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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/.

Open Readings – YM BAA 2017

OpenReadings

60th international conference for students of physics and natural sciences “Open Readings 2017” took place on 14-17th of March, 2017 in Vilnius, Lithuania. The conference gathered more than 300 presenters from 20 different countries all-around Europe while creating an interactive platform for sharing knowledge, scientific results and best practices in the fields of physics and natural sciences.


The four day conference was full of activities, including but not limited to the mentioned students’ oral and poster sessions, workshop on scientific publishing and discussion on career in science, but, of course, the highlight of the conference were the invited speakers – world-known scientists, top of the top in their fields:
  • Prof. Ben Feringa (Netherlands) – 2016 Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry, h-index: 103;
  • Prof. John Ellis (UK) – one of the most known theoretical physicist working at CERN, h-index: 150;
  • Prof. Philip Russell (Germany) – former president of OSA and leader in the field of photonic crystal fibers, h-index: 86;
  • Prof. Michael Graetzel (Switzerland) – Millennium Technology Prize laureate, 3rd most cited chemist in the world, h-index: 207;
  • Prof. Xi-Cheng Zhang (USA) – one of the best known researchers of THz technologies, h-index: 70;
  • Prof. Eugenio Coccia (Italy) – co-author of the gravitational waves discovery, h-index: 43;
  • Prof. Naomi Halas (USA) – one of the leaders in the field of plasmonics and the use of nanoparticles in cancer treatment, h-index: 106.
  • Prof. Robin Lovell-Badge (UK) – active scientist and policy maker in the field of genetics, h-index: 66;
  • Prof. Frederik Clayessens (UK) – novel material creator by using various light sources, h-index: 23;
The importance to motivate young minds to pursue their scientific path is of an extreme importance, the students are the force who is pushing the motors of science. It seems that taking attention of over 5000 science enthusiasts coming to the conference venue and watching lectures online – let’s us make the assumption the conference did it’s job. It was the biggest scientific conference in the Lithuania.


The full program and more pictures of the event can be found at: http://www.openreadings.eu/


Keeping Up with Chemists

Konferencijos_CCT_zenklas_RGB.cdrConference „Chemistry & Chemical Technology 2016“ (CCT 2016) took place in Lithuanian Academy of Science on April 28-29, 2016. It was dedicated to the 210th anniversary of the electrolysis theory proposed by Theodor von Grotthuss, who had lived in Lithuania for many years. European Physical Society Young Minds Section of Vilnius University (EPS YM Vilnius) successfully took part in the organising by helping Lithuanian Chemistry Society with sharing the knowledge of conference management and even presenting some or at least listening to our neighbors’ presentations from the field of chemistry and chemical sciences.

260 scientists from variety of countries took part in CCT 2016, moreover, a big number of young researchers were among the participants, thus it was a great chance for EPS YM Vilnius to connect and discuss future possibilities in both out-reach and research. The first day was dedicated to electrochemistry, while the second one for other areas of chemistry. The newest research was presented by known European electrochemists from Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, and Sweden. The conference chair discussed the development of the electrochemistry in Lithuania in XX century in his presentation. As mentioned before, Theodor von Grotthuss is believed to be very influential scientist who actually also had some impact in physics as well, in addition to scientific presentations one of the professors introduced the audience to Grotthuss’ works. The speakers from Vilnius University, Kaunas University of Technology, FTMC and industrial representatives presented their research in organic, inorganic, polymer synthesis, applied chemistry, nanotechnology and chemical technology. The total of 6 keynote lectures, 11 invited presentations and 12 oral presentations were given in the conference. More information can be found at the conference website http://cct2016.ftmc.lt.

Chemistry and chemical technologies are very important part of the scientific world. Great advancements have been made in recent years so huge potential for interdisciplinary research and collaboration between physicists and chemists arise. The benefits are hoped to be felt in the number of chemists participating in the international conference for physics of natural sciences “Open Readings” as well.

