Students of secondary schools can take part in the event entitled the Talent Academy. This year's edition is going to be the fourth one in a row. The Talent Academy was conceived by scientists from the ELI Beamlines and HiLASE lasers centres in Dolní Břežany, who would like to groom another generation of new scientists and to spark interest in physics in young people.
At the moment, students can participate in an Internet round of the competition at the following website: www.talentovka.cz. Under the link, they will find several mathematical tasks and an assignment involving an optical experiment they are expected to conduct at home. During a three-day finale in October, twelve best competitors will check out the simulation of a scientific experiment at professional laboratories of the laser centres.
The Talent Academy is an opportunity to improve their knowledge and competences in the field of laser physics and optics. In addition, the Talent Academy is complemented by the initiative of the Czech Academy of Sciences entitled “Science for Home”, focusing on the popularisation of science on-line.
This year's program will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the discovery of laser. 16 May 2020 will mark sixty years since the American physicist and engineer Theodore H. Maiman launched the first operational laser in the history. The laser is rightly referred to as the biggest discovery of the last century. Without it, we could hardly imagine the existence of most scientific and industrial disciplines today. The laser has earned a prominent place in many disciplines, whether it is electronics manufacturing; the Internet, research in ultra-fast events, metalworking or quantum computers. The Czech Republic has a long tradition in the research of laser technology. As early as in 1963, our country operated three lasers, making our scientists the leading global pioneers in laser physics.
“HiLASE and ELI Beamlines represent top laser research in the world. A high-quality international scientific team and access to top laser technologies made it possible for the centres to build the most powerful lasers, giving our scientists unrivalled opportunities for further research,” explains Tomáš Mocek, the head of the HiLASE centre, the current situation in the Czech laser physics. While secondary school students have a chance to experience close encounters with the current laser research at the lasers centres.
The principal objective of the Talent Academy is to show secondary school students the real nature of research work. It begins in books, continues with the design and the performance of an experiment and ends with the presentation of the results to colleagues and the public. “The Talent Academy helped me understand that I don't have to cross borders to see top research centres; I can just get on a bus in Kačerov and I am there within minutes. I also found out that the people working at the centres are completely normal human beings with whom you can have a good chat. And, finally, I realized that science is something I would like to do in the future,” says Daniela Kropáčková, describing her personal experience gained at last year's Talent Academy.
During the final stage of the competition, scientist guide three teams of students, and they work together to find a solution to a research problem they were assigned. Students are provided with a lot of new information from areas such as optics, chemistry, technical design, programming or 3D printing and learn how to use scientific instruments. The mentors are only there to transform the students’ ideas into the framework laid out by the current capacities of science and technology, and to introduce them to the necessary theoretical background. However, it is fully in the hands of the finalists to find the actual solution to a research problem, to design the experiment, and to collect and process any data. The laboratories of the centres are freely available to students during their work, which is what makes the Talent Academy so unique.
Simultaneously, the Talent Academy is a way for the ELI Beamlines and HiLASE laser centres to find their prospective researchers. The selected participants of the events are offered cooperation in the form of, among others, summer internships, during which the students take part in the centres’ real research projects.
Martin Přeček, a scientist from the experimental team at ELI Beamlines, describes his personal experience with an intern selected among the first year's participants of the Talent Academy in 2017. “Pavel and I worked together for several weeks on a real research assignment involving the measurement of the parameters of a new microfluidic liquid jet and on the preparation and the verification of a research task for the next year of the Talent Academy for which he independently verified most of the chemical procedures. Pavel turned out to be a great worker and I could afford to give him longer assignments that required patience and concentration.
If you are interested in taking part in the Talent Academy 2020, you can apply until the 20 April 2020 at the following website www.talentovka.cz to compete for a place among twelve finalists who will get an opportunity to experience what it is like to work at laser centres.
Organisers: The Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences – ELI Beamlines and HiLASE laser centres.
Candidate's profile: grammar school students in a 4year study programme; grammar school students in an 8year study programme (higher degrees – “kvinta-oktáva”) or vocational school students with interest in natural sciences, primarily in physics.
Deadline for submitting applications: 14 July 2020
The jury will select 12 finalists from the participants. An independent jury consists of scientists from the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences. All competitors will be informed about the results of the competition by e-mail until 24 August 2020.
Date of the final stage: 2 – 4 October 2020, Dolní Břežany.
Illustration photo and a video spot:bit.ly/FotoMediaTA2020
HiLASE: Radka Kozáková, Radka [dot] Kozakova [at] hilase [dot] cz, 601 560 164
ELI Beamlines: Hana Strnadová, Hana [dot] Strnadova [at] eli-beams [dot] eu, 601 560 333
Dolní Břežany, 20. 4. 2020