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Pinay scientist wins 2017 L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship

A Filipina scientist was granted the L’Oréal Australia For Women in Science fellowship for her breakthrough experiments and and research in quantum physics.

University of the Philippines alumna Dr. Jacquiline Romero and four other women researcher-grantees from Australia and New Zealand were granted $25,000 to further their research.

“This award will help me accelerate my research. By exploring high dimensional quantum physics, I believe that I will be able to unlock a new physics of information that is currently unknown to us,” she said.

The University of Queensland, where Romero works as a researcher, stated that the scientist will use the fellowship for her research, "which aims to create a unique quantum encoding system using light shapes as letters in a quantum alphabet."

“In quantum mechanics, you know every letter, but still have no idea what word they make up,” she said on UQ's website. “This is hard to believe, so I plan to demonstrate it using photon beam shapes.”

Romero was a Merit Scholar of the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI). She was also a Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development (PCASTRD) Scholar while she was taking her masters.

She received recognition in 2015 for being part of the team at the University of Glasgow to discover a method to slow down light particles in free space.

She furthered her quantum physics research and delved into quantum entanglement and quantum optics, among other subjects.

Romero, a mother of three, said winning the L'Oreal UNESCO grant gives her the opportunity to “bring this story that mothers can also succeed in science.”

DOST-SEI Director, Dr. Josette Biyo lauded Romero's feat and encouraged current scholars to follow her lead.

"Quantum physics may still be an enigma to most but its influence is not isolated from the knowledge and technology-driven world we have today. Thanks to the efforts of scientists like Dr. Jacquiline Romero, we may soon utilize the untapped potential of the quantum world,” she said.

L'Oréal and UNESCO began the fellowship in 1998 as part of the For Women in Science program to highlight and encourage women’s participation in science. — Rie Takumi / AT, GMA News