E-Newsletter for members
Published monthly
Nr. 2 - September 2005

Editor : Anne Rougemont
Tel. 022 / 379 64 99
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SWM 2005 Les Diablerets - last updates
A new state-of-the-art mirror furnace in Geneva
Prof. Frédéric Mila joins the SPS Committee
MaNEP under sociological study

SWM 2005 Les Diablerets - last updates
by Prof. Jean-Marc Triscone, MaNEP deputy director

Prof. Jean-Marc Triscone
The 2005 Swiss Workshop on Materials with Novel Electronic Properties is the 6th edition of a series of Swiss Workshops on Superconductivity and Novel Metals which were held since 1996. The 2005 edition will take place Monday-Wednesday September 26-28 in Les Diablerets.

Over 200 participants (including 75 PhD students) are expected.

During the sessions, 11 invited talks, 21 contributed talks and about 114 posters will be presented and will cover areas including superconductivity, low-D systems, quantum phase transitions, cold atoms, new oxides and novel magnetic systems, ferroelectrics, multiferroics, magnetic semiconductors and applications of materials with novel electronic properties.

This year all the posters will be displayed on Monday and Tuesday. Before the poster sessions, there will be oral sessions consisting of one minute short poster presentations that will allow for the audience to put “a face on a name” and for the poster presenter to advertise his/her work.

The invited speakers are :
T. Esslinger, ETH Zurich
M. Kawasaki, Tohoku University
M. Kenzelmann, ETH Zurich
H. Ohno, Tohoku University
N.P. Ong, Princeton University
H.R. Ott, ETH Zurich
M. Randeria, Ohio State University
S. Saxena. Cambridge University
D. Schlom, Penn State University
A. Yacoby, Weizmann Institute
A. Yazdani, Princeton University

[All the details can be found here : http://www.manep-nccr.ch/en/events/swm05/]

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A new state-of-the art mirror furnace in Geneva
by Dr. Enrico Giannini (Prof. René Flükiger's group)
The understanding of modern solid state physics, as well as the improvement of the performance of devices based on new materials, need continuous efforts in crystal growth of compounds exhibiting novel electronic properties. With the aim of growing high-quality crystals of various materials with the Travelling Solvent Floating Zone method, the DPMC of the University of Geneva has been supplied with a new Mirror Furnace produced by Cyberstar SA. This state-of-the-art mirror furnace is added to the two homemade mirror furnaces already existing and operating at the DPMC of the University of Geneva.

This new equipment will improve the capability of growing single crystals of materials not available so far, and will certainly boost up the whole research activity on crystal growth and characterization inside MaNEP.

For any inquiries and if you wish to visit the installation, please contact me : enrico.giannini@physics.unige.ch
[For a full description of the furnace, click here]

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Prof. Frédéric Mila joins the SPS Committee
Prof. Frédéric Mila - EPFLAt the Swiss Physical Society (SPS) General Assembly of July 14th, three new committee members have been elected. Among them, MaNEP's Forum member Prof. Frédéric Mila, who follows Dr Thomas Christen in the Theory section.

Prof. Mila is a Professor at the EPFL since 2003 where he is leading the chair of Condensed Matter theory

[Fore more biographical details, please read here]
[Download the last SPS News in PDF]

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MaNEP under sociological study
Learning by doing : participant observation in experimental physics
By Philippe Sormani
Philippe Sormani
What is there to be observed, let alone to be done or learned, for a sociologist in a physics lab ? A brief outline of my current research, as a novice sociologist in experimental physics, may provide a provisional answer to that question.

First steps in a complex field : STM on a daily basis
Since mid-June, I have attended the daily work routine of experimental physicists in STM, at the University of Geneva, MaNEP’s leading house.

The initial puzzle, the day before my arrival, was : 'What the heck am I supposed to do tomorrow !?' Indeed, the journey was one into a strange country where neither the language nor the activities promised easy understanding. This, however, provided a first topic of sociological interest : ‘what is the idiosyncratic specificity of the methods of physical experimentation as an ongoing achievement’ ?

Given the complexity of the practices involved, sociological training alone wouldn't do the job ; theoretical abstraction even less so. Conversely, participant observation has proved to be an adequate method so far, at least from the perspective of the pursued project.

The Project : Research Policy and Academic Identities
The organisational framework of my work is a project titled 'Research Policy and Academic Identities'. Hosted by the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Lausanne, the project is funded by the SNF (Div I), over a 3 year period (from August 2004). Fundamental research is the one and only purpose of the project. Other instances within the SNF (Div IV) are already busy with evaluating NCCR on an annual basis.

The project is designed to analyse NCCR - and MaNEP in particular - as a new form of research organization. The main objective is to describe research practices on an everyday basis and the social organization they are part of, as well as the practical constitution of 'academic identities' ; that is, the different ways of defining oneself as a researcher, a 'physicist', a 'chemist', etc. From the outset, the NCCR appeared as a pertinent example of what can be considered as a 'new' form of research organization, not only on the Swiss level but also worldwide. Several aspects are thus of particular interest : research collaboration via extended networks, doctoral education and promotion of women, new modes of research management, and so on. As part and parcel of 'research policy', these aspects are investigated in the ongoing project, for the only purpose of appropriate understanding.

The project has also a comparative purpose. On one hand, I hope to study further labs within MaNEP. On the other, my colleague at the University of Lausanne is doing a parallel study of an NCCR within the field of biology. The detailed, long-term study of research within particular laboratories can thus be related to, and compared with, research practices in other fields and disciplines.

For any inquiries, please contact me :
Philippe Sormani
Observatoire Science, Politique et Société / UNIL / Fac SSP
E-mail: philippe.sormani@unil.ch
Tel. +41 21 693 88 25 / 26
Fax. +41 21 693 88 45

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