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Every year again: Physical Experiments in Advent

Posted By Gina Gunaratnam, Tuesday 19 November 2019

24 entertaining physics experiments will again be offered this year under the motto "24 more experiments until Christmas" in cooperation with several national and international physical societies and STEM initiatives. Many great prizes can be won.

"PiA - Physik im Advent" is an Advent calendar of a special kind: a physical Advent calendar. Behind every little door there is some education and fun. From 1st to 24th December, small physical experiments that can be carried out with standard household materials will be presented every day as videos by Mr. Santa or Ms. Santa. Participants do the experiments and answer a question on the PiA website. On the following day, there will be a solution video and, if the answer is correct, a point. At Christmas, all participants will receive individual certificates. Among the best participants, prizes will be raffled off in the categories of individual, school class or school, for which numerous donors have donated in cash or kind. In addition to iPods, books, and experimental kits, there will also be a trip to Dallas to watch NBA basketball games with Dirk Nowitzki. Anyone who registers at can participate. Registration is free and opens on 1st November, PiA starts on 1 December. Posters and flyers can be requested free of charge via the contact form on the PiA website.

„PiA - Physik im Advent" is aimed at children and young people aged between 11 and 18 years, and will take place for the seventh time in 2019. Last year, a new record was set with 40,000 registered participants, 49% of whom were girls, and 1.7 million visitors overall. All parents, teachers, students or adults interested in physical phenomena are invited to participate. "PiA - Physics in Advent" is intended to awaken in all people the joy of experimenting on one's own and offer entertainment and learning at the same time. The calendar is available in German and English.

The project is supported by numerous people from science, television or politics. The patron is the biophysicist and Nobel Prize winner Prof. Dr. Erwin Neher.

This year, for the first time, we also offer PiA news vie the messenger Telegram via the channel „PhysicsInAdvent“.

"PiA - Physik im Advent" is offered in cooperation with the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, the Wilhelm und Else Heraeus-Stiftung, the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG), the Österreichische Physikalische Gesellschaft (ÖPG), the Schweizer Physikalische Gesellschaft (SPS), the Netherlands' Physical Society, the European Physical Society (EPS), IUCAA (India), „Global Sphere“, „Science on Stage“, „Komm Mach MINT“ as well as „MINT Zukunft schaffen“. It takes place in cooperation with the successful project "Mathe im Advent" of the German Mathematical Society (DMV).

In order to facilitate the editorial work, the PiA team offers texts, audio and video material on the Internet at Further information is available on the website or on the social media channels:

Prof. Dr. Arnulf Quadt
Georg-August-University of Göttingen
II Physics Institute
Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1
37077 Goettingen, Germany

By the way, many journalists also enjoy "PiA - Physics in Advent"!

Tags:  DPG  EPS Member Societies  German Physical Sociey  outreach 

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Travel grants to attend ESOF2020 in Trieste

Posted By Gina Gunaratnam, Tuesday 29 October 2019

Travel grants are available from EuroScience for postdocs in any field of physics to attend ESOF2020 from 5-9 July 2020 in Trieste (IT).
More information can be found here:

The deadline to apply is 18 November 2019.

Tags:  2020  conference  ESOF2020  EuroScience 

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eLife on a global research effort: How do you run and share your research?

Posted By Administration, Tuesday 24 September 2019

Do you publish open access, post preprints, make your data readily available? All or none of the above? We’d like to hear from you. We’re asking researchers across the sciences to complete our survey into research practices. It’s our hope that the results will help us and other involved organisations to develop resources and policies in tune with the community needs.

Take the survey now

Tags:  research  survey 

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EPS Historic Sites in Belgium - watch the videos!

Posted By Gina Gunaratnam, Tuesday 20 August 2019

The Belgian Physical Society released videos about two EPS Historic Sites distinguished in Belgium.

On Thursday 23 May 2019, the Heilige-Geestcollege in Leuven, where Georges Lemaître lived and worked when he developed the Big Bang theory, received the prestigious Historic Site Award from the European Physical Society. At the occasion a new bike route dedicated to the Big Bang theory was festively opened. Details about the event can be found here.

On 24 October 2015, the European Physical Society [EPS], the Belgian Physical Society [BPS] and the International Solvay Institutes [ISI] honoured the Hotel Metropole in Brussels as EPS Historic Site.

