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PhD Event 2015 - Matthew reports on Day 1

FuseNet coordinates the 2015 PhD event for students in fusion science and engineering that takes place in Prague. One of the PhD students present, Matthew Bluteau reports:

Sunday, November 15

I have been bestowed with the great honour of documenting the first day of the FuseNet PhD Event 2015 hosted in Prague at the CTU: no trivial task to be sure, especially while trying to simultaneously listen to fascinating oral presentations! As with most conference-like events in my short academic career, this event began in an unassuming manner with a hotel check-in and warm greeting from one of the host students, Milos.

Super-group MAGI

Upon being grouped with three of my PhD compatriots, Alistair, Gabriel, and Ivan, we quickly formed the super-group that is MAGI: our collective first initials. While we meandered through the charming streets of Prague towards the faculty building (FNSPE), selfies abounded at key cultural figures to fulfill the first of many “games” that the hosts had arranged. We were thoroughly perplexed by an astrolabe on a clock tower but somehow managed to get some relevant time measurements and received our first clue towards solving the over-arching puzzle of the evening, which motivated all of the games.

Warm Welcome

Upon arriving at the faculty, we were again warmly welcomed and formally registered. Then the true games began and further fun ensued. Whether measuring atmospheric pressure with a tube of water or solving a plant plotting problem with a visual programming language, we overcame all of the tasks that we attempted and gradually accumulated enough clues to solve the puzzle and receive the coveted prize of some Uranium Oxide glass: it has an eerie green glow reminiscent of the Simpsons!

Warm welcome by the organization

Speed dating and dancing

The evening switched gear with a touch of “speed dating” to encourage mingling, and it was nice to hear short snippets from a number of different students. We were then treated to a light buffet meal, endless wine and beer, and the cherry on top was an exceptional performance by the all female band, Apples. Dancing eventually emerged, a rare occurrence for physicists, but I am still proud to say that I was awarded the best dancer of the night with a free CD ;).

Live music by the all female band Apples

In the end, although our group did not win any of the other prizes, it is safe to say that the best prize was simply partaking in this entertaining and well orchestrated welcome event!