10th August 2012 18:50JST  , , , , ,  3 Responses »

Presently I am at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, attending the meeting Innovations in Strongly Correlated Electronic Systems. Amusingly, this first week is a summer school, with extended lectures aimed at providing an introduction or overview of current research topics, whereas next week will be a regular workshop, where scientists present their newest results. The ICTP is a famous place for physics meetings, and they also have researchers and students working here. It is supported by UNESCO, with an explicit mission to support science in developing countries.

The summer school has been very nice so far. It has probably the most international audience I have ever been part of, and from the beginning people have been asking questions abundantly during the presentations. The scope is rather broad, which I like, yet everything is centred around phenomena in materials where the (electron) interactions are strong, as opposed to for instance regular metals and insulators, where the interactions are mostly screened and therefore weak in nature. The most popular compounds are high-temperature superconductors and Mott insulators.

We have live blogging, and video recordings of all the lectures are available online.

Trieste is a great place, at the north-easternmost extremity of Italy, surrounded on three sides by the Slovenian border, on the Adriatic coast. It was the only port of the Habsburg empire, and the previous wealth shows in the many fine buildings in the rather small city. Now it’s mostly tourism, and the centre is filled with restaurants, bars, caffetterie, gelaterie, delicacy shops and so forth. The weather has been excellent so far, between 25 and 30°, and not as humid as Japan. I’m staying in a hotel in the city, which allows for buying some of the exquisite cheeses, meats and bread to take for lunch (superseding the disappointing food served in the canteen here).

update: The workshop was very interesting and successful. For future reference: you can rent a bicycle in Trieste at Surf. My favourite places are Osteria de Scarpon (food) and Osteria da Marino (wine).

© 2012 Aron Beekman Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha