On 28 October, CETS, the Central European Training School of the Budapest Neutron Centre (BNC) on Neutron Techniques has been successfully completed. The 2021 event was the 14th of the series since launched in 2001. The 15 hour on-line introductory theory course was organized from 4 to 8 October and the 15 hour in-person hands-on training at the BNC neutron instruments from 25 to 28 October. The web page of the school remains available with the program and course materials at www.bnc.hu/cets.
In other years both courses were held on the BNC campus, the theory module being immediately followed by the hands-on training module. This year, due to the unpredictable surge of the pandemic, it was uncertain at the time of the announcement, if an in-person event can at all be held. Participants, therefore, were allowed to enrol either exclusively to the virtual theory module or both. With some fluctuations in time, over 30 participants on average from the European Union, the US, India and Brazil attended the lectures given by respected local and international expert in the field. Participants of the theoretical and the hands-on training course were encouraged to give an oral flash presentation and/or a poster presentation of their own project. The abstracts of both the on-line and the practical course have been collected in a booklet published by BNC (ISBN: 978-615-01-3029-3, https://www.bnc.hu/cets/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Abstract-Book_CETS2021.pdf). Moreover, the organizers offered all participants a multiple-choice on-line test in the subject of the lectures. Almost half of the attendees took the chance to test their knowledge gathered during the course.
Two weeks later, seventeen fully vaccinated young scholars (PhDs and post docs from institutes in Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia, Greece and Hungary) arrived to Budapest to attend the CETS hands-on training. For the sake of common safety, all participants and tutors were tested for COVID on the first day of the school and luckily, no positive samples were found. The late afternoon poster session on the first day, attended also by many of the BNC staff, proved to be an effective warm-up party, where some sandwiches, scones and cakes and soft drinks were served along with a glass of champagne.
Four groups were formed to perform the hands-on training at five BNC experimental beamlines, which they were to choose from instruments PSD, NAA, TOF-ND, GINA, SANS, PGAA and RAD. The course material of the practices is available on the school’s web page. A visit to Mirrotron Ltd., a spin-off company on the same campus, producing various kinds of neutron instrumentation (supermirrors, area detectors, choppers, velocity selectors, polarizers, etc.) and sponsor of CETS2021 completed the practical experience of the participants.
During a joyful discussion Dr. Adél Len, the chief organizer of the school, summarized the event in a historical context and handed over the school certificates to the participants encouraging them to apply for beam time at the BNC for experiments to solve emerging problems in their projects. A pleasant dinner with the participants, tutors and some other BNC staff members in a nearby restaurant completed the 14th Central European Training School on Neutron Techniques, which was one of the very few in-person educational events in 2021 in neutron science. CETS has started to become part of the higher education. The combined theory & hands-on training school of BNC has recently been accredited by the Doctorate School of Physics of the Eötvös Loránd University of Sciences Budapest, and that of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Earning credits is now a possibility not only for students of Hungarian universities, but, in principle – through the ECTS – for students of universities Europe-wide. Participants, who requested university credits, the oral/poster presentation, completion of the on-line test and submission of an essay on how their research could be made more effective using neutrons were all required.