My experience of a conference

In the last post, which you can find here, Julia talked about being able to go to in person conferences. In two weeks we both went to Sandbjerg Gods for the InterCat retreat and then to Capri for the 2020 European Conference on Laboratory Astrophysics. She talked about how best to navigate a conference and some of the challenges faced getting used to meeting in person again. That means it is my opportunity to tell you about some of the science that we did on these trips.

I will start by talking about the retreat where there was a focus on the members of the different groups in InterCat meeting for the first time. This was the first time Julia and I met in person and was a brilliant chance to talk with people that I have never seen in 3D before. The other focus for this retreat was for us as a center to present our ideas so everyone could familiarize themselves with what the other members of the group aimed to research and how our projects fit in with the centers research aims as a whole.  We achieved this by listening to talks by some of the professors and postdocs about their previous research, which I found very interesting. As part of my research, I have read research papers the groups at Leiden have published and have spoken before with other members of the research group here at Aarhus. However, what I found particularly interesting was to listen to some of the things Bjørk Hammer’s theory group have been doing. I admit it is my fault I had not looked into their research as much as I could have, despite speaking to them every week! Their talks and presentations have given me a new way to look at my own research and how we would be able to work together in the future.

A part of the retreat was to do a poster presentation. Each PhD student had made and printed out a poster (actually Karin Vittrup our center administrator did all the work with the poster organization so thank you) about their research aims. Here are mine and Julia’s as an example!

Alfred Poster

Alfred’s Poster

Julia’s Poster

As you can see, we followed a template so each poster can be easily discussed and compared with one another. It was really good to be able to see what my colleagues plan to do and how we can work together. They are now placed on our corridor and in the lab so now the pressure is to live up to the aims we set ourselves! There will be another retreat next year where we will all be able to revisit our previous ideas and see how the research projects have evolved over this next year.

As we said, we also went to Capri for a conference where we spent a week engaging in scientific discussions, listening to scientists present their work and having less formal networking events. I found it to be a great opportunity to engage in the wider field of research for the first time and after listening to other people went away with new experimental ideas and ways I want to research. Of course it being on the beautiful island of Capri made the experience helped as you can see from these pictures.

The view from my hotel

Georgios taking a photo of the beautiful Capri

This has been a few weeks of intense scientific work but we have also been attempting to do some public outreach. This is a very important yet often overlooked part of being a scientist. To do this we have been making videos, which we will release when they are finished and upload here!

Despite now meeting Julia on two separate occasions, we have not managed/remembered to get a photo together! We managed to remedy that last week and so finally have proof, we know each other and are real people. Sadly we do not have Capri as a background but the InterCat coffee room will have to do for now!

Me and Julia in the coffee room

Posted by Alfred Hopkinson

A PhD student at InterCat studying the formation of organic molecules on carbonaceous grains.

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