IONS-KOALA 2012 / Brisbane
KOALA (Conference on Optics Atoms and Laser Applications) is a yearly conference that is organised for students, by students, and brings together a large group of Honours, PhD and Masters students in any field of optics from Australia and New Zealand. KOALA is also a part of the IONS (International OSA Network of Students) project that is run by student members of the OSA (Optical Society of America).
The main goal of KOALA is to facilitate discussion and networking between students in different research fields of optics who otherwise would be unlikely to meet. This gives students a fresh perspective, as well as the opportunity to learn about research beyond their own field in optics. Participants also learn the essential skill of how to communicate their research to people who are not experts in their field.
The scope of the conference is quite broad with topics from last year's conference including:
+ Bose-Einstein Condensation
+ Atom Optics
+ Coherent X-rays
+ Nonlinear Optics
+ Quantum Optics
The KOALA conference series is forever evolving, but its basic structure remains consistent. Primarily, the conference consists of a standard scientific program or plenary speakers, contributed talks and poster presentations. In addition, the conference has a strong social aspect that enables attendees to relax and network with students in other optics fields. To assist students in attending, the conference organising committee seeks sponsorship from related businesses, organisations and research groups. These donation help keep the cost of registration minimal, whilst providing full payment of accommodation, food and conference expenses.
An overview of the KOALA scientific and social programs can be found below.
Invited plenary speakers
Two high profile speakers from the international optics community are invited to attend KOALA each year. They are asked to present an overview of their work in the field of optics, in a manner accessible to the many optics backgrounds of the attendees.
Each year, four workshops are held across two sessions to give attendees a basic overview of a particular field of optics. These workshops allow attendees to gain an overall understanding of the concepts within a field of optics to allow them to better understand the more specialised talks they will hear throughout the conference.
As a goal of KOALA is to expose attendees to different areas of optics research, only one session is run throughout the conference. This inevitably limits the number of contributed talks available to attendees. Those that are selected are allocated a 30 minute timeslot in a session of two to three talks.
All attendees are given the opportunity to present a poster at KOALA, including those who have been selected for a contributed talk. For KOALA 2011, two poster sessions will be held to accommodate the large number of attendees the conference has attracted.
Tours of the host University's laboratories are conducted during the afternoons of some conference days. This gives host students valuable experience in explaining their research outside of a talk or poster session, and gives attendees valuable knowledge of the research being performed by their regional neighbours.
The KOALA conference typically covers a full week from Monday-Friday. On Sunday night, a welcome reception is held to allow attendees to re-familiarise themselves with past KOALA attendees and introduce themselves to new attendees.
A key aspect of the KOALA conference series is creating a relaxed environment for students to network. From its beginning, this has been facilitated through a dedicated social day where attendees are taken on a day trip to a scenic region of the host city. No scientific program is held on this day, it is purely social.
A conference wouldn't be complete without a conference dinner. To ensure all attendees are able to attend this important social event, KOALA does not charge any addition fees. All costs are absorbed from a small registration fee and from conference sponsorship by related businesses, organisations and research groups.
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