Fortunato B. Sevilla III, PhD: 2015 PFCS Awardee for Chemistry Education (Tertiary Level)

Fortunato Sevilla III has a proactive role and productive involvement in research (particularly in the field of chemical sensors and biosensors), in chemistry education, and in chemistry organizations: his presence alone thereby invigorating scientific education and research in the country.

Fortune (as he is called by colleagues) applied his expertise in instrumentation and brought great enthusiasm in chemistry education through his low-cost instrumentation and micro-scale experiments. He pursued work in the area of low-cost instrumentation, after it was introduced by Prof. Krishna Sane, Chair of the IUPAC Committee for Chemistry Education, with the support of UNESCO and the IUPAC. As an extension of his research involvement, he conducted training workshops on the development of low cost instrumentation, such as colorimeters, potentiometers and conductimeters, in different parts of the country, as well as in countries in Asia and Latin America. This became the core material and group linking Filipino analytical scientists with the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

He also focused his research efforts towards providing solutions for problems facing chemistry education in the country. To address limitations of the laboratory facilities in high schools and colleges in the country, he espoused and developed microscale chemistry experiments. His research group designed low-cost instrumentation for microscale chemistry experiments, enabling high school and college students to carry out chemical measurements at very low cost. He networked with the UNESCO Microscience Program and microscale groups in different parts of the world.

He established the Chemical Sensors and Biosensors Research Group in the UST Research Center for the Natural and Applied Sciences, and pioneered chemical sensors research and development work in the Philippines. Through the years, his involvement in the development of chemical sensors and biosensors research in the Philippines. ranged from the basic sensing materials to the use of present-day nanomaterials including electronic noses.

He served as the chair of the Technical Committee for Chemistry of the Commission on Higher Education. He led the committee in revising the policy standards and guidelines for the undergraduate and graduate programs on chemistry. He networked with the Committee for Chemistry Education of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry to facilitate the updating the chemistry curriculum.

He was president of the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies, the Philippine Federation of Chemical Societies, the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines, the Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas (Chemical Society of the Philippines) and the Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a Fellow of the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry and of the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies.

Sir Fortune is “a living catalyst,” one who enhances potent reactions for our junior academic and research staff to pursue higher degrees and research breakthroughs. He is “the transducer”, formulating great ideas and trans-forming these into something tangible and measurable in the classroom and in the laboratory, for the use and advancement of students and colleagues. His battle cry is “Excellence”; and he gladly assists in lowering the resource- and time-barriers in school and in the field so as to heighten the success of others. Against all odds, nothing has so far deterred him from doing meaningful and purposive scientific research. For many, he is considered a sage of a mentor, a gentleman leader, and a thoughtful friend, who would by turns challenge and cajole you to flying higher and accomplishing greater than you would have ever dreamt possible.