Saturday, May 8, 2010

Casimiro del Rosario on Stamps

Casimiro V. del Rosario (June 13, 1896-September 15, 1982) is a foremost Filipino physicist, meteorologist, and astronomer.

Dr. del Rosario is known for his researches on ultraviolet light of different wavelengths, effect of radioactive radiation on Euglena, high voltage electrical discharges in a vacuum, and many others. His works have been published in international journals such as the American Physics Review and the Journal of Franklin Institute.

He is the co-founder of the Bartol Research Foundation in Philadelphia, an institution which did pioneering researches in physics.

Dr. del Rosario was the recipient of a Presidential Award in 1965 for his contributions to physics. He was made Director of the Philippine Weather Bureau for 11 years, and the first vice-chairman of the National Science Development Board in 1958. He was conferred as a National Scientist in 1984.

Dr. Casimiro del Rosario was born on June 13, 1896 in Bantayan, Cebu to Pantaleon del Rosario, a farmer who had served once as the town’s justice of the peace and Benita Villacin. For his elementary education, he attended the Mandaue primary school and the Cebu intermediate school. Thereafter, he studied at the Cebu high school and, upon graduating, enrolled at the University of the Philippines, taking up chemical engineering. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1918, and began teaching at the university the following year. Later, he went to the United States to study physics at Yale University, where he was given a Sterling fellowship, and from which he obtained a master’s degree in physics. He also became a member of the Sigma Xi. Together with other scientists, he established the Bartol Research Foundation in Philadelphia, whose main objective was to essay serious researches on nuclear physics. He worked there for several years.

Meanwhile, he pursued postgraduates studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was granted a fellowship on cancer research. In 1932, he finally acquired his doctorate in physics. Upon his return to the Philippines, he resumed his teaching career at the University of the Philippines. Later, he headed the university’s department of physics. He was designated director of the Weather Bureau in 1946, and served in this position for about 12 years. During his term, he headed at one time the National Committee of the International Geophysical Year. Subsequently, he was named chairman of the division of physical sciences of the National Research Council of the Philippines. He also served as president of Regional Association V, encompassing the Western Pacific area, of the World Meteorological Organization.

Dr. Del Rosario traveled to the United States, at one time, to observe several atomic energy centers and absorb the latest development in the field of nuclear energy. He joined other Filipino scientists in representing the country at the world’s first conference on nuclear energy and its peaceful utilization, which was held in Geneva, Switzerland in 1955.

In 1965, he was given the presidential award for his outstanding accomplishments in physics and meteorology. He was likewise conferred the UP alumni award. When his term as director of the Weather Bureau ended, he was named the first vice-chairman of the National Science and Development Board. A member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he gained recognition, not only for himself but for his country as well, for his in-depth researches on such subjects as “ultra-violet light and its different wavelengths,” “radioactive radiation and its effects on euglena,” “high voltage electrical discharges in high vacuum,” and others. His articles were published in various local and international scientific publications.

In July 1982, during the nationwide Science and Technology Week, Del Rosario, along with Drs. Geminiano de Ocampo and Gregorio Velasquez, was invested as National Scientist by President Ferdinand Marcos. However, he did not have much time left to savor this personal great triumph. On September 15 of the same year, he passed away, and was buried in Cebu the next day. He left behind his wife, Esperanza Ouano, and family.

In April 1983, as a fitting tribute to him, the National Academy of Science and Technology, of which he had been a member since 1979, and the PAGASA, sponsored and held the Casimiro del Rosario Memorial lecture on meteorology at the UP Research Center.