On June 2 – 3, the Deputy Director for Science of the ISSP UL, Dr.habil.phys. Andris Šternbergs participated in the 1st European Physics Society (EPS) Forum held at the International Conference Center of Sorbonne University (SU) in Paris, France. Prepared for more than a year with our Member Societies, Divisions, and Groups, the EPS Forum welcomed 487 participants, among whom were 184 students coming from 30 different countries.
The format of the EPS Forum included a series of conferences, round tables, and workshops on the following topics: energy and sustainability, accelerators, high-energy particle physics, nuclear physics, quantum technologies and photonics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, biophysics, technological sequencing of biomolecules and human health, condensed matter physics: from quantum materials to additive manufacturing.
The objective of the EPS Forum was to showcase the latest developments in the physics fields mentioned above, both from their potential links with the industry and current employment opportunities for young physicists and from the most recent achievements in fundamental science. The EPS Forum, therefore, dedicated two days to each of these goals.
Thursday, June 2nd, was devoted to the “physics meeting industry.” This meeting fostered direct exchanges between physicists - with a majority of the master, PhD students, postdocs, and early-career researchers as well as the stakeholders and managers of physics-based industrial companies. The day was opened by a plenary talk given by Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, and Youth, about filling the gap between science and innovation. More than 60 young scientists could present their research results during a long poster session.
Friday, June 3rd, hosted a scientific colloquium highlighting the latest achievements in physics by the most outstanding physicists in Europe and beyond. The morning session welcomed three laureates of the Physics Nobel prize, namely, Prof. Barry Barish from Caltech, USA, who talked about gravitational waves and the LIGO collaboration, Prof. Serge Haroche from École Normale Supérieure & Collège de France in Paris, who surveyed the history of quantum physics to its latest developments in applied research, and Prof. Michael Kosterlitz from Brown University, USA, who addressed theoretical and numerical issues on the solving of nonlinear partial differential equations. All along this second day, several round tables dealt with various societal topics, such as physics training and the gap between schools and universities, strengthening the EPS Member Societies through structures for mutual support, or the European Research Council (ERC) and Widening Participation of Eastern and Southern States, for which Andrzej Jajszczyk, ERC Vice-President for physics, was invited to give a talk.
In parallel to these two days, three hands-on sessions dedicated to quantum computing and a masterclass on scientific writing trained our students on these different topics. The Conference center patio housed 25 stands that experienced fruitful exchanges with students looking for job opportunities.
In summary, this first edition of the EPS Forum demonstrated the possibility of making all the EPS constituents regularly work over a year to arrive at a place and a time to promote the young generation of European physicists, to bridge the gap between academic research and industry, and to still advertise the latest developments in fundamental physics at the highest level. The Forum allowed all our community to meet and share mutual interests in a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere.