Review of the Joint Annual Meeting 2009 of SPS, ÖPG and ÖGAA in Innsbruck

The presidents of the three societies, the chair and some members of the organizing team give their impressions about this meeting in the following paragraphs.

The conference building...
...and a view over Innsbruck from its rooftop.
The presidents of the three societies open the conference: Prof. Sabine Schindler (ÖGAA), Prof. Erich Gornik (ÖPG) and Dr. Christophe Rossel (SPS).

This year’s joint meeting in Innsbruck was a great success in almost all aspects. With more than 600 participants, the critical mass was reached and it was demonstrated that an excellent conference can be achieved in spite of a wide spectrum of topics. Outstanding plenary talks, well attended parallel sessions and poster sessions were part of an attractive scientific program. At the joint award ceremony many prizes were attributed to the young laureates: three at the Swiss level (ABB, IBM and OC Oerlikon awards) and six main awards at the Austrian level, including in particular the Ludwig-Boltzmann Prize of the ÖPG. A scientific exhibit brought together not less than 14 company’s stands.

The success of this meeting must be attributed to the fruitful collaboration between the respective session chairpersons of the ÖPG, SPS and ÖGGA, in addition to the excellent work done by the organizing committee under the leadership of Professor Hans Briegel at the University of Innsbruck. We would like to thank here our Austrian colleagues for their great hospitality on the University campus and at the conference dinner, which took place at the Villa Blanka, overlooking the city of Innsbruck.

If we had to repeat such an experience, I think that a better participation from the Swiss side (about 150 participants) would be highly desirable and welcome.

Before passing the word to my colleagues from the other Societies, let me express my appreciation to the SPS committee members who spent time and effort in preparing this meeting. A particular warm thank you goes to Mr. S. Albietz at the SPS secretariat, who, among many other duties, collected all abstracts and registrations, edited the conference booklet, and organized with his staff the welcome desk at the conference.

Christophe Rossel, SPS President

 


Zum ersten Mal wurde eine gemeinsame Tagung der Schweizerischen Physikalischen Gesellschaft, der Österreichischen Gesellschaft für Astronomie und Astrophysik und der Österreichischen Physikalischen Gesellschaft durchgeführt. Damit setzen diese Gesellschaften ein klares Signal, dass Themen der Physik über die Grenzen eines Landes hinaus Bedeutung haben und man bereit ist, sich im Rahmen einer Leistungsschau der eigenen Physik mit dem Stand der Physik eines Nachbarlandes zu vergleichen. Eine gemeinsame Tagung stellt auch die Erkenntnisse und Leistungen der einzelnen Gesellschaft jenen der anderen gegenüber und ermöglicht damit eine Breite von Themen, die eine Gesellschaft eines Landes allein nicht abdecken kann.

Die Organisatoren der Tagung haben ein Programm zusammengestellt, das die Breite der Themen und die international anerkannten Leistungen in den einzelnen Gesellschaften in vorbildlicher Weise dargestellt haben. Insbesondere die Plenarveranstaltungen haben einen kompetenten und aktuellen Überblick über die Forschungsergebnisse mit hoher Qualität gegeben. Die Themen gingen von Energiefragen über neueste Erkenntnisse auf dem Gebiet der Atom- Clusterwechselwirkungen bis zur Kernphysik und der Physik von Nanostrukturen. Durch die große Zahl von Teilnehmern ist auch jene Atmosphäre in den einzelnen Sitzungen und Pausen entstanden, die zum Wissenschaftsaustausch und zu Kooperationen führen.

Die gemeinsame Tagung in Innsbruck war ein Markstein für die Weiterentwicklung der Tagungen der Österreichischen Physikalischen Gesellschaft. Sie hat den Wert, der in einer gemeinsamen Tagung steckt, klar aufgezeigt und für die Zukunft ein klares Signal gegeben und damit auch einen Qualitätsmaßstab für künftige Tagungen festgelegt. Die Österreichische Physikalische Gesellschaft bedankt sich bei der Schweizerischen Physikalischen Gesellschaft und der Österreichischen Gesellschaft für Astronomie und Astrophysik für die Zusammenarbeit und die vorbildliche Koordination bei der Tagung und hofft, dass es in Zukunft weitere gemeinsame Tagungen geben wird.

Erich Gornik, Präsident der ÖPG

 


The meeting was a big success from the point of view of the Austrian astronomers. Many of my colleagues assured me that the atmosphere was particularly lively and inspiring at this conference. There were several reasons for this. We heard many excellent plenary talks on many different subjects. Also the times before and after the sessions were very interesting, because we astronomers met many people that we rarely meet – and not only Austrian colleagues but also Swiss colleagues, that we meet even less. I had very stimulating discussions during the coffee breaks. It was also good to see the different science cultures - Austrian and Swiss, astrophysics and other branches of physics. And last but not least I would like to highlight here the excellent talks given by young prize winners. I must say that I was really impressed and this makes me very optimistic for the future.

At the end of the conference on Friday afternoon we had the annual meeting of the Austrian Society for Astronomy and Astrophysics. We concluded that this conference was a very successful experiment that should definitely be repeated.

Sabine Schindler, ÖGAA-President

 


Prof. Hans Briegel, chair of the organising team.

Mit mehr als 600 Teilnehmern und Teilnehmerinnen ist die gemeinsame Tagung auf eine Resonanz gestoßen, die uns als Organisatoren selbst überrascht und gefreut hat. Dies zeigt, daß das Modell einer Jahrestagung, bei der alle Disziplinen und Fachverbände einmal im Jahr zusammenkommen, durchaus noch attraktiv ist. Der Vorteil einer solchen Tagung gegenüber reinen Fachtagungen ist ja, dass man einmal über den Tellerrand blicken und in kurzer Zeit einen Einblick bekommen kann, wo sonst noch gerade etwas Interessantes geschieht. Das Spektrum der Themen, allein in den Plenar- und Hauptvorträgen, sowie das große Engagement der Sprecher und Sprecherinnen waren großartig, und haben bei mir einen bleibenden Eindruck hinterlassen. Für die Zukunft wird es darum gehen, dass solche Tagungen in irgendeiner Weise überleben und attraktiv bleiben bzw. wieder werden. Ich halte es für besonders wichtig, wieder mehr Studenten und jungen Leute zu den Tagungen zu bringen. Vielleicht können wir dabei in Zukunft noch etwas verbessern.

Die gemeinsame Ausrichtung der Tagung mit der Schweiz war für uns eine durchweg gute und erfreuliche Erfahrung. Vielleicht kann dies ja ein Modell für künftige Kooperationen der beteiligten Gesellschaften sein. Es wäre jedenfalls schön, wenn eine gemeinsame Tagung auf die eine oder andere Weise wiederholt werden könnte.

Im Namen des gesamten Organisationsteams,

Hans Briegel, Tagungsleiter

 


The SPS Particle, Astro and Nuclear Physics (TASK) teamed up with the Austrian counterpart FAKT (Fachausschuss Kern- und Teilchenphysik) and the Austrian Astronomers (ÖGAA). The number of contributed talks led to the organization of up to three parallel sessions on high energy physics, low energy physics and on astrophysics. The sessions were organized to start with half hour overview talks which were shared by two to three of the parallel sessions before splitting up. Besides some unlucky edge talks, the talks were attended by an average audience of 30-60. In order to account for the Austrian tradition to have separate FAKT meetings prior to the general physical society, we assembled already one day before the full meeting and started with two afternoon sessions with mixed topics. In the evening we had an open discussion with statements on "the future of particle physics" and a vividly participating audience. School education, contacts to teachers and media, more professional outreach in general were amongst the topics. Discussions and informal talks were being continued in a pleasant nuclear and particle physics dinner in the Kranebitterhof after half an hours walk.

