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15th European Solar Physics Meeting (ESPM-15)

By . Published on 23 October 2017 in:
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The 15th Conference of the ESPM Series was very successfully organised in the premises of Budapest’s Eötvös-Loránd University in early September 2017. The triennial meeting series brings together the European and a significant part of the international solar physics community for a week of intense interaction and debate that redefines, often reshaping, the field’s state-of-the-art. ESPMs are assigned to a local organizer via a highly competitive bidding process and are coordinated by the European Solar Physics Division (ESPD), a joint Division of the European Physical Society and the European Astronomical Society. The ESPD values highly the geographical distribution of ESPMs, having assigned their venues in twelve (12) different European countries so far.

snapshot of the popular entertaintment program during the conference dinner
snapshot of the popular entertaintment program
during the conference dinner

In terms of local organisation, Budapest’s ESPM-15 was well organised by an Eötvös University team. More than 220 participants from 33 different countries in Europe and abroad (including Azerbaijan, Brazil, China, Georgia, India, Iran, Japan, the Russian Federation and the USA) attended and participated in the deliberations. The gender balance was more than 1:3 for female participants, while 69 (~31%) participants were PhD students.

As is customary with ESPMs, the ESPD Board comprised the meeting’s Scientific Organizing Committee. The SOC shaped ESPM-15 around five distinct sessions, namely

  • Session 1: Solar Interior, Dynamo, Large-Scale Flows and the Solar Cycle
  • Session 2: The Solar Atmosphere: Heating, Dynamics and Coupling
  • Session 3: Fundamental Plasma Processes in the Solar Atmosphere: Magnetic Reconnection, Waves, Emission, Particle Acceleration
  • Session 4: From Radio to Gamma Rays: Near-Sun Manifestations and Triggering of Solar Flares and Coronal Mass Ejections
  • Session 5: Solar-Terrestrial Relations, Solar Wind, Space Weather and Space Climate

that all saw a significant abstract subscription. The week turned out to be quite dense, with the requested oral presentations covering available slots by more than 3:1. To allow sufficient time for contributed participation, each session featured a limited number of invited and instrument talks, while all members of the SOC delivered poster presentations.

During sessions, the state of the field was eloquently outlined by both oral presentations and posters, while talks on future ground- and space-based facilities showcased what the community will come to expect in terms of solar data over the next decade and beyond. The Board decided to encapsulate the meeting’s deliberations, inviting also pertinent contributions from non-attendees, into a Special Volume of the journal Advances in Space Research.

ESPM-15 was promptly declared an EPS Europhysics Conference, allowing tapping into EPS resources and support for its implementation.

Besides science, ESPMs have traditionally been venues for several key ESPD functions, foreseen in the Division’s statutes and bylaws. Central among those is the ESPD Business Meeting. During ESPM-15 the Business Meeting outlined the state of the Division and its interactions, both in-house, within the EPS, and internationally. ESPM-15 featured an invited talk suggested by the EPS Plasma Physics Division, a token of collaboration with an EPS entity sharing interests and expertise with the ESPD, and a report on the First China-Europe Solar Physics Meeting of May 2017, a highly promising initiative that enjoys a strong ESPD support. Most importantly, the ESPD Business Meeting oversaw the conclusion of the ESPD Board Election that resulted in a new Board with a fresh three-year mandate, until the next ESPM. The New Board composition is the following:

Officers:

  • President: Eduard Kontar (UK)
  • Vice President: Étienne Pariat (FR)
  • Secretary: Tiago Pereira (NO)
  • Treasurer: Istvan Ballai (UK)

Members:

  • Shaun Bloomfield (UK)
  • Ilaria Ermolli (IT)
  • Elena Khomenko (ES)
  • Emilia Kilpua (FI)
  • Jasmina Magdalenic (BE)
  • Ramón Oliver (ES)
  • Georgia Tsiropoula (GR)
  • Francesca Zuccarello (IT)

Co-opted Members:

  • Mats Carlsson (from EAST)
  • Manolis Georgoulis (former President)
  • Stefaan Poedts (from SWWT)

A coordinated effort many months ahead of the ESPM-15 brought another first for the ESPD: the implementation of community prizes foreseen in its statutes and bylaws since its establishment in 2008. These prizes include a PhD Thesis Prize, an Early Career Prize and a Senior Prize (more information and eligibility conditions at http://www.eps.org/members/group_content_view.asp?group=85203&id=641304 ). While nominations for the first two Prizes were evaluated and ranked by the ESPD Prize Committee, the Division appointed an external Committee of senior experts for the evaluation of the Senior Prize nominations. This Committee included Dr. Lidia van Driel-Gesztelyi (UK and FR), Prof. Marcel Goosens (BE), Dr. Nicole Vilmer (FR) and Prof. Loukas Vlahos (GR).

The first-ever ESPD prize winners, awarded during ESPM-15, are:

  • PhD Thesis Prize: Dr. Clara Froment (NO), for significant contributions to the solar coronal heating problem in the course of her PhD Thesis.
  • Early Career Prize: Dr. Natasha Jeffrey (UK), for significant contributions to the physics of solar flares and for inspiring outreach activities.
  • Senior Prize: Prof. Dr. Manfred Schüssler (DE), for his outstanding, lifelong scholarship in solar physics, his fundamental contribution to the study of solar magnetic fields and his school-forming influence on generations of solar physicists.

In addition, the ESPM-15 EPS Student Poster Prize was awarded to Mr. David Korda (CZ) for his work entitled “Combined Helioseismic Inversion for 3D Vector Flows and Sound-Speed Perturbations”.

The social functions and activities during ESPM-15 were just as diverse: starting with a hearty welcome reception, participants were split later in the week to enjoy a stunning Buda and Pest city tour, an excursion to a historic town at Budapest’s surroundings, a wine tour in Hungary’s most celebrated wineries or an adventure at Buda’s labyrinthine network of caves and natural subterranean carvings.  It all culminated into a delightful conference dinner aboard a Danube cruiser ship, surrounded by Budapest’s festive night lights. A popular musical performance and, of course, the ESPD Prize Ceremony, complemented the fine food and wine and the sparkling discussion. Good moods were kindled and made way for yet another memorable ESPM, generating confidence and optimism for the future of Europe’s solar physics community.

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new ESPD President, Eduard Kontar (center), with awardees Manfred Schüssler (right) and Natasha Jeffrey (left), SOC Chair Manolis Georgoulis and LOC Chair Istvan Ballai with his wife enjoying the show
new ESPD President, Eduard Kontar (center), with awardees Manfred Schüssler (right) and Natasha Jeffrey (left),
SOC Chair Manolis Georgoulis and LOC Chair Istvan Ballai with his wife enjoying the show

Manfred Schüssler in his short address, accepting the ESPD Senior Prize bestowed by the outgoing President, Manolis Georgoulis
Manfred Schüssler in his short address, accepting the ESPD Senior Prize bestowed by the outgoing President,
Manolis Georgoulis


  1. EPS Plasma Physics Division “PhD Research Award”: call for nominations
  2. 2017 EPS Statistical and Nonlinear Physics prizes awarded in Krakow

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EPS Executive Committee and Staff activities September 2017

The EPS works to support its members. Find below the list of activities of the EPS Executive Committee and staff last month:

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