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Strathclyde’s Physics Journal Club

scope_journal_club_001From late 2016 to the first half of 2017, SCOPE has continued organising the Strathclyde’s Physics Journal Club fortnightly with excellent participation and support from the students involved.

Keeping the spirit from the previous year, the aim of this activity was to both give the chapter members the opportunity to present some of the relevant papers in their field, or more broadly in general interest science, and also enhance the communication with other students, learning and talking about physics in a relaxed atmosphere. We aimed to develop a vital skill for young researchers: the ability to efficiently analyse and present a high-profile scientific paper. As many of the students were lacking this kind of activities in their own groups, we provided this student-run platform with great success.

Throughout the year, we tried to broaden the topics covered in the sessions ranging from plasma physics to biological lasers. At the same time, we focus a lot of our efforts in incorporating new people to the Journal Club. This lead to a nice attendance in all the sessions and benefitted other of our events as people got to know SCOPE through the Journal Club. We encouraged all our attendees to present at least once and thanks to that we managed to cover really diverse areas of physics. The presentations were usually 20 to 30 minutes long, supported by whiteboard sketches and slides, and it was followed by an informal discussion with some refreshments.

The rest of the students provided some feedback after the presentation helping the speakers improve their weaker points and together improving the understanding of the topic being discussed. To make this discussion as useful as possible, all the attendees had access to the presented papers a few days in advance to be able to familiarise themselves with the subject.

The success of the activity was also due to the fact that the activity was run by other students, reducing the anxiety of making mistakes or asking questions, and generating a suitable environment for group learning.

We are certain that this activity will remain valued by the students in the coming years. That’s why we are planning on maintaining it in the next academic year. As the activity requires a small budget we will be able to organise it without requiring further funding.

Light Talks

img-1852As we have written down in our Grant request form, we want to perform a scientific coffee with some of the former members of the student chapter. However, the performance of the OPTOEL congress in our city gives us the possibility to take advantage of this and perform a more impact activity. Therefore we have organized a scientific coffee during the congress. This event was performed in the afternoon of the 13th of July in the same place as the OPTOEL and it was devoted to the students that attended to the congress. In this scientific coffee, two international recognized researchers form different areas share their experiences in the science career with the attendees. We counted with Dr. Xingde Li, whose research is focused in biomedical image, and with Dr. Olivier Chalus, expert in high power lasers and Project Manager R&D Scientist at Thales Optronique SA. In this event, the participants had the opportunity to ask the researchers about their experiences and opinions and to interact with them in a closest way that in other congress event will not be possible. As Section, we believe that this activity was very satisfactory for both the attendees and the members of the section, since as group we have improve our organization skills by participating in the organization of this event in parallel with the Optoelectronics Congress. We strongly believe that take advantage of the OPTOEL congress was the best decision to make a scientific coffee with high impact that usually a small city like ours is not able to perform. However we are planning to perform in next months the scientific coffee with former members. We believe that this is also an important event for grade students who are still thinking about their future after the University studies.

Physics pizza party season 4

20170412_181206Since one of the main goals of EPS Young Minds project is to connect young scientists among different physics fields, Prague section decided to organize students’ colloquiums named Physics Pizza Party: Students 4 students, where young scientists from different universities and research fields presented their research activities. These events prove to be very successful for three subsequent semesters: winter 2016, summer 2016 and winter 2017.

This semester we organized totally of four colloquiums. Three talks were from the research fields and one talk from the industry. Research talks presented results about study of the hypernuclei, nanotechnology and quantum walks. These talks were presented by the two PhD students (CTU in Prague and Czech Academy of Sciences) and by the one master student (CTU in Prague). In the order to broad our horizons outside purely academic talks, we invited one speaker from the modern software company. The speaker introduced modern project management methods used in the software development.

Although majority of invited speakers already presented their research activities in front of the experts in their respective fields, almost none of them had any experience with presenting in front of general audience that were not familiar with the topic. Despite of this fact, each talk was perfectly prepared, and therefore there was no problem to understand given topic. Each event was scheduled for about 60 minutes, but with discussion during and after presentation, average time of colloquiums was about 90 minutes and even more. According to the speakers it was very rewarding experience for them.

All four events were advertised in form of posters, which were placed in school buildings. For the purpose of inviting as many participants as possible, we also advertised it on our social sites, namely Facebook and Twitter. Thanks to this advertisement, our students’ colloquiums had large attendance. Average number of participants was around 30 students per one colloquium.

The Prague EPS Young Minds Section found these colloquiums rewarding, since this style of presentation “students for students” is still very rare in our country and we were one of the first who organized this style of colloquiums. According to the feedback from our participants, we concluded that our colloquiums were successful, since they were very positively rated by participants. Thanks to these positive feedback and high number of participants, we would like to continue with this activity – this is what students in Prague expect as well.

