Every year in the week after Pentecost, prospective solvation scientists from all over the world meet to exchange news about their discipline. The Summer School of the integrated Graduate School Solvation Science brings together all those who want to learn something new on the field of solvation over 4 days.
In 2022, the Summer School could take place in person for the first time since 2019. About 100 PhD students came to Bochum for this. Among them are 20 international students who were able to obtain funding for participation in advance. Among them was Jon Fritz from Ohio State University, USA:
"I loved learning a new spectroscopy technique (THz tim-domain spec.) and it was insightful to learn from international scientists in the lab why they chose Germany and RUB for their PhD or post-doc. I anticipate the connections made through the summer school will lead to a post-doc or even more permanent positions."
The programme is diverse. The first two days were spent mainly in the lecture hall with interesting lectures on Catalysis at Charged Interfaces, Biomolecule Solvation, Interface Solvation and Solvation under Confinement and Molecular/Biology Systems under Extreme Conditions. For the morning of the third day, the participants could choose between different workshops. Various soft skills from "Intercultural competence" to "Team work & leadership in academia" could be developed. In the afternoon, the focus was on the topic of careers. Invited guests from the industry talked about their carrerpaths, their daily work and answered the participants' questions. The last day was dedicated to the motto: Hands-on! Depending on their interests and goals, the participants could choose from 18 full-day hands-on sessions. There they could learn new lab or computational techniques directly from the scientists of the Cluster of Excellence RESOLV. In small groups, they were able to gain insights into the working methods and take new skills home with them.
Kriti Alam from Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur India, states:
"My experience with the Summer School organised by RESOLV was great. Starting from the first two sessions, the talks on the different aspects of biophyics and biomolecules using experimental and theoretical tools were very exciting. Also the sessions like Stage Fright was very good in dealing with emotions and fears during events. For my Hands-Onn, I went with Quantum Chemistry where I dealt with the calculating the pKa of a molecule using TURBOMOL. The session was explained nicely and I had a very nice experience with overall interactive session. So the overall experience with the Summer School was amazing with good interactions and great talks."
Another highlight of the event was the award ceremony for the Solvation Science Student Challenge. Lisa Hetzel from Universität Duisburg-Essen won the challenge on the topic: How solvent molecules influence the selectivity of a reaction? In her submitted work she discusses the approach of training an artificial intelligence for the calculation of the transmission coefficents. Her work was honoured with a prize money of 2000€. About her experience with the challenge, Lisa Hetzel sums up:
I discovered this challenge almost by coincidence while I was scrolling through science twitter to search for interesting research. Even though it was a quite challenging problem to me I enjoyed it a lot to work on a real research issue as a undergrad student and it made me learn a lot about solvation science. I am very happy that I even won the award and was given the chance to present and discuss my work at the Summer School!'
We are happy about the successful summer school and start planning for next year!