Summer 2016

Dear ASESMA friends,

Welcome to the ASESMA newsletter, particularly those from the ASESMA

in Ghana in June that are new to the list.

This newsletter contains a message from Richard Martin on the school

in Ghana, along with some announcements and deadlines that may be of

interest to you. In addition, we include the social media and online

presence for getting in touch with us and spreading news about ASESMA!

All the best,

Sinead Griffin




(1) ASESMA in Ghana 2016: a summary

(2) Eni Award Deadline

(3) ASESMA Online


:: ASESMA in Ghana ::


A message from Richard Martin:

ASESMA 2016 was an exhilarating experience for me and also for the

lecturers, mentors, and participants who have expressed their

appreciation for the experience! There is a full report linked here

(, but I want to give you a short summary that was sent

to the International Advisory Panel the week after the school.

There were participants from 13 different sub-saharan African

countries, more then at any of the previous three schools. I believe

that this time marks a milestone in building a community among the

continuing participants, as well as being especially successful in

introducing new participants to the field. The answers on the

questionnaire at the end of the school were very positive with

expressions of appreciation for the opportunity to interact with

experts from the global science community and with other Africans.

They expressed hope and optimism for continued interactions and future


In my opinion, there were several factors that were especially

important for the optimistic attitudes of the participants and


* The first week is courses and tutorials with more experienced

participants helping the ones that were learning the concepts and

methods. I believe this built camaraderie that was important for the

rest of the school.

* The second week was mainly devote to projects. This year there were

6 projects that were all very successful. Each involves the aspects

of a real research project and can be the basis for further

collaboration. In least 4 (possibly all 6) projects the participants

want to continue and there is a good possibility of a paper that can

be published. They are described in the full report.

* Interaction with the leaders was especially good, and every lecturer

and mentor expressed appreciation to be included to ASESMA.

The local community in Ghana did not have much prior expertise in the

area of electronic structure calculations for solids, but there was

strength in chemistry, materials science and other fields. They could

learn quickly, participate in projects and contribute their knowledge.

They are enthused to build up research in electronic structure of


The groups in Nigeria togther with the Ghana group, along with other

regional groups in Kenya, Congo/Cameroon, and South Africa, are

bringing to fruition the anticipated network for research in

sub-saharan Africa.

The challenge is to build upon the enthusiasm to provide opportunities

to participate in the global science community and to continue

building up an active African community.

Sadly, we recognized the passing of Walter Kohn, and we emphasized to

the participants what a positive role model he is as a giant of our

field, with tremendous influence, and yet personable and caring for

people everywhere. ASESMA is grateful for his contributions to the

Advisory Panel. He will be missed.

With appreciation,

Richard Martin


:: Eni Award ::


The Eni Award is an international award for the best research projects

in the field of energy and sustainability listed below. In particular,

there are two 'Young Talents from Africa' awards with the prize of a

scholarship. The deadline is November 25, 2016 at 17.00 (CET). For

further information, and how to apply, visit

The Prize “Energy Transition” - 200.000 Euros

The Prize “Energy Frontiers” - 200.000 Euros

The Prize “Advanced Environmental Solutions” - 200.000 Euros


Two Prizes “Young Researcher of the Year” - 25.000 Euros each

Two Prizes “Debut in Research: Young Talents from Africa” - Two scholarships


:: ASESMA Online ::


In addition to each school's individual website, you can find

information on the whole ASESMA program on It also

contains previous newsletter and a resources section with many of the

lecture notes from previous schools. If there is something that you

think should be included on the ASESMA website, please email with your suggestions.

In addition, you can find us on Twitter under the handle @asesma_news

or on Facebook ( Our

Twitter account was featured in the Institute of Physic's

#iamaphysicist day earlier in the summer!


Winter 2015

Dear ASESMA friends,

I'm delighted to give you the full details of the fourth ASESMA school below,

which will be held in Ghana in June 2016. Please see

for full details and the application.

Best regards,

Sinead Griffin





The African School series on Electronic Structure Methods and Applications (ASESMA)

is planned on a biennial basis from 2010 to 2020. The schools emphasize the theory

and computational methods for predicting and understanding properties of materials

through calculations at the fundamental level of electronic structure. Previous schools

were held in Cape Town -South Africa (2010), Eldoret - Kenya (2012), and Johannesburg


PROGRAMME: The activity will cover basic methodological aspects such as density

functional theory, electronic structure, many-body methods such as DFT+U, BSE, GW

and quantum Monte Carlo, as well as molecular dynamics. It will also cover the application

of these methods to the mechanical, dynamical, electronic, optical and magnetic properties

of materials. The school will consist of lectures and of hands-on computational laboratories

based on state-of-the-art codes. Each participant will engage in a project depending upon

his/her level. The projects will vary from calculation of the stable structures of materials for

those without previous background in density functional calculations to more advanced

calculations for those with more experience.

GRANTS: A limited number of grants are available to support the travel and living expenses

of selected participants, with priority given to participants working in Africa and who are at the

early stages of their career.

HOW TO APPLY FOR PARTICIPATION: Participants should have a background in solid state

physics or chemistry at advanced undergraduate level, and be familiar with basic use of Linux

and computer programming. The online application form can be accessed here below. Once

in the website, comprehensive instructions will guide you step-by-step, on how to fill out and

submit the application form.


Fall 2015

Dear friends of ASESMA:

A warm welcome to the ASESMA Newsletter, particularly to the new

members from the school in South Africa earlier this year!

I am happy to announce the ASESMA school 2016, along with funding

opportunities in Norway, a useful web resource called ISOTROPY, and a

message from Richard Martin announcing his exciting news of a

companion to "Electronic Structure: Basic Theory and Practical

Methods" which will be based on many-body methods.

For the next newsletter, we would love to receive any news, updates

and contributions that you may have. These can include, for example,

personal achievements, activities at your institute, a review of some

work you found interesting or a conference/workshop you attended and

would like to write about. Please send any contributions to by Oct 30 at the latest for inclusion in the

November letter.

Warm regards,

Sinead Griffin




(1) ASESMA 2016 announcement

(2) Message from Richard Martin

(3) Postgraduate scholarships in Norway

(4) Useful tool: ISOTROPY




We are delighted to announce that the next ASESMA school will take

place at the University of Ghana in Accra. The school will run from

June 12-25 2016. We will send more details on the school and the

application in the coming months.


:: Message from Richard Martin and New Book ::


Dear ASESMA friends,

I want to share with you some major news for me. In July we completed

the manuscript for a book. Together with coauthors Lucia Reining and

David Ceperley, we completed a book that has been in progress for 11

years. It is now with the editors at Cambridge University Press and

it should be published in the first part of next year.

This is a the companion to my previous book* "Electronic Structure:

Basic Theory and Practical Methods" by Richard M. Martin, Cambridge

University Press, 2004 (reprinted and now a paperback). That book is

concerned mainly with density functional theory and methods to solve

the Kohn-Sham equations.

The new book is on many-body methods and is called "Interacting

Electrons: Basic theory and computational methods." It is devoted to

the properties of materials that require such methods and the three

widely used methods: many-body perturbation theory and the GW method;

dynamical mean field theory (DMFT); and quantum Monte Carlo (QMC). All

these methods were part of the last ASESMA and (together with DFT) are

the main methods used in research today. For me this is near the end

of a saga that started in 1994 when I started writing with the plan to

explain the theory and important methods for electronic

structure theory and calculations.

* Information on the previous book can be found at That web site has other resources

for electronic structure, but it is out of date and the plan is to

update it with information on the new book and resources for many-body



:: Scholarships in Norway ::


The Norwegian government runs a program providing scholarships for

students from developing countries for all levels of study, but

concentrating on Master and PhD level studies. Eligible countries

include Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, South

Africa, The Republic of the Congo and Nigeria, amongst others. The

deadline typically falls in December. More information can be found



:: Overview of ISOTROPY ::


A wonderful free suite of software (available both as an online tool

and download for Linux) is ISOTROPY

(, which might be of interest

to some of you. It's a multifaceted tool for analyzing crystal

structures, symmetries, distortions and space group relationships. The

site also includes some nice tutorials

( to give a taste of

its capabilities.

One of its more straight-forward tools, findsym

(, takes in a structure file --

either by uploading a cif file or inputting the lattice parameters and

atomic positions explicitly -- and outputs the symmetry group of the

system. Another useful feature of findsym is that along with the

symmetry analysis, it also outputs a cif file which can be useful for

transferring files between different codes, visualization tools, and

much more besides.


Summer 2014

Dear ASESMA friends,

As you are aware, the 2014 ASESMA school was due to take place in Abuja,

Nigeria in early June. Unfortunately, the school is now postponed and

planned for a different location. This decision was made on the

recommendation by UNESCO (the parent organization for ICTP) that no

school should be held in Nigeria in the near future.

The ASESMA organizers are currently working on new location for the

third biennial school, and we will keep you updated as more plans are


We hope you will stay involved in the ASESMA community and look forward

to seeing you at a future school.


Spring 2014

Dear friends of ASESMA:

Welcome to our Spring newsletter.

In this newsletter we are pleased to announce details for the next

ASESMA school in Nigeria with a message from Richard Martin.

All the best,

Sinead Griffin




(1) Message from Richard Martin: Announcement of ASESMA school in Nigeria

(2) Africa MRS, December 2013

(3) Free e-membership to MRS


:: ASESMA school in Nigeria ::


***Application Deadline: March 9, 2014***

The 3rd school in the ASESMA series will take place June 9-21 at the

African University of Science and Technology, Abuja, Nigeria. The

school will cover topics in the theory and computational methods for

predicting and understanding the properties of materials. Building on

the previous schools in Cape Town, South Africa (2010) and Eldoret,

Kenya (2012), the programme will cover basic aspects in electronic

structure theory along with more advanced topics including optical

properties with time-dependent DFT and GW methods, Quantum Monte Carlo

methods and Molecular Dynamics.

Apply at:

Some more details from Richard Martin:

This is meant for previous participants who are proficient in the

basic material presented at ASESMA (use of QE, DFT, basic knowledge of

electronic states in crystals, etc.) and are currently active in

research (or want to be more active!). At ASESMA 2014 there will be

several advanced topics on theoretical methods, and current issues in

condensed matter physics, materials science and chemistry. Each will

be presented by an expert in the field with an overview, background,

and a hands-on project. This is an extraordinary opportunity to learn

about several areas and to go into more depth in one area. Graduate

students and other researchers in the rest of the world would love to

have this opportunity!

This is also open to others. Please let other people who are

appropriate know about this.

Space is limited and there will be a selection process, but we will

make every effort to include as many as possible among the applicants

who are best qualified to take advantage of the opportunity.

Here is a list advanced topics

(These are my classifications and the experts in each topic will

certainly describe them better.)

Two areas that are part of the emphasis this year on optical properties:

Time-dependent DFT for solids, molecules, surfaces, ...

GW and related methods for excitations in solids

Other topics:

X-ray absorption and related phenomena (the theory is closely related to GW)

Quantum Monte Carlo methods and applications to crystals

Dynamical mean field theory and "Strongly-correlated" materials

More advanced aspects of topics continuing from previous years:

Minerals and high pressure

Molecular dynamics and finite temperature

Other applications - not yet decided

In order to best benefit from participation, there will be background

for these areas provided before the school. You are not expected to

become experts before the school, but you are expected to actively

participate in preparing for the school!




Many ASESMA colleagues attended the 7th International Conference of

the Africa Materials Research Society, which took place in Addis Ababa

in December. The conference focused on several materials-related

research themes, in particular those especially relevant to Africa. A

symposium on Computational Materials covered a selection of topics in

electronic structure methods and applications. Over a third of the

talks were given be ASESMA participants, ranging from electrocatalysis

and electron transport to materials for solar cells.




The Materials Research Society now offers FREE electronic-only

memberships (e-memberships) for students in developing

countries--countries defined as Lower-Income or Lower-Middle-Income

Economies by the World Bank..

More information and application details can be found at:


Winter 2013

Dear friends of ASESMA:

Happy New Year and welcome to our Winter 2013 newsletter!

I'm excited to tell you this issue of our newsletter includes

contributions from several correspondents: Regina Rapela Maphanga

in Limpopo, South Africa; Georgies Alene Asres in Arba Minch,

Ethiopia; and Sinead Griffin in Zurich, Switerland. All three are

active ASESMA participants, and here they report on materials

science activities around the African continent.

We also have important information about ASESMA travel grants

available to African students and researchers. Apply now for one

of these great opportunities.

Warm regards,

Alison Hatt




(1) ASESMA Travel Grants Available

(2) Honoring Prof. Phuti Ngoepe at University of Limpopo

(3) Forming Alliances in Addis Ababa

(4) ASESMA Travels to Sudan


:: ASESMA Travel Grants ::


Applications for ASESMA-supported travel grants are welcome from

African students and researchers who seek support for one of the


A. Attend and present research contributions at workshops and

schools in the area of electronic structure methods and

applications, in Europe, US, or elsewhere. Requests for travel

support must contain the title and abstract of the contribution,

its status (accepted, submitted, poster, oral, etc) and a brief

description of the motivations.

B. Visit other teams in Africa or elsewhere for short periods for

collaboration. Requests for travel support must contain a one-page

summary of the proposed collaboration. The description should

include the scientific context and relevance, the motivation of

why the collaborative aspect is essential, and a realistic work

plan of the visit.

Students and young researcher are advised to ask their

supervisor(s) or a senior member of the community to write a few

lines in support of the application. Please attach a short CV to

the application. Applications must be submitted to Sandro

Scandolo ( and will be evaluated on a rolling

basis. Support is available for events and visits taking place

between now and April 2013.

Lists of workshops/schools in the area of electronic structure in

Europe are available at the following websites: CECAM: Psi-K network: (registration is free but



Previous recipients of ASESMA travel support include Abu Yaya

(Ghana) and Michael Atambo (Kenya) who participated in the Trieste

"Total Energy" Workshop and subsequent "Hands-on" school The

workshop and school took place from 10 to 18 January at ICTP.


:: Honoring Prof. Phuti Ngoepe at University of Limpopo ::


by Regina Rapela Maphanga, Limpopo, South Africa

For two days in early January, The University of Limpopo hosted a

two-day conference on “Perspectives in Materials Science and

Physics†in honour of Professor Phuti Ngoepe's 60th birthday. The

conference attracted both local participants, such as government

officials and former and current students, as well as

international collaborators, who reflected on contributions made

by Prof. Ngoepe. As described by the speakers, Prof. Ngoepe has

immensely contributed to science policy development in South

Africa in the form of science and technology strategies, such as

nanotechnology, advanced manufacturing, hydrogen economy, energy

research, battery research, mining and minerals research, and high

performance computing.

With a career spanning nearly 40 years, Prof. Ngoepe has taught

and supervised postgraduate students and contributed significantly

towards the establishment of projects such as the University

Foundation Year (UNIFY), Science Teacher In-Service Training

(UNIST), minerals and mining. He is currently South African

Research Chair on Computational Modelling of Materials, Director

of Materials Modelling Centre at University of Limpopo and Council

for Science and Industrial Research Fellow, and has also served as

Dean of what was then the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural


Prof. Ngoepe has research interests in computational modeling of

materials ranging from electronic to nanoscales and covering

energy storage, minerals, metal alloys and polymers. He has

received numerous awards for his outstanding contribution in

Science, Engineering and Technology development in SA and

maintains a strong link with both local and international

collaborations, in United Kingdom, United States of America,

France and Japan.


:: Building Alliances in Addis Ababa ::


by Georgies Alene, Arba Minch, Ethiopia

The first Materials Research School of the Joint US-Africa

Materials Institute on Materials for Sustainable Energy was

conducted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 10 December 2012-20 December


The initiative aims to build materials science research and

collaborations between the United States and Africa, with an

initial focus on East Africa, and to develop ties between young

materials researchers in both regions in a school taught by top

materials researchers. Fifty-three PhD and early career materials

researcher from across the US and East Africa, and 15

internationally recognized instructors bring together by the

school. The school combines lectures, problem solving and cultural

exchange in historic Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and last for two week.

Topics include photocatalysis, photovoltaics, thermoelectrics,

fuel cells, and batteries.

I was one of the East African student attended the event. The

two-week duration was enough for us to learn many things from the

instructors and the attendees through lecture and exchanging

ideas. We have got important ideas which support our current

research and study.

