Teaching physics from first principles

Photo by Arkibong Bayan

Photo by Arkibong Bayan
By Dr. Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.

Part 1

Around this time each year, the Samahang Pisika ng Pilipinas (SPP) meets for its annual physics convention and congress. The convention has been a forum for exchange of information and results of the leading edge in theoretical and experimental research of Filipino physicists and in the past few years with other physicists working abroad.

This year, under its current president Dr. Jose Perico Esguerra, the Samahan’s 28th congress was held from October 25 to 27 in Antipolo City with the theme “Strengthening Physics Research and Education for a Brighter Tomorrow.” Plenary speakers spoke on research on optics (the science of light), physics education, biological physics, networks, time, quantum mechanics and new methods of performing measurements at extreme conditions. The plenary speakers included Dr. Christopher Bernido and Dr. Ma. Victoria Carpio-Bernido, both Ramon Magsaysay 2010 awardees and long time members of the Samahan.
Other presentations in various topics had to be done in parallel due to the growth both in focus and in number of physics researches in the past few years.

Among the interesting talks in the plenary sessions was Dr. Marivic’s talk with the title “On Pedagogy and Plurality of Neuronal Types” which outlined in broad strokes the couple’s work on the CVIF Dynamic Learning Program (DLP) and their Learning Physics as One Nation (LPON) methodology which earned them the Metrobank Foundation Best Educator awards and this year’s Asian Nobel, the Ramon Magsaysay award.

On a personal note, I am proud to have been students of both Bernidos in my undergraduate and graduate studies in the UP on particles and fields and electromagnetic theory. True to form, they approached the problem in physics education as physicists, by looking at the problem and building on their analysis from first principles. Dr. Christopher Bernido talked in an earlier plenary discussion about modelling from first principles how proteins fold as they are generated from our DNA.

Dr. Marivic’s description of the problem in physics education


  1. Hi 🙂 Is it OK that I kinda off topic? I’m trying to view your website on my new Mac but it doesn’t display properly, any solutions? Should I try and find an update for my software or something? Thanks in advance! Thi x 🙂

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