by Ross Donaldson

ICPS 2013 will be the 28th ICPS conference and will be hosted by Heriot-Watt University, from the 15th till the 21st of August. Heriot-Watt University is located on the Western outskirts of the capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh. This will be the first time the conference has been in Scotland and the first time it has been in the UK since 2007 where it was hosted by University College London. Scotland is a country full of culture and pride and the organisation committee is working hard to make the conference something special. During August each year Edinburgh hosts a series of festivals, one of the biggest is the Fringe Festival, which gives the conference participants a fantastic opportunity to see Edinburgh at its best. The festival season has a wide selection of shows (from stand-up comedy to artistic) that participants can go and see. There are a large number of shows which are free as well at the free Fringe Festival. The festival also has a lot of street entertainment that can be seen.

hw05068.jpg Matt Davis

Heriot-Watt University is a very international University with 3 campus’ in Scotland and 2 other campus’ in Malaysia and Dubai. It also has a large number of smaller business facilities in many countries around the world. Heriot-Watt University has prided itself on research in Engineering and the Physical Sciences so the conference organisation committee will be showing off how research done at Heriot-Watt University has shaped Scottish Industry as well as fields of research around the world. The School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt has a range of fantastic labs which you will be able to see. Some labs include those which research lasers for manufacturing, experiment quantum information processing and even one which simulates the event horizon of black holes. As well as all the experimental labs, there will also be a chance to meet theoretical research groups.

As mentioned before, August is Edinburgh’s festival season. During the conference week you will have some free time during the days and evenings to go into the centre of Edinburgh and see some fantastic stuff. The festivals which are running during the conference week are the Art Festival, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the International Festival, the Book Festival and the Mela Festival. More information can be found out about these festivals online, just search ‘Edinburgh Festivals’. The festival season is the busiest time of the year and brings a lot of international people to Edinburgh, so there is good chance you will run into someone from your own country. There is a great atmosphere in the city, especially at night with the pubs and clubs being open later. If you are looking for some free entertainment in the city search for the ‘free fringe festival’ to see what shows are free, a lot of them are actually better than the shows you pay for.

Since the conference will be in Scotland it is recommended the participants should try some real Scottish ale, whiskey and of course the traditional Scottish dish, haggis, neaps and tatties. All of these will be found at the Scottish national night on the 2nd night. As well as chowing down on traditional Scottish delicacies the organisation committee will also be teaching the participants some Scottish dancing.


Every year there are always some great speakers and this year will be no different. The organisation committee has some great speakers lined up, all are big names in their field. Prof. Miles Padgett, Glasgow University, studies the field of optics and in particular optical angular momentum, he will give us an exciting talk about his latest research on orbital angular momentum in addition to photon spin.  Prof. Danielle Faccio, Heriot-Watt University, studies extreme light and will be giving us a talk on his current research on experimental black-hole physics and quantum electrodynamics using intense ultrashort laser pulses. Other topics for guest lecturers include quantum gravity, semiconducting polymers and graphene/2-D materials.

QDSHeriot-Watt University has some fantastic facilities for student lectures. With comfy seats, power sockets and in theatre wifi, there is no excuse for missing all the exciting presentations your fellow student participants will be presenting. As well as the standard powerpoint presentations, this year the organisation committee will be offering the chance to for participants to give “chalk and talk” style presentations. “chalk and talk” is basically a style similar to old school academic lectures hwere you write on the board instead of just clicking up text. This might be good practice for someone who wants to go on to be a lecturer or wants to explain a concept showing the steps on a board instead of powerpoint.

silvia imageThe poster session is being mixed with the company showcase and will be held in the Students Union, giving you the chance to have a couple beers while you look around and network. The company showcase will give the participants a chance to see what the sponsor companies do and what they have to offer. Having the poster session at the same time as the company showcase also gives participants the chance to show off work they have done to companies. The best poster and best presentation award prizes will be provided by the Heriot-Watt University Optical Society of America Student Chapter.

Late registration will open on the 1st June until the 1st July so it is not too late to sign up! Come to Heriot-Watt University and take part in the biggest Physics student event of the year.