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In 2007 three significant events took place in the history of Low Temperature Laboratory (LTL): the move of the laboratory from the Physics building to Nano house, the graduation of the laboratory’s 100th PhD student, and the reorganization of the Helsinki University of Technology (TKK). Since 1965, LTL has occupied the basement of the Physics building. In 40 years the space became crowded and impractical for the new research directions of the laboratory. The renovation of the old, 1963-built Puulaboratorio, into a modern research facility called Nano house was started at the beginning of 2005, and finished by November 2007. The personnel of the LTL moved into Nano house on November 13, 2007, and the last pieces of heavy equipment were transferred in January 2008. The 2105-m2 area of the new LTL is roughly half of the total area of Nano house, and about 50% more than the area of the old LTL.

The LTL has a successful record in PhD education. The 50th PhD graduated in 1994, 29 years after the start of the laboratory. Since then, it took only 13 more years to reach the graduation of the 100th PhD, Fan Wu from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. The distribution of the 100 PhDs is the following: 58 of the doctors studied ultra-low temperature physics and cryoengineering, 34 neuroimaging and systems-level neuroscience, and eight low-temperature nanoelectronics. At the end of 2007, LTL had altogether 28 graduate students: 15 in brain research, eight in nanoelectronics, and five in ultra-low-temperature physics.

In fall of 2007, TKK reorganized its teaching departments into four faculties. The reorganization took place in anticipation of the Aalto University, the merger of three capital-area universities: TKK, Helsinki School of Economics, and the University of Arts and Design Helsinki. The LTL remained outside the faculty structure, staying as an independent research unit directly under the rector of TKK. Thus TKK expressed its interest in supporting excellent basic science even after the reorganization that aimed to emphasize the role of applied research.

The Scientific Advisory Board of the Center of Excellence (CoE) in Systems Neuroscience and Neuroimaging held its first evaluation meeting on May 14, 2007. The meeting was attended by two members of the SAB, Professor Chris Frith from the University College London and Professor Nikos K. Logothetis from the Max Planck Institute, Tübingen. The evaluation report can be found in Appendix 1.

In 2007 the Brain Research Unit of the LTL organized two closed scientific meetings: Mieli-forum I in August 16–18 and Mieli-forum II in November 2224, both supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation and attended by about 30 scientists.  

In 2007 several scientists of LTL received national and international recognition. Matti Krusius was awarded an honorary doctorate in Physics in Lancaster University, UK. Grigory Volovik was elected to Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences. Rob Blaauwgeers and Pieter Vorselman entered the national Venture Cup competition with their business plan BlueFors Cryogenics. In December 2007 they won one of the five 1st round Prizes, later in February 2008 one of the four 2nd-round Prizes, and finally in May 2008 placed 3rd in the final 3rd round competition.

Mikko Paalanen

Annual Report 2007

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