The Naples Young Minds (YM) EPS section hosted the IONS 2016 meeting, held in Naples from 6th to 8th July 2016. IONS the International OSA Network of Students, was started in 2007 by the Optical Society (OSA). The network is open to all young scientists working in the fields of optics and photonic.
This year, in the OSA centennial, the meeting was organised by the Physics and Optics Naples Young Students (PONYS), which is also the Naples Young Minds section. The co-organiser was the Physics Department of the University of Naples Federico II. The meeting was supported by the EPS YM project, the Italian Physical Society, the Institute of Applied Science and Intelligent Systems, and the Italian Society of Optics and Photonics.
A three-day conference, with more than 70 participants from 15 nations and 7 international invited speakers. Their talks, alternating with those of the students, led to 6 thematic sessions, in which young people got to speak with experts, in an informal setting. The two Italian invited speakers were Prof. Alberto Diaspro, Director of the Department of Nano-physics of the Italian Institute of Technology, and Prof. Raffaele Velotta of Naples Physics Department, who respectively spoke of super resolute microscopy and biosensors. Among the international speakers, Prof. Arti Agrawal of City University London spoke of simulations and Prof. Claude Fabre of the Pierre et Marie Curie University of Paris spoke on quantum optics. A special session was also dedicated to professional development, with a series of talks designed to illustrate how the participation in learned societies activities may be an alternative to accompany the ordinary academic offer.
The conference was held in the monumental church of Santi Marcellino e Festo in the historic centre of Naples. Deconsecrated in 1809, from 1907 the church is heritage of Federico II University.
The participants were involved in various social events, targeted to promote networking and even to present the Italian and Neapolitan culture. The visit of the Physics Department optical laboratories was followed by a concert of Ars Nova Naples, a local folk music group.
The importance of the support that young scientists can receive from learned societies is indisputable. Conferences like IONS are an interesting example of events with high level content, with opportunities for professional growth for the students that organised for students themselves.