Young Ukrainian physicists who fled the war took part in DPG Spring meetings

By . Published on 20 July 2017 in:
July 2017, News, , , ,

This article highlights the difficult conditions in which physicists (and other scientists) from the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces are as a consequence of the military conflict in eastern Ukraine that has caused more then 10,000 deaths and over 25,000 injuries.  Indeed, the refugees from these provinces have the official status of ‘internally displaced persons (IDP)’ and  scientists  from the region have been relocated to government-controlled areas. The life of the refugees, scientists and university teachers, is very hard and many people outside Ukraine are not aware of this dramatic situation.

At the end of 2014, when it became clear that the military conflict would drag on for a long time, the Executive committee of the Ukrainian Physical Society (UPS) decided on the urgent need for aid to IDP physicists particularly young ones. Very soon it got a letter from the Chief Executive of the German Physical Society (DPG) Dr. Bernhard Nunner in which he proposed to nominate three young physicists for the participation in one of the 2016 DPG Spring Meetings. The visit was supported by the German foundation “Stiftung Dr. Karl Mey Stipendien” whose trustee is the DPG.

The unanimous decision of the UPS Executive committee was to launch a related call just for young physicists from Donetsk and Luhansk provinces who had to leave their homes and move to the central regions of the country. As a result, three young women participated in the meeting in Regensburg and Hannover in March 2016. The visit was recognised as successful by both societies and, as a result, there was a new invitation for 2017 DPG Spring Meetings signed by Prof. Rolf-Dieter Heuer, the DPG President. And again, three young IDP physicists took part in the DPG meetings in Dresden and Bremen.

Both visits made a deep impression on the young colleagues. I want to quote only a part of the message by Dr. Oleksii Barybin from the Donetsk National University relocated to Vinnytsia: “International communication with other scientists has inspired me to further work… I would like to note the atmosphere of friendliness and goodwill as during solving organising issues as in personal communications. In general, it was very impressive. It may sound funny but when in the evening the conference organisers brought beer for poster sections, the communication level was more like “team building” rather than that at our conferences.”

The Ukrainian Physical Society highly appreciates the support of German colleagues and looks forward to further deepening and expanding cooperation between German and Ukrainian societies. We would be very thankful to other European physical societies for possible aid to IDP physicists in Ukraine.


Mikhail Belogolovskii
Ukrainian Physical Society
Vice-President, responsible for the aid to IDP physicists
e-mail: belogolovskii [at] ukr [dot] net

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