The Commonwealth Science Conference brings together scientists from across the Commonwealth who are at different stages of their careers, with a key aim of inspiring young scientists.

We’d like to introduce you to two of the student delegates attending this year’s Commonwealth Science Conference, in their own words.

Phylicia Ricketts

Phylicia RickettsI am presently conducting research in applied physics. I have always loved physics because it explains phenomenon such as gravity and human biomechanics.

I am now very excited about applied physics because I can use basic physics concepts to solve many problems. My area of specialty involves the use of nuclear analytical techniques such as EDXRF and gamma spectroscopy to investigate essential and toxic elements in biological tissues.

The purpose of my research was to assess prenatal exposure to mercury as a result of maternal fish consumption. The results showed that women who often ate oceanic pelagic fish recorded higher placental mercury concentrations than those women who often ate reef finfish. This research is relevant because fishing is an important traditional and economic activity in Caribbean countries. Based on the results of my research I would recommend a fish consumption advisory for pregnant women in the Caribbean. This may help to reduce the risk of prenatal mercury exposure.

Robson S Tigona

Robson S Tigona

My name is Robson S Tigona from Vanuatu in the southwest Pacific. Vanuatu was formerly known as New Hebrides and was jointly governed by British and French from 1906 to 30 July 1980 when independence was granted and the name was change to Vanuatu. I spent most of my childhood on my home Island of Pentecost, the original home of bungee jumping, where I attended primary school then on to junior secondary school on the island of Ambae. I got into science during my junior secondary school from 1989 to 1992, as it was my first time to do basic science experiments, and I really loved it. I passed on to senior secondary school on Santo Island from 1993 to 1994, the town in Santo is called Luganville, and it is a beautiful place. I got into science more during that time as I was exposed to more specific science courses, such as chemistry, physics and biology. I loved chemistry the most, but also had good grades in physics and biology.

In 1995, I pursued university entrance courses at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Port Vila, Vanuatu’s capital city, doing foundation accounting. However, in 1996, I switched back to science because of my love for science. In 1998 I was awarded a scholarship and pursued a Bachelor of Science degree at USP in Fiji. I attended Auckland University in New Zealand from 2008 to 2010, and attained Graduate certificate in science, Postgraduate diploma in science in environmental science, and Master of Science.

On my home island, there was an ancient famous woman who predicted future weather and climatic events, and disasters. I want to follow her footstep and become like her but use modern science to predict weather and climate events.