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Eye witness report from the Hands-On PlasmaLab@TU/e Course 2013, part 3

The students at the course work in groups. For the third group of 5 students, Oleg from Ukraine reports:

A perfect team

The PlasmaLab hands-on course turned out to be an absolutely great experience!

On the first day, after everyone introduced themselves and I immediately understood that it's going to be an interesting week, because there were fifteen very different people with completely different backgrounds.

Our group made a perfect team and through the week we performed all of the experiments and made a final report on the last one on Friday. We've split the tasks for each experiment according to skills each one of us is best at. And that made us very time-efficient.

Efficient team work

For the final presentation our group had to make a report on the Laser Spectroscopy experiment, where we had to analyze a Rubidium Vapor cell: an estimation of Density, Temperature, and Isotopic Composition was needed.

A first look at graphs of gathered data gave us hope of a quick and easy data analysis, but we were soon to be proved wrong. Our estimate on Rubidium temperature was always too high... Even after a deep refining of our statistical methods (including triple Gaussian fitting), obtained temperature was still 70 Kelvin above the expected value, while the error bar on that measurement was diminishing! We were sure that a systematical error was in place, like a loss of energy in directions we could not detect, but time was up! We had to leave the task of determining those errors to the next Hands-on Course.

Analyzing signals: on the left from the Waves in Plasma experiment, on the right for Laser Spectroscopy.

I always knew that theory is one thing, but experiments will give you all results but the ones that fully agree with theory. Now I had the chance to experience this myself. It was always exciting to figure out the reasons for these discrepancies and, if possible, redo the experiment in a way to minimize the errors. It was good nice to go through this experience with a group, and learn from each other in this process.


Finding discrepancies between theory and experiment...

We all really liked the University, even such small things as "the Coffemachine" and lunch breaks. It all really helped to keep us in a good and productive mood. We also loved spending evenings in cafes and pubs of Eindhoven together, and I went home with about 10 more friends from Italy, France, Germany and Spain on Facebook ;)

Goodbye everyone !!

Thank you, Roger, Hans, Herman, Chiel, Edgar, Mark, TU/e and FuseNet, for organizing this course. It was an unforgettable experience for all of us!

Oleg Blednov (Ukraine)
Nicola Carlon Zambon (Italy)
Pedro Molina (Spain)
Filippo Vicentini (Italy)
Mykyta Troyanov (Ukraine)