The webinar Experimental Methods and Laboratory Instrumentation in Hydraulics held on 13-15 April 2021 was organised under the initiative of the Institute of Geophysics of the Polish Academy of Sciences, in collaboration with the IAHR technical committee on Experimental Methods and Instrumentation and the IAHR Poland YPN. The webinar reached its initial goal of bringing together the different souls that make up the Experimental Hydraulics community, so as to foster communication between them. Each day was opened by two keynote lectures from established and young researchers, who are actively pushing the boundaries of laboratory measurement techniques in hydraulics. These were typically followed by a presentation from industry representatives, to discuss the challenges in experimental hydraulics from the developers' point of view. The second part was exclusively dedicated to young scientists and students, who delivered 5-minute-long presentations. Around 30 presenters showed their works, which were mostly focused on new or established techniques, applied in both laboratory and field conditions, discussing their applicability, efficiency, preliminary results etc. After every few presentations, a vivid discussion followed, where questions, insights and comments helped to understand critical issues. The answers from keynotes and presenters showed how important it is to have a practitioner overview of new techniques. Towards the end of the webinar, keynote speakers, presenters, and attendees engaged in a spontaneous conversation about the future of the discipline, which highlighted the importance of advancing the state- of-art, while preserving and enhancing democratic access to high-quality experimental instrumentation and fighting financial barriers. Overall, the breadth of topics covered by the presentations and the level of participation in the discussions show how active and alive the field is, and how fundamental it is for practitioners and for researchers at different career stages to interact and learn from each other.
Despite some undeniable limitations, the online format was also an occasion to attract a wider audience, who would have otherwise been excluded from an in-person meeting due to financial or time constraints. From this point of view, like for instrumentation, technology can cut costs and facilitate access, making it possible to exchange and share information more effectively within the community as well as across disciplines. That is an opportunity that should not be lost once in-person meetings resume. The door is wide open for future similar initiatives.
The webinar in numbers
6 keynote speakers
3 industrial partners
Around 30 technical abstracts from all over the world, including the European Union, Brazil, India, Australia, and the USA.
More than 70 participants