During the school, besides other interesting and helpful programs,

we students divided into groups and prepared some research topics

to work in collaboration after the school. Each group discussed

with the group members and presents their interest project topic.

Then any of the attendees got a chance to choose one topic which

interests him or her. The aim is to establish a long-term

productive partnership between US and African students. For us

especially it is important because some of our research work

cannot proceed because of the non-existence of some laboratory

equipment and this collaboration will help us to perform the

research parts which require this equipment in US by sending the

samples to our partners in US. In the long term even by

facilitating a way for scientists in Africa to travel to US for a

short term lab work.

The event was very successful and I would like to thank all the

organizers hard work to establish this initiative and make it very

important. Thank you also the speakers, and all of the students

for making it so memorable and worthwhile.

For more information please look at the various social media

outlets we have to share and preserve our experiences. You can

find our Facebook page at and our blog

is found at


:: ASESMA Travels to Khartoum ::


by Sinead Griffin, Zurich, Switzerland

From January 19-30, the Khartoum Workshop on Advances in Materials

Science took place in Sudan, supported by the ASESMA series. The

workshop was hosted by the University of Khartoum and included

over 40 participants from Sudan, North Sudan and Kenya with

lecturers and tutors from Italy, UK, Oman and Switzerland also.

The schedule was the usual ASESMA setup with lectures and talks

taking place in the morning and hands-on tutorials in the

afternoon. The lectures ranged from the basic of Density

Functional Theory up to current research in computational

materials science. Research talks were focused on energy materials

and applications, with an emphasis on using Density Functional

Theory to calculate and predict new materials' properties. The

tutorial sessions covered methods from basic Linux and structure

visualisation to hands-on practice of Quantum Espresso and GULP.

Along with the comprehensive workshop programme, the organisers

arranged various cultural events for the evenings and free time

during the workshop. These included a Nile boat trip, a visit to

the Jebel Aulia hydroelectric dam, and some Sudanese singing.


Fall 2012

Hello, friends of ASESMA. Welcome to our Fall newsletter. We have big ideas for the coming season, including guest editors, plans for a new ASESMA website and a logo design competition. Don't forget, we have most of the lecture notes from the Kenya workshop, plus photos and other good stuff, on our website, ---------------------------------------------------------------------- :: CONTENTS :: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- (1) News Round-Up on Science in Africa (2) Workshop Announcement on Mathematical Modelling and Simulation (3) IUPAP offers Visting Scientists programme (4) Literature Highlight: New Pub from ASESMA Lecturers (5) Berkeley Lab Blog About Kenya Workshop ---------------------------------------------------------------------- :: News Round-Up on Science in Africa :: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Science is alive and well in Africa, and here are a couple of stories to prove it. The New York Times recently covered a new I.B.M. research center to be established in Nairobi. From the article: "The I.B.M. lab is seen as a step toward reversing the tradition of bright young Africans’ departing for the West, in search of advanced education and jobs." Read more at: Science Magazine, the esteemed research journal, highlighted the new International Square Kilometre Array (SKA) to be built in South Africa. ASESMA's own Nithaya Chetty is playing a major role in the project, in what is to be the world's largest scientific instrument. Read more at: For non-subscribers, you can find the full text here: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- :: Abuja Workshop Announcement :: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- The Workshop on Mathematical Modelling and Simulation will be held next week, October 8-12, in Abuja, Nigeria. Course Outline: Fundamental concepts of mathematical modeling. Axiomatic systems and logical models and applications in ecology, biomedicine, economics engineerting and in the industry. Stability analysis of physical and biological systems. Computer simulation: Fundamental simulation concepts, simulation languages. Random number generators and applications to simulation process. Monte Carlo simulation and application to industrial problems like hazard, reliability and life expectancy of equipment. Medical imaging application of simulation in surgery and for medical system. Experimental Session: Application of simulation packages like maple, Mathematica, Matlab,Scilab, O’matrix, Femilab, Mathcad professional and Python programming language. Resource Persons - Professor R O Ayeni,Ladoke Akintola University Ogbomoso - Professor S. O. Enebe, University of Nigeria - Professor L. A.A Asere,Obafemi Awolowo University Workshop Fees: N20,000.00 for course materials plus refreshment excluding accommodations ---------------------------------------------------------------------- :: IUPAP offers Visting Scientists programme :: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- The International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) has started a new Visiting Scientists programme. The programme will provide assistance aimed at helping research groups or institutions in developing countries benefit from interactions with experts in research groups or institutions in other countries. It seeks to establish long-term productive partnerships between the visiting scientists and the host institutions, and will support opportunities for scientists at institutions in a developing country to invite expert visitors from other countries to advise and work with the scientists and their students on projects that will advance the research and educational efforts in the developing country. The first exchange visitors can now apply for funding, and further information is available on the IUPAP website: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- :: Literature Highlight: New Pub from ASESMA Lecturers :: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Nithaya Chetty and Aniekang Ukpong have a new paper out in the Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, titled, "First principles molecular dynamics study of nitrogen vacancy complexes in boronitrene." Abstract: "We present the results of first principles molecular dynamics simulations of nitrogen vacancy complexes in monolayer hexagonal boron nitride. The threshold for local structure reconstruction is found to be sensitive to the presence of a substitutional carbon impurity. We show that activated nitrogen dynamics triggers the annihilation of defects in the layer through formation of Stone–Wales-type structures. The lowest energy state of nitrogen vacancy complexes is negatively charged and spin polarized. Using the divacancy complex, we show that their formation induces spontaneous magnetic moments, which is tunable by electron or hole injection. The Fermi level s-resonant defect state is identified as a unique signature of the ground state of the divacancy complex. Due to their ability to enhance structural cohesion, only the divacancy and the nitrogen vacancy carbon-antisite complexes are able to suppress the Fermi level resonant defect state to open a gap between the conduction and valence bands." ---------------------------------------------------------------------- :: Berkeley Lab Blog About Kenya Workshop :: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Finally, for those who missed it or those who simply wish to relive the fun, check out Alison's blog about the Kenya workshop, written for Berkeley Lab:


