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#TatagPinoy: A Minor Planet is Named After This Pinoy Teen

by Israelbelle Ferolino

Carl Joshua “CJ’ Quines was still a high school student at that time but he’s already taking the world by storm. Together with a friend from China, CJ traveled to the United States of America to join the prestigious Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF).

“The hardest part was the logistics of it all,” CJ tells Now You Know.

He and his friend, Michael Sun were competing independently from any delegation. Thus, they have to figure out the details of the transport and hosting on their own. Going solo to a foreign country as a high school student is no mean feat but CJ was willing to risk it.

In the research fair, CJ and his friend presented their work on graph theory which is entitled Bounds on the Metric Dimensions for Families of Planar Graphs. For laymen like us, this scientific gibberish is hard to understand so we asked him to explain more.

“Do you know how GPS works? There are several satellites in space, and by measuring your distance from each of the satellites, it's possible to determine where you are on the Earth's surface. This gets challenging when you can't directly measure the distance, possibly due to atmospheric issues or connection issues.

In that case, you could measure a different kind of distance. You line up several satellites in a row, and then count the number of satellites to reach a given one. Our work showed that for certain kinds of satellite placement, it's always possible to choose a small number of "landmark" satellites to measure the distance from, to determine where you are.“

Impressive! Their research shows that even if there are weather disturbances, you can still accurately measure the position of an object if you strategically arrange the satellites.

CJ was tensed throughout the presentation. Every time a panelist comes, he nervously delivers a rehearsed five-minute speech. But he and his teammate managed to endure and they did more than a good job.

CJ and Michael went on to win 2nd place in the mathematics’ category of the competition. As part of their award 75, 000 PhP was given to them and a minor planet was named after their honor. CJ’s minor planet was named 34053 CARLQUINES.

“I don't think about it day-to-day, but it's pretty awesome. I'm kind of sad it's Carlquines and not Cjquines, but you can't have everything.” CJ mused.

Currently, Carl is pursuing his degree in Mathematics with Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a full scholarship. He is currently serving as the head counselor of the Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists. He is also an organizer in the National Olympiad in Informatics in the Philippines.

CJ is still unsure whether he should pursue a career in mathematics. Rooted from this dilemma, CJ advises other Pinoy students who are planning to go to STEM to keep their options open.

“High school is a long period of time, and so is college. That's a lot of time to decide what you want to do, which may be STEM-related or not. And even if it is STEM-related, STEM has four letters! I came into college thinking I'd do math, and I'm graduating, maybe going into software, maybe still doing math, who knows. Higher education is an incredible privilege, and it'd be a shame if we all end up in fields we don't want to be in.”

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