SPP holds 32nd Physics Congress at NIP

The Samahang Pisika ng Pilipinas (SPP) held the 32nd Physics Congress last October 17-20, 2014 at the National Institute of Physics (NIP) Auditorium (Intel Center for Science Innovation), College of Science, UP Diliman. With this year’s theme “Towards Enhanced Physics Research and Education”, the Congress showcased and celebrated more than 120 accepted papers and 14 invited talks in pure and applied physics, including a physics education workshop. (See Fig. 1 for the group photo.)
Fig. 1. SPP Congress group photo. Scientists and student researchers in pure and applied physics at the 32nd SPP Physics Congress. Photo taken last October 17, 2014 at the NIP pocket garden.

Via an online peer review process, the submitted papers have underdone meticulous scrutiny by the reviewers based on the criteria: novelty and significance of work, impact on the field of study, soundness of conclusions and clarity of presentation. Based on research areas, the distribution of the accepted papers is as follows:
  • Condensed Matter Physics (30%)
  • Theoretical and Computational Physics (25%)
  • Optics and Signal Processing (19%)
  • Complex Systems and Atmospheric Physics (14%)
  • Plasma/ Photonics/ Terahertz (11%)
  • Physics Education (1%).

The plenary and sub-plenary presentations featured a line up of high profile foreign and local scientists working in various physics sub-disciplines. The following were the invited plenary speakers, their presentations and affiliations:
  • Dr. Elmer Estacio (Ultrafast Terahertz Photonics Research: Its feasibility in the Philippine Setting, UP-NIP, Philippines)
  • Prof. Tsutomu Araki (In vivo visualization of collagen fiber in human skin with femtosecond laser, Osaka University, Japan)
  • Dr. Gay Jane Perez (Physics for Environmental Monitoring and Prediction, IESM, UP Diliman, Philippines)
  • Prof. Arnaud Videcoq (Structure of ceramic colloidal suspensions: simulations and experiments, Cen. Euro. de la Ceramique, France)
  • Prof. Yasuhiro Kobori (Electron-Hole Dissociations Influenced by Alkyl Side Chains in the Photovoltaic Polyalkylthiophene: PCBM Interface, Kobe University, Japan)
  • Prof. Henry Ramos (Beyond the fourth state of matter: plasmas from academe to industry, UP-NIP, Philippines)
The following were the invited sub-plenary speakers, their presentations and affiliations:
  • Prof. Albert De Roeck (Physics Results from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Compact Muon Solenoid CERN, Geneva)
  • Dr. Mamoru Hashimoto (Nonlinear Raman imaging using fast tunable picosecond laser, Osaka University, Japan)
  • Dr. Taro Ichimura (Label-free optical imaging to quantify the quality in biological complex systems, Laboratory for Comprehensive Bioimaging, RIKEN, Japan)
  • Dr. Marvin Albao (Computations on the Cheap: Applications of Kinetic Monte Simulations to Surface Science Problems, IMSP-CAS, UP Los Baños, Philippines)
  • Dr. Almar F. Palonpon (Seeing molecules in live cells by Raman microscopy, Photonics Advanced Research Center, Osaka University, Japan)
  • Prof. Luca Baiotti, “General-relativistic simulations of binary neutron-star mergers: Gravitational waves and gamma-ray bursts on supercomputers, Graduate School of Science, Osaka University, Japan)
The physics education workshop was comprised of two invited talks:
  • Dr. Giovanni Tapang of the UP-VISSER (Versatile Instrument System for Science Education and Research) gave a presentation entitled, “Putting modern science labs at every school and college”. 
  • The Stray Cats Group from Aichi, Japan led by Professor Junji Fujita conducted “Lively Physics and Exciting Experiments” that featured more than 50 interactive table-top physics demonstrations ranging from mechanics, electromagnetism, to plasma physics and detection of cosmic rays.
Special awards were given to the best scientific posters presented during the conference poster sessions A and B.  The criteria for judging include scientific content, originality, and design.
  • For poster session A, the best scientific poster was based on the paper entitled "Efficiency enhancement of p-n heterojunction GaAs solar cells via wet chemical etching and pattern design of metal contact" by Philippe Tingzon, et. al from NIP, UP Diliman. 
  • For poster session B, the best scientific poster was based on the paper entitled "Photoluminescence Studies of Silver-doped and Magnesium-doped Zinc Oxide Thin Films on Silicon Prepared by Intermittent Spray Pyrolysis" by Jefferson M. Abrenica, et. al from NIP, UP Diliman and Osaka University.
Special prizes were also handed to the authors of winning entries in the “Best Artistic-Scientific Image” contest. The image entries which have connection to physics could be in original format or nominally processed and were judged based on scientific significance and/or artistic-visual impact.

  • The best image was an entry called “Flowers that Cleanse” showing flower-shaped Zinc Oxide microstructures submitted by Richard Dean Yadao, Alipio Garcia, Ian Jasper Agulo, and Yoshitaka Matsushita of the College of Science, UP Baguio. 
  • Joshua Beringuela and Wilson Garcia of NIP, UP Diliman, submitted the runner up entry called “Cute Little Plasma Muffins” showing different states of argon gas in a discharge tube at varying pressure and voltage. 
The best and runner up images landed, respectively, on the front and back cover pages of the conference handbook (see Fig. 2).

Fig 2. Cover of the SPP conference handbook (pdf here) which contains short abstracts of all the presentations (submitted and invited papers) for this year’s Physics Congress. 

Mainly due to the calendar shift in the UP System and other major universities, the schedule of next year’s congress will be on June 3 - 6, 2015 (venue to be announced soon). Dr. May Lim (SPP President) shared the sentiment of the Samahan when she said that the calendar shift brings in new challenges but it is also full of tantalizing possibilities. The next physics congresses are envisioned to become the foremost conference where a good mix of foreign and local researchers can exchange ideas, initiate collaborative and inter-disciplinary work, and engage in discussions pertaining to relevant educational and developmental issues.

On behalf of the Samahan, Dr. Wilson Garcia (Chair of Scientific Program Committee and incoming SPP President) thanked everyone who presented their work, the SPP Editorial Board for maintaining the high quality of the accepted papers, the NIP for the strong partnership with SPP, the organizing committee and all the attendees for making the Congress possible.