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Postcard from Rio – checking out Brazilian physics

Beach scene on a gloomy day in Rio de Janeiro.

Not your typical summer’s day in Rio de Janeiro.

By Matin Durrani in Rio de Janeiro

Sun, sand, sea – that’s Rio de Janeiro surely?

Well, sadly, I’ve had to make do with just two out of the three as it’s been distinctly cloudy, rainy and cool since I flew in to the Brazilian metropolis yesterday at the start of a week in the world’s fifth largest country (by both size and population).

So what, you may ask, am I doing in Brazil?

There are three main reasons for being here. (And no, one isn’t to check out the beach-football scene before next year’s World Cup finals, although who could forget that classic Physics World article on “physics and football” from May 1998, which featured Brazil legend Dunga on the cover of that month’s issue? No, me neither.)

The first reason is to gather material for a Physics World special report on physics in Brazil that we’re going to publish next April. With news and features about what’s going on in the country – and the challenges Brazilian physicists face – it’ll be a follow-up to other recent special reports we’ve published on Korea, India, Japan and China.

Spending three days in São Paulo and three in Rio de Janeiro, I also want to raise the profile of Physics World in Brazil so that we can form a string of contacts with the country’s top physicists.

The final reason I’m here is to take part in a workshop on scientific publishing in São Paulo on Tuesday 26 November with two colleauges from IOP Publishing – Leanne Mullen and Susan Curtis. Leanne, who’s publishing editor of the IOP Publishing journals Nonlinearity and Inverse Problems, will outline the process of getting scientific papers published, while Susan will explain some of the ways researchers can make their paper more visible once it’s out, such as through IOP Publishing’s own Video Abstracts concept.

Today the three of us had a guided tour of Rio by the cosmic-ray physicist Ron Shellard, who gave us his views of the state of physics in Brazil over lunch up in the forest in the hills above the city. Sadly, the spectacular views of Rio and the coast that he’d promised were obscured by a blanket of fog. Just our luck!

I’ll keep you posted of my activities over the next few days – so stay tuned. Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t look too great for the rest of the week either.

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One comment to Postcard from Rio – checking out Brazilian physics

  1. Roberto Leão

    Looking forward to having your full contributing issue about Brazil – sad to hear about Sun a bit ahamed at visit time. Come many other times!


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