|Looking back at the Seventh
European Space Weather Week|
November 15-19, Belgium
|posted: Dec 21, 2010|
European space weather is quickly growing in professionalism and maturity. This has been particarly noticeable at the annual European Space Weather Week, ESWW. Whereas in the past years we still had many wooly discussions of the popular kind, these days we discuss hard core developments, services and new insights. Something is clearly changing.
Space Weather got a boost thanks to the significant investments for example by the EU FrameWork 7 and
by the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Program of ESA. The European community working in the field of space
weather has a natural focus on the Space Weather part of the SSA. This ESA program supports new and existing
initiatives that meet the requirements of a broad group of users of space weather applications and products.
At the ESWW it became clear that SSA is an opportunity for Europe to strengthen its skills and play an important
role in the space scenery.
Beside these hard core issues, other side-events are also on the ESWW-menu contributing to a lively and dynamic conference. The space weather tutorial served as an ice-breaker and helped the people in the field to get into the subject. The keynote lecture dragged us into the world of Birkeland and aurora's. The style could -how do we phrase it- cause some controversy, but was perceived as 'more than excellent' by others. Birkeland's life teaches us the need to communicate with non-experts and to build a firm bridge between pure science and applications. The debate put the question about space exploration on the foreground: 'What is the rationale behind the decision to send humans to space?' It's in the human nature to explore, how small or grown up you are. Children's biggest fantasy are about dinosaurs and ... space, the past and the future. Further, the possibilities of a scientific market were explored during a fair: the Matroshka phantom draw our attention to the received radiation dose while traveling through space, the aurora and the Sun were visible in 3D, a huge radio receiver was mounted in the exhibition hall and the planeterrella experiment was also demonstrated. And of course, the students did their best to deliver a nice oral or poster presentation. Two nominees left home with a small but nice present in their bags.
The European Space Weather Week offers the platform to meet in a formal and informal environment, during the
plenary sessions, the numerous splinters and a whole bunch of side events like the tutorial, the space weather fair,
the debate-evening. Many, scientists, engineers, space weather product developers, students, national delegates, ...
take this opportunity.