Klaus Kirch, PSI, SPS-TASK

 


The plasma physics session at the annual meeting of the SPS was organized in 2009 in conjunction with the Austrian Physical Society (ÖPG) and the Austrian Society of

Astronomy and Astrophysics (ÖGAA). The plasma physics session hosted a total of 13 oral contributions and 13 poster contributions in the field of basic plasma physics and technology for nuclear fusion as well as in industrial plasmas and theory and numerical simulations. An overview of recent experimental results from the TCV tokamak was given by the first invited speaker, Antoine Pochelon from CRPP-EPFL. Alexander Kendl from IIPAP-Universitat Innsbruck presented in the second invited contribution recent advances in numerical simulations of magnetized plasmas. The talks were attended by an average audience of 30-40 people, who shared fruitful and engaging discussions at the end of the presentations.

Ivo Furno, EPFL, SPS-ANDO

 


Nearly 300 (!) persons joined the apéro and conference dinner in the Villa Blanka, Innsbruck.
This event seems to have a much stronger tradition in Austria than in Switzerland.
Coffeebreaks,...
...Lunchbuffet...
...and Postersession


 

The SPS annual conference included this year also a session 'History of Physics' (HoP), presenting contributions of remarkable historical events in physics. The session was organized by the Austrian HoP-group around P. M. Schuster, who also heads the HoP-section of the European Physical Society. Several of the about 20 talks focussed on spectroscopy (Kirchhoff, Littrow, Bunsen) and on astronomy addressing the life and work of J. Kepler and C. Doppler, but also of rather unknown scientists like P. Apian, G. J. Rheticus, C. Grienberger and both Swiss astronomers J. Bürgi and J. B. Cysat. The participants had the pleasure to learn many details about the physical thinking at those times, its scientific embedding in philosophical questions, and how to defend the scientific 'truth' against dominating opinions. Interestingly much progress was achieved by scientists, e.g. L. G. Biwald, being Jesuit and professor. The one Swiss contribution by F. Staudacher on 'Jost Bürgi' found very positive response by the audience. It can be viewed and downloaded here.

Bernhard Braunecker, SPS Secretary

 


The sessions on physics education and on aspects of gender equality in physics attracted considerably more participants than in the years before. Representatives of Austria and of Switzerland presented the Physics Teacher Education in their countries. Due to the existence of a special curriculum on "Physics Education" beside the traditional "Scientific" curriculum, an animated discussion on the right teacher education paradigms took place. It was a great pleasure to have a number of critical students who participated actively in the session. The gray-haired teachers and scientists were happy to get an insight in the ideas and visions of the next generation of obviously highly motivated physics teachers.

The session on gender equality started with a very impressing presentation of data collected on social and professional aspects of mainly female physicists. The germans took the effort needed to get enough data points for reasonable statistics and proofed some very interesting aspects of female physicisists, their professional and private career.

Tibor Gyalog, Uni Basel, SPS Physics Education section

 


The ÖPG awarded besides the prizes for "academics" also pupils from high school, who achieved outstanding "Matura" results in physics.


 

The Innsbruck meeting was marked by the creation of the new “Atomic Physics & Quantum Optics” section that complements the existing sections of the Swiss Physical Society. Swiss and Austrian colleagues working in those fields contributed to the six half-day topical sessions on “Atomic and Molecular Physics & Quantum Optics”. With a total number of more than 50 poster and 42 oral contributions (out of which approximately 20% came from Swiss researchers) those presentations constituted a major aspect of the meeting. The large participation in the sessions was due to the vibrant Austrian and to the rising Swiss activity in the fields of atomic physics and quantum optics. It is regrettable that the attendance of the poster presentations did not meet the expectations of the session organizers. During discussions all participants welcomed the idea of organizing more common meetings of both physical societies in

the future. I want to express my personal thanks to the local Austrian organizers for a perfect conference organization that offered excellent conditions for a fruitful meeting.

Antoine Weis, Uni Fribourg, SPS-AQUO

 


The entrance hall with the registration desk on the left and the scientific exhibition.
14 companies from various countries presented their latest products and equipment.
Media

Two of the 10 plenary talks given in Innsbruck are available here:

Sonia Seneviratne (ETH Zürich) Climate Change (ca. 14 MB)

Tim de Zeeuw (ESO Garching) Future Perspectives for Ground-based Telescopes (ca. 1,5 MB)