Graphene Week 2018 – San Sebastián

The view of Monte Urgull from the conference venue.

From 10 to 14 September Graphene Week 2018 was held in San Sebastián in the northern Basque region of Spain. This was the second graphene week that I have attended (the previous year’s was in Athens) and the series continued to be enjoyable. The scientific programme was filled with some excellent keynote speeches, lots of student presentations, and many posters that rotated every day.

The scientific highlight for me was from Prof Andre Geim. His plenary presentation was a detailed lecture on the viscous flow of electrons. With an almost tutorial-like style, we got to hear how strongly interacting electrons flow through conductors like viscous liquids through pipes. This behaviour was investigated by observing how the electrons flow through narrow conducting channels. For fluids, the flow through a narrow aperture is greater the more viscous it is. This is because its molecules pull each other from the edges of the aperture through the gap. The same phenomenon was observed for strongly interacting electrons moving through a narrow conducting channel in graphene.

As with the previous Graphene Week, the catering was magnificent. The lunches—large bowls of paella, stacks of ham and bread, and more—were served in the poster room, which meant most delegates didn’t leave at lunch and stayed to review the science in the room. With posters that rotated every day, I think this gave much more opportunity for the posters to be discussed in detail. Furthermore, we had two hour lunches, so all the posters could be examined with time still for a brief rest.

The conference dinner was held at a beautiful old building, now the San Telmo Museum, which showcases the Basque culture of the region. There were traditional dancers and singers, and these gave a real insight into the region.

San Sebastián is a beautiful city. The old town, with the small alleys. And at each tavern you can stop and each a few “pinchos”, which are small snacks that you can eat many of to make a meal! 

Stop for a snack.