Rosa's Story

This article is one from 15 different Papua New Guinean scienctists taken from the manuscript of the new Grade 9 Science Outcomes textbook prior to the design and editing processes currently being undertaken at Pearson Education Australia. This is Rosa’s story. I hope all the parents, teachers and students reading this enjoy it. More scientists’ stories will appear here during the next few months.

This photograph is of Rosa busy in the field making notes about a very healthy looking casava crop.

Brian Robertson

Site owner

Mrs Rosa Naipo Kambuou is the Co-ordinator of the National Agricultural Research Institute’s (NARI) National Genetic Resources Program based at the NARI Southern Regional Centre, Laloki.  She hails from Lido village in Vanimo, Sandaun Province and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Tropical Agriculture from the University of Papua New Guinea and a Master of Science Degree in Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources from Birmingham University, United Kingdom.

Rosa in Cassava

Rosa is the first female Agricultural Scientist to serve her country as a Researcher and an Administrator with the National Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) having started with the then Department of Agriculture, Stocks and Fisheries (DASF) in the late seventies.  She has extensive experience as an Agronomist during which she once occupied the Position of a Chief Agronomist with DAL.

Rosa has authored and published some 19 papers with fellow NARI Scientists. She has been with NARI since its formative years and also has been part of the NARI planning team.

From a humble and rural upbringing, Rosa loves gardening and collecting food from the wild habitats and harvesting marine resources to contribute to the family’s upkeep.  She belongs to a farming and fishing community, which shaped her interest in becoming an agriculturalist and then into studying plant genetic resources.

Rosa says that it is very challenging to work as an Agricultural Scientist (Agronomist) in PNG because of the complex agricultural systems of the country and the diverse traditional practices and norms of different societies in PNG.  The diversity in food crop species and farm animals pose yet another challenge for the researchers of our country.  The diversity of these natural resources needs to be properly conserved and maintained for future use.  The challenges put forward by the effects of ‘climate change’ are real and are here to stay.  As the Coordinator of NARI’s Genetic Resources Programme, Rosa’s job is to ensure that the programme is effectively conserving and maintaining the rich food crop and farm animal diversity of the country. Loosing this diversity would mean ‘food and nutritional insecurity’ for over 85% of our rural populace.

The genetic diversity of the PNG staple food crop species are conserved and maintained in field collections or ‘gene-banks’ at NARI Programme Centers throughout the country.  From these field collections, Rosa’s research team then select the suitable germplasm for using in Crop Improvement Programmes or for screening for pest and disease resistance or for tolerance to effects of climate change (climate ready crop species).  Conservation and safe keeping of the genetic diversity of our food crops and farm animals is very important because these resources provide the ‘raw’ or ‘basic’ materials for other scientists like ‘Breeders’ to use to improve varieties or breeds of farm animals.

Our climate has changed and we need to produce food crop varieties and breeds of farm animals that can adapt to change in the climate and that is only possible through Breeding or Improvement Programmes by using the genetic diversity that we have.

Genetic Resources Scientists play an important role in this area and therefore, PNG needs more young men and women to take up this interest.  Currently, Rosa is the only National Scientist trained in Plant Genetic Resources Conservation, Management and Utilization.  She has almost reached her retiring age and she would like to see that more young PNGians take up this profession.

If you want to know more on what Rosa and her team in NARI are doing in Genetic Resources Conservation, Management and Utilization, then you can contact her at NARI Southern Regional Centre, Laloki, P.O. Box 1828, Port Moresby.

Daphne's Story

This article is one from 15 different Papua New Guinean scienctists taken from the manuscript of the new Grade 9 Science Outcomes textbook prior to the design and editing processes currently being undertaken at Pearson Education Australia. This is Daphne’s story. I hope all the parents, teachers and students reading this enjoy it. More scientists’ stories will appear here during the next few months.

This photograph is of Daphne checking out her 16-slice GE brightspeed CT scanner at Port Moresby Private Specialist Medical Centre.