Tags:  Belgian Pysical Society  Belgium  Big Bang  BPS  EPS Historic Site  EPS National Societies  Metropol  Solvay  video 

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International Day of Light 2019

Posted By Gina Gunaratnam, Monday 13 May 2019

On 18 May 2019, Mulhouse will celebrate the International Day of Light (IDL2019) with a series of workshops for adults and children.
The European Physical Society supports the event.

View the complete programme on the flyer below.

View the IDL2019 events worldwide:

 Attached Files:
ijl-definitif.pdf (614.81 KB)

Tags:  IDL2019  International Day of Light  IYL2015  Light  Mulhouse  outreach 

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The April 219 issue of e-EPS is out!

Posted By Gina Gunaratnam, Friday 26 April 2019
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The 2019 EPS PPD PhD Research Award is announced

Posted By Gina Gunaratnam, Tuesday 12 March 2019

The EPS Plasma Physics Division is happy to announce the winners of the EPS PPD PhD Research Award. The Selection Committee had following members : Alexander Andreev, Arutiun Ehiasarian, Enzo Lazzaro and Michel Chatelier.


The Selection Committee proposed 4 candidates for the award:

  • Giada Cantono
  • Eleanor Tubman
  • Francisco Javier Artola Such and
  • Michael Faitsch

Candidates and citations


Candidate: Giada Cantono

Nominator: Marco Borghesi

Title of PhD thesis: Relativistic plasmonics for ultra-short radiation sources

Univ./Inst:  Université Paris-Saclay and Università di Pisa

Citation: The thesis of Giada Cantono “Relativistic plasmonics for ultra-short radiation sources” demonstrates the opportunity of resonant surface plasmon (SP) excitation at ultra-high laser intensities by studying how such waves accelerate bunches of relativistic electrons along the target surface and how they enhance the generation of high-order harmonics of the laser frequency. Both these processes have been investigated with numerous experiments and extensive numerical simulations. Adopting a standard configuration from classical plasmonics, SPs are excited on solid, wavelength-scale grating targets. In their presence, both electron and harmonic emissions exhibit remarkable features that support the conception of practical applications. Putting aside some major technical and conceptual issues discouraging the applicability of plasmonic effects in the high-field regime, these results are expected to mark new promises to the exploration of Relativistic Plasmonics.


Candidate: Eleanor Tubman

Nominator: Nigel Woolsey

Title of PhD thesis: Magnetic field generation in laser-plasma interactions

Univ./Inst: University of York

Citation: In the thesis of Eleanor Tubman “Magnetic field generation in laser-plasma interactions” the primary focus is the understanding of the different mechanism of magnetic field production during laser-plasma experiments. The first one is from the by-product of launching asymmetric shocks. The second looks at the reconnection of magnetic fields between two laser focal spots and the third is from fields produced around a current carrying loop target The coupling of the laser energy into the shock wave is calculated to be 2%. It was experimentally demonstrate that when two laser spots are placed in close proximity reconnection occurs. Diagnostics, including proton radiography, X-ray detectors and an optical probe, record and diagnose the existence of a semi-collisional reconnection event. Magnetic elds are produced by driving a current through a loop attached to two plates and new measurements recording the voltages induced are presented in this thesis. Ideas for furthering this research to enhance our understanding in this area are given.


Candidate: Francisco Javier Artola Such

Nominator: Guido Huijsmans

Title of PhD thesis: Free-boundary simulations of MHD plasma instabilities in tokamaks

Univ./Inst: Université Aix-Marseille

Citation: The PhD works of Javier Artola address a central question for magnetic fusion energy, with major potential consequences for the next step device, ITER. In the standard operational regime of ITER, periodic relaxations (ELMs) of the edge plasma pressure may both affect plasma confinement and deteriorate plasma facing materials. Controlling these instabilities in a practical way is thus mandatory.

A major step toward this control is the development of an accurate and comprehensive numerical tool capable of describing the experimental observations and developing the adequate control scenarios for the future. This is the aim of the JOREK-STARWALL code, a free boundary simulation of MHD plasma instabilities coupled to the detailed tokamak structures where induced currents need to be calculated accurately.

