On 29-30 May 2015, the Institute of Photonic Sciences [ICFO] in Barcelona hosted the 4th EPS Young Minds Leadership Meeting. This meeting brings together the members of the Young Minds [YM] programme of the European Physical Society [EPS]. Started in 2010, it encourages young physicists to collaborate, developing scientific, networking and outreach activities. 22 YM Sections took part in the event, representing 12 countries: Portugal, Lithuania, Italy, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany, Ukraine, Spain, France, Hungary, Denmark and Poland.
As in previous editions, the meeting started with a general overview of the EPS YM project, its growing success and expansion over the past 5 years. 2014 was described as a key year in which the project boomed, due to wider promotion, carried out at the local level by the national societies. All the Sections had the opportunity to present their activities. Once again outreach remains the pillar of the YM activities, followed by events for professional development (schools, seminars, etc.) and networking events. The Physics League, YM Section of the University of Valladolid in Spain, won the 2015 Best YM Activity Award with an amazing outreach show on Physics and Superpowers. This year the prize was sponsored for the first time by the frontier letters journal EPL.
ICFO was one of the best places for the YM Leadership Meeting 2015, during the International Year of Light. Moreover, the institute offered an enviable palette of invited speakers that the young scientists had the opportunity to listen to and meet. Romain Quidant, leader of the Plasmon Nano-Optics Group, was invited to talk on “Nano-Optics: When light gets us into the nanoworld”. Niek van Hulst, leader of the Molecular nanophotonics group, gave an overview on the research at ICFO by more than 20 research groups, making the Institute one of the leading research centers in optics in the world. Finally Lydia Sanmarti-Vila, leader of the Knowledge & Technology Transfer Department, introduced ICFO’s outreach projects aimed to bring photonics closer to the society.
The EPS activities were presented in two interesting talks. Christophe Rossel, president of EPS, gave a plenary lecture providing his personal view of the relations between Physics and Society. David Lee, the EPS Secretary General, gave a talk about “The European Physics Community”, highlighting the importance of the YM project for the society itself, and the increasing need of interaction with European initiatives involved in policies for research.
Looking to the future, YM explored the possibility of activities aimed at developing countries. Lorenzo Giorgi, Executive Director Liter of Light Italy Barbara Capone, C.E.O. and project leader of Sunshine 4 Palestine, introduced the YM members to the world of physics for development, showing how physicists can work to help needy communities.
Further information and contacts to join the network are available on the EPS Young Minds website.