Brian Robertson

Site owner

Hello, my name is Daphne Tanimia-William and I come from Tasitel village on Mussau Island, New Ireland province. I am a Radiographer. The Radiographer has got nothing to do with radios or graphing of radios. Rather, if you look up the word radiograph in the dictionary, it refers to an attained image using x-radiation. Therefore a Radiographer is a person who uses specific techniques to attain x-ray images. There are Industrial Radiographers as well as Medical Radiographers and I belong to the latter (Medical Radiographer). In many other countries, the Radiographer is also referred to as a Medical Radiation Technologist or Medical Imaging Technologist. To become a Radiographer, you need to understand Science and do well in physics and biology. A little chemistry is also essential.


The job of a radiographer is very important. We know that too much radiation can have harmful effects on human cells. And a Radiographer needs to know how to use the least amount of radiation for an optimal diagnositic image quality. When I completed year 12, I went to the Univeristy of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) to do a foundation year in science. As we approached the end of the year, we had to stream into a science field of choice, and because I enjoyed my physics, I decided to try out the course which was then a Diploma in Medical Imaging Science. At the end of 3 years, I graduated with a Diploma in Medical Imaging Science from the UPNG and went on to do a year of work at the Port Moresby General Hospital’s Radiology Unit. This was my residency year – the year where you work towards getting registered with the Medical Board of PNG. Towards the end of the year, I was awarded my registration; meaning I was now a licenced Radiography Practitioner in PNG.

My interest in this field had also grown and so I had applied for further studies and was granted a 3 year NZAID scholarship to pursue my Bachelor studies in New Zealand. During the 3 years that I stayed in NZ, one of the course requirements was to log a minimum of 3000 hours of clinical work. So I got attached to the main hospital in South Auckland (Middlemore Hospital) where I gained a vast experience of the different areas of Radiology. My job is not just about clicking a button to radiate a person so that an x-ray image can be made available to the treating physician. Rather I have to understand all the physics of radiation, pathological disease processes and have an indepth understanding of the human anatomy.

Apart from performing general x-ray examinations my job also involves performing special x-ray procedures such as intravenous urograms (study of the kidney function) and barium studies. With barium studies, Barium sulphate is used in different procedures to highlight the whole length of the digestive system. A special dye called contrast medium is also used in multiple other procedures to highlight tissues in the body so they can be clearly seen when x-rays are taken. There are other branches of the radiology unit such as Theatre Radiography, Cardiac Catheterization, Angiography and Computed Tomography and also other specialty fields in Radiology where you can continue to study and do Post-Graduate courses and become specialised in that particular field. These include Ultrasonography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Nuclear Medicine and Mammography (specialised breast imaging).

My job is exciting because it is a field of study that has grown to become one of the fastest moving and changing technologies in medicine. It is also very challenging because I have to keep up with all the changes. In PNG, this area is quite lacking and since people have failed to appreciate the ever changing developments of Radiology, we tend to think of it only as x-rays and photographic film. The film era is drawing to an end now that computer technology is taking the place of films and chemicals. When I graduated with a Bachelor in Medical Imaging, I was also awarded registration with the New Zealand Medical Radiation Technologists Board (NZMRTB) giving me the opportnity to work in NZ or many other countries.

I am currently working at the Port Moresby Private Specialist Medical Centre in their newly built Radiology unit. My colleague and I operate a 16-slice GE brightspeed CT scanner; the first multisclice CT scanner in Papua New Guinea (see photograph). We also have a general x-ray unit which is fully computerized (computed radiography) – meaning NO films or chemicals. This technology is also the first of its kind in PNG. The medical centre has also set up a virtual private network with Cairns Diagnostic Imaging where we send our images (using fast speed internet) to be reported; this form of technology is referred to as Teleradiology.

