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ATWARM Summer School

The first ATWARM summer school has come. It is being held at the University of Duisburg-Essen, from the 19th-22nd July. This is where the last ATWARM/QUESTOR meeting was held in May. This summer school is entitled ‘Enhanced technologies for water and wastewater treatment’. Till now the first 2 days are therefore nearly over, and it is proving to be a really interesting couple of days. When all of us ATWARM fellows meet up it is always a great time, and I am really impressed with the quality of the summer school. When it comes to activities like this I am really feeling honoured I am having the opportunity to participate.

The first day was mainly a theoretical day, where we were based on the Essen campus and started the dat by a lecture by Prof. Dr. Jorg Dettmar from the TU Darmstadt. The presentation was entitled ‘Novel cultural landscapes in the Ruhr metropolis’. We all agreed that it started off the day to a very high standard. For me it was not only interesting to see what he had to say about how the area developed and how culture determines very much what comes out of a place, but also to see the way he presented his ideas and how he used his academic knowledge to help develop the area.

Following this introductory lecture, a lecture was given by Prof Dr Jens Martin about ‘Water and Culture’. He linked how poetry by poets based in London in years gone by (mainly Johnathan Swift) were shaped by the current culture, and how they wrote poetry indicating water issues. This served as a starting point for presentations by all of the fellows about the relation between water and culture in their different countries of origin. We went from China to Romania, to Poland, Iran, Russia, Italy and Spain. Unfortunately some people took longer than the allotted time, so Malta, France and Ireland are yet to come.

In the evening the session was entitled ‘Basics in water and wastewater treatment’. First up were 2 introductory lectures. Dr Ralph Hobby (UDE) on ‘Overview of technologies for drinking water treatment’, followed by Dr Jochen Turk (IUTA) on ‘Micropollutants in the water cycle: occurrence, analysis and advanced technologies’. I especially liked the latter lecture as it was quite related to what I am doing, including some ideas about LC-MS/MS which is currently the bane of my life. Following this introduction different fellows from ATWARM gave short presentations on different technologies which are currently used. This was very useful as we are all coming from different areas, and therefore this allowed us to get up to scratch on the different technologies.

The day then ended by a key note lecture by Prof Dr Ing Andre Niemann (UDE) about ‘Integrate water management: issues, aims and problems’. he is an ‘ex-academic’ who went into consultancy and now back to academia. Therefore he really managed to show his expertise in the area resulting in a really interesting talk.

In the evening a guided tour around the Zeche Zollverein and old coal mine, which has now been turned into a sort of industrial park and has found numerous uses. It was truly an experience, not just to see how the miners worked, but also to witness how previously ‘dilapidated’ buildings could be restored and a wide area given back for use by the community whilst maintaining its previous heritage. Therefore the mines are still there, and the ‘industrial buildings’ were restored rather than just flattened out and a park built…they have enough of them in Germany as  e had heard a lot about these efforts by Prof Dettmar in the morning and it was an experience to witness the efforts first hand. I wish Malta does take aboard more such activities. After this tour was a relaxing evening dinner together, which was a perfect end to the day.

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