Between July 16th and 21st, the week of the PlasmaSurf summer school brought together physics and physical activity and welcomed 24 students from 12 nationalities for a series of seminars on lasers, plasmas and nuclear fusion, as well as kayaking, surfing, climbing and mountain boarding sessions.
“It was the first time for most of us in this type of sports, but practically everyone participated”, says Gabriel Rouxinol, Physical and Technological Engineering undergraduate at IST and participant in this year’s edition. Alongside the more formal classes and lectures, the participants had the late afternoons reserved for outdoor activities.
Ligia Pomarjanschi, a Romanian Master's student in Theoretical and Computational Physics, praises both the sports program and the classes she attended. If, on the one hand, “the teachers did a great job in a dense week, in the good sense of the term”, on the other hand, she enjoyed “doing the sports activities much more than spending part of the days visiting the city in a more conventional way”.
Horácio Fernandes, IST professor and researcher at IPFN, explains that the intention of PlasmaSurf is “that students, later, emerge as a community”. “People should not compete, but collaborate. If they were involved in activities where they overcome fear together, this effectively creates cooperative relationships”, he says. For him, this joint effort is essential, particularly in the area of nuclear fusion, in which he states that “cooperation is needed more than competition. The Nobel Prizes are less and less individual and more and more collective, and I'm glad that's how it is”.