Just one week to go! Check out the abstracts for the symposium below!

Victoria Martin – The Higgs boson: Past, Present & Future

Selfie at ATLAS

In 2012, physicists working on the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN announced the discovery of the mysterious, but long-searched-for, Higgs boson particle. This subatomic particle had been envisioned almost 50 years before by Brout, Englert, Higgs & others.
After the discovery, Peter Higgs and Fran ̧cois Englert were awarded the Nobel prize in Physics 2013 for their pioneering theoretical work predicting this new particle. She will introduce the Higgs boson and the Large Hadron Collider and explain how and why physicists from all over the world are still working together on understanding more about the Higgs boson and its consequences for the fundamental physics of the universe.
Victoria Martin is a reader in particle physics at the University of Edinburgh, and researcher on the ATLAS experiment at the CERN LHC and the CLIC detector & physics project.


Reinhard Prix – The “Sound” of the Universe: First Detection of Gravitational Waves and Beyond 

A burst of gravitational waves that was emitted in the final moments of the merger of two black holes 1.3 billion years ago passed through the two LIGO detectors on Sept 14, 2015.
This event resulted in the first direct detection of gravitational waves (announced on Feb 11, 2016), and marked the beginning of the new era of gravitational-wave as-
tronomy. Gravitational waves provide us with a whole new window into the universe, by allowing us to “hear” the motion of massive objects, informing us about events and properties that are inaccessible otherwise. They also allow new and more stringent tests of Einstein’s theory of gravitation.

In this talk he will describe the first detection, the current status and the bright future prospects of gravitational-wave astronomy.


Karin Everschor-Sitte  – Topological Materials
Karin Everschor-Sitte studied Mathematics and Physics at the University of Cologne from 2003 to 2009, and was a member of the Bonn Cologne Graduate School of Physics until 2012. After a scholarship of the German Telekom Foundation
and a stay abroad at the University of Texas, she took her postdoc at the Technical University in Munich as well as at the University of Texas.
She was a postdoctoral researcher at the Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz and has been a member of MAINZ, Graduate School of Excellence as well as the head of Emmy Noether group TWIST since 2016. Additionally Karin Everschor-Sitte is Scientific Coordinator of SPICE.
She will give a keynote lecture at the symposium related to latest Nobel Prizes about Topology, Skyrmions and their dynamics.

Karin Everschor-Sitte as speaker at the symposium!

Karin Everschor-Sitte studied Mathematics and Physics at the University of Cologne from 2003 to 2009, and was a member of the Bonn-Cologne Graduate School of Physics until 2012. After a scholarship of the German Telekom Foundation and a stay abroad at the University of Texas, she took her postdoc at the Technical University in Munich as well as at the University of Texas.
She was a postdoctoral researcher at the Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz and has been a member of MAINZ, Graduate School of Excellence as well as the head of Emmy Noether group TWIST since 2016. Additionally Karin Everschor-Sitte is Scientific Coordinator of SPICE.
She will give a key-note lecture at the symposium related to latest Nobel Prizes about
Topology, Skyrmions and their dynamics.


ams AG - global leader in the design and manufacture of high performance analog ICs (integrated circuits)

ams is a global leader in the design and manufacture of advanced sensor solutions. Sensors are already all around us; they’re used in everything from smart phones to smart homes, to industrial automation and all devices that comprise Internet of Things (IoT). The mission of ams is to shape the world with sensor solutions by providing a seamless interface between humans and technology. ams’ high performance sensor solutions drive applications requiring small form factor, low power, highest sensitivity and multi-sensor integration. ams’ products are aimed at applications which require extreme precision, accuracy, dynamic range, sensitivity, and ultra-low power consumption. The ams product portfolio includes sensor solutions, sensor ICs, sensor interfaces and related software for consumer, communications, automotive, industrial, and medical markets.

Here’s an interesting video explaining their work, check it out: https://youtu.be/iNN1qhjS4J8


Preliminaries are nearly over!

On the 16th February three preliminaries spanning three time zones took place to determine which teams will be participating in the PLANCKS competition at the end of May. In Lisbon, Vienna and Bucharest twelve teams  (five from Portugal, three from Austria and four from Romania) simultaneously proofed their suitability by solving the complicated tasks. Teams consisted of four people (just like at PLANCKS) and they had a few hours to solve the problems in order to qualify for PLANCKS. Just a few days afterwards the Netherlands and Italy had their joined preliminary, and also Croatia and the UK have already determined the teams they will be sending to Austria in May. To get an idea of how this went down, check out the photos below:


Victoria Martin speaks at symposium

Victoria Martin is a particle physicist currently working at the CERN LHC to find out more about the Higgs boson during her sabbatical. Normally she workes as a reader at the university of Edinburgh organising courses and lectures on Particle Physics for 4th and 5th grade students. (Source: http://www.ph.ed.ac.uk/people/victoria-martin)

If you’d like to learn more about her, watch this video in which she describes how she came to be a particle physicist working on the Higgs boson:

Visit of PLANCKS 2016 in Bucharest

PLANCKS 2016. The third time for some of us at the PLANCKS Symposium. This time in Bucharest, Romania. From the OC 2017 Gerhard and Alexander visited the symposium to get some insights.

This year the opening symposium was split up to two days. On the first evening Ph.D. Nicolae Zamfir und Ph.D. Traian Dascalu had a presentation on the research topics of the University of Bucharest. In the morning of the second day Prof. Ph.D. Stefan Antohe und Prof. Ph.D. Sune Svanberg continued with the symposium.

After a short lunch break the teams were sent to separate rooms. This year the competition was set up in a school. Every team had a whole classroom for themselves, giving them the place and opportunity for doing some yoga between hard problems to refocus again. In the evening all participants and organizers went to the Quantum Club and discussed the problems of the competition over some drinks.


The award ceremony was set up the next day in the aula of the university. The winner was the team Charles’ Angels from Czech Republic followed by Smoluchowski’s team from Poland and smh tbh fam from Czech Republic.

So far, this was the official program. At night instead of sleeping, Gerhard and Alexander had meetings with the OC 2016 and organizers from the years before. They got useful hints what in the previous years worked well and what could have done better. In addition they set up a survey for the participants to get some feedback. From this they could see that the participants were enjoying the competition and got an idea who should speak on the opening symposium in Graz.

All in all Gerhard and Alex used this opportunity well to prepare themselves for PLANCKS 2017 and brought all the new gathered knowledge back to Graz.

How Graz got the bid

It was May 2015, Alex had just participated in the PLANCKS competition in Leiden and took the spirit, the enthusiasm with him to enlighten us. It didn’t take long to convince us that organizing such a great PLANCKS competition would be awesome. So we started to gather, ask people, basically to set up a core organizing team.

The first aim to realize PLANCKS 2017 in Graz was obviously getting the bid, so we started preparing our presentation. It was clear that I  – as the president – would do the presentation at the IAPS AGM since most of the team unfortunately didn’t participate at the ICPS, though some loyal members (Alex and Patrick) attended the meeting via livestream.

ICPS in Zagreb was great – meeting so many dear friends, having such inspiring lectures and joyful parties (just think of the nation’s party 🙂 ) It was so nice to be here again and a shining example for how we want to organize PLANCKS in Graz in 2017.

Presentation time: I think we (Patrick Lainer – Austria’s long served HONC (head of national committee – supported me)) did well. There was some confusion about the actual competition date, since we assumed begin of June better apt, but finally as it is now, we set the competition to happen at the end of May. In the end we could win the trust of the assembly and got the bid.