This couple of great erudition both finished their Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics at the State University of New York, Dr. Christopher in 1982 and Dr. Ma. Victoria in 1989. Both are Regular Members of the National Research Council of the Philippines, Division of Physics. Dr. Christopher was elected/conferred in 1986 while Dr. Ma. Victoria was elected/conferred in 1994.
Dr. Christopher received the 1986 NRCP Achievement Award for his research studies on unified field theories: theoretical physics. (Mr. Joselito Alonte-Carteciano, DOST S&T Media Service)
A physicist-researcher-educator couple from Jagna, Bohol and recent recipients of UP and Meralco’s Gawad Haydee Yorac are among this years’s Ramon Magsaysay awardees. Dr. Christopher C. Bernido and Dr. Ma. Victoria Carpio Bernido, president and principal, respectively, of the Research Center for Theoretical Physics in Bohol, were named awardees of the prestigious body.
The couple is being recognized for “their purposeful commitment to both science and nation, ensuring innovative, low-cost, and effective basic education even under Philippine conditions of great scarcity and daunting poverty.” The Bernidos have established a school in their hometown in Bohol with the goal of building a nation through science, research, and a new method of teaching founded on excellence and values.
In the early 1990s, the couple, at that time UP Physics professors in the UP National Institute of Physics in Diliman, uprooted themselves from the campus and moved to Jagna, described as a seaside fourth-class municipality a little over an hour’s journey from Tagbilaran, Bohol. There they established the Central Visayan Institute Foundation (CVIF), home of the Dynamic Learning Program. CVIF has a research center in physics, the Research Center for Theoretical Physics; a high school department that strengthens the science focus of its students and the Education Research Center for continuing development of the learning program.
The research center they founded has been hosting physics workshops every three years, drawing experts from all over the world. The high school pioneers an innovative “Learning Physics as a Nation” program. After eight years, the program has graduated students who pass the UP College Admissions Test.
Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is widely regarded as the region’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. It celebrates the memory and leadership of the third Philippine President. It is given every year to individuals and organizations in Asia who manifest the same sense of selfless service that ruled the life of the late and beloved Filipino leader.
The other winners this year are: Tadatoshi Akiba from Japan, recognized for mobilizing citizens, pressuring governments, and building the political will to create a world free from the perils of nuclear war; Huo Daishan from China, for efforts to save China’s great river Huai and the communities who draw life from it; A.H.M. Noman Khan from Bangladesh, for his pioneering leadership in mainstreaming persons with disabilities in the development process of Bangladesh; and Pan Yue and Fu Qiping, public servants from China, for advocating and demonstrating the inseparability of development and the environment, and insisting on state and private accountability and state-citizen dialogue.
The seven 2010 Magsaysay awardees join 277 other laureates who have received Asia’s highest honor to date. (UP NEWSLETTER, Vol. XXXI, No. 8, August 1, 2010)