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Modern density functional theory – from physics to coding

dft07For the past two decades density functional theory (DFT) has been revolutionizing chemistry and materials science. In 2016 alone more than 50 000 scientific papers were published that used DFT and valid predictions are becoming commonplace. For example, based on DFT predictions, materials scientists have developed the first-ever growth of 2D GaN (August 2016). European Physical Society Young Minds Section of Vilnius University (EPS YM Vilnius) together with Electronic Structure Theory Group from Center for Physical Sciences and Technology (CPST) launched “Modern density functional theory – from physics to coding” workshops at the CPST. These workshops introduced advances of DFT theory and its applications to all students interested in computational material or experimental science. The aim was to share necessary theoretical knowledge and experience on applications of DFT to popularize computational physics among the students. Such methods are widely used from biophysics to materials science and are a driving force for the discovery and design of molecules and materials. Workshops were given by members of Electronic Structure Theory Group (dr. A. Alkauskas) and lecturers from Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy (prof. G. Juzeliūnas). In particular, the practical usages of some DFT codes, such that one can carry out the computation associated with their research projects after reading the manuals. Students were asked to choose one topic, read references and partake in discussions with group members. Students worked on assignments and literature in an interactive and collaborative manner, got practical problem solving exercises. EPS in Vilnius has purchased 2 books for these seminars “Symmetry in Physics: Principles and Simple Applications Volume 1 & Volume 2″ (by James Philip Elliott, P.G. Dawber).

Sunrise Valley Physics Seminars

Sunrise Valley Semiconductor Seminars2EPS YM Vilnius contributed to the organization of “Sunrise Valley Semiconductor Seminars” and “Joint Theoretical Physics Seminars”, which are among the largest recurrent seminars within Center for Physical Sciences and Technology (CPST) for over a year.
Seminar series covered topics like fundamental and solid-state physics issues, practical and physical aspects of semiconductor industry and technologies (f. e.: nitride laser diodes – prospects and problems, diamond quantum science and technology, ultra-fast lasers and 4D printing, studies of interfacial defects in crystals, etc.).
“Sunrise Valley Semiconductor Seminars” and “Joint Theoretical Physics Seminars” provided a platform for scientists and entrepreneurs to discuss, exchange and share their experience. It is the best example of R&D element when industrial representatives and entrepreneurs get stronger scientific background, and scientists in exchange get a chance to know the challenges of marketing innovations, ideas, etc.
Seminar initiators are well known scientists dr. A. Alkauskas (Principal Research Fellow at CPST), dr. A. Vizbaras, and dr. K. Vizbaras from “Brolis Semiconductors” (high-technology company that has clients from over 160 companies throughout the world from Japan to the United States of America) and EPS YM in Vilnius president – M. Mackoit.
Seminars gather scientists from Faculty of Physics (Vilnius University), Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy, Vilnius University Institute of Applied Researc and CPST, industry etc.
EPS YM made these seminars attractive not only to experienced scientists from various theoretical physics research institutions, but for MSc and PhD students as well. Leading researchers from universities, institutes and companies of United States of America, Australia and Europe were invited to give a talk at “ Sunrise Valley Semiconductor Seminars”. Frequency of these workshops was twice a month. EPS YM in Vilnius is spreading information about the seminars by popularizing it through the posters and fliers (advertising the seminars in the faculty, CPST departments, laboratories, etc.), facebook (Physics Seminars in Saulėtekis), twitter (Physics in Lithuania). EPS YM is helping in organizing the coffee breaks, carrying out speaker lists, preparing little souvenirs for speakers to remember their visit in Lithuania, etc. EPS YM members were even moderating these seminars. These workshops have a huge potential for interdisciplinary research and collaboration between physicists and entrepreneurs. Center for Physical Sciences and Technology wants them to continue in 2017/2018. In October we’re going to invite Prof. Dr. Fedor Jelezko (Institute for Quantum Optics and Department of Physics, Ulm University, Germany) to give a talk about quantum information processing with spins in diamond.

