also tapped as a consultant for the Department of Energy for matters related to the prospective nuclear power program in the Philippines.
DR. LUCILLE ABAD
Abad, a specialist in radiation chemistry, was tasked as lead project coordinator for various projects by the International Atomic Energy Agency involving radiation processing for agricultural, industrial, and medical purposes.
Her major research and development projects include the Hydrogel Wound Dressing for burns, wounds and bedsores, and the Carrageenan Plant Growth Promoter for increasing the yield of rice and other crops. With these contributions, she was given the “Presidential Lingkod Bayan Regional Award.”
Abad, a Career Scientist III under the Scientific Career System, is also a Civil Service Commission Dangal ng Bayan awardee.
DR. JANE GERARDO-ABAYA
Abaya, an expert in geology and geothermal hydrology, is the current Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Technical Cooperation Division for Asia and the Pacific.
Just like Abad, she received an award for her projects involving isotope hydrology, water and geothermal energy resources. She was a Balik-Scientist Awardee before her stint at the IAEA.
She leads the advancement of nuclear science education among secondary schools in the Asia-Pacific region.
DR. ALVIE ASTRONOMO
Astronomo, a physicist, currently leads the Nuclear Reactor Operations Section of DOST-PNRI.
She is behind the project to re-establish the historic Philippine Research Reactor-1 as a Subcritical Assembly for Training, Education and Research.
According to PNRI, Astronomo’s research “involves the characterization of reactor core configurations and neutron fields, including its application in the medical sector.”
DR. JASMINE ANGELIE ALBELDA
Albelda is a specialist in particle physics. She serves as Senior Science Research Specialist from the PNRI Nuclear Training Center.
At present, she leads the Philippines’ participation in a technical cooperation project with the International Atomic Energy Agency on Educating Secondary School Teachers and students on nuclear science and technology.