The 2018 Plastic Electronics Winter School featured two invited speakers, 6 PE-CDT academic talks, 2 external invited talks, and 14 student talks.
In total, 30 students, 3 postdocs, and 7 PE-CDT academics, two external invited speakers, and two members of the PE-CDT admin team took part in this year?s Winter School. Attendees came from five different universities, from three countries. We were delighted to welcome Prof Christoph Brabec (Erlangen University) and Prof David Beljonne (University of Mons) to give tutorial talks on their research.
This year, the group project brief was to design and deliver a science busking activity that explains a scientific concept related to plastic electronics. Congratulations to the winning team: Adam Wright, Bob Xu, Joel Luke, Yifan Dong and Francesco Salerno! They performed and music and dance routine to explain how a solar cell works. Huda Ahli, Sam Hillman, Dave Stringer and Becky Kilmurray won second prize for their ?Time of Finding? game. And third prize went to Lucky Mohan, Matt Bidwell, Sebastian Pont and Saurav Limbu for adapting ?Romeo and Juliet? to explain trap states in materials.
There were also prizes for the best student talks. These were voted for by all participants. Congratulations to Luke Salter and Matyas Daboczi for joint first prize, and to Sam Hillman for the runner up prize!
Matthew Bidwell, Lucky Mohan, Saurav Limbu, Sebastian Pont
In general most science busking/outreach events focus on simple experiments to explain complex scientific principles. A metric often used for how successful an outreach event is overall attendee number or number of ?impressions? made. It can be difficult to draw in an audience with a static set-up and we found a dynamic performance can help with this problem. Our group decided to explain the concept of recombination in organic solar cells through the story of Romeo and Juliet. This was great fun and also very interactive, with Piers and Steph very sportingly acting as our very own star-crossed lovers for the performance. Many thanks to both! It was wonderful to be able to meet with so many PhD students and researchers from across the CPE and we were very lucky to have BergÃ¼n as our beautiful home for the week.
The PE-CDT Winter School in my opinion was a fantastic opportunity for learning a lot from the invited and academic speakers and also from the student?s talks and at the same time for strengthening the relationship with all the members of CPE being present. This was taken to a new level with doing all this in the small town of BergÃ¼n, with the houses covered in half meter snow and being surrounded by beautiful mountains. I felt that this gave a new and pleasant atmosphere to all the activities we did together, it was easier to concentrate on the presentations and more free to interact, ask questions.
It was amazing to ski together with some of the academics in the afternoon and discuss exciting scientific questions the next morning. It was great to get to know a bit more the students in the cohort above, which after returning back to Imperial resulted in a friendlier environment to work in and also in some new collaborations. Altogether the winter school was a lasting experience enriching a lot both my personal and scientific life.
Sam Hillman, Huda Ahli, Becky Kilmurray, Dave Stringer
I didn?t come to the 2018 winter school with too many pre-conceptions, but I definitely didn?t expect to get to know so many people from the CPE. The week hugely boosted inter-cohort relations beyond anything achieved by any other CPE event, with a number of potential collaborations fixed up by the time we returned to the UK. There was also plenty of time to enjoy talking to the CPE academics, both socially and in a work context, with students and professors alike mixing during meals and coffee breaks. The talks, on a wide range of topics, were excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed them all ? Piers Barnes? Monty Python-inspired discussion perhaps the most memorable!
Set again in the beautiful BergÃ¼n, the largest snowfall for decades was also a good excuse to get outside and enjoy the mountains! The highlight had to be BergÃ¼n?s famous sledging runs, which we tried at night for an unforgettable experience. Overall, work and play were both fantastic and I?m already looking forward to returning in two years time!
I very much enjoyed winter school on both an academic and personal level. I made many connections that would have otherwise never have been made, and now have a much better idea of who in the CPE does what, and who to go to if I need help with a specific technique. I was really impressed by people?s desire to talk about their research, their ideas and their expertise during the free and social times, and definitely enjoyed some of these conversations myself. Winter School has definitely accelerated and expanded a collaboration I have with some members of the McCulloch group, which will hopefully really help my current research. The academic talks were very good, and although were less tutorial-like than I was expecting, were relevant and engaging. BergÃ¼n is a beautiful place, and I feel very privileged to have been taken on such a trip; skiing has always been something that I have wanted to do! I really enjoyed working with new people on the outreach project, and thought the last afternoon, in which we shared our projects and ideas, was a really good end to the week, it is a shame that most of the ideas will probably never get put in to practise!
It was probably the best week I have had during my time at Imperial!
The 2018 winter school has been one of the most exciting experience I went through during my whole period as student at the Imperial College. Seminars, group works and leisure activities alternated without interruptions in the fantastic frame of the white Bergun, Switzerland. I loved the dinner all together, students, post-docs and lecturers, which allowed us to socialize and network outside our ?comfort zone?.
The best part, however, was the experience of the group project. Split in groups, in the free time (between the demanding skiing and ice skating?), over the whole week we carried on a plan to bring a scientific outreach activity on the street: a science busking! All the groups came up with incredibly creative and engaging ideas, from the Romeo and Juliet inspired drama to explain the solar cell functioning, to new science-inspired sports, to visual games and holograms able to catch immediately the attention of the audience! I think that these moments have taught us to be aware of our skills outside the mere academic world and reminded us that, all in all, the best learn to learn science is? playing games!
My experience at the winter school exceeded my expectations in almost every way. Firstly, whilst the quality of the science was as I expected I was particularly pleased with the level of interest that everyone showed for each other's project. For instance in my case to be able to present my ideas, which are normally discussed primarily with bioengineers, to a diverse range of chemists, solid state physicists and materials scientists was exceptionally useful as the questions, feedback and resulting conversations on potential collaborations I received really helped me evaluate in a new light and progress my own ideas about the project direction.
Secondly, I was pleasantly surprised with how well everyone integrated and can honestly say that I now socialize with a number of people in other cohorts as a direct result. Finally, as someone who has never gone skiing before I thoroughly enjoyed my numerous attempts to get down the mountain and will certainly be back on the snow as soon as I can!
The most striking thing about this year?s winter school for me was the synergy between cohorts 6 and 8. In contrast to last time, I left having spoken to every member of cohort 8 and having made several good acquaintances. Despite my initial misgivings, I came to greatly enjoy planning our interpretive dance outreach project, and was very happy for my team members when we won a prize. It was a memorable end to a week that had the perfect balance of sledging and science!
Although the time has come to the evening of my PhD, it is in fact my first time joining the CPE Winter School. Bergun is a breathtakingly beautiful place, a hidden gem tucked away from major tourist attractions. Over the five days I thoroughly enjoyed the snow and love the variety of sports such as cross country skiing and sledging. In the night, sledging down the world?s longest track is a lifetime memory. On the second day some friends and I took the train to St Moritz, spent the entire afternoon skiing up and down the finest Alpine slopes. These five days in Bergun has no doubt been the best experience I ever had among the Alps.
Winter School to me is a physical challenge as much as an intellectual one. Apart from sports, there were interesting talks in the mornings and evenings. I was amazed by the quality of the work presented by the young scientist from Cohort 9, and felt much inspired to collaborate with many of them. Straight after the winter school, Matyas kindly showed me the much-desired Ambient Photoemission Spectroscopy (APS) in Physics, and in return I delivered several successful X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) sessions on his perovskite samples. I also helped Saurav and Li with their material characterisations, utilising the best available equipment in the Department of Materials. Overall, I enjoyed every bit of the Winter School, and especially would like to thank Lisa and Steph for their efforts in organising such meaningful trip.
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