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The first week (w1) is mainly reserved for lectures. Topics to be covered range from astronomy and planetary science to particle physics and cosmology. Colleagues, including permanent senior and junior staff and postdoctoral research associates from the Department of Applied Mathematics as well as the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and, the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering contribute to lecturing with most of the lectures being covered by local speakers.
Around 75% of the lecturing is delivered by staff and PDRAs from the University of Sheffield. For the rest of the lectures we invite outstanding colleagues from other UK HE Institutions.
The main focus of the following three weeks (w2 - w4) is on student projects. During this period we also have specific lectures (from mid-w2 onwards), which are complementary to the more general regular lectures of the first week. We believe this to be a better solution than to have all the lectures compressed in during the first week. This way the students have a break from their projects and there is enough time left for intellectual digestion and reconciliation. During the project weeks these additional specialist lectures are given by established senior reknown external speakers. We have approached such internationally known speakers in the field of particle physics, astronomy and astrophysics.
The list of projects (increasing all time; potential students can also suggest one!) cover the whole spectrum of PPARC science: solar and space plasma physics, astrophysics, particle physics and cosmology. The departments of Applied Mathematics, ACSE, and Physics and Astronomy allocate(d) supervisors for projects, which include members of staff, PDRAs as well as post-graduate students. We have more projects proposed than the maximum number of IUSS students (around 40 projects are proposed in order to have a wide choice). Special care is taken to have a healthy balance covering the whole area of PPARC science.
Additionally to the lectures, we provide informative site trips for the students. One trip goes to the Greenwich Observatory; the other to ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands; finally the last one is to Jodrell Bank Observatory. All these site visit are free of charge for the accepted students. We reserve the right to cancel any of the above site visit in case of unforeseen difficulties. Overseas students requiring visas should make it clear in their application that visas should be arranged. We provide assisstance obtaining such visas.
We strongly believe it is essential for the students to have first-hand experience at a non-academic research institution. Although for instance the Royal Observatory, Greenwich may be known more because of historic reasons the added cultural value and experience has a strong impact on visitors.
During the last week (w4), students give oral presentations (approx 10 mins + 5 mins for questions) on their own projects. We encourage the students to make these presentation and there will be a “best presentation” competition both in particle physics and in astronomy. During the last week we also ask students for feedback (via an electronic anonymous questionnaire) to find out their opinions and suggestions about the School and its organization. Student opinions are highly important to us, since their experience helps to improve the quality of any other summer school we may organise in future. Week 4 also has two concluding lectures and a conference dinner. The conference dinner is free of charge for the participants of the School.
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