I am hoping to specialise and pursue further studies in this field. My dream is to see the growth and development of the Medical Imaging industry in PNG. This can only happen when we have the human resources. We need human resources and this means you! The University of Papua New Guinea now offers a Bachelor of Medical Imaging Technology through the School Of Medicine And Health Sciences. I encourage you to join this profession and be a part of this change for the betterment of our nation.

Best wishes.

Daphne William

Francesca's Story

This article is one from 15 different Papua New Guinean scientists taken from the manuscript of the new Grade 9 Science Outcomes textbook prior to the design and editing processes currently being undertaken at Pearson Education Australia. This is Francesca’s story. I hope all the parents, teachers and students reading this enjoy it. More scientists’ stories will appear here during the next few months.

This photograph is of Francesca busy in her laboratory identifying insects at the New Guinea Binatang Research Centre, in Madang.

Brian Robertson

Site owner

My name is Francesca Dem-Eric and I come from a small village called Guhi in the Kove area of West New Britain. I am married to a guy by the name of Eric from Madang. He is a parataxonomist working in the same organisation as I am. The New Guinea Binatang Research Centre is a non-government organization involved in research on the biodiversity of Papua New Guinea, particularly looking at the ecology of insects. It is also trains university biology students on how to do good scientific research and to know the importance of science.

Identifying Sap Sucking Insects

There are four Masters students currently attached to the New Guinea Binatang Research Centre of which I am the only female. I am doing a project as part of my masters degree program, which looks at the “Community structure of Auchenorrhyncha (Insect: Hemiptera) along an altitudinal gradient in Papua New Guinea”. Auchenorrhyncha is a group of insects in the order Hemiptera, commonly known as sap-sucking insects or leafhoppers. These insects feed by piercing through every plant part, including the leaves, stems and roots, and sucking on them. In my study, however, I only look at those sap-sucking insects that feed on the xylem and phloem tissues of the plant. Phloem- and xylem-feeders are very important in agriculture as most of them are considered agricultural pests. A good example is Cofana spectra which is a pest of sweet potato. Auchenorrhynchans not only damage plants by sucking, but also through the transmission of diseases from one plant to the other.

I use the sweeping method to collect insects. I established 8 sites at elevations starting from 200m all the way to 3700m above sea level (Brahman to Mt Wilhelm) at intervals of 500m. Auchenorrhyncha occurring from 0 to 2 m above the ground were sampled with a standardized sweep net. At each site, 20 sampling units consisting of 500 sweeps each were obtained. Leafhoppers from the samples were preserved in alcohol and then later identified to species level using the database. The community data will be analysed using modern statistical methods, including multivariate analysis and analysis of beta and alpha diversity.

Science is very fascinating and challenging at the same time. What really excites me about science, particularly the field I am in, is that because you can’t communicate directly with the insects you must make very good observations and do sampling many times. You have to think biologically to try to understand how this particular species of animal and how it interacts with its conspecific (others of the same species) and/or other species in terms of food, shelter, territory, mating and defense in order to survive and continue its generation. Regarding my present study, what really interests me is that since it is the first of its kind carried out in PNG, it is very important as it will provide a baseline of information in helping to monitor many aspects of the environment in the future including climate change.

Carrying out studies on insects (binatang) is very important as pollination of flowers from plants is mostly done by insects and so by studying insects and knowing better what plant specie is fed on by which insect species, we will be more able to manage our forests well. This is important because once the forests are destroyed and gone, the insects will also disappear, and as a result we will loose our natural forests and biodiversity. In addition, studying insects will also help us to identify pathogens and vectors of cash crops and food crops in order to control the spread of them.

After I complete my current study, I plan to continue with a PhD and then look forward to working in either a government research body such as the Forest Research Institute or the Institute of Medical Research or work with the Department of Environment and Conservation. Or perhaps I will continue doing scientific research as a career and be part of the global scientific community.

