Today in Philippine History, March 8, 1902 Gregorio Y. Zara was born in Lipa City, Batangas

Wednesday March 07, 2012 () Last updated March 07, 2017 12:11:04

On March 8, 1902, Gregorio Y. Zara, a well-known Filipino scientist with 30 devices and equipment patented to his name, was born in Lipa City, Batangas.

Gregorio Y. Zara
(Gregorio Y. Zara demonstrating his invention the telephone-television or video phone)

Zara, a renowned engineer and a physicist, invented the first video phone in 1955 patented as a "photo phone signal separator network".

He got his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in Massachussets in 1926 and his Masters degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1927.

He graduated with a Doctorate of Physics from Sorbonne University, Paris, France, in 1930.

On September 30, 1954 Zara's alcohol-fueled airplane engine was successfully tested and flown at an airstrip in Manila.

He discovered the physical law of electrical kinetic resistance called the Zara effect (around 1930).

Zara likewise improved the methods of producing solar energy including creating new designs for a solar water heater (SolarSorber), a sun stove, and a solar battery (1960s). He is also credited as the inventor of a propeller-cutting machine (1952) and designer of a microscope with a collapsible stage and helped design the robot Marex X-10.

Zara, who became an instructor of aeronautics and held government positions, wrote numerous papers and textbooks in science and physics, with some even written in French.

Hence, he was conferred the National Scientist Award in 1978 by President Ferdinand E. Marcos. President Carlos Garcia, on July 19, 1959, honored him, at the celebration of National Science and Technology Week, for his work in aeronautics.

He died on October 15, 1978 at the age of 76. The Philippine government accorded him a state funeral at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.


  1. Philippine News Agency archives
  2. Business View, The American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, August 1959


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