2018 Siegman School; Enjoying Science in a Positive Atmosphere!

By Mattia Longobucco, ITME Warsaw, Poland

Italian guy, working in Poland, comes to Sweden for a summer school organized by OSA, a society founded in the USA. Really?! Is it actually true? Of course it is! Could it be more international than that? Probably, but at least this is my little story across Europe…

I’m Mattia and in January I moved to Poland, to work as a Ph.D. student at Institute of Electronic Materials Technology in Warsaw:  I’m an Electronic Engineer and I decided to move into the field of photonics just few months ago as a challenge for myself and also as a new helpful experience to enlarge my science horizons and learn new methods of research. I’m also a new student member of OSA too!

As you can understand from the introduction, I’m not well versed in what OSA has to offer at all. I don’t have a lot of experience in optics and I had just a few lab sessions on lasers in my entire life… so we could say that I’m a total new entirely! But after my experience at the 5th Siegman School, I can say I understand so much more now.

So why OSA’s Siegman Summer School on lasers? When I applied for it, I thought it could be one of the best meetings in my career to improve my skills and knowledge about lasers as well as the new trends in scientific research. This meeting could help me to be involved in the community of my peers and experts and now that I retuned back home - I could say that it really was!

First, the location: the island of Hven. Mmm… “Where is it? Denmark or Sweden? Does it really exist?” I received these questions from my parents when I described the summer school to them. The island of Hven is located in the middle of the Oresund sea, between Copenhagen and Malmo and it formally belongs to Sweden, but it’s also reachable from Denmark. “Ok, now we’ve understand. But is it a nice place?” another question from my parents. My answer is it’s not a nice place but an amazing place!

Second, the program: “What is a summer school exactly? A holiday? An university course?”. I would say that it was a good occasion to experience science in a positive and exciting way. The whole program offered a good combination between lectures and social time. I was impressed by the high quality of the lectures and the passion that all the speakers demonstrated in their presentations. Even if my research is not totally devoted to lasers, it was a good chance to increase my knowledge and learn about the new frontiers of the applications in a lot of science sectors. The lectures were extremely detailed, but at the same time comprehensible and enjoyable to follow while offering a lot of new skills to increase not only the quality of my research, but also my presentation skills and oral performance.

There I am, all the way to the left!

One of my favorite activities during the week was the poster session. While presenting my poster, I was surprised about the interest that all my peers had for my research and I received many questions that helped me think about my topic in an alternative direction and to open my mind to new challenges and perspectives. I was welcomed by all the students and I found a lot of interesting applications of lasers that I wouldn’t have expected before: it was really hard to vote for only three of them at the very end!

Third, the social activities: “Oh, so you are going on holiday in Sweden, aren’t you?”. It wasn’t, but I can say that I had such a great time with a lot of students from all over the world (literally! From Europe to Australia, from America to Africa…) and we really enjoyed our time together. We had the opportunity to go fishing, sunbathe at the beach, play volleyball and soccer, climb trees, visit a distillery, go cycling, and stargazing as Tycho Brahe did in the island almost 500 years ago!

These are the main reasons for why I highly recommend the OSA Siegman International School on Lasers! I even feel like I haven’t been able to fully express my feelings and appreciation about my time there that week. I also can’t talk enough about the opportunity to learn more about optics and photonics as well as networking with some of the visionaries of the field in a friendly and comfortable setting. If you are searching for high quality scientific lectures and good time with colleagues from around the world, I think that this school is the right place for you.

So… what else can I say? Are you preparing your bags for 2019 OSA Siegman Summer School? I think you should! Take the word of a Polish – Italian Ph.D. student for it!


Mattia Longobucco


Posted: 31 August 2018 by Mattia Longobucco, ITME Warsaw, Poland | with 0 comments

The views expressed by guest contributors to the Discover OSA Blog are not those endorsed by The Optical Society.


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