Thursday, 8 October 2015

Bulgaria!

Greetings from Sofia!  I'm attending a workshop, which goes by the name SDANCA, which stands for Shapes and Dynamics of Atomic Nuclei: Contemporary Aspects.  I don't know if the acronym is supposed to convey any particular meaning in Bulgarian, but googling while on a Bulgarian IP address brings up a freestyle wrestler called Stanka Zlateva (I guess the Cyrillic станка can be transliterated just as well to Sdanka).  

We've had day one, and I was fortunate enough to be given a talk in the first session.  I always like to get my talk out of the way and enjoy the rest of the workshop without thinking about my own talk.  It's been a nice event so far -- it's really working as a workshop, with some proper discussion, unlike some attempted  workshops which are just conferences with talks and a short time for questions for those few speakers who do not overrun horribly.  

My favourite talk so far was from a speaker from Heidelberg who talked about possibilities for direct laser-nucleus interactions.  It's a topic I've blogged about before, and one that is likely to lead to the first 'nuclear optics' applications.  Her talk was not very sanguine about the hopes for immediate applications, but one promising thing is the potential use of the first excited state in Th-229 (at a mere 8 eV -- less than the atomic ionisation potential of hydrogen) as a nuclear clock for precise standards of time.

I took the picture, above, last night during the registration period.  The three people most in the foreground were the speakers in the first session today: (L-R) Peter Ring, Yang Sun and George Lalazissis.  In the background is Nikolay Minkov, who chaired that first session, as well as being the prime mover in organising the workshop.