This past week BSC Fusion was well-represented by Adriana Ghiozzi and Tomás Bensadon at the first-ever edition of the European Physical Society (EPS) Forum held in Paris, France. The event sought to promote collaboration and career development among young researchers, and stimulate economic recovery in technical sectors following the Covid-19 pandemic. The Forum featured a two-day lineup of plenary talks, panel discussions and poster sessions relevant to each of the EPS divisions and groups.
The theme of the first day was “Physics Meets Industry”, while the second was “A Scientific and Societal Colloquium”.
Of particular interest to Fusion Group attendees was a plenary talk on the morning of the first day given by Alberto Loarte, head of the Science Division at ITER. Loarte gave an overview of the physics basis for ITER along with an update on the progress of construction. He also took a moment at the end of his talk to express his gratitude to the late Dr. Bernard Bigot, the former Director-General of the project who passed away in mid-May. Finally, in the Q&A session following his talk he spoke about the long history of diplomatic collaboration in fusion research.
The Forum also featured an all-star lineup of recent Nobel Laureates, each of whom spoke about their contributions to physics in a plenary talk. Dr. Barry Barish, professor emeritus at CalTech and 2017 Nobel Prize winner for his contributions to gravitational wave observations gave an overview of the burgeoning field of gravitational wave astronomy and stated that, “There is a bright future in the coming decades and century for gravitational waves”.
Participants also heard from policymakers who work to promote research at the European level, including Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth and Andrzej Jajszczyk, Vice-President of the European Research Council. In her talk, Gabriel noted the importance of promoting industrial-academic mobility in the careers of European scientists and preserving the openness of scientific collaboration in a globally competitive world.
The Forum closed with an award ceremony in which Dr. Sara Bolognesi of the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) was named the Emmy Noether prize winner for summer 2021. The distinction recognizes a candidate’s outstanding efforts both in technical research and outreach to promote gender equality in science. Dr. Bolognesi accepted the award with an inspiring speech in which she encouraged young women in science to continue pursuing their goals despite the challenges they will meet along the way.
The next iteration of the EPS Forum has been announced for 2024 and will likely take place in Berlin, Germany. The Fusion Group is grateful to the organizers of the EPS Forum for facilitating a collaborative and vibrant event and looks forward to attending again in the future!