[Jakarta Post] Warsito: Key researcher into a vital analytical tool
The Jakarta Post, Features - March 25, 2006
Multa Fidrus, Tangerang
Warsito was one of 16 Indonesian scientists selected by the Indonesia Institute of Sciences to deliver a presentation on his invention, volume tomography, at a meeting with professor Douglas Dean Osherff, the 1996 Nobelist for physics. The meeting, titled Toward Bright and Brilliant Indonesians, was held in Jakarta to mark the start of Indonesia Science Year in November last year.
Tomography is defined as imaging by sections or sectioning.
Warsito is the only scientist in the world who has managed to develop tomography and create volume tomography, an analytical tool that can be used in four dimensions and has industrial applications.The tool can examine refinery pipes at oil wells and pipelines in four dimensions.
"Refinery pipes at oil wells usually contain oil mixed with sand, soil and gas. With the assistance of the tool, we can see how much oil is in refinery pipes and oil pipelines at all oil wells across the country, from Jakarta," he said.
He said that with the tool, oil firms can save much time and expense.According to Warsito, the tool works with the help of a sensor installed around refinery pipes and pipelines. The sensor is connected to a series of electronic devices that are also connected to a computer. The computer will processes information from the refinery pipes and pipelines using algorithms that will, in turn, form a four-dimensional image.
He said that volume tomography can also be developed for airport security and the pharmaceutical, petrochemical, food, medicine and health industries since he just needs to modify the software.
"Volume tomography can clearly monitor what is concealed behind clothing and even inside human organs for an airport security system.
"For health applications, it can replace magnetic resonance imagery and CT scanners that produce radiation, and are both slow and expensive," he said. Volume tomography has no negative impact since it only works with electricity, and is quick and cheap.
Warsito initiated his research by developing ultrasonic tomography to examine voice waves at a bio-reactor at Shizuoka University in Japan, where he completed his doctorate in 1998.Ultrasonic tomography is still being used for basic research at the outstanding Japanese university as of today.
While working as a researcher and lecturer at the university, Warsito continued to do research into developing volume tomography until he was elected to deliver a presentation on ultrasonic tomography at a world conference in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1999.Afterward, he met professor LS Fan, chairman of the Industrial Research Consortium (IRC) at Ohio State University in the United States.Two months later, he accepted Fan's offer to move to the U.S. and join some 15 other world-class researchers at the IRC.
In fact, Warsito overcame Fan's problem with reactor engineering and made a prototype of volume tomography in 2003. His invention was patented in the U.S. in 2001.Small wonder he was elected outstanding postdoctoral researcher by Ohio State University in 2001 and again by the American Institute of Chemists Foundation in 2002.
Warsito's presence as the only Indonesian researcher at the IRC could have contributed significant changes since the volume tomography he designed can save much time and cost if it is applied in industry.
Exxon Mobil, BP Oil, Shell, Conoco Village, Dow Chemical and Mistubishi Chemical are among the global firms that have indirectly started volume tomography applications in their production, including the U.S. Department of Energy, for Morgantown National Laboratory.
Warsito was also elected a key lecturer on the process of tomography at the World Conference in Banff, Canada, in 2003 and in Aizu, Japan, in 2005.The conference also elected him a plenary lecturer on particle technology for powder processing, nanotechnology, chemical processing and oil processing.
"As of now, I'm still focusing my research on volume tomography for industrial applications and it is still being perfected to achieve high levels of accuracy," he said, adding that the tool was expected to be introduced to the public within four months.
Warsito was born in Karang Anyar, Surakarta, Central Java, in 1967. He spent his childhood through high school graduation in his hometown. Just one month after he started his studies at the school of chemistry at Gajah Mada University, Yogyakarta, in 1986, he went to Shizuoka University on a scholarship from the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT).After finishing his studies in electronics he continued postgraduate studies at the same university while working as a researcher and lecturer there. He then obtained a scholarship from the university to continue with his doctorate.
Warsito, a father of four sons from his marriage with Rita Chaerunissa, from Tangerang, refused the American citizenship offered to him although, financially, he is unlucky being an Indonesian scientist.Along with several fellow scientists, he established the Indonesian Technology Scientist Community (MITI) to improve technology and science in the country and build cooperation with foreign institutes to do research.Besides research, Warsito also teaches at the school of MIPA and Physics at the University of Indonesia, guiding postdoctoral students from Ohio State University, Washington State University and Shizuoka University.
Warsito plans to produce volume tomography in Tangerang while looking for investors and has the exclusive right to sell the tool in the U.S.A Canadian pharmaceutical company has ordered the tool via its cooperation with Ohio State University.
Few of the many journalists who daily use his Internet kiosk at the Modern Land housing complex, Tangerang, realize that Warsito is a world-class scientist doing research into volume tomography on the second floor."I am hopeful my invention will be accepted by the government; otherwise I will not come back because life in the United States is so much more promising," he said.