Child friendly networking for nano researchers

Top scientists with toddlers in the knee. Professors who play with cars. Varied with useful lectures and poster shows. Everything was possible on the community building event for the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Area of Advance at Strandbaden in Falkenberg, 21-23 August.

The sun was shining over the beautifully located facility when we struck down during the first day of the network meeting. On the agenda were lectures with, among others, Peter Nordlander, Professor of Theoretical Physics at Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA, Fredrik Höök, Professor of Biological Physics at the Department of Physics, Witlef Wieczorek, Assistant Professor at the Quantum Device Physics Laboratory at MC2, and Åsalie Hartmanis, CEO of the network organization SwedNanoTech. But there was also time to dip the toes in the ocean next to the nearby seafront.

Many of the participants we spoke with greatly appreciated the invited guest lecturers.

Janine Splettstößer, Associate Professor at the Applied Quantum Physics Laboratory at MC2, looked forward to knowing more about what is happening in the Area of Advance.
"It's good to get an overview of all activities, to be able to interact and get feedback. I also have my own poster for the exhibition", she said.

Janine had brought her two children with her. In a corner of Strandbaden's restaurant, Witlef Wieczorek sat preparing for tomorrow's lecture while entertaining the toddlers.
"My own children stayed at home, so I do not take responsibility for these. I'm just enjoying the best of their characteristics", Witlef laughed, apparently something as sympathetic as a top scientist with the children's mind left.

Jie Sun and Andreas Dahlin.

In the spacious lecture hall, Jie Sun, Associate Professor at the Quantum Device Physics Laboratory at MC2, and Andreas Dahlin, Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, were waiting for the program to continue with Åsalie Hartmani's lecture.
"It's fun with the invited lecturers. They give a chance to learn something new", said Andreas Dahlin.
Jie Sun agreed:
"The presentations so far have been very good. I liked Peter Nordlander's lecture; it contained very good guidance for me. I also like the poster format, the exhibitions are always a good opportunity to talk with people", he said.

Åsalie Hartmanis (above) is the CEO of the Swedish umbrella organization for nanotechnology companies, SwedNanoTech. She went to the network meeting to tell about new possibilities of nanotechnology.
"My role is to be the spider in the network between society and science. What is the next step in getting nanotechnology in key areas of society?", she said.
She encouraged participants to contact her and SwedNanoTech in different channels:
"Call me or email me if you want to discuss matters that are important to you. See you on the web, on Twitter and Facebook", said Åsalie Hartmanis.

During the three days, about 60 posters were exhibited and judged by a jury consisting of Peter Nordlander and Katarina Edwards, Professor of Analytical Chemistry at Uppsala University. The researcher behind each poster had to give an elevator speech in front of the jury for 60 seconds. The three best posters were awarded a prize of SEK 5,000 each, to be used for conference trips.
On Wednesday morning, prizes for best posters were awarded to Xueting Wang, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Battulga Munkhbat, Department of Physics, and Saba Atefyekta, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

On Wednesday, Arne Sjögren's award for best doctoral dissertation in the nano area 2016 was awarded to Jelena Lovric from the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

It was the seventh network meeting organized for the researchers of the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Area of Advance. This time, up to 150 people participated. At the forefront of power, director Bo Albinsson (above), Professor of Physical Chemistry at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and co-director Göran Johansson, Professor of Applied Quantum Physics, and Head of the Applied Quantum Physics Laboratory at MC2.
"The community building event is an important meeting place for us nano researchers. We meet annually to exchange knowledge of each other's research and to build a strong community between all nano scientists at Chalmers. This has proved very successful by the emergence of several, for Chalmers new, strong research areas. In addition, it is nice to hang out with senior colleagues and doctoral students from other institutions", said Bo Albinsson.

Kevin Marc Seja, Daniel Andrén and Milene Zezzi Do Valle Gomes.

Event organizers Kevin Marc Seja, PhD student at MC2, Daniel Andrén, PhD student at the Department of Physics, and Milene Zezzi Do Valle Gomes, PhD student at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, had been working on the event since March. They were happy when we had a chat in a coffee break:
"Everything was very loose at the beginning, but then the pieces fell in place and now everything is under control", they told.
Kevin, Daniel and Milene, represent three different departments at Chalmers, and are all at the beginning of their graduate education. In one way, the trio symbolizes the spirit with the Areas of Advance, established by Chalmers former president and CEO Karin Markides 2009:
"​We have established a unique concept of Areas of Advance, which involves an ever-changing, ongoing exchange of expertise across disciplines, between students and teachers, and alongside partners from industry and society – beneficial to all."

Text and photo: Michael Nystås

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Published: Mon 04 Sep 2017.