The most visible result obtained in the frame of the PhD is the clear demonstration of ELM control by vertical plasma kicks which trigger ELMS. This result is fully explained by 3D simulations. Other important contributions relate to the development of halo currents in the machine structures when the plasma becomes vertically unstable. Javier Artola has made very general predictions for the halo currents development in ITER which will be very useful for minimizing their impact on the tokamak structures.

The prudent approach of Javier Artola of developing analytical codes in parallel to the full 3D simulations should be noted, giving confidence that the code predictions lay inside limits that can be justified.

The contribution of Javier Artola to the development of JORK-STARWALL, the code simulations of experimental results already accomplished and the application to the ITER geometry are outstanding achievements and give confidence that the magnetic fusion community has in hands a highly performing tool capable of assisting ITER operation since the beginning.



Candidate: Michael Faitsch

Nominator: Hartmut Zohm

Title of PhD thesis: Divertor Power Load Studies at ASDEX Upgrade and TCV

Univ./Inst: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, at Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik

Citation: The thesis work of M. Faitsch is well focused on the problem of the effect of magnetic perturbation breaking the axisymmetry of a tokamak on the heat flux pattern on the divertor target looking up to high performance scenarios, in L-Mode conditions as well as H-Mode. Attention is given to changes in steady state heat flux compared to heat flux without a magnetic perturbation present.

The questions specifically addressed by the author are all very meaningful for reactor oriented devices:

• How does the application of a magnetic perturbation change scrape-off layer heat transport?

• How does transport in the divertor region change the heat flux pattern on the divertor target in presence of an external magnetic perturbation?

• What are the differences between L-Mode and inter-ELM heat fluxes in presence of an external magnetic perturbation?

• How are ELM heat loads affected by the application of a magnetic perturbation?

The approach used in this work blends theoretical competence (and rigor) with concrete modeling of realistic situations (for AUG) with interesting technical proposals. The experimental results are new, to my knowledge and this research deserves encouragement to be continued and extended.

The conclusion that applying an external non axisymmetric magnetic perturbation leads to a major change in the divertor heat flux pattern and the inter-ELM and L-mode pattern is extremely important, practically and theoretically.


More information about EPS Plasma Physics Division and the award on the division's website:

Tags:  award  EPS Plasma Physics Division  EPS PPD  PhD prize 

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The 2019 EPS Statistical and Nonlinear Physics Prize are announced

Posted By Gina Gunaratnam, Monday 25 February 2019

The Statistical and Nonlinear Physics Division (SNPD) of EPS is happy to announce the winners of the two prizes of the Division:

The EPS Statistical and Nonlinear Physics Prize 2019 is awarded to:

  • Sergio Ciliberto (ENS Lyon) and
  • Satya Majumdar (Paris-Sud)

The EPS-SNPD Early Career Prize 2019 is awarded to:

  • Karel Proesmans (Hasselt) and
  • Valentina Ros (ENS Paris)
The prize award ceremony will be during the 2nd conference of the EPS Statistical and Nonlinear Physics Division at Nordita/Stockholm 7-11 May  2019. Visit the conference website here for more information.

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The first 2019 Vladilen Letokhov Medal goes to Ferenc Krausz

Posted By Gina Gunaratnam, Monday 11 February 2019
Updated: Thursday 14 February 2019

The first 2019 Vladilen Letokhov Medal, jointly presented by the European Physical Society and the Russian Academy of Sciences is awarded to

  • Prof. Dr. Ferenc Krausz, Director of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ) and Chair for Experimental Physics Laser Physics at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich.

The prize is awarded to Prof. Krausz “for his contribution to the development of high-field laser physics, in particular for pioneering attosecond physics, through which real-time views of electron motion in atoms, molecules, and solids have become possible”.

