Launch of events at BME as part of the Hungarian Science Festival

Participants of BME’S and ILL’s joint programme learnt about the wide array of neutron scattering study opportunities and the benefits of joining the ILL network.

“We hope that this event is also a testament to the commitment and expertise of Hungarian scientists in using state-of-the-art metrology, based on neutron scattering”, said Deputy Dean of Scientific and International Affairs János Levendovszky, host of the international workshop organised by BME and the Grenoble-based Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) in his welcome address. At this year’s opening event at BME, held within the Hungarian Science Festival, the professor talked about the university’s history, its academic and research activities, its experts boasting outstanding scientific achievements, as well as their innovative research topics. He stressed that the eight faculties of the institution continuously cooperate to further raise the standard of research, which is already highly acclaimed in international circles. In his view, research projects, such as the skyrmion-related analytical work by the Magneto-Optical Spectroscopy Group of the HAS-BME Momentum initiative, which also use ILL’s infrastructure, are of primary importance. He also expressed his hope for further strengthening the relationships between ILL and Hungary, and within that BME.

Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) is an international scientific facility, which currently has the largest high-flux nuclear reactor in the world, where experiments are performed using various methods of neutron scattering in fields of investigation ranging from materials science, solid-state physics, chemistry, biology, life sciences and many other disciplines. Its operation is overseen by European countries which take on the most active role in research activities. Its constantly renewed facilities are open to over 1,500 researchers from around 40 countries every year. On average, 800 experiments are completed every year, the results of which are then published in 600 articles.

The workshop entitled „ILL Synergies with Hungary, Recent Progress in the Hungarian Neutron User Community – ILL Collaboration” was one of the key events, held at BME within the 2018 Hungarian Science Festival. It showcased the activities of several renowned international research centres, and also featured presentations by Hungarian researchers on the importance of ILL’s contribution to their research results.

Hungary’s excellent professionals have made a great contribution to the development of neutron research, Helmut Schober, ILL’s Director said in his welcome speech. He went on to explain that this was due to BME’s internationally acknowledged researchers in the field of nuclear and particle physics, and the results they have achieved. “Our main mission is to examine and describe materials of all scales, from dark matter to the HIV virus”, the professor stressed, adding that they can do this by relying on the special characteristics of neutrons, produced by nuclear fission, and ILL’s unique technological background.

The director described ILL’s operation, pointing out that over the past four decades the institute has become one of the main centres of Europe’s complex instrumental infrastructure. The establishment and operation of the research facility was financed through the international partnership of European countries, mainly France, Germany and the UK, but the centre can only stay profitable if the optimal utilisation of its infrastructure is ensured on an international level. Helmut Schober explained that by developing a unique client-oriented business model, they are able to attract a wider range of partners who use the neutron scattering technology, which guarantees return-on-investment. This has enabled ILL to build new equipment in the past two decades and currently also generates the finances required for the continuous improvement of its infrastructure.

István Szabó, Vice President for Innovation and General Affairs of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (NKFIH) pointed out in his welcome speech that although Hungary is an official member of several European research networks, we are currently not a member of ILL. In his view the joint workshop can help the entire Hungarian neutron researcher community to have stronger ties with the prestigious institution, which could also strengthen formal relations. In his presentation the representative of NKFIH talked about the structure of Hungary’s research infrastructure and how it fits into the European system.

The event continued with presentations by foreign and Hungarian professionals: representing BME, Sándor Bordács, assistant professor of the Department of Physics of the Faculty of Natural Sciences’ Institute of Physics talked about the details of skyrmion-related research, while Beáta Vértessy, head of department and university professor at the Department of Applied Biotechnology and Food Science of the Faculty of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology presented the new potentials in integrated structural biology to the participants.

Another important event, to be organised at BME within the Hungarian Science Festival will be held on 21 November at 3 pm at the ceremony hall of the Central Building, entitled “Proudly presenting our scientists of exceptional merit 2018”. This event will be held for the second time with the aim of celebrating the winners of esteemed international and Hungarian competitions, such as the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Scholarship, the Momentum Programme and the Premium Postdoctoral Researcher Programme of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Bolyai Research Scholarship. BME’s researcher scholarship awards will also be presented at the event.

For more information about BME’s events and about registration, please visit BME’s subpage. For information about all the Hungarian Science Festival events, visit the website of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Photo: János Philip