Wuhan Winter School

5th ICG event for young researchers

The most recent ICG school took place between 20th and 25th October 2019 at what has become our traditional venue of the Wuhan University of Technology, China. This year the school concentrated on the theme of Glass Science, attracting 26 students. While fewer than previously because there was no parallel theme there was no shortage of quality among those that gathered at the International Vienna Hotel near the University. A big surprise for several of the lecturers was to bump into Prof Shackleford, USA in the hotel lift one day. He was an early worker in the field of hydrogen solubility in silica glass and was on holiday in China.

Seven Chinese Institutes and Universities were represented among the student group, more than previously: Central South Uni., Harbin Engineering Uni., Huazhong Uni. of Science and Technology, Inner Mongolia Normal Uni., Qilu Uni. of Technology, Shanghai Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, South China Uni. of Technology, Wuhan Uni. of Technology. Four of the students had travelled from Europe (Denmark, Germany and UK); they each had received generous scholarships providing travel and accommodation support from China Triumph International. The company was represented throughout the event by Mrs K Wang, assistant to the director as well as Executive Secretary of ICG; she also provided valuable assistance in judging the project competition at the end of course.

The teachers on the course had a strongly international flavour. Lectures were given by Prof R Conradt, Germany on ‘Thermodynamics', ‘Hydrolytic stability' and ‘Key stages in the history of glass development', Prof A Goel, USA on ‘Optical Fibres', Prof H Inoue, Tokyo, Japan, ‘Containerless processing' Prof JinJun Ren, Shanghai, China, ‘Solid State NMR', Prof J Parker, Sheffield, UK ‘Transport properties' and ‘Colour', Prof A Takada, Tokyo, Japan ‘Atomistic Simulation', Prof R Vacher in part using notes provided by Prof B Hehlen, Montpellier, France on both ‘Neutron & X-ray Diffraction' and ‘Structure and Inelastic scattering', and Prof Yuanzheng Yue, Denmark and Wuhan on ‘the Glass Transition and Relaxation'. Their contributions were all much appreciated by the students.

Meals are provided during the course either in the hotel or University canteens. They offer opportunities for networking among both staff and students as well as giving a taste of local cuisine. On the Monday and Thursday an introductory social event and a final dinner were arranged; both were welcomed by staff and students, who commented warmly in their questionnaires on the value of such gatherings. Mealtimes are just one aspect of the warm welcome given by the local University staff to all their visitors at the school. On Thursday afternoon while the students were working on their projects, lecturers were taken to visit a local park which had been designed to illustrate the flora of different regions in China and which was still amazingly colourful in spite of the approach of winter. Within the park was an extensive and informative museum describing the flora and fauna of the Yangtze river and other international major river basins. Helpfully all the display boards had both Chinese and English scripts.

Following previous practice, the students undertook a range of projects as a key part of the activities. These again proved popular not only because of the glass technology they learn but also because of the opportunity given to practice their language skills, to speak to a large audience and to network. The winning group comprised: Guang Feng, Jin Yu, Linyuan Jia, Lutao Liu and Meng Zhang and they described a system they had developed on paper, using optical fibre-based monitoring of remote weather sensors.

A question and answer session on the penultimate day using questions submitted during the week also created a lively debate and gave all the lecturers the opportunities to link their lectures to the students' research studies. At next year's school small group tutorials will also be offered.

Throughout the event a team of local students and staff provided efficient and effective support to ensure the smooth running of the school. All those involved would wish to offer thanks to the assistance given which ranged from making sure the lecturers were kept topped up with ‘coffee' to the duplication of questionnaires and the running of the AV equipment.

A 6th Winter School again in Wuhan was planned before the 5th School had finished, over a cup of coffee in the local coffee shop. It will take place from 1-6th November 2020 in the same venue and will have ‘Glass Fibres' as a special theme. Keep an eye on the ICG web site for further information.

Last Updated: 08/01/2020
Author: John Parker
Labels: Icg News

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