2013 ICG Summer School in Montpellier – 5th successful course in glass science

The ICG’s Summer School in Montpellier was, according to the organizers a “ … successful course in glass science.” This year’s event was attended by 34 students, 14 from industry and the remainder from academia. In total 14 different academic institutions, 4 industries, 8 different countries and 3 continents were represented.

On 8 July 2013, 34 students gathered at CNRS in Montpellier for the start of the fifth Montpellier Summer School. Of this group, 14 were from industry and the remainder from academia. In total 14 different academic institutions, 4 industries, 8 different countries and 3 continents were represented.
The school uses two principal modes of teaching. Firstly 23 lectures occupy the mornings and also close the afternoon sessions. Those at the end of the day are less formal, involving tutorials on particular techniques, or focussing on pinch points in Glass Technology where new understanding is needed. From Monday to Thursday, morning sessions have 5 lectures with a coffee break. The lectures last just 40 minutes, with 5 minutes at the end for open discussion.
Teachers are encouraged to remain for the whole week and often enhance this question time with pertinent questions that provide fresh insights into the subject matter. The subject areas covered during the week included: glass formation, glass structure, its analysis by spectroscopic and diffraction techniques, and computer modelling. Particular attention was given to properties such as strength and transport properties including durability. One lecturer with a more industrial background discussed the analysis of surface coatings, added to modify specific optical and mechanical properties and a short talk was given on the workings of ICG and its technical committees.
The summer school’s success lies partly in the networking opportunities it provides. A welcome reception takes place on the first evening and a conference dinner on the last night. Teachers and students take breakfast and lunch together. Wednesday afternoon is free so delegates can explore Montpellier and its environs. A quick trip to the beach is a must. As happens every year a Facebook page is created by and for the group, allowing memories and photographs to be shared. We hope it also encourages the lifelong links that build a vibrant glass community.
Because of the quality of their projects we asked the 2012 groups if they would like to present them at the ICG Prague Congress. We were grateful that the Congress Organisers were willing to allocate a slot in their timetable for this. Four of the six groups presented their work to an audience of around 50 delegates. The feedback afterwards from both the presenters and also the audience was very positive and we hope that this will continue as a model for future ICG conferences.
Its teachers are central to the summer school’s success. All have international reputations but give their time freely to help develop the next generation of Glass Technologists, in a world which faces a shortage of suitably trained young staff. The input of these world experts is much appreciated.