Spring 2012

Dear friends of ASESMA: Welcome to our Spring newsletter. This week we have news about funding and a message from Richard Martin in anticipation of next month's workshop. I look forward to seeing many of you there! Warm regards, Alison Hatt ---------------------------------------------------------------------- :: CONTENTS :: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- (1) Important notice to ASESMA 2010 participants (2) Message from Richard Martin (3) Update on ASESMA 2012 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- :: ICMR REPORTING FOR ASESMA 2010 :: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- The International Center for Materials Research at UC Santa Barbara needs updates about any collaborations or publications resulting from ASESMA 2010. Please would all participants take a moment to recall any relevant activities and send details to Lubi Lenaburg <>. This report is important for the ICMR's continued funding. Thanks for your help! ---------------------------------------------------------------------- :: MESSAGE FROM RICHARD MARTIN :: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Professor Richard Martin, an organizer and central driving force for the ASESMA program, shares this message: --- Dear ASESMA friends, ASESMA 2012 is almost here. George Amolo and Nicholas Makau are doing a masterful job of planning and the program is taking shape. We've had a tremendous response to our call for participants -- 225 applications! That's great for ASESMA but it means a very hard task for those doing the selection. We also have excellent support from agencies and institutions. Your good work and dedication has been noticed and there is support from all the institutions that supported ASESMA 2010, plus two more. Of the schools I've been involved with, ASESMA 2010 was the best of its kind. I expect this year's school to be just as great, but it will have some important differences. As the second school in the series, it is the next step toward the goal of an ongoing community for Computational Materials Science in Africa. Together we will make it an even better experience than 2010. Those of you attending ASESMA for the second time will tutor those newer in the field. That way, you help build the community and also learn more, as the very best way to learn something is to teach it. You'll also enjoy some higher-level lectures and projects for more experienced students. Of course, we are limited in the number of participants we can support. If you are not able to attend this year for any reason, please keep in close touch. I hope there will be new opportunities and announcements, and it will always be good to be in touch with the ASESMA community. In a final note, I'm happy to announce that my new book on Electronic Structure will be finished this summer. My coauthors, David Ceperly and Lucia Reining, and I have been working on it for years and it will finally be finished this summer! (We have missed previous deadlines but this time we told the publishers they can announce it.) At this year's school, I will donate a copy of the new book as a prize, to be delivered after publication in 2013. Warm Regards, Richard Martin. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- :: UPDATE ON THE 2012 SCHOOL :: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Finally, we have some news about the 2012 school. The participant selection is underway -- a challenging prospect given the volume and high quality of the applicants. The first letters should be sent by the end of the week. The organizers are happy to report that ASESMA received a generous grant from the International Council for Science. The grant will cover: i) five extra participants in ASESMA-2012; and, more importantly for the broader ASESMA community, ii) several travel grants for African young scientists to participate in international conferences, visit research groups, both within and outside Africa; iii) travel grants to support visits of international collaborators to African groups. The grant covers the calendar year 2012. Thanks to the organizers who put so much work into making this program successful.


