VOLUME 5 NUMBER 2 (July to December 2012)


Philipp. Sci. Lett. 2012 5 (2) 194-198
available online: December 07, 2012


Learning It FromManny

by Jack Hess L. Baricuatro

Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, California
Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125
It's only 9:00 AM but the Texas sun had already beenblistering every moving creature outside. Drought wasin the extended forecast that year, and temperatureswere expected to be in the triple digits for the next twodays. My feet were cold. I primped myself up andfidgeted around, as if it mattered, and for the first time I steppedinto the office of Professor Manuel P. Soriaga.

The room was august in its order and simplicity. Books onthe shelves were perfectly aligned from spine to spine.Definitely a family man, I surmised, as I saw pictures of his wifeand three children, bedecked along with his plaques andcertificates. My eyes wandered to a shiny, yellow M&M mascotby the corner table, blissfully waiting for an eternal high-five.Manny gazed at me with poker-face intensity and started toexplain the rubrics of his laboratory. The declarations wereconcise but powerful: You work hard. You cooperate withmembers who need your help. You can work on any topic weagree upon. You take short vacations. Years later, these would bethe same rules I would gratefully reiterate to many high-school,undergraduate, and graduate trainees I had the pleasure to workwith in his laboratory. Manny stood up, shook my hand, wishedme luck — and then gave me my first quiz that broke the ice ofthat encounter: How do you get your candies from the M&Mmascot?

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