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Seminar on Guerrilla Science: creating scientific instruments in “high tropicallity” conditions

Publié le 31 août 2022 Mis à jour le 31 août 2022

The FabLab ULB, Frugal Lab and the BASS - Biological and Artificial Self-organised Systems have the pleasure to invite you to the seminar entitled : "Guerrilla Science: creating scientific instruments in “high tropicallity” conditions" by Prof. Ernesto Altshuler from the University of Havana, Cuba. It will be held on Tuesday September 20th at 11:00 am (Usquare, FabLab ULB, building G, first floor). Everybody is cordially invited, so please don’t hesitate to share this information to your colleagues and students.

The 1980’s was a flourishing time for Cuban physics, with various achievements ranging from the design of several experiments to be performed by the first Cuban cosmonaut in 1980, to the synthesis of High Temperature superconductors by the end of the 1980’s [1]. However, by the early 1990’s, a profound economic crisis had taken the country by surprise. The situation strongly affected the availability of scientific instruments to Cuban physicists –a process that inexorably continues today. Doing science in such “High Tropicallity” scenario has been truly challenging [2]. Over the years, many Cuban researchers have been forced to create competitive instruments with minimal resources –some of them even taken right from the garbage. Here we put examples of some of these experimental setups, created by members of the Group of Complex Systems and Statistical Physics, University of Habana [3-11]. Fortunately, High tropicallity conditions are really bad for science, but not so terrible for developing a little bit caustic sense of humor.

References :
[1] A. Baracca, J. Renn and H. Wendt (eds.) “The History of Physics in Cuba” (Springer, 2012)
[2] E. Altshuler “Guerrilla Science: survival strategies of a Cuban physicist” (Springer, 2017)
[3] E. Altshuler et al. Physica C 177, 61 (1991)
[4] E. Altshuler et al. Phys. Rev. B 60, 3673 (1999)
[5] C. Noda et al. Rev. Sci. Inst. 44, 126102 (2006)
[6] A. J. Batista-Leyva et al. Supercon. Sci. Technol. 16, 857 (2003)
[7] F. Tejera et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 268104 (2013)
[8] E. Altshuler et al. Plosone 8, e67838 (2013)
[9] G. Sánchez-Colina et al. Rev. Sci. Inst. 85, 126101 (2014)
[10] E. Altshuler et al. Geophys. Res. Lett. 41, 3032 (2014)
[11] G. Viera et al. Rev. Sci. Inst. 88, 086107 (2017)

Author's bio : Ernesto Altshuler Alvarez graduated from the Physics Faculty, University of Havana in 1986 (Diploma thesis on magnetic materials), where he also defended his PhD in 1994 (Thesis on superconducting materials). Altshuler has been professor of Physics at the Physics Faculty, University of Havana for nearly three decades. He has done scientific research also in the fields of granular matter, dynamics of social insects, bacterial motility, porous materials and fluid dynamics. This diversity of fields has involved some bizarre experimentation [1][2][3]. Prof. Altshuler has been appointed as invited researcher at the Texas Center for Superconductivity ( Houston, Texas, USA), the ESPCI (Paris, France), the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters ( Oslo, Norway), and the Rockefeller University (New York, USA) among others. His scientific activity has been often featured (see, for example, [4]). He is Editor in Chief of the Cuban Journal of Physics [5] as well as member of the editorial boards of Granular Matter and Physical Review Applied. Prof. Altshuler is Fellow of the World Academy of Sciences (Trieste, Italy). He has authored several books on science popularization and the history of science, such as Guerrilla Science: survival strategies of a Cuban physicist (Springer, 2017) [6]. Among his hobbies are guitar playing (and composition), cartoon drawing, writing of short stories, caregiving of the elderly, snorkeling, plumbing, car fixing, tasteless cooking, and dangerously long etcetera performed with different levels of love, audacity and mediocrity. He is also an avid science communicator, where his professional training and hobbies merge with an omnipresent (sometimes vitriolic) sense of humor [7].

Le 20 septembre 2022

Usquare, FabLab ULB, building G, first floor