Open Readings 2017

OR_Activity_Report160th International Conference for Students of Physics and Natural Sciences “Open Readings 2017” – international academic platform for students, scientists and researchers from all over the world to present their ongoing research results and best practices in fields of Physics and Natural Sciences. “Open Readings 2017” goal was to enable the interactive exchange of knowledge. The conference also served to foster communication among researchers working in a wide variety of scientific areas. This conference gave an opportunity for BSc, MSc, PhD, who are doing their scientific research, to present it to a larger audience, get constructive criticism and useful advice. It was one of the best opportunities for Physicists from Europe, and not only, to disseminate their scientific achievements.
“Open Readings 2017” took place from March 14-17th, in the largest scientific research institution in Lithuania Center for Physical Sciences and Technology. This year this conference gathered above 350 presenters from more than 20 different countries and 9 invited incredible lecturers from the World’s Top Scientists: Bernard Lucas “Ben” Feringa – laureate of 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Jonathan Richard Ellis – one of the most respected scientists in modern-day physics with research interest in particle physics; Philip Russell – world renowned physicist, Director at the Max-Planck Institute for the Science of Light; Michael Grätzel – one of the most renowned material scientists worldwide, who recently received the Millennium Technology Award; Robin Lovell-Badge – Head of the Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics at the Francis Crick Institute; Xi-Cheng Zhang – a Chinese-American Physicist, THz and ultrafast optics specialist; Naomi J. Halas – pioneering nanotechnologist at Rice University, co-founder of Nanospectra Biosciences; Eugenio Coccia – director of the Gran Sasso Science Institute and professor of Physics at the University of Rome Tor Vergata.
OSA and SPIE Student Chapters of Vilnius University played a huge role in the funding of this conference.
European Physical Society Young Minds Section of Vilnius University (EPS YM Vilnius) also has contributed to organization of this conference. EPS YM together with VTeX organized workshop: “What’s hot in the science publishing: the scientists’ approach”, members of EPS YM Vilnius has witten two OR17 popularizing articles.
During the conference EPS together with “Olympus of Physics” organized “10th Lithuanian Π day championship” at Faculty of Physics. We gathered ~100 (students, University workers, managers, etc). This year Lithuania Guinness record was broken – Henrikas Šalūga memorized 5001 decimal places of Pi – this was posted in the social media (http://www.delfi.lt/mokslas/mokslas/naujas-lietuvos-rekordas-net-5001-skaitmuo-is-atminties.d?id=74066314 ) . EPS bought awards for the winners (bluetooth headphones, cups-pins-pens with logo and Π,”Olympus of Physics” – cash prizes. EPS invited special guest from Mathematics and Informatics faculty (Vilnius University) dr. G. Alkauskas, who conducted a lecture: “Periods – transcendental numbers that are arithmetic”.
EPS YM in Vilnius reimbursed the travel expenses for Jonathan Richard Ellis. It payed even more attention to our section and attracted new members. Photos: http://www.openreadings.eu/archive/.

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.


img-1855This year the OPTOEL congress (Spanish Congress of Optoelectronic) was held in Santiago de Compostela from the 12th to the 14th of July. It was organized by our University (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela) and, in particular, by the Photonics4Life research group where most of the members of the Young Minds Section are doing their PhD studies. The members of the Section were actively participating in the organization of the congress and with the help of the funding received with the grant “EPSYM2017A32-200€”. The money of the grant was used to print some advertisement of the chapter and with a contribution into the congress. Moreover we became officially part of the organizators of the congress with our economical contribution plus the work of the YM Section. We made a special effort in getting involved the youngest members of the group, so we introduce them in the leading role of managing a congress and giving support to the main organizers.
Specifically the YM Section was in charge of the reception and check-in of all the investigators plus giving any advice about the city. Finally we also participate in the congress giving some technical support like printing information panels or preparing the attendees’ gift.
As a section we believe that taking part of the organization of the OPTOEL 2017 allow us to improve key features in our following careers. We were able to improve our networking with some colleagues from other sections and to give more visibility to this kind of young students group.

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.

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.

Physics for sustainable development & Fund Raising Concert

19620423_1789798807999701_1364818878364214764_oOn the 23rd of June PONYS Physics & Optics Naples Young Students organized a fundraising event for the association Sunshine4Palestine. The event had two moments: a talk held by Dr. Barbara Capone from “Roma Tre” University with the title “Physics for sustainable development” and a concert on Physics Department Roof-top performed by “Roof-ini’s quintet”.
The theme of the talk, Physics for sustainable development, was very interesting: Dr. Barbara Capone told us Sunshine4Palestine projects. One of the most important was “Jenin Hospital Project”: this project implies the construction and installation of a photovoltaic power generating plant on the roof of the Jenin Charitable Hospital in Gaza. The plant has been specifically designed to cover the energy needs for the entire hospital, and to include storage energy components for emergency purposes.
Some of these projects was consisted with our activities, as, Scientific Divulgation. In collaboration with students from the Applied Science College of the Al-Aqsa University in Gaza, Sunshine4Palestine association will give rise to the first scientific divulgation project in the Gaza Strip. Many small experiments will be conducted, and some groups will work on projects to make the first pieces of what will become the first Science Museum in Gaza. After the talk, The event continued on Physics Department Roof, where the Roof-ini’s quintet’s perfomance entertained the audience and we organized the fundraiser moment for sustain Sunshine4Palestine.
Listening to how you can make your skills available by a scientist to help others has been a great stimulus and exciting for us!

