Meet Jan Patrick “Japhet” Calupitan:
1) What do you do?
I am doing a Ph.D. in Materials Science/Nanochemistry. I engineer molecules that reversibly change their color when we shine light on them. So we have a single thing that has 2 possible states, one can be assigned to 0, another to 1, similar to transistors which are in the PC/phone you’re using to read this. We try to put these molecules on a solid surface and attempt something similar to a molecular circuit. Molecules are way smaller than transistors so we can put more in smaller networks, for faster and smaller computers!
2) Where do you work?
I am affiliated in a double degree program of two institutions for my PhD: the Nara Institute of Science and Technology in Nara, Japan and CEMES-CNRS, University of Paul-Sabatier in Toulouse, France.
Perks: I travel between the two countries, and, on a more serious level, both institutions will grant me a diploma (hopefully) after!
3) Tell us about the photos!
[Left:] Me with my reaction for ‘cooking’ molecules. Since they are light-sensitive, we have to work under red-light, the color of light that is least energetic to affect my molecules. There is some sort of mist around the reaction– it’s not magic– it’s just water vapor condensing around the reaction vapor since my reactions are at low temperature.
[Right:] That’s me by the Mediterranean Sea on a beach in Barcelona, Spain which is near from where I am based in southern France. Since I am near along the Franco-Spanish border, I would go exploring cities and towns along it during weekends.
4) Tell us about your academic career path so far.
I graduated from Lamao Elementary School, a public school in my hometown in Lamao, Limay, Bataan. I studied high school in Tomas del Rosario College in Balanga City, Bataan. I finished BS Chemistry minor in Philosophy and in French in Ateneo de Manila University in 2012. The next year, in 2013, I finished my MS in the same university.
Then, I taught chemistry and became a research assistant for the next two years April 2013 – March 2015 in the Department of Chemistry in Ateneo. In April of 2015, I started my PhD program.
5) Anything else you want to share?
Doing science in a different country allows you to immerse yourself in a different culture. I’m lucky to experience both the most communal of the East and (probably) the most individualistic of the West. Working with the Japanese and the French allows me to balance the merits and pitfalls of their two cultures. The three years divided between the two countries are of course not enough to learn everything, but I found two powerful avenues to access foreign culture: food and language. On the side of PhD work, I explore eating local food, learn how to cook it, eat, study the language, eat, participate in language courses, eat, read books, eat, speak with locals, and eat!
Other than the science, this access to a different culture makes the experience interesting– and yummy. You can follow my thoughts at http://magtanong.wordpress.com (which I try very, very hard to update) and photos of food and travel and some tidbits about scientific work on my Instagram at japjaphet.