In July 2017 Warsaw University of Technology Student Chapter, together with University of Warsaw Student Chapter and students from Military University of Technology organized an international conference on optics and photonics: OPTO 2017. The event takes place annually in Poland and is organized by students for students. This year – eleventh edition gathered 150 scientists from 25 institutions around the world. Main purpose of the event was to provide students and young researchers from (mainly) mid-eastern Europe a chance to present and discuss their latest scientific achievements. For many students, it was the first conference they attended and we wanted to be as inclusive as it is possible and enable everyone a possibility to attend. We were extremely happy to provide travel grants for students with a difficult situation for example from Ukraine.
Professional development plays a crucial role in the education of young researcher our conference started off with a whole day of workshops devoted to these issues. Attendees had a possibility to learn how to protect inventions during the lecture given by local patent agency JWP Patent & Trademark Attorneys. Later on, Nathalie Debaes from Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium) talked about technology transfer from university research teams to industry and how photonic innovations can impact companies. After those workshops, we held a special poster session – for scientific chapters. All of the optical chapter representatives from different Universities could present their activities and ideas. This exchange of experience inspired us to create new projects and cooperate with other sections. The next panel introduced students to the subject of effective communication of science and was lead by dr Carlos Lopez-Mariscal. The last presentation of the day was given by dr Danuta Sampson, who told us about the importance of ethics in science.
Next three days of the conference were related to optics and photonics. We aimed to establish a high scientific standard of the conference by inviting notable scientists from all over the world as Invited Speakers. This year, we had a pleasure to listen to lectures given by: prof. Małgorzata Kujawińska (Warsaw University of Technology, Fellow SPIE, 2005 SPIE President), prof. Paolo Villoressi (University of Padova – Italy), prof. Zeev Zalevsky(Fellow SPIE & OSA, Israel – Bar Ilan University), prof. Roberto Morandotti (Fellow SPIE, Fellow OSA Canada – Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique—Énergie, Matériaux et Télécommunications), prof. Allard Mosk (Utrecht University – Netherlands), dr F. Ömer Ilday (Turkey – Bilkent University), dr Alberto Amo (France – CNRS-Laboratoire de Photonique et de Nanostructures). Each of our guests told us about the newest accomplishments in their research field, which was incredibly educational and fascinating. During the meeting, young researchers got a chance not only to broaden their knowledge by attending interesting lectures but also to gain a very valuable experience in presenting their research and discussing it with specialists. Students gave 50 very innovative presentations and presented 60 posters during poster session. We were amazed by the professionality of presentations as well as by the range of fields of optics. Our conference also gathered local optical companies, so students could find out more about possibilities of employment or internships.
Our conference gathered young scientists passionate about the same field, so we believed that it was a great opportunity for networking. To help that happen every day we organized an evening event during which attendees had a chance to talk in unofficial atmosphere. As a welcome party, we invited everybody for bowling and pool. Next day we encouraged everyone to take part in our famelab and enjoy the company in a local pub. Because our conference took place in our beautiful city of Warsaw we also organized a guided tour of the capital of Poland. To officially close the conference we held a reception in the Polonia Hotel in the city center. During the banquette, we had a chance to award the best presentations, posters and chapter activity. It was also a great opportunity to summarize the meeting while enjoying a great atmosphere.
Although, we closed the official – scientific part of the conference we had a social day ahead of us. We chose to visit Copernicus Science Center and had fun with science whole day – because what’s a better way to finish the conference than flying on a magic carpet?
We believe that our conference was a great success, mostly because we managed to organize it entirely on our own. For us – organizing team it was a unique learning opportunity to work on this big project without a lot of prior experience. It taught us also a lot about teamwork and cooperation, especially as the event was co-organised by 3 chapters, each with its own ideas. Nevertheless, we know that by working together we were able to achieve much more and prepare better event. Now, that we know each other so well, we hope to collaborate on many projects in the future.
The success of the conference wouldn’t be possible without the help of all our sponsors and universities. Thank You!
More information about the conference at: www.opto2017.com