A total of 34 students and 12 teachers gathered this springtime for the second China Winter School.

The seasonal mismatch in the title was even more apparent as warm weather arrived in Wuhan at the same time as the delegates. Nevertheless the heavy rain and thunder that quickly followed did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of those present.

The date (March 31 - April 4, 2016) though had been chosen so that the school immediately proceeded the ICG Congress in Shanghai with the intention of attracting more overseas delegates. In the event most were still from China, but with India, Japan and Sudan also represented.

The subject matter ranged over glass fundamentals through structural analysis to advanced applications, and from glass strength to optical properties such as coatings and quantum dot structures. The ICG team gave about half the lectures and the remainder were presented by academics from Wuhan or other Chinese Universities that work with glass.

At the end of each lecture the students were encouraged to ask questions and this was one of the successful aspects of the course. Based on student perceptions of the event, the next course will shift the emphasis slightly from formal teaching to both unstructured and structured discussion sessions, the latter having a more tutorial emphasis.

On the first afternoon, students gave short presentations of their research. This was planned to help them find their voices but also to inform those present of the range of glass activities in China.

Presentations spanned subjects as diverse as foamed products for buildings to nanocrystalline fibre laser amplifiers. Almost immediately afterwards project subjects and groupings were announced, based on individual interests. The target date for presenting their conclusions was the last afternoon of the school.

Immediately after lunch on the second day the group activities began and the classroom atmosphere was almost as electric as the gathering storm clouds outside.

The third afternoon was equally intense and a planned social session after dinner in a local coffee house proved a time for discussion with tutors and final honing of presentations.

On the final afternoon, eight groups had 10 minutes to present their conclusions and were then faced by a further 10-minute grilling by speakers and students alike.

Subjects ranged from the analysis of archaeological samples through the carbon footprint of double glazed windows, and from the motion of oxygen’s linked to sodium ion diffusion to 3D printing. Finally the winning group who examined the value of double glazing in Wuhan was the one adjudged to have produced the best structured and most persuasive argument.

The members of this group were: Zhou Wang, Kai Chen, Jun Zhang, Wenke Li and Jinwei Li.

The ICG would also like to thank all the speakers: Prof Yiwang Bao (China Building Materials Academy), Prof Reinhard Conradt (Aachen University), Prof Bernard Hehlen (Montpellier University), Prof Lili Hu (SIOM, CAS, China), Prof John Parker (Sheffield University), Prof Jianrong Qui (South China University of Technology), Prof Jinjun Ren (SIOM, CAS, China), Prof Jian Ruan (Wuhan University of Technology, Dr Akira Takada (Asahi Glass Company), Prof Rene Vacher (Montpellier University), Prof Yuansheng Wang (FJIRSM, CAS, China), Prof Song Ye (Tongji University) and Prof Xiujian Zhao (Wuhan University of Technology).

The next ICG Winter School is currently planned for 13-17th November 2017.

Check the website www.icglass.org for updates.