These topics have been chosen by the programme committees below, as they offer both a huge potential for employment of young doctors and postdocs in physics by a large number of industrial partners and physical disciplines having led to seminal discoveries in fundamental science. Each topic has been organised as workgroup of 5-6 people led by one or more referents.

Energy and sustainability

Christophe Rossel, Christian Beck

The ongoing energy transition, shifting energy production towards renewable and sustainable sources, poses several complex challenges to the energy industry: Centralized generation is replaced by decentralized one; power balance is supported by demand side control actions; wind, photovoltaic and electromobility introduce additional fluctuations; and many more changes are taking place. These substantial changes involve many interacting and heterogeneous units, giving rise to emergent behaviour, a playground for the statistical physicist, requiring new tools and applications of statistical and nonlinear physics. In this interdisciplinary component of the EPS Forum co-organized by the EPS Statistical and Nonlinear Physics Division, we wish to bring together scientists, students, practitioners, industry representatives, approaching these challenges from different backgrounds, including control theory, energy economics, statistical physics, machine learning, complex networks research, transportation models, data science, technological aspects, employment aspects.

Accelerators, high-energy particle physics, nuclear physics

Eugenio Nappi, Gordana Medin, Anna Lipniacka, Clementina Agodi,

Nuclear and particle physics are two fascinating fields of the fundamental research that address key questions about, respectively, the basic properties of atomic nuclei and the “ultimate constituents” and the forces governing their behaviour. Over the years, many relevant discoveries have led to a coherent picture of the nuclear structure and to the unified quantum theory of the interactions between the elementary blocks of matter. These discoveries and the laws of Nature explored by the nuclear and particle physicists give the basis to understand our Universe evolution from the first picosecond of its history to the present times.

However, there are still several unresolved problems in both fields. The origin of the natural elements that make up our world and all living organisms, and the collective behaviour of nuclei and their components under different conditions of temperature and pressure are only few of the open questions in nuclear physics. Particle physicists still seek an answer to the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the Universe and are puzzled by the fact that the ordinary matter accounts for only 4% of the Universe total mass and energy while almost nothing is known of the remaining 96%, called dark matter and energy.  

Tackling such outstanding questions is very challenging since it requires the development and use of cutting-edge technologies. Among them, the construction of world-class state-of-the-art particle accelerators made Europe playing a leading and competitive role in nuclear and particle physics research as the successful discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN, just to mention an example that had a widespread media resonance.  The accelerators not only act as giant microscopes able to explore things at sub-atomic level but they are also vital for neutron science and light sources, as well as for industry.

As added value, the most striking technological innovations in materials science, medicine, national security, big data and energy, making a lasting impact on several sectors of society, come from fundamental insights in nuclear and particle physics and related knowledge transfer to industry.
Moreover, these two fields of fundamental physics offer top rated science education programs for students, who also benefit the opportunity to spend time in various European laboratories and gain experience in a foreign research environment.

Quantum technologies and photonics

Richard Zeltner

The quantum revolution 2.0 is on the verge of disrupting not only our economies but also our daily life. Quantum computers with capacities vastly beyond that of current super computers hold the promise to solve complex problems out of reach of conventional approaches, and security protocols based on quantum technologies have the potential to make communication and data exchange safer than ever. While the interest in 2.0 quantum technologies has seen a tremendous growth in recent years, the broader fields of photonics and laser physics have shaped science and society since more than half of a century, with its fields of applications ranging from telecommunication, over medical treatment to driving and probing ultra-fast transitions in molecular spectroscopy.
This session, organized by the Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics Division and Quantum Electronics and Optics Division of EPS, brings together students, young researchers, industrial technology pioneers and leading researchers to shed a light on how quantum technologies and photonics are serving science and society now – and what challenges need to be overcome to bring technologies such as quantum computers into broad application and harness their enormous potential for science, society and economic productivity.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence

Joana Leira, Enrique Sanchez Bautista

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are known to have several applications, such as fraud detection, self-driving cars or medical diagnosis. In Physics, these tools can be used, for example, to study quantum systems or to identify complex patterns in particle collisions. Indeed, in the last few years, we have seen lots of Physicists become Data Scientists. Being so, we will have a Round Table around the connection between Physicists and Data Scientists and we will also have a Lecture regarding the evolution of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Biophysics, technological sequencing of biomolecules and human health

Felix Ritort

This session will describe the most relevant developments in physics-based technologies to deepen our knowledge of biophysics, biology, and medicine. Sessions on day 1 will be devoted to discussing the role of the latest technologies such as single-molecule manipulation,  nanopore sequencing, molecular nanostructure construction, biophysical tools for molecular interactions, etc...Session 2 will start with a general overview of how nano-biophotonics has revolutionized our understanding of the living matter to improve human health. A symposium on the many applications of single-molecule translocation across nanopores will follow.   Overall, we plan to expose to our participants and industrial partners the key role of physically inspired advanced technologies to deepen our understanding of biophysics and human health.

Condensed matter physics: from quantum materials to additive manufacturing

José Maria De Teresa

Condensed matter physics is a broad research field that studies systems with many particles that interact giving rise to solids and liquids. It covers topics ranging from fundamental aspects to applications such as electronics, optics, magnetism, superconductivity, quantum technologies, etc. At the EPS Forum, we will focus on some currently important basic topics in condensed matter including quantum phenomena and strongly correlated materials, new developments in electron and ion microscopy allowing us to image and sculpt matter with the highest resolution, advanced data storage media and processing as well as ultimate sensors to probe matter with the highest precision. The attendees to the EPS Forum will get to know the new advances in condensed matter physics at the heart of emergent digital technologies that are reshaping the life of human beings.

Societal Round Tables

Round Table on Physics Education

David Sands, Marisa Michelini

Improving the future supply of physics graduates through collaboration between schools and universities.

The round table brings together experts in different aspects of physics education who, together, will bring their considerable experience of promoting the improvement of teaching in both school and university. At the heart of the round table discussion is the issue of how to improve school-level teaching through excellent collaborations between physics departments and schools and the ensuing implications for teaching at university. The specific expertise of the four presenters includes the development of active learning at university, supporting teacher professional development, interest in physics at pre-university school level and introducing new and complex topics into the school curriculum.

Round Table EPS Member Societies

Gertrud Zwicknagl

Strengthening EPS member societies through structures for mutual support

At the heart of the round table discussion is the issue how EPS can help to strengthen member societies by creating structures for mutual support that will help to face present challenges within in science and within our societies and provide sustainable perspectives for young talents.