Welcome to ILE! Interview with Prof.Belsales on his arrival
Mr Bersales Jose Eleazar has joined the Quadruple Matrix Center as a professor from March 2023. We asked Prof. Bersales, who hails from Cebu, Philippines, about his research to date and what kind of research he would like to do at the Laser Institute in the future.
What is your research theme or field?
My research field is anthropology. Under this field is archaeology and this is where my research is currently done. Archaeology involves not only excavating the material remains of the past that are buried under the ground. It largely involves analyzing what we excavate and relate them to why we are what we are today in our society.
Where and what kind of research did you do before coming to ILE?
During the last 20 years, I have been involved in archaeological studies in Cebu. As Director of the University of San Carlos Museum since 2018, I have also pursued active collecting of Japanese ethnographic materials from second-hand shops in Cebu. I am also involved in the preservation of historic buildings and heritage sites. At the same time, since I head the national association of museums in my country, I am also involved in museum-related activities as well as in providing technical expertise to museums who need help in terms of designing exhibitions as well as collections management.
What kind of research would you like to do at ILE?
I’m very honored to contribute to the use of high powered lasers in the analysis of ancient ceramics that were excavated in Cebu where I come from as well as other parts of my country. This research involves determining the material components of porcelain exported to the Philippines from Japan, China, Vietnam and Thailand. This research is very important because there has been almost nothing published on studies about this topic that I am aware of.
What is your message to students and young researchers?
Invent. Innovate. Publish. It is alright to go to higher education in order to serve one’s basic needs, like getting wealthy in order to live a comfortable life in the future.
But as students, you must also go beyond personal ambitions and need and think of the larger society and how each of you can contribute to make life better for all others. The way to do this is to invent new things. Or, if they already exist, to innovate and make them even better.
And, at the end of the day, we all die but what we leave behind can still live on if we publish the studies and research we have carried out. Publishing them will not only leave a part of us behind for others to read and remember. What we write can also be used by others to improve or innovate on what we did as knowledge moves ever forward. New knowledge, after all, builds upon the knowledge contributed in the past.
Laser cultural heritage survey, which Prof. Bersales is working on at ILE. A previously unseen link between lasers and new fields has been initiated: by analysing cultural heritage spectroscopically, it is possible to consider cultural heritage protection and cultural transitions from new perspectives.
＊Exposure to ultraviolet light can reveal the difference between genuine and fake cultural heritage.