Students Meeting at the Start of the Semester

DSCN1028Students Meetings, organised by Prague EPS Young Minds section at the beginning of the semester, are getting more and more popular among students of Czech Technical University in Prague. The third, the last one, was in March 2017.

After gravitational waves and manned and unmanned flights to Mars we stayed in the topic of Universe, but from a bit different point of view. Now the dean of the Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering of Czech Technical University in Prague gave the talk about physics of Star Trek – presenting various inventions, similar to science fiction gadget in the movie. This topic was extremely popular and in the future we will probably focus on the events with the topic of the same kind.

Before the lecture, we advertised all of the planned events of our section, as well as the section itself. During the discussions, it was a great opportunity to meet students and talk with them about their opinion on our activities.

Approximately 70 students came and enjoyed coffee and tea before the lecture and then attended the presentation. During the subsequent discussion, they enjoyed refreshments that were partially sponsored by rohlik.cz, czech online food distributor.

The large attendance at the event was mainly thanks to the large number of posters, that were distributed in the universities in Prague. Our event was as well shared in our Facebook sites and than shared by several other sites.

This event was again generally rated as a good idea. There is no doubt, that such an event is a unique opportunity to connect students of different age and from different universities, via an interesting multi-discipline contemporary presentation, that everybody is interested in.

Physics Café

20170406_195028_Richtone(HDR)For the first time, Prague EPS Young Minds decided to organise informal events for students to meet with senior academics. Three events in total were held within the Physics Café platform – two open discussions and one pub quiz. All of these were successful beyond expectations, with average attendance of 30 people per an event. The events were advertised in form of posters, which were placed in school buildings. We also advertised it on our social sites, namely Facebook and Twitter.
The first event was especially challenging for us. Since all the previous Prague EPS Young Minds event were held within the university campus, much effort was put in a search for appropriate café or a similar venue. Once this was covered, our next concern was about the number of people who would attend an event outside the campus. The topic of the first open discussion was “Physics of the 21st Century – What Does It Stand For?” and three scientists took part in it. The event attracted 29 people while about one quarter of the people attending were non-students.
The second Physics Café was organized in the collaboration with the Czech Union of Mathematicians and Physicist. This event was used for the award ceremony and the Union honored their members for their lifetime benefits for the popularization of the physics. It provided great opportunity for informal discussion on the topic “The role of scientist outside of the academic world”.
The last event from the first series of the Physics Café was dedicated to the competition known as Pub Quiz. The questions cover the topic from the world of science, especially they were focused on curious and funny facts from physics. In all cases, the official program was followed by more informal discussions.
In total, three events of the Physics Café were visited approximately by 90 people. This type of event was rated as a good idea and was attractive for students as well as for the senior academics of the Czech Union of Mathematicians and Physicist. Thanks to the positive feedback, there are not doubts, that Physics Café will continue in the future.

Innovation and entrepreneurship lunches

5During Wednesday’s lunchtime on April 26, the Line of Light auditorium was crowded with 80 bachelor, master and PhD students interested to hear about optics and photonics technologies in the “Lunch with Industry” event. After grabbing a sandwich with soda, they focused their attention firstly to Peter Skovgaard, CEO and Co-founder from Norlase, and later to Sidsel Petersen, representing NKT Photonics company. Peter made a short overview of how their novel high-power visible laser technology allowed them to become a promising start-up company with a vision to outperform currently leading solutions available on the market. Sidsel, on the other hand, shared the vision and perspective of NKT Photonics – one of the leaders in the market of high performance fiber and laser technologies. She was generous enough to bring some of the examples of industrial photonic crystal fiber products, components, and materials used in fabrication.
…Thanks to Norlase and NKT Photonics for shedding some light on current status of the laser industry!

A week later, on Friday 5, serial entrepreneur David Hardwick gave the talk “Science for profit and fun in the laser industry” accompanied by Prof. Jes Broeng. The duo addressed entrepreneurship, and shed light on some of the best ways to start a business in an effort to inspire students with innovation dreams.
David Hardwick is co-founder and Chairman of Norlase and Fauna Photonics in Denmark and an investor and advisor at BiFrost Communications. David is a past member of the Optical Society of America (OSA) Board and the OSA Foundation. He is a consultant to IMRA America and other companies in the industry.
During this event, everybody got a chance to pick the two entrepreneurs’ brains at the following discussion and plenty of opportunity to mingle. What a great afternoon!

