The World Congress of Latvian Scientists: coming together to talk

At the end of June, the 5th World Congress of Latvian Scientists "Science for Latvia" took place in Riga, where more than 1,300 participants, including representatives of the "Smart Materials, Photonics, Technologies, and Engineering Ecosystem" project, gathered to discuss the future of science and the challenges of new technologies as well as to demonstrate to those present the technologies that are being developed within the project.

The three central themes of this year's congress were science impact, green and digital transformation to, according to the congress organizers, "highlight the added value of science in a socially, technologically, economically and culturally enriching way, promoting smart, healthy, open, technologically advanced, socially formation of an inclusive and nationally responsible society".

Director of the Institute of Solid State Physics (CFI) of the University of Latvia (LU), Andris Anspoks, who is the head of the project "Smart Materials, Photonics, Technologies, and Engineering Ecosystem", participated in the plenary session "Industry 5.0 and Society 5.0" to discuss with other scientists and industry experts the cooperation between science and industry and the greatest challenges. A. Anspoks expressed the opinion in the panel discussion that not only cooperation between science and industry is essential, but also between people and technology, bearing in mind that it is important to talk to each other.

"In any sector - science or industry - specialists often specialize in one specific topic in order to maintain their competence. This means that in order to accomplish something great, you need to collaborate with others. Together we can do a lot. Cooperation between science and industry is always a hot topic. That is why such congresses are needed - so we can meet and talk," emphasized A. Anspoks.

In addition to panel discussions, presentations of poster papers, and informal conversations over coffee, those present had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with various scientific technologies developed in Latvia. The project "Smart materials, photonics, technology, and engineering ecosystem" was represented at the Science Congress by Uldis Rogulis and his team, demonstrating a mock-up of an optical temperature sensor, a new material for optical temperature recording at temperatures up to 800°C using optical fibers. However, Ilze Baumgarte introduced microfluidics, with which it is possible to physiologically reproduce the tissue structure and some of the functions of human organs on a miniature scale in laboratory conditions.

The World Congress of Latvian Scientists has been held in Latvia since 1991, and four congresses have been held so far, which have gathered a large number of participants both from Latvia and abroad. The main goals of the congress are to provide an opportunity to exchange opinions on current scientific problems, to build and strengthen contacts of Latvian scientists with Latvian scientists from different countries, as well as to draw the attention of society, media, and politicians to the importance of Latvian science and the performance of scientists.

The research is financed by the Latvian Science Council, within the project "Smart materials, photonics, technology and engineering ecosystem" (VPP-EM-FOTONIKA-2022/1-0001).
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