Through a hip online blog, Filipino scientists are discovering that they do indeed have all the world to gain for their efforts.
Initially just an online hangout on Tumblr (pinoyscientists.tumblr.com) created and moderated by Chicago-based Filipina astrophysicist Reinabelle Reyes, the Pinoy Scientists blog has quickly grown into a virtual water cooler of sorts for Filipino scientists from all walks of life.
Here, Filipino scientists gather to say something about themselves, what they do, and anything else they feel like sharing with the public at large.
The blog's About Us page proudly proclaims, "We hope that this helps displace outdated and unrealistic stereotypes of scientists as 'white men in lab coats' or 'lone geniuses'."
Profiles submitted by Filipino scientists defy the "lab coat" stereotype in more ways than one: just like everyone else, these people go out, and do know how to have fun. (Check out these photos: http://pinoyscientists.tumblr.com/archive)
This, Reyes said, is one of the ways Filipino scientists can find a "home" outside the confines of laboratories and beyond the pages of textbooks.
But though the initiative began online, it didn't stop there.
Reyes, who was in the Philippines for three weeks, convened a meet-up last November 24 at the Mind Museum in Taguig.
Some 40 scientists —from fields ranging from theoretical physics and molecular biology to chemistry and disaster and climate studies— came together to talk about what it means to be a scientist in the Philippines, and how to communicate the importance of their work to the larger public.
Photo: Shaira F. Panela
UNESCO was quoted in an earlier report as saying that the Philippines severely lacks science and technology workers, especially scientists —with only 165 workers for ever 1 million people.
Reyes said she hopes that they would be able to organize more Pinoy scientists to join their cause in advancing science and technology in the Philippines, and in inspiring the Filipino youth to be scientists themselves —or to at least approach the world with scientific eyes and a constant sense of wonder.
— TJD, GMA News