Café Scientifique – Seminars Prior International Conference “Open Readings 2016”

IMG_20160223_200947“Open Readings” conference has always been accompanied by social events which aim to reach not only students and researchers, but a wider audience as well. This year there were 3 additional informal lecturers (“Cafe Scientifique”) prior the conference. They were held in a local pub and attracted a great number of people. Such outreach is essential in attracting wider audience and people from outside of the scientific disciplines. During these events these presentations took place:
• On 23rd of February Prof. Dr. Gintautas Tamulaitis spoke on current issues in material science and latest innovations in light emitting diodes.
• On 1st of March Dr. Mangirdas Malinauskas shared his experience in combining laser technologies and 3D printing.
• On 8th of March Prof. Dr. Daumantas Matulis explained the a hard-path of exploring the potential ways to create drugs.

While expected around 200 participants, outcame was amazing with almost 300 enthuasiasts. The impact of this event was also felt during the conference as number of people outside of the campus have visited the lecturers and sessions.

The conference istelf gathered more than 300 young minds in order to create an ecosystem of learning and sharing the experience. It took place on 15-18th of March in Vilnius, Lithuania connected students from all over Europe working in a variety of thrilling topics: from optics and laser physics to the latest applications in biomedicine. Each day consisted not only of oral and poster session, but lectures and social events as well. Participants had a chance to listen to amazing plenary lectures given by well-known high-level specialists. In case you missed the conference, you can check the lectures in our Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLy4mApKrdtBU5ZGjYTCaiOWcafe_wK3ul. During the conference there was also special live broadcast of a lecture given by Senior Astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and a recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics for discoveries supporting the big-bang model – prof. John C. Mather! The conference becomes a great tradition and everyone is welcome to start scheduling their next spring for the 60th international conference for students of physics and natural sciences “Open Readings 2017”, which will take place on 14-17th of March, 2017 in Vilnius, Lithuania! And probably some Cafe Scientifuque event prior as well!

Seminars and Workshops on General Theory of Relativity

Seminar2The activity of weekly seminars and workshops was launched and continues successfully. Starting from January, 16 theory seminars and 7 workshops of exercises solving were held, covering first 3 chapters of book “Spacetime and Geometry. An Introduction to General Relativity” by Sean Carroll. For administration, advertisement and proper book-keeping of the activity, the website of the seminars has been created (http://www.tfk.ff.vu.lt/seminarai/english-gr-seminars/). At the end of the seminar, the seminars attracted 8 regular attendees and more occasional ones. Most of them were master/PhD students of Faculty of Physics. YM section has analyzed the feedback opinions of the participants and came to conclusion, that this subject is very exciting but also extremely tough for bachelor students and this has limited the number of attendees. The activity budged was spent as planned: we have purchased 2 books “Spacetime and Geometry. An Introduction to General Relativity” and snacks for attendees. The lecture notes were prepared and printed for each chapter at its end. Faculty of Physics of Vilnius University has provided auditorium and multimedia for the seminars. The activity will be continued during the next semester regardless of funding sources. The YM section of Vilnius University contributed to the activity by advertising the seminars in the faculty (by posters and emails in students’ mailing lists). 2 chapter members were regular attendees of the seminars and 4 chapter members were occasional attendees. As the seminars were quite popular, the talks between the chapter and faculty administration about possibilities of changing the status of the seminars to a credited regular student course has been started. If successful, the main goal of this activity will be reached.

Lectures on light & light technologies

2015_Vilnius_Lectures_IYLLithuania can be proud of advancements in lasers, optics and photonics and the interest is wide-spread in society. However there is a lack of high quality seminars, lectures which are open and known for the society. Thus, the Vilnius YM Section offered a cycle of seminars together with solutions of improving the spreading of information and the availability to general audience.

The lectures took place during the international conference for students of physics and natural sciences Open Readings 2015 which is accessible for everyone and is already well-known to students of Vilnius University. However, we thought that reaching full audience is not enough, while there are thousands of people in the internet who would love to see this kind of lectures as well. In total we managed to have 6 lectures starting from physics of the everyday life the lectures covered a variety of topics: nano-structuring, spectroscopy, light emitting diodes, lasers and optical stimulation of neurons and the essence of astrophysics – the black holes. Usually in this international conference topics are not always connected with optics or light sciences, but as this year is the International Year of Light it was a great opportunity to design everything in order to honor the celebration.