October/November 2011

Dear ASESMA people: As you may have noticed, our newsletter is now a bimonthly publication. Just to clarify, the unfortunate English word "bimonthly" can mean twice a month or every other month, and here I'm using it in the latter sense. We will strive to continue publishing on the third Thursday of a given month, but as you can see, it may occasionally come a bit later. Anyway, without further ado, here is the October/November edition of the ASESMA newsletter. Warm regards, Alison Hatt ---------------------------------------------------------------------- :: CONTENTS :: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- (1) Making a good research poster (2) Hot research topic: Energy critical elements (3) Physics lectures online (4) Announcement from Richard Martin about ASESMA 2012 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- :: MAKING A GOOD RESEARCH POSTER :: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Recently, I had to make a research poster for the first time in a couple of years. I'd forgotten how challenging that can be, and I found myself wondering, what makes a good research poster? Below are some links to sites I found helpful for designing a good poster and a summary of the main points I drew from these sites. (i) One or two main points. Limit yourself to one or two central points, back them up with results, and highlight them clearly. (ii) Keep it simple. This means minimal text, readable fonts, modest colors, and clear organization. (iii) Practice your spiel. Just like you would for an oral presentation, practice out loud to make sure you are prepared. You must be able to present the content of your poster in a couple of minutes, and to repeat the performance over and over again. (iv) "Don't fight gravity." Readers' eyes tend to move top to bottom and left to right. Design your poster to flow accordingly, helping readers to quickly grasp the structure. (v) Think of your audience. At most poster sessions, your audience will be trying to absorb tens of posters in a couple of hours. It's your job to help them get the most out of your poster in the least amount of time. Be sensitive to their tired eyes and overloaded brains! For more tips: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- :: HOT RESEARCH TOPIC :: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Energy critical elements: It's a new buzz-phrase over here, and refers to the key elements used in energy-related technologies. It carries the implied concern that many of these elements are in limited supply or come from regions of geopolitical instability. The topic is part of a growing awareness in materials research about the sustainability and scalability of technologies designed to address global problems in energy use and production. The American Physical Society and the Materials Research Society recently sponsored a policy report on energy critical elements, titled "Securing Materials for Emerging Technologies." (Available for download at The report is dense, but it's worth browsing if you want to know where US materials research is going right now. The topic is getting a lot of attention here at Lawrence Berkeley Lab, and will probably have a noticeable impact on funding in the coming years. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- :: PHYSICS LECTURES ONLINE :: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- The Perimeter Institute maintains this archive of physics lectures, available for streaming and downloading. Browse for lectures on the most fundamental and cutting-edge areas of physics research. (You may recall that the founder of AIMS, Neil Turok, is Director of the Perimeter Institute.) The Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics also shares hundreds of videos from their seminars and public lectures. For example, check out this set of tutorials on computational mineral physics, featuring many of our own ASESMA lecturers: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- :: NEWS ABOUT ASESMA 2012 :: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Richard Martin tells us that the Division of Computational Physics of the American Physical Society has enthusiastically agreed to sponsor ASESMA 2012 and provide financial support. They also supported ASESMA in 2010. This time, their sponsorship was more quickly agreed to because of the enthusiasm around the the 2010 school and the continuing networking after the school. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You have received this newsletter because you either participated in the ASESMA 2010 workshop or expressed an interest in the ASESMA organization. If you'd like to opt out of future mailings, please reply to this email with your request. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------------------------------