Hercules 2020, the "on-line" synchrotron school at the time of the coronavirus pandemic

The European school HERCULES: neutrons and synchrotron radiation for science – founded in 1991 – is dedicated to young students who wish to use the synchrotron radiation in fields such as physics, chemistry and biology. Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste has stably contributed to the organization of this event, which has built a solid reputation at an international level. The main objective of the school is to create a generation of young researchers capable of exploiting the exceptional experimental research characteristics of the synchrotrons. One of HERCULES’s key features is the weekly visits paid at different European centers, including Elettra, where lessons and practical exercises are held.
This year, the coronavirus pandemic forced the school organizers to radically change the program in order to allow the students to return to their home countries, before the entry into force of the restrictions on travelling.

Students and teachers online

The school therefore continued by videoconference, allowing students to attend the lessons safely from home. Unfortunately, the visit at the laboratory of Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste was cancelled. Since Elettra and FERMI could not welcome the expected guests, the visit was held remotely, through a series of lessons and meetings by teleconference. Surprisingly, a larger audience could be reached through this modality, more than fifty-five students, instead of twenty students, as usually expected.
HERCULES students have also participated in one-to-one videoconference meetings with the Elettra and FERMI researchers.

By interacting with an expert, the students were able to define in detail the characteristics of their experimental projects, significantly improving the odds of being selected and realized in the future. It is no coincidence that these opportunities for meeting receive every year much appreciation from the students, giving the organizers great satisfaction and motivating them to press onward in this direction.
Despite the critical moment and considerable logistic difficulties, the organizers were pleased to hold this educational event and are confident that they well be able to meet the students in a not so distant future at Elettra and FERMI as users or – why not? – as colleagues.



Students and teachers online



Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 April 2020 14:33