International Conference on Neutron Scattering is a Success!

Monday 22 July 2013

The ISIS stand at the ICNS exhibition

The ISIS stand at the ICNS exhibition.
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Edinburgh, 8-12 July 2013 400 miles away from ISIS, Edinburgh hosted the 2013 International Conference on Neutron Scattering (ICNS) at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, nestled in the heart of the city. The conference brought together over 800 delegates from 34 countries.

As a premium sponsor of the conference, ISIS was represented by a large open-sided stand a few strides from the main entrance. Whether it was owing to the model target, airbus wing or the large bowl of ISIS sweets and USB pens, the stand proved popular with delegates and was often the meeting place for a chat over coffee between conference talks.

There was a full science programme at the conference. Seven excellent plenary talks provided an overview of neutron studies in a variety of areas, including Toby Perring from ISIS on mapping spin dynamics. The plenary talks were followed by four parallel sessions of talks, plus poster sessions. Other ISIS  contributions included Timothy Charlton discussing his recent research on the giant proximity effect and critical opalescence in magnetic materials, Rob Bewley giving an update on the performance of LET, Sean Langridge opening the session on reflectometry instruments, Sarah Rogers giving an invited talk on using SANS to study CO2 compatible systems and Stephen Boag presenting the latest developments in the 3He neutron spin filter program at ISIS. Stuart Ansell presented a new model for target station 1’s target, moderator and reflector design and compared this to the existing design. 

Victoria Garcia Sakai gave a talk on solvent effect on protein fast dynamics: implications for biopreservation, and Ross Stewart spoke on his 20 year quest to understand how the complex frustrated magnet beta manganese leads to surprisingly simple properties - more here.

STFC-sponsored poster prizes were awarded at the closing session of the conference, chosen from over 600 posters presented. The conference was also the occasion for the AONSA (Asia-Oceania Neutron Scattering Association) and Walter Hälg Prize lectures.

In addition to the formal talks STFC hosted an Impact Workshop during which members of the STFC, ISIS and ILL spoke about how it is becoming ever important to produce impact stories from scientific research, and discussed means of communicating that impact to a variety of stakeholders. 

It wasn’t only the talks and exhibitions which made ICNS 2013 a success, but the social events too. In the shadow of Salisbury Crags, delegates enjoyed wine and canapés whilst exploring Our Dynamic Earth during the welcome reception. Another evening, whiskies of various ages and tones were enjoyed during a tasting, which gave another opportunity for poster discussion and a look around the exhibition.

Mid-week, Edinburgh Castle raised its portcullis and ICNS guests were spoilt with a private wander within its walls. Dominating the city from its great rock, the castle provided spectacular views of Edinburgh, and the group were even treated to an intimate look at the crown jewels, just one of many castle secrets. 

The conference closed with a dinner at the National Museum of Scotland. With its soaring pillars and high windows, the light-filled atrium of the Grand Gallery hosted a hundred tables of guests who enjoyed a traditional Scottish dinner, surrounded by artefacts and features of the natural world. The long entrance hall became centre stage for a late night ceilidh – a traditional Scottish dance to fiddles and guitar. The Flying Scotsman and Strip the Willow dances linked arms of neutron scatterers from all over the world, to enjoy the end of an excellent conference.

ICNS 2013 was a big success - with excellent science and excellent organisation - and the conference organisers did a superb job in putting together and running a very memorable meeting.

Emily Mobley

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