Career orientation conference for PHD students

img_20170616_092519We took part in the organising the seventh DOFFI Conference, which is an event for hungarian PhD students in the field of physics to present their research and to learn about the others’ as well. The annual conference is also a great opportunity for the students to connect and build networks with academics and each other, too.
The event itself was four days long. Each day was divided into 15-minute sessions. During these sessions the students had 12 minutes to present their work. After that there were 3-minute periods when an assigned discussant, an academic of the student’s field and the audience could analyse and give feedback on the work and presentation.The students could also present their work on posters that were shown throughout the whole conference.
Academics were invited each day to hold plenary lectures about the newest research topics, this year for example about transport properties of graphene-BiTeI hybrid structures and the effect of virtual reality on human balance.
Several companies that employ physicists (e.g. Morgan Stanley) were invited to give presentations on the opportunities a student can get if they choose to work for them.
There was also a forum for discussing the difficulties that affect the community of physisists.
The conference was held in Balatonfenyves, a small town next to lake Balaton, where the participants could relax and go to the beach each day.
We hope that the participants learned a lot, and got to know each other.

Webpage with abstracts, pictures and program:

Alumni-evening of the University of Antwerp Physics Department

Alumni2On the 5th of May 2017, the Antwerp Young Minds section organized an alumni-evening for the Physics Department of the University of Antwerp, with the aim of bringing together the students, researchers and alumni of our department.
This event was a great occasion for our students and researchers to meet physicists who are now working outside academia and to learn more about future job opportunities. Furthermore, it provided alumni with the possibility to see their old friends and teachers again and to get to know the new generation of physicists. We were therefore glad to see that a lot of people attended the event.

After a short welcome drink, we began the evening with presentations of several alumni whom we had invited to speak about their career after graduation and to tell us more about their current occupation. Their occupations were:
• Validator at Argenta (a Belgian bank)
• Senior System Engineer at Verhaert
• Physics teacher in secondary education
• Junior ICT Analyst at Fluxys
The members of the audience always had the opportunity to ask questions in order to learn more about the different aspects of these professions.

The presentations where followed by an extensive reception, where everyone could enjoy a drink and a bite. This gave our students and researchers the possibility to freely speak with all of the attending alumni and to make important contacts for their own professional future.

Altogether, we received a lot of positive feedback from people who attended the event, which encourages us to repeat it the future.

OPTO2015 conference

opto2015-1The OPTO-Meeting for Young Researchers & 10th Anniversary International SPIE Student Chapter Meeting 2015, called OPTO2015 was organized by the Wroclaw University of Technology OSA & SPIE student chapters and newly formed EPS Young Minds Section at out university. I have been held between 27th and 30th of May 2015 in Wroclaw, Poland.

OPTO2015 was a great opportunity for young researches, BC, MS and PhD students to meet, present and talk about their scientific work. We organized several oral sections, poster session, lab tour, soft skills training and integration events. The number of attendees was around 100, making it the biggest even in Poland for students and young researchers within the physics field.

Because OPTO is the annual conference for OSA and SPIE student chapters in Poland, we decided to organize special event focused on their activities. After presentations and short discussion we presented the conference sponsors, which also was the EPS Young Minds organization. During this special section the conference participants could find out what the EPS is, what’s the Young Minds project, its mission, purpose, goals and tools to achieve them. Additionally we presented the benefits for new members and gave short instruction how to establish new EPS Young Minds Section and apply for grants.

This project cost us a lot of work. Organizing the conference by students who hasn’t done anything like that before is a big challenge, but our members accomplished that goal. We are very proud that the Warsaw University of Technology established their EPS Young Minds section and many other still consider doing so. For our section it was a good way to train ourselves within new EPS Young Minds structure at our university and to try work with our new and fresh team within other projects.

Strathclyde’s Physics Journal Club

SCOPEIn 2016 Strathclyde SCOPE YM has successfully run the Strathclyde’s Physics Journal Club fortnightly with really good acceptance and collaboration from the students involved. The aim of this activity was to both give the chapter members the opportunity to present some of the relevant papers in their field or more generally in general interest science and also enhance the communication with other students, learning and talking about physics in a relaxed atmosphere. As many of the students were lacking this kind of activities in their own groups, we provided this student-run platform with great success.

Throughout the year, we had the chance to learn about a whole variety of physics subjects from quantum optics to optogenetics. The participants ranging from 10 to 20 people with high regularity chaired at least one session during this period. The presentation was usually 20 to 30 minutes long, followed by an informal discussion with some refreshments. During the presentation most of the participants will make use of both whiteboard sketches and projector slides to support their speech. The rest of the students provided some feedback after the presentation helping the speakers improve their weaker points during the presentation.

We consider that this activity was helping to develop a vital skill for junior scientists which is the ability to efficiently analyze and present a high-profile scientific paper. The fact that this activity was held in a student atmosphere helped reducing the fear of some participants to make mistakes and allowed them to expand their knowledge in a much less anxious way.

We regularly asked for feedback to our participants and adapted the sessions to their needs. The atmosphere was really friendly during the sessions and we are certain that this activity will remain valued by the students in the coming years.