From 24 to 29 August 2014, physicists from all areas of the condensed matter community met at the Pharmacy Faculty of Paris Descartes University, in the very heart of the French capital, for the 25th conference of the EPS Condensed Matter Division [EPS CMD], CMD25. On this occasion, CMD25 was organized jointly with the French Physical Society SFP’s 14th “Journées de la Matière Condensée” [JMC14], a fruitful collaboration that resulted in a bolstered attendance of well over 1000.
Under the title “Condensed Matter Physics in Paris 2014”, CMD25 covered topics ranging from biophysics to quantum computing in 38 symposia, or “mini-colloquia”, organized in a bottom-up fashion by the main actors of the respective communities. The symposia were complemented by a series of very well-attended plenary and semi-plenary talks, in which invited speakers from a host of European countries exposed the latest trends and developments in condensed matter physics. All sessions drew large audiences of senior researchers and graduate students alike, which resulted in fruitful discussions and a very productive working atmosphere.
Among the highlights of Condensed Matter in Paris were the three Forum discussions on Physics Publishing, hosting the Editors-in-chief of four major physics journals, on physics and entrepreneurship, with the enthusiastic participation of young physicists that had started their own company, and on Gender Issues in physics. The forums exposed the need for more reflexion and more discussion on such general issues, that both affect the manner in which we function as physicists and how physics impacts the world around us. Discussions were held with the active participation of Gene Sprouse, APS Editor-in-Chief, Frances Saunders, IOP president, Alain Fontaine, SFP president, and Christophe Rossel, EPS president-elect.
Wednesday 27 August saw the award of the 2013 and 2014 Ancel prize of the SFP Condensed Matter Division to Odile Stéphan (Paris-Sud University) and Olivier Pouliquen (Université Aix-Marseille) respectively; of the Franco-British Holweck prize to Ramin Golestanian of Oxford University, and, of course, the EPS Europhysics prize to Harold Hwang, Jochen Mannhart, and Jean-Marc Triscone for their revolutionary work on oxide interfaces.
Key to the success of Condensed Matter in Paris 2014 are a global approach, encompassing all areas of condensed matter physics, a bottom-up organization, its interdisciplinary nature, and its accessibility, both in the geographical sense and concerning the modesty of the registration fees. The large and enthusiastic participation clearly echoes the need to confirm CMD as one, if not the European key condensed matter physics rendez-vous in years to come.