XVII Workshop and Award for young researchers in the field of statistical physics and condensed matter theory


The 17th Workshop and Award for young researchers in the field of statistical physics and condensed matter theory supported by EPS Young Minds Committee was held in Lviv at the Institute for Condensed Matter Physics on June 8–9, 2017. The event was dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Abba Glauberman (1917–1974), a famous Ukrainian physicist who worked in Ivan Franko Lviv State University (1948–1966) and contributed to development of quantum theory of solid state and statistical theory of condensed systems.

Young researchers in statistical physics and condensed matter theory had an opportunity to present their own results during the Workshop as well as compete for the competition prize. This year the reports of participants were particularly striking. Two of them – Olesia Krupnitska and Vasyl’ Kharchenko – were awarded for the best presentations by Special Individual Awards. Four other young participants – Tetiana Rokhmanova, Vasyl’ Vasyuta, Olha Shchur and Oleksiy Zdorevskiy – were distinguished by the Competition Committee as the most promising ones. In general, 22 young researchers not only from Lviv, but from Sumy, Dnipro, Kyiv, Kharkiv – took part in the event.

Five invited lectures were given during the Workshop. In particular, the well-known Ukrainian physicist Stanislav Vilchynskiy presented his overview devoted to generation and evolution of magnetic fields in the early Universe. A special talk about personal and scientific life of Abba Glauberman was given by Correspondent Member of the NAS of Ukraine Ihor Stasiuk. Volodymyr Ponedilok introduced the audience to the activity of Stefan Banach in Lviv. Two other speakers also presented wonderful lectures on other directions of modern statistical and quantum physics.

Besides the official part, some cultural activities were organized, including city sightseeing excursion and evening beer-party. As usual, the Workshop gave a great chance to young and their more experienced colleagues to get in touch, to discuss interesting topics and to enrich scientific connections in friendly atmosphere.

Members of ICMP Young Minds Section in Lviv familiarized the audience with the section’s activities and the general scope of EPS Young Minds Organization.

The photos related to the event can be found on the site of the event:

Seminars on nanospectroscopy and novel applications of nanomaterials in catalysis and energy engineering

mmmmmm 403The EPS-YM section of University of Calabria has organized a cycle of seminars on nanospectroscopy and, moreover, on novel applications of nanomaterials.
The seminar on nanospectroscopy has been focused on the novel concept of “nanospectroscopy” and the speaker has been dr. Antonio Politano.
Methods and techniques to perform spectroscopy with a nanometric spatial resolution and to the investigation and discovery of new phenomena at the nanometer scale at the interface between physics, chemistry and biology have been presented.
In particular, the study of nanostructured materials necessitates analytical methods that combine spectroscopy with electron microscopy. The feasibility of nanospectroscopy at synchrotron radiation sources has been addressed, with some examples of beamlines already open to users.
The seminar on nanomaterials has addressed novel applications recently developed. We have tried to recruit as speakers both PhD stud-ents of other departments and post-doc from our department, under the coordination of Marco Alfano. Nanomaterials can be used for energy engineering as nanofillers in novel Li-ion batteries in order to reduce the problems of silicon microparticles currently used. Furthermore, nanomaterials can be used for devising novel applications in chemical engineering.
During the talk it has been clarified that many critical issues remain unresolved in current energy systems such as low charging rate, low energy and/or power density, poor cycle life, poor thermal management, and low environmental sustainability, impeding broad adoption in new engineering applications. Therefore, the development of new, green materials and technologies is essential to design energy systems with comprehensive out-standing electrochemical, thermal and mechanical properties. In particular, graphene is a suitable platform for electrochemical energy storage and conversion devices. Moreover, scalable production of such energy materials/devices is imperative to realize the transition from laboratory-scale materials to industrial applications.
The participating categories were mainly undergraduate and PhD students.
After the end of the seminar, we have organized a round table of 30 minutes on the problem of energy.
Refreshements with some snacks and beverages have been offered in each seminar.