University of the Philippines Scientist Mahar Lagmay named in Twitter’s top 100

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Philippines Scientist Mahar Lagmay
Mahar Lagmay is an anchor on DZMM’s Red Alert. Photo from Mahar Lagmay.

University of the Philippines Scientist Mahar Lagmay has been named among the Top 100 Scientists on Twitter by Finster Data, the only Filipino to make it in the 2019 rankings.

Mahar Lagmay’s @nababaha Twitter account from the Philippines is at 93rd spot on the Finster database of the Most Popular Top 100 Scientists among the 261,502 Twitter accounts tweeting about science topics.

Finster Data, a collector of company databases in European countries, namely, Great Britain, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and The Netherlands, cited the UP scientist for having 58,808 Twitter followers with 39,354 tweets on the topic of science.

Alfredo Mahar Lagmay is the disaster scientist and professor at the National Institute of Geological Sciences in the College of Science at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

Lagmay is also the Director of the award-winning UP Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) Center, Executive Director of the UP Resilience Institute-NOAH Center, Director of the DRR cluster of the Injury and Trauma Care Commission of the Philippine College of Surgeons (PCS), and is an Academician of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).

Lagmay is an anchor for ABS-CBN’s DZMM Teleradyo show “Red Alert” and has been on air weekly for 7 years as a volunteer emergency and disaster science communicator.

Mahar Lagmay is a geologist at the UP NIGS. Photo from Mahar Lagmay.

Good News Pilipinas talked to Mahar Lagmay about his making the list and his tweet activity.

Lagmay downplayed the personal recognition but said it can be valuable in his work as a scientist, saying, “it’s a way of reaching out and sharing knowledge. Social media is a good way to communicate science to transform normally undisclosed or cryptic information into something of practical purpose.”

Among his fellow Top 100 ranking scientists on the Finster Data list, Lagmay said he actually follows the Top 1 ranking @newscientist for being “The best place to find out what’s new in science.”

Outside the Top 100, the UP professor also shared he follows Soledad O’Brien “because she follows The Dodo, OCHA Philippines, Darth Vader, Oscar Dela Joya and many media friends in the Philippines.”

Mahar Lagmay at a UP lecture. Photo from Mahar Lagmay.

Mahar Lagmay joined Twitter in October 2010, a year after Typhoon Ondoy (International code name: Ketsana) struck the Philippines in 2009, marked as the second-most devastating tropical cyclone of the 2009 Pacific typhoon season.

“I opened a twitter account because of Ondoy. That is why my name is @nababaha,” revealed Lagmay about his account handle which is Filipino for “flood/flooded/flooding”.

Lagmay says he started tweeting using Google maps to get the historical account of floods.

“There were many contributors to that crowdsourcing effort. During that time, a website was created called nababaha.com. It is still up and running and is the predecessor of the Project NOAH website. The “nababaha” and NOAH websites make use of Information Technology (IT) to save lives,” he says.

Mahar Lagmay is involved in various disaster-resilience projects. Photo from Mahar Lagmay.

@nababaha Twitter activity these days feature real-time weather satellite feeds from Project NOAH that sourced from openly available data from Himawari. He says these are processed by BA Racoma who is now taking a co-tutelle Ph.D. at the UP IESM and the University of Reading.

The tweets daily are from the weather satellite but during storms, he adds rainfall data and other information about the hazards. He also tweets earthquake data.

Asked how he would describe his tweets activity, Mahar Lagmay says, “They are synthesized supplementary information about natural hazards and are made to help Filipinos become aware of potential danger in their neighborhood. One can also find tweets about the news of interest and fascinating quotes from icons.”

Mahar Lagmay is the coordinator of the UP system-wide efforts to help the victims of the earthquakes that struck Mindanao in October.

Lagmay was also a chief initiator of the initiative to pool the premier state university’s experts to develop the Philippine capital of Manila into a disaster-resilient city.

The UP Scientist’s current projects include forming the Philippine Academic Society for Climate and Disaster Resilience (PASCDR), working on the Land Use and Development Plans of Naga City, Cebu, Taysan Batangas, Padre Garcia, Batangas and Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija.

CHECK OUT @nababaha on Twitter for Mahar Lagmay’s useful info about the Philippines and SEND him congratulations in the comments below!

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Aurora Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.