Ferenc Krausz studied Electrical Engineering and Physics in Budapest, received his Ph.D. and Habilitation in laser physics at the Vienna University of Technology (VUT) in 1991 and 1993, respectively, where he became full professor in 1999. In Vienna, he and his co-workers were able, for the first time, to generate and measure light pulses of attosecond duration. Since 2004, he has been director at MPQ and chair of experimental physics – laser physics – at LMU Munich, in Garching, Germany. He also founded the Centre for Advanced Laser Applications (CALA) in Garching, which he leads as director. With his seminal advancements in few-cycle laser technology, Ferenc Krausz and his team have pioneered the generation and application of ultrashort, intense optical light pulses with tailored waveform. These permit to reproducibly generate isolated attosecond pulses, and – together with them – to probe electron motion in atoms, molecules, and solids on their natural, attosecond-femtosecond timescale. Among the exciting applications of his work is the possibility to implement light-wave driven electronics for scaling ultrafast information processing to the petahertz regime. Furthermore, Ferenc Krausz and his team made seminal contributions to the development of high-peak and high-average power ultrafast laser systems with tailored light fields. These enable the generation of well-controlled high-energy photons, electrons and ions for novel applications in cancer medicine. His most recent efforts focus on evaluating the potential of infrared molecular fingerprinting of blood for early cancer detection.

Ferenc Krausz is a highly-cited scientist and has been named as Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate (Thomson Reuters, 2015). He has been awarded numerous honours and is a member of a variety of national and international scientific associations, such as OSA, the German National Academy, Leopoldina, and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

More info about the Vladilen Letokhov Medal on the EPS QEOD website

Tags:  2019  EPS AMOPD  EPS QEOD  EPS Quantum Electronics and Optics Division  prize  Vladilen Letokhov 

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EPS Plasma Physics Innovation Prize 2019

Posted By Gina Gunaratnam, Monday 4 February 2019

The EPS Plasma Physics Innovation Prize 2019 for technological, industrial or societal applications of research in plasma physics is awarded jointly to

  • Professor Hana Barankova and

  • Professor Ladislav Bardos

both of the Ångström Laboratory, Uppsala University, Sweden.

Hana Barankova and Ladislav Bardos have contributed significantly to the fundamental understanding, and to novel designs, of hollow cathodes and new processes leading to enhanced performance of functional thin films. Linear Arc Discharge (LAD) and Magnets in Motion (M-M) technologies have been patented, licensed, and adopted by industry. They have contributed significant novel work on environmental protection by the conversion of hazardous gases, and on the reduction of energy consumption in industrial processes  by means of plasma technology.

Among the several non-conventional high-density plasma sources which they invented or developed, the radiofrequency hollow cathode plasma jet (RHCPJ) deserves special mention. Their use of graphite cathodes has opened up new hybrid processes which combine plasma vapour deposition (PVD) and plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PE CVD). These have led to extremely high deposition rates, up to 2.5 microns per minute, of amorphous carbon coatings that have good adhesion to insulators, without an interlayer.

They have recently developed a new magnetron with a magnetised hollow cathode enhanced target, which can enhance the TiN deposition by 50% compared to the deposition rate of Ti. The resulting stoichiometric coatings exhibit very high micro-hardness (up to 31.4 GPa) and a dense structure comparable with that of HIPIMS films. These findings are of a significant interest for upgrading conventional magnetrons.

They have made significant contributions both in reduced pressure and atmospheric plasma hollow cathodes. They invented the fused hollow cathode (FHC) cold atmospheric plasma source, which has an integrated open structure with flowing gas. Combination of the hollow cathode plasma with the microwave antenna was used in a new hybrid hollow electrode activated discharge source (H-HEADS). International patents have been granted on gas and surface treatment by FHC and on H-HEADS. Both sources have been exploited in many applications, from the surface treatment of heat sensitive substrates to the sintering of powders.

Their work on gas conversion for environment cleaning is noteworthy. Results in NOx + air confirmed that plasma can act as a 100% oxidation catalyst, without any additives and without any further heterogeneous catalyst. The conversion of CO2 to glassy deposits was achieved, thus suggesting a path for CO2 fixation. They performed field experiments at Vattenfall AB Värme and verified the results in the real environment.

Hana Barankova and Ladislav Bardos are also currently working on the use of plasma for hydrogen production in liquids. Results from their novel plasma source design confirm the highly efficient production of a hydrogen rich (65%) synthesis gas, from ethanol-water mixtures. The energy corresponds to 7 kWH per 1 kg of  hydrogen. They continue this applied research, in cooperation with  industry, for the development of a hydrogen-on-demand concept using renewable electric energy. The system can be also used for production of high value chemicals from low value feeds.


More info on the website of the EPS Plasma Physics Division

Tags:  award  EPS Plasma Physics Division  EPS PPD  Innovation Prize 

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