Research activity in Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) continues to draw international interest, bringing students and researchers from all over the world to the university.
Pavlos Tsikouras from the University of Patras, Greece, spent seven months in the Faculty of Science (FOS) under the supervision of Dr. Chun Kit Lai, where he helped with the study of a geochemical atlas of Brunei Darussalam. Alongside fellow partners on the project, he worked on the analysis of soil PH, moisture levels and the quality of soil in Brunei.
The project which is ongoing, is in accordance with the Global Geochemical Baselines Programme, a collaboration with the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) and the International Association of GeoChemistry (IAGC). It aims to establish a global geochemical database for the Earth's near surface environment and to provide an understanding of the Earth's surface geochemical behaviour, which will help future humanity to recognise and measure the anthropogenic and natural changes of the land.
The project aims to determine the background values of 67 chemical elements in Brunei Darussalam, target geochemical anomalies for metal and mineral exploration, monitor negative environmental impacts and detect the concentrations of potentially harmful element (PHE) which evaluates potential risks for residential health.
"The project is in progress and the results I obtained helped to identify some areas that may need some special treatment for the improvement of farming activities, or other regions that may have environmental issues due to toxic elements from anthropogenic factors," Tsikouras said.
"Apart from this, I also started research on the origin of pyrite in the soil of Brunei," he added. "I attended field trips and worked on the sampling process. I will definitely resume the research that I started in Brunei, from my lab in Greece, which I plan to present in my thesis when I am about to graduate."
Pavlos described his brief stay as a "wonderful experience". He noted that geological research in the tropics is unique and there are a lot of special elements that cannot easily be found elsewhere. He lauded UBD's laboratories and helpful staff, especially his supervisor who was a great help. Citing UBD's easily accessible modern facilities which are well-equipped, he further added, "On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate it a 9!"
Infrastructure and academics aside, his memorable experience in Brunei Darussalam was made possible with the help of local students he made good friends with. "The students have welcomed me since day 1 and were pleased to have me around. They were all very kind and helpful during my adjustment period," he said. "I was also happy to meet a different culture in Brunei."
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