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Diploma Alumni Reunion

ICTP at the APS March meeting

Diploma Alumni Reunion
Diploma Alumni Reunion

27/03/2018 - Trieste

ICTP alumni do a lot of impressive work all over the world, in a very wide range of fields. They recently had a chance to demonstrate their physics prowess via presentations at the March meeting of the American Physical Society (APS), an annual meeting attended by thousands of physicists. For the first time, the ICTP alumni had an impromptu reunion at the March meeting, when nine of them came to a talk given there by ICTP Director Fernando Quevedo. 

Quevedo presented ICTP at a session titled "Major Physics Organizations and Their Role in the Future of Physics," outlining what ICTP does, and how an organization can support a large number of individual physicists from around the world in different ways. The impact of ICTP was apparent at the presentation, with the ICTP alumni in the audience.

These alumni were just starting their scientific careers when they were at ICTP as Diploma students, but now they were all at APS to present their recent work. Some are now post-doctoral fellows, some are PhD students, and all of them remember and value the time they spent at ICTP.  "We (myself and all alumni Diploma students) were so excited to meet Fernando Quevedo at the APS March meeting," says Keshav Shrestha, a researcher at the National High Magnetic Field Lab in Tallahasee, USA, and a former ICTP Diploma student from Nepal who graduated in 2010.

Shrestha was at APS for three different presentations of his recent work, but he wasn't the only one with work to present. Among the ICTP alumni at the presentation was Wilder Daza-Romero from Colombia, who is now a PhD student at the University of Houston. He graduated from the Diploma Programme in 2013, and presented his work on interacting quantum gases at APS. Mariami Rusishvili was also in attendence at the alumni reunion. Rusishvili hails from Georgia and stayed in Trieste to do her PhD at SISSA, and was at APS to present her materials science research. Armindo Cuamba comes from Mozambique and, after doing a Master's degree in France, is also doing a PhD at the University of Houston. He was at APS to give a talk on his work on superconductor materials.

Cong Huy Pham, from Vietnam, graduated from the ICTP Diploma Programme in 2011. He presented his work on magnetic nanoparticles and films at APS, done at the University of California- San Diego, where he is now a postdoctoral fellow. He met up with fellow Diploma graduates Stephane Kenmoe and Noeliarinala Felana Andriambelaza at Professor Quevedo's talk. Kenmoe, a postdoctoral fellow from Cameroon in theoretical chemistry at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany and a 2011 Diploma graduate, presented his work as part of a session titled "Energy Storage: Hydrogen Production and Storage." Andriambelaza, from Madagascar, graduated from the Diploma Programme in 2014. She is now a PhD student at the University of Pretoria, and was presenting her materials science work at APS.

"Fernando gave an impressive talk about ICTP's role to build international collaboration, especially focusing on developing countries in the world," says Shrestha. "There were 20-25 science policy makers from all over the world in the room, along with nine former Diploma students. All of us encouraged ICTP to build a network with Diploma alumni students who are still in science, through various scientific activities."

The energy from the alumni at APS is a telling indicator of both the strength of ICTP's education and the hard work of its alumni. ICTP is very proud of all of its alumni. "It was indeed a great experience to meet all of the alumni at the March meeting," said Director Quevedo. "It was very nice to see how all of you are doing so well. It made me feel very proud to direct ICTP."

"Believe me, there was no boundary of happiness when we met the ICTP director at the APS March meeting," says Shrestha. "We hope to see ICTP presence in future APS March meetings as well."


--- Kelsey Calhoun