In 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.