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Physics students unite

The International Conference of Physics Students continues its remarkable tradition.

Last month, 450 students from 44 different countries convened in the spectacular surroundings of the Campus Luigi Einaudi in Turin, Italy, at the International Conference of Physics Students (ICPS).

Invited speakers included Elena Aprile, an experimental particle physicist who founded the XENON dark-matter experiment operating at the Gran Sasso laboratory in central Italy, and Steven Cowley, a plasma physicist who, up until very recently, headed the UK Atomic Energy Authority. But most of the talks and presentations were given by students — not only a valuable opportunity for listeners to learn about new physics, but also a chance for presenters to practice the communication of their research.

The social and cultural calendar was another highlight: a rich itinerary of lab visits, tourism and social events such as the Nations Party (a celebration of the cuisine from all the participants' home countries) ensured the conference was also a wonderful and successful opportunity for cultural exchange.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the ICPS is how it is organized: this year it was the turn of the Italian branch of the International Association of Physics Students, the Associazione Italiana Studenti di Fisica, to secure its funding and coordination. Yet teams of dedicated students have displayed this initiative every year since 1986, when the first ICPS was held at the tail-end of the Cold War in Budapest, Hungary.

ICPS 2018 will be held in Helsinki, Finland, next August. Mark your calendars.

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Physics students unite. Nature Phys 13, 821 (2017).

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