Most of the lectures on light and light technologies can be accessed online on the Open Readings web:
• “Move into Nano-World by Femtosecond Lasers” by Wolfgang Kautek
• “Ultrafast processes explored by spectroscopy” by Mikas Vengris
• “From Nanopowder Science to Next Generation Lasers” by Gregory J. Quarles
• “Optical Stimulation of Neurons” by Paul R. Stoddart
• “Supermassive Black Holes and Their Galaxies” by Kastytis Zubovas

This way the number of potential attendees was assured to be as high as possible. We believe that people who attended or watched the lectures improved their theoretical knowledge and got the best look at applications. Lectures increased the awareness of light technologies in general and the importance of International Year of Light was spread as widely as it could be!

Lectures and workshops on scientific publishing

2015_Vilnius_SCIENTIFIC PUBLISHING_01Most of the section members or students of Faculty of Physics, Vilnius University in general are in the earliest stages of their scientific careers, thus, only a few of us are familiar with scientific publishing, taking into account both the concepts (f.e. scientific paper composition and process of peer reviewing) and the technical part (manuscript preparation, reference managemen). During the activity, lectures of invited speakers (“How to publish your manuscript” by Peter E. Andersen and “How to publish your manuscript: Editorial point of view” by Rachel Won) and chapter members (“Introduction to scientific publishing using LaTeX” by Vytautas Butkus) were held.

The lectures of the invited speakers took place during the “Open readings 2015” conference and attracted around 200 participants, including members of the section and faculty staff. The lecture by Vytautas Butkus was attended by ~20 people, excluding the chapter members. There also were several workshops, where the chapter members and the faculty students were introduced to LaTeX/LyX scientific text preparation tools. Some of the attendees were involved into development of lecture notes of the “Mathematical Physics” subject. The lecture notes were printed and distributed and the selected books about scientific publishing were bought. Workshops were continuously attended by 3-to-5 chapter members and ~5 students. The participants were introduced to many different tips and tricks in scientific publishing. In the lecture and workshops, led by the chapter members, participants were introduced to the history and specificity of the scientific publishing (journals, use of language, publishing and peer review process, etc.) as well as to LaTeX/LyX tools for scientific documents preparation.

This event provided a great understanding of the publishing process, essential skills and practical applications. OSA and SPIE Student Chapters of Vilnius University also played a huge role in the funding of this activity. The funding was used to reimburse the travel expenses (flight tickets, airport transfer and local transport cost and the accommodation cost) of our main lecturer – the editor of Nature Photonics, Rachel Won. We have also bought several books on scientific writing: “Trees, maps and theorems” by Jean-luc Doumont, “The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing” by Richard Dawkins and “The Craft of Scientific Writing” by Michael Alley. They are held in our special Students Scientific Association library and are open for every young mind.

youtubeLook here the video of Rachel Won talk “How to Publish Your Manuscript”!

 

International Students Conference

2015_Vilnius_Intern_Conference_01International scientific conference for students of physics & natural sciences “Open Readings 2015” took place in Lithuania, Vilnius on 24-27th of March, 2015. This year we had almost 300 participants from all over the Europe (Belarus, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Spain, etc.) and a program rich of invited lecturers and social events, which gathered more than half of thousand visitors from local research institutions, companies and society in general.

The newly established EPS YM Section of Vilnius University took a big role in this conference. The goal of this conference is to create an ecosystem for learning and spreading the knowledge with a great atmosphere for everyone while improving and delivering young minds to the scientific path of life. The pursuit of this goal was deeply strengthened from the social side. In other words professional development was at high level during oral and poster sessions and is true that sessions create the base for the conference, but social activities including coffee-breaks make the atmosphere, so this grant was directed towards the conference coffee breaks.

All members of EPS YM Section of Vilnius University had their impact in the preparation and were present during the four days of the conference. The growth of the submissions from last year number of 200 to 300 including some submissions from fellow EPS members was quite surprising and of course it would not have been the same without the support from EPS. The expected outcomes were reached as students successfully presented, shared and explored the beauty of the science.

The granted amount was properly used together with the additional support from Center for Physical Sciences and Technology for six coffee breaks during the span of this international conference. The EPS YM Section of Vilnius University is hopeful of continuing the work next year and making the EPS impact visible once again!