Thanks to the Principal’s Go Abroad fund, in the summer of 2016 I had a great opportunity to attend an advanced course organised by the CISM (Centre International des Sciences Mécaniques – International Centre for Mechanical Sciences). The title of the course was ‘Wall-Bounded Turbulence’ and it consisted of lectures from some of the most successful professors of the field, such as Javier Jimenez (Universidad Politecnica de Madrid), Ivan Marusic (University of Melbourne), Beverley McKeon (California Institute of Technology), Paolo Orlandi (Universita La Sapienza di Roma), Sergio Pirozzoli (Universita La Sapienza di Roma), and Alexander J. Smits (Princeton University). Since I am an engineering PhD student, and my research is strongly related to turbulent flows, I was very excited when I first discovered the course, especially when I realised that a significant part of my bibliography items for my PHD are authored by the listed researchers.
The course took place in Udine, which is a relatively small town at the feet of the Alps between Venice and Trieste in north-eastern Italy. The main tourist attractions in Udine are the castle, around which the town was built, and the Piazza Libertà which is essentially the main square of the town. In addition to these attractions, the town has several other renaissance and venetian-gothic buildings and monuments, all of which contribute to an enjoyable and atmospheric sightseeing experience.
It is easy to imagine how difficult it was to sit inside a room all day, when outside a whole town is waiting for you in the sunshine. Nevertheless, the lectures were so immensely interesting that it would have been a sin to miss such a beneficial opportunity. Luckily, they were held in a beautiful and well air-conditioned room. During the short breaks between the lectures, the students were free to discuss the presentations with the professors and ask some questions related to their own research as well. In addition to this, a poster session was organised where some of the students presented their own work in greater detail. Just like the professors, the attendees were from varying parts of the word. The longer lunch breaks proved to be the perfect opportunity to chat with each other and to expand our scientific network within the fluid dynamics society. Furthermore, we had the nights free to spend some time together while exploring the town, sampling the authentic Italian cuisine, and defending ourselves against the summer heat with some ice cream.
At the end of the course, I travelled to Venice and spent two more days there before I returned to Scotland. I walked several hours through the historic streets of the city, which can keep you amused for hours. I also participated in several boat trips and visited some of the smaller islands around Venice, such as Murano and Lido. To conclude, I very much enjoyed my time in Italy, and I warmly recommend the advanced CISM courses to every enthusiastic undergraduate and postgraduate student.
Group picture of the participants of the “Wall-bounded turbulence” advanced CISM course
When you need to use cats to explain your scientific theory
The fancy lecture room
The main square in Udine, the Piazza Libertà. Loggia di San Giovanni, Loggia del Lionello on the left, the castle in the background.
View of the Piazza San Marco from the boat in Venice. The tower, Campanile di san Marco on the left, the Doge’s palace on the right, and the Basilico di San Marco in the background.