I-CAMP 2013 Thank you note

"Thank you" note from participants of the I-CAMP 2012

Inspired by highly successful TASI and Boulder Condensed Matter & Materials Physics summer schools organized by my colleagues, I have established the annual Inter-Continental Advanced Materials and Photonics (I-CAMP) summer school series. The I-CAMPs are traveling around the world, and I am organizing them jointly with one to three local co-organizers, typically from the host institutions. Modern-day photonics and materials physics research challenges frequently fall at the boundaries between conventional scientific disciplines, requiring expertise in optics, biology, condensed matter physics, and materials science. There is an urgent need to create new kinds of professional preparation and thinking capable of exploiting the emergent opportunities at these highly interdisciplinary research frontiers. It is this primary scientific strategy and philosophy that underlies the I-CAMP summer schools. The goal is to not only discuss the latest research advances, but also to provide an interdisciplinary expert training not easily available within the traditional system of graduate education and postdoctoral apprenticeship. I-CAMPs provide advanced education for scientists working in materials sciences, optics, photonics, nanoscience, and related fields, combining advanced education with learning about different cultures worldwide. They are up to 4 weeks in duration, each week having a focus topic. I-CAM•09 was held in 4 cities (Hangzhou, Shanghai, Qingdao, & Beijing) in China, I-CAMP•10 took place in Sydney & Brisbane, Australia, and I-CAMP•11 visited Argentina & Uruguay. I-CAMP•12 took place in Boulder at CU and I-CAMP•13 in Cambridge University, UK. I-CAMP•14 was held in South Arica. Group photos below depict students from I-CAMP•09 (top), I-CAMP•12 (middle) and I-CAMP•13 (bottom). These schools are supported primarily by the I2CAM grant of the NSF International Materials Institute program (on which I am a co-PI), by institutions hosting I-CAMPs, and also by professional societies (such as the Intl. Society for Optical Engineering - SPIE) and industrial partners (such as the Hisense company). Each I-CAMP accepts 75-100 students with diverse advanced scientific preparation backgrounds and national origins, with about 50% of them coming from the USA. To enhance discussion and knowledge exchange, there are at least three poster sessions, with the Best Poster Presentation awards sponsored by SPIE. Since the presentations are webcast in real time, in addition to the on-site audience, registered participants around the World participate in the discussion remotely via webcast. I-CAMP lectures are videotaped and archived on the school web pages, being a valuable resource long after the summer schools take place. A number of activities, such as the Career Development Forums and Outreach Forums, are intended to assist graduate students in their careers in both academia and in industry. In 2012, when the University of Colorado was hosting I-CAMP•12, we offered a special topics graduate course Phys 7810 in conjunction with it and introduced the use of clicker technology in teaching tutorial lectures in this 4-week summer school. The clickers and many helpful advises on their use were provided by our physics education group in the department. Many students and speakers attending I-CAMP, especially the ones coming from foreign countries, were completely unfamiliar with clickers; the YouTube video on clickers produced by my Physics colleagues served as an introduction to the use of this technology for both speakers and students. The feedback about the use of clickers in the context of summer school tutorials was so positive that we continued their use at I-CAMP•13 in Cambridge, UK and plan using them at future I-CAMP’s. By attracting top international scientists as speakers and talented student participants, I-CAMPs gained considerable visibility. The unique features of the summer school series, such as combining the advanced technical graduate-level education with learning about cultures and history of nations around the World, attracted a great deal of interest from the education standpoint. For example, Physics Today highlights some of these aspects in the September 2013 issue* and many other highlight articles were written about the past meetings (in Nature Photonics, ICAM News, Liquid Crystals Today, etc.).

*J. N. A. Matthews, “Globetrotting school aims to fuse condensed matter and culture” Phys. Today 66 (9) 22 (2013) | doi: 10.1063/PT.3.2112