With the support of FuseNet, I attended the PlasmaSurf Summer Course from July 16th to July 22nd 2023, organized by Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear, a research unit of Instituto Superior Tecnico of Lisbon. It was a fast-paced week with lots of activities and opportunities, and I made great connections and great memories.
First things first, the courses covered a wide range of topics, starting with the basics of plasma physics and controlled nuclear fusion, all the way to astrophysical plasmas and laser-plasma interaction. Although the participants came from very diverse backgrounds, ranging from mechanical engineers to theoretical physicists, and from PHD to undergraduate students, the teachers did an amazing job keeping the lectures simple, yet interesting and engaging.
Another key point of PlasmaSurf are the beautiful and amazing people. I had opportunities for many insightful conversations with the teachers and the other participants, finding out more about topics and areas that I wasn’t so familiar with. Being 24 students from 12 different countries, I also learned a lot about other cultures, and made friends and possible future collaborators in many parts of the world.
But PlasmaSurf doesn’t stop at physics. Although we didn’t get to surf a plasma (as one would expect), we learned that it is theoretically possible! And we did surf the waves of the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. We also did some rock climbing, kayaking, and mountain boarding, and ended up with just a few bruises and a bunch of great memories and stories to tell.
All in all, it was an amazing week. Fast-paced and a bit tiring, yet filled with great courses, insightful people, and challenging activities. I want to thank FuseNet and IPFN for supporting and organizing such a unique summer school, and for offering me this great opportunity!