Science has always been my favourite subject since starting school. While doing my undergraduate studies at the University of Papua New Guinea, majoring in biochemistry, I attended two biology field training courses as part of my assessment and found it very interesting and challenging, and so after I completed my bachelors degree I applied for studentship at the New Guinea Binatang Research Centre and was awarded a two year honours degree studentship. According to my performance and my interest in science, I decided to continue with a Masters degree and so currently I am undertaking this program, which will last for two years. My biggest motivation along the way is the fact that that out of every 200 plus university graduate science students, only 5 decide to continue their career in this field. Our government does not realize the importance of research-based science on the country’s biodiversity and so as a Papua New Guinean, I feel that I must contribute at least some information so that Papua New Guinea can continue to be recognized as one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world.

Francesca Dem-Eric

Grade 9 Science Outcomes

This is a short extract from Unit 9.4 Our Body from the forthcoming Grade 9 Science Outcomes book. This extract is in draft format and will look completely different in the eventual book. You can use this now with your grade 9 science class (or any class for that matter) if you want to.

All in a heartbeat!

Heart Diagram

Study the heart diagram. Note that both sides of the heart (both pumps) each have two chambers. The upper chamber is called an atrium and the lower chamber is called a ventricle. The arrow at the top without a label should have the label "blood from the head".

The atria (plural of atrium) and the ventricles have muscular walls, which contract with each heartbeat. The ventricle walls are thicker and more muscular than the atria walls and the ventricle walls are the main working part of both pumps.

Note the direction of blood flow in the diagram and read this explanation of how the heart operates. This is the description of what happens in less than a second—in just one heartbeat.

  1. As the whole heart muscle relaxes the space inside both heart pumps increases and the pressure inside the heart reduces. This has three major effects.
    • The valves out of the ventricles (at the broken line arrows in the heart diagram) close shut because of the shape of the valves and because the pressure at the other side of the valves is greater then inside the heart.
    • The valves into the ventricles (broad black arrows in the heart diagram) open.
    • Blood starts to flow into the atria and through the valves into the ventricles at both sides of the heart. Remember at this point the pressure is still greater outside the heart and because of the shape of the valves between atria and ventricles the blood has to flow into the ventricles.
  2. As the heart muscle contracts it does so in a wave. It starts with the walls of the atria and spreads a fraction of a second later to the main heart muscle of the ventricles. This very slight difference in time between atria walls and ventricle wall contractions results in a quick rush of blood from the atria into the ventricles.
  3. The ventricle muscles then contract fully and powerfully. This causes a sudden increase in pressure, which closes the valves from the atria into the ventricles (note how these valves are shaped again). It forces the blood through the other valves (dotted line arrows) out of the right ventricle into the pulmonary artery going to the lungs and from the left ventricle into the aorta for the blood going to all other parts of the body.
  4. As the whole heart muscle relaxes—the process starts again and so on over and over again—for so long as you shall live!

Welcome to PNG Schoolbooks

Hello all teachers, students and parents who are interested education in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and all other South Pacific schools!

This site is about to undergo a major upgrade. I have neglected it for far too long. The main purpose of this site in future will be to comment on and encourage comment from you about any aspect of education that you think it is worth saying. It might be about a single school, the curriculum, the resources provided or not provided by the Government or any other topic you think needs talking about.

The site will still have a few books but only books that I have written or helped to write and perhaps a few other books that are special in some way. You will be able to choose, where to buy these books, from two or three online book stores.

There will also be a great deal of information about each book on this site, much more than appears on any other online book store. Extra resources available for students or teachers in connection with these books will also be available from time to time.

Students, teachers and parents are also encouraged to use the Contact Us button if you want to ask anything about any of the books—or ask about anything ellse in connection with this site. That way you can have your question answered personally.

All books on this site relate directly to the latest version of the 'reform curriculum' which is available at

You can make a comment below or ask a question at no cost to you simply by giving your name and your email address.

Author Contact

If you want to ask a question about buying a book, or anything else, please ask This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Share This!

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn