September 11, 2015

International student and young scientist conference "Developments in Optics and Communications 2015"

The 11th international student and young scientist conference “Developments in Optics and Communications 2015” was held during April 8-10 in Riga, the capital of Latvia, and it gathered around 70 brilliant young scientists from 8 different countries – Latvia, Poland, Denmark, Russia, Armenia, Germany, Italy and Georgia – to share their scientific works, insights and experiences in various fields related to optics: vision science, biophotonics, laser physics and spectroscopy, optics in communiacions and optical materials.

The organizers were happy to welcome two international guest speakers: Dr. Pablo Artal from Spain and Prof. Dr. Lise Lyngsnes Randeberg from Norway. Prof. Dr. Pablo Artal explained the novelties of vision science (“The human eye as a robust optical system”) while Prof. Dr. Lise Lyngsnes Randeberg explained the current progress with non-invasive diagnostics of human skin (“How do optical properties affect light transport in tissue, and which parameters do you need to care about in the lab”). Guest speakers from Latvia gave very interesting talks as well: Dr. Aivars Vembris of Institute of Solid State Physics talked about the main principles and advances in organic solid state lasers, Dr. Dainis Jakovels of Institute for Environmental Solutions introduced the audience about “Applications of airborne optical remote sensing techniques for environmental assessment and monitoring”, Dr. Florian Gahbauer of Faculty of Physics and Mathematics gave a talk on “Nitrogen vacancy centers in diamonds for sensing and quantum information”, and Evija Gulbinska of Latvian American Eye Center talked about “Visian ICL: intraocular collamer lens for refractive correction”. During the conference, also a workshop was organized by Jurita Kruma of Digital tribe WWWOLF on self-motivation and time management “So, I woke up today, and what now?”

The scientific work and presentation of every participant was evaluated by our jury. The best speech and poster holder received a monetary reward for their work. This year the best poster award was given to Andris Bērziņš of University of Latvia for his poster “Magnetic field imaging using nitrogen vacancy (NV) centres in a diamond lattice”. The best oral presentation award was given to Tatevik Chalyan on “Performance optimisation of biosensors based on SiON microring resonators”.

As well as attending the many talks and poster sessions, participants had the opportunity to spend time with fellow scientists in an informal atmosphere – during the Welcome Party, orienteering in the Old Town of Riga and during the conference afterparty. This year International Year of Light was a theme throughout the whole conference – the conference logo was also adjusted for this special celebration year.

This conference was organized by SPIE and OSA chapters and Young Minds student section of University of Latvia. 
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International Year of Light Welcome party during the conference “Developments in Optics and Communications 2015”

During the international student and young scientist conference “Developments in Optics and Communications 2015”, a special Welcome party was held to celebrate the International Year of Light, although it was a theme throughout the whole conference. The conference logo was adapted this year to include the logo of the International Year of Light. It was mentioned during all three conference days that this year it is a special year for our conference, organizers and also participants and that this year even more than before we are celebrating Light.

Each participant got a present in their conference bag – a pin with the International Year of Light logo. During the Welcome Party most of the participants had it attached on them. The Welcome Party included different activities: introduction game in which all the participants could get to know each other better and other games.  A KHET Laser Game tournament was held that allowed participants to challenge each other intellectually as well – this game needs knowledge on how light rays reflect, and also some strategic thinking to predict the opponent’s next moves. A Quiz about Physics and Light was held during the Welcome party to see who can get the right answers the fastest. There were snacks and refreshments available for the participants to enjoy.

During the International Year of Light Welcome party, which was held in the evening of the first day of the conference, participants got to know each other better, got a chance to network with each other not just regarding their scientific work, but also to discuss and share ideas about different outreach activities that can be organized. The organizers believe that this event was very useful for everyone, and participants enjoyed it very much.