Horia Hulubei Foundation

UNESCO Chair On Sustainable Development Through Research And Education In Modern Physics


Setting Up

The UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Development through Research and Education in Modern Physics has been established by an agreement between UNESCO and Horia Hulubei Foundation, Bucharest, Romania, signed on March 23, 2010.


The main purpose of the Chair will be to promote an integrated system of research, training, information and documentation in modern physics and modern technologies for new energy sources. It will serve as a means of facilitating collaboration between high-level, internationally recognized researchers and teaching staff of the Foundation and other higher education institutions in Romania, as well as in other regions of the world. It will furthermore contribute to reinforcing North-South and North-South-South co-operation.


The specific objectives of this Chair are to :

  • develop high-level scientific programmes, keeping in mind the needs of developing countries, and foster the North-South, as well as regional scientific cooperation;
  • contribute to the understanding of photovoltaics and to the implementation of solar energy conversion systems;
  • encourage the development of laboratories, mainly in the domains of nanophysics and nanotechnology;
  • contribute to the training of researchers from less developed countries (LDCs) in modern physics and technology through pre-doctoral and doctoral studies, to be held in Romania, using ICTP scientific guidance, experience and syllabuses;
  • contribute to sustainable development and to regional integration through education and science.

The staff of the Chair is the following :

  • Prof. Teketel Johannes ANSHEBO, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
  • Prof. Stefan ANTOHE, Faculty of Physics, University of Bucharest : Personal Page
  • Prof. Ladislaus BÁNYAI, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany : Personal Page
  • Dr. Victor BARSAN, IFIN-HH, Bucharest, Scientific Secretary : Personal Page
  • Dr. Simion BOGILDEA, King Ferdinand High School, Sighet
  • Prof. Tudor MARIAN, Emeritus Professor, University of Bucharest
  • Dr. Liliana MICU, Senior researcher
  • Acad. Dumitru MIHALACHE : Personal Page
  • Prof. Mihail MIREA
  • Prof. Joseph NIEMELA, ICTP-Trieste : Personal Page
  • Prof. K. R. SREENIVASAN, former director of ICTP-Trieste : Personal Page
  • Prof. Sabin STOICA, IFIN-HH, Bucharest, Chair holder : Personal Page
  • Eng. Ovidiu TERCU, Galati Planetarium
  • Dipl. Ciprian VINTDEVARA, Barlad Planetarium : Personal Page

The partner institutions involved in the activities of the UNESCO Chair are the following :

  1. SISSA (Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati), Via Beirut no. 2-4, 34014 Trieste, Italy
  2. TWAS (The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World), Strada Costiera 11, 34014 Trieste, Italy
  3. Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, PO Box LG80, Legon-Accra, Ghana
  4. Department of Chemistry, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
  5. National Institute of Materials Physics (INFM), 105 bis, Atomistilor street, Magurele, Ilfov, 077125, Romania
  6. National Institute for Laser, Plasma and Radiation Physics (INFLPR), 409, Atomistilor street, PO Box MG-36, 077125, Magurele, Ilfov, Romania
  7. University of Bucharest, Faculty of Physics, Research and Development Centre for Materials and Electronic and Optoelectronic Devices (MDEO), P.O. Box MG-11, 405, Atomistilor street, 011725, Magurele, Ilfov, Romania
  8. National Institute of Research and Development for Earth Physics (INFP),12, Calugareni street, 011725 Magurele, Ilfov, Romania
  9. National Institute for Microtehnologies (INMT), 126A, Erou Iancu Nicolae street, PO-BOX 38-160, 023573, Bucharest, ROMANIA.
OBJECTIVES Meeting UNESCO priorities

Research in modern physics, specifically in nanophysics and photovoltaics, is directly linked to the need of identifying/creating alternative sources of energy and developing the related environment friendly technologies. Research in astrophysics, high energy physics and earth physics can provide us with a deeper understanding of the composition and evolution of the universe, including the earth and its surroundings. It also includes robust real-time data acquisition techniques, reliable communications links, rapid processing and exchange of information. Training scientists from least developed countries (LDCs) for fundamental and applied research and in these particular fields, clearly meets both UNESCO priorities and the Millennium Development Goals in terms of:

  • providing access for all to quality education and training;
  • developing transferable life and professional skills;
  • strengthening the scientific capability of young scientists and researchers involved in the program, in order to better contribute and serve the scientific and technical development of their home countries and regions.
Activities of the Chair

The activities of the Chair will consist in research and training in modern physics, on themes relevant for sustainable development, especially for researchers from LDCs. The fields to be approached in joint research programs are mainly nanophysics and photovoltaics, but also clean energy production and storage, Earth system physics, etc., according to the needs of the partners from developing countries. The researches will be done mainly in laboratories of Romanian institutes, using ICTP experience in TRIL (Training and Research in Italian Laboratories) programs.

The training will be provided preponderantly by Romanian professors, using ICTP approach, experience and syllabus. Diploma courses in condensed matter, high energy and particle physics, and courses in general theoretical physics, will benefit of the 20 years long ICTP experience, but will take place in Bucharest-Magurele, using the facilities of Romanian physics institutes and of the Faculty of Physics. The Romanian physics institutions will provide free access in their laboratories and other facilities (libraries, internet, etc.) and scientific assistance.

Context and justification

The unprecedented development of research equipment in the last two decades has made possible the investigation of materials at very atomic level. Correlated with the explosive outburst of nano-objects and nanotechnologies, this has generated a new era in physics, of utmost fundamental al practical interest.

Among the outstanding problems to be addressed in the near future are: new materials and devices for harvesting non-conventional energy sources, with focus on solar energy; smart materials for energy economy and storage; multifunctional materials for sensors and detectors with applications in anti-pollution techniques, etc. Any significant progress in these fields will improve the quality of life. Gradual replacement of conventional (fossil, polluting) energy sources with renewable (clean) energy ones is one of the most efficient ways to fight climate change.

However, in spite of amazing progress of science and technology, differences between North and South remain huge, and also other regional differences, like between EU and non-EU countries, are still significant. In the vast majority of cases, the research equipment is very expensive and is affordable only for research entities from highly developed countries, although most of the scientific knowledge is generated there by scientists coming from all over the world. The sharing of knowledge is still deficient, to say nothing about sharing of technology, and common effort is needed to bridge these gaps.

LDCs are of priority concern, and use of modern technologies, for instance for solar energy conversion, will alleviate the dramatical situation of these regions, and could improve also the situation of communities from distant areas (SIDS).

Training of researchers from LDCs in Romanian laboratories, universities and institutions of higher learning will contribute to the development of science in their countries of origin. The unrestricted access to information and knowledge, facilitated by ICT developments, will contribute to the building of inclusive knowledge societies.

Development (long term) objectives

The long term objective of the Chair is to substantially contribute to building the necessary human and social capital in the target countries in order to :

  • strengthen the capacity of individuals and institutions for scientific innovation and academic/research cooperation (especially in areas concerned with modern technologies for new energy sources)
  • narrow the development gap between them and the more developed countries
Specific (short term) objectives

The short term objectives of the Chair are :

  • training young physicists from LDC and developing countries in Romanian laboratories;
  • bridging the gaps between non-EU countries from Central and Eastern Europe and EU countries, using the experience and expertise of Romanian physicists


Scientific events 2010

In 2010, the following scientific events have been run by the Chair :

  1. The Carpathian Summer School of Physics 2010, Exotic Nuclei and Nuclear/Particle Astrophysics (III) “From nuclei to stars”, June 20 – July 3, 2010, Sinaia, Romania (Website)
  2. Workshop on high school physics: innovative teaching, hands-on science, gates to research, July 12 – 18, 2010, Seismologic Station Cheia, (Website)

The workshop took place in the conference hall of the Hotel Cheia and in the seismologic station Muntele Rosu - Cheia. At Cheia School, an exhibition of devices made by students and teachers, mainly using low cost materials has been organized, and several 'hands-on science' activities have been demonstrated. About 70 lecturers, teachers and students participated to the workshop.

Other satellite events took place at Maneciu, Drobeta Turnu Severin, Targu Mures and Sibiu, in cooperation with county inspectorate for secondary education from the respective areas. In all, some other 80 teachers and students have been involved in these satellite activities.

The partcipants were mainly teachers and students from Romania, but also from other Central-European countries, like Moldova, Serbia, Slovenia. Specialists from Germany, ICTP, Italy, Israel, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia addressed invited lectures.

As reflected in the program and abstracts, the workshop was developed on two directions: educational sciences (modern learning and teaching techniques, hands-on science, physics tournaments, etc.) and teachear training (conferences on modern aspects of physics, like nanophysics, nanophotonics, biophysics, cosmology, Earth sciences, etc.).

The proceedings of the workshop will be published in the Symposia series of the Romanian ISI journal Journal of Optoelectronics and Advanced Materials (JOAM).

The workshop was sponsored mainly (about 75%) by the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) and the Central European Initiative (CEI), and also by ANCS (Autoritatea Nationala pentru Cercetare Stiintifica - National Authority for Scientific Research) and by the National Institute for Materials Physics (INFM) - Bucharest. The organizers are grateful to the sponsors for their support.

Sattelite events of the workshop :

Training courses organized at Cheia, Drobeta – Turnu Severin and Tirgu Mures in co-operation with the Prahova, Mures and Mehedinti Counties School Inspectorates. The courses are financially supported by the European Union, Romanian Gouvernment and the National Institute for Laser, Plasma and Radiation Physics, in the frame of the project “Inquiry-Based Science Education for Elementary and Middle School Teachers”, under the Europen Social Fund through the Operational Sectoral Program Human Resources Development.

Lecturers :

  • Professor Elena Sassi, University “Federico II” Naples, Italy
  • Professor Ana Blagotinsek, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Professor Stevan Jokic, Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Belgrade, Serbia
  • Dr. Dan Sporea, National Institute for Laser, Plasma and Radiation Physics - Center for Science Education and Training, Magurele, Romania
  • Dr. Adelina Sporea, National Institute for Laser, Plasma and Radiation Physics - Center for Science Education and Training, Magurele, Romania

List of experiments on display during the „Workshop on high school physics: Innovative teaching, hands-on science, gates to research”, Cheia, Romania, 12 - 18 July 2010

Experiment No. Experiment Name Student Name Teacher Coordinator Afiliation
1 The BENHAM disk Teodora Bană
6-th grade student
Victoria Mihalcea
Physics Teacher
„Grup scolar” Măneciu
2 Learning by experiment Alexandru Costea
and Paul Buzoianu
7-th grade students
Daniela Toma
Chemistry Teacher
„Grup scolar” Măneciu
3 The herbarium -
plants protection-
Denisa Matei
and Ana-Maria Savu
2-th grade students
Denisa Dragomir
Primary School Teacher
„Grup scolar” Măneciu
4 The robot – "Robo-play" Călin Pavel
2-th grade student and
Mihail Pavel
4-th grade student
Tatiana Druga
Primary School Teacher
„Grup scolar” Măneciu
5 The artificial leaf Sabin Mihai Bană
7-th grade student
Camelia Petcu
Biology teacher
„Grup scolar” Măneciu
6 The electric circuits Diana Florentina Marin
and Ana-Maria Craciun
4-th grade students
Mioara Gheorghe
Primary School Teacher
„Grup scolar” Măneciu
7 Air cleaner Madalina Budur
11-th grade student
and Raluca Dobre
4-th grade students
Carmen Daniela Moise
Physics Teacher
National College „Nichita Stanescu” Ploiesti
8 Magic with one pencil Mihaela Rodica Despan
4-th grade students
Carmen Daniela Moise
Physics Teacher
„Grup scolar” Măneciu
9 The neighborhood
of the future
Bogdan Tronaru,
Florin Cipran Matei,
Florin Radulescu,
George Duta
10-th grade students
Dana Constantinescu
Physics Teacher
Technical College “Elie Radu” Ploiesti
10 The house of the future Aurel Dobre Anghel,
Daniel Robert Stoica,
George Raducanu
13-th grade students
Dana Constantinescu
Physics Teacher
Technical College “Elie Radu” Ploiesti
11 The lighting installation Andrei Neagu
and Adrian Munteanu
9-th grade student
Dana Constantinescu
Physics Teacher
Technical College “Elie Radu” Ploiesti
12 The water treatment stations
at Valenii de Munte
Leonid Vlad
10-th grade student
andAlexandra Andreies
12-th grade student
Dana Constantinescu
Physics Teacher
Technical College “Elie Radu” Ploiesti
13 The rainbow Vlad Andrei Constantinescu
2-nd grade student
Alexandrina Farmazon
Primary School Teacher
National College “Jean Monnet” Ploiesti
Scientific contacts with African scientists
*ICTP African School on Nanoscience for Solar Energy Conversion, Addis Ababa, 3-7 May 2010

The African School on Nanoscience for Solar Energy Conversion, Addis Ababa, 3-7 May 2010, an ICTP scientific event outside Trieste (Website), provided the opportunity of direct contacts between members of the UNESCO Chair and African scientists.

*Togolese PhD student working in the laboratories of the Institute of Materials Physics, Bucharest

Mr. Ayi Hounsy, a young Togolese researcher, who studied and worked in Romania with an Eugen Ionesco grant of the Association of Francophone Universities, asked the UNESCO Chair to facilitate his acess to the laboratories of the Institute of Materials Physics (INFM), Bucharest-Magurele. With the support of Prof. Lucian Pintilie, the general director of INFM, and under the scientific guidance of Prof. Aldica, Mr. Hounsi made several determinations of the thermal and structural properties of samples of clays, collected from Togo. The goal of Mr. Hounsi's researches is to contribute to the production of low-cost and efficient building materials, using traditional African materials and technologies.

Short report concerning contacts between members of UNESCO Chair in Bucharest and participants to the African School on Nanoscience for Solar Energy Conversion, Addis Ababa, 3-7 May 2010

During the African School on Nanoscience for Solar Energy Conversion, held in Addis Ababa, 3-7 May 2010, in several discussions between Prof. Teketel Johannes Anshebo, director of the School and member of the UNESCO Chair in Bucharest, Dr. Victor Barsan, Scientific Secretary of the Chair, and other participants, the posible involvement of African scientists in the activities of the UNESCO Chair has been analyzed.

Concerning the PhD preparation, it was agreed that the Ethiopian students will be enrolled at their home universities, and will spend in Romanian laboratory working stages, devoted to a specific research theme, selected according to the profile of their thesis. This working stage will be finalized with a reserch paper, co-authored with their colleagues from Romania. Finally, the PhD degree will be granted by their home university, in Ethiopia. The same for other African countries.

Concerning the working stages for postdocs or other researchers, they will be decided on a case-to-case analysis.

For the time being, the following persons expressed their interest in such actions :

  • ANSHEBO Brook Esseye
  • Hawassa University, Southern Ethiopia Department of Mathematical and Physical Sciences brookesse@yahoo.com Interested in magnetism; he prepared his MS in Germany; interested a working stage, in principle as a part of his PhD preparation, in Romania; he likes mainly theoretical work.
  • KIFLU Daniel Gebreegziabher
  • Addis Ababa University, Faculty of Science, Materials Science Program danielgergz@yahoo.com Interested in preparing parts of his PhD in Bucharest, in materials physics
  • HONE Fekadu Gashaw Dpt. of Mathematics and Physical Sciences Program Hawassa University fekadu_gashaw@yahoo.com Postdoc, interested in a working stage in lasers.

  • Also, for people from theoretical physics, intersted in working stages in Bucharest,

  • Prof. A.V. Gholap, Department of Physics, Addis Ababa University, gholapav@gmail.com who teaches classical electrodynamics can recommend students for theoretical researches.

In discussions with Nigerian colleagues, EZEMA Fabian, University of Nigeria, Physical Sciences, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Enugu, Nigeria, fiezema@yahoo.com, expressed his interest for sending two PhD students in Bucharest; similarly, they will be enrolled in Nigerian Universities and will receive their PhD degree from these universities.

Financial aspects: the working stages will be provided free of charge by the Romanian specialists, and also the accommodation (by the University in Bucharest), but we need to find finances for travel and per diem. So, we have to find money only for our African partners (transportation and per diem).

  • Prof. Teketel Yohannes ANSHEBO University of Addis Ababa, and UNESCO Chair, Bucharest
  • Dr. Victor BARSAN UNESCO Chair, Bucharest

For 2011, we have to notice the publication of the proceedings of a workshop on educational physics, organized by our Chair in July 2010; the proceedings was issued in Journal of Optoelectronics and Advanced Materials – Symposia, vol. 3, no. 1, 2011.


In 2012, the following scientific events took place :

Advanced workshop on solar energy conversion, 21-24 May 2012, Bucharest, Romania, Website

The workshop was devoted to a central issue of applied physics: renewable energies, mainly solar energy conversion. Renewable energy resources are needed to meet our clean energy demand. Since any long term energy supply must be based on solar energy, photovoltaic energy conversion will become indispensable in the future.

The transition from the conventional energy, based on fossil fuels or nuclear fission, to sustainable energies, is presently hampered by the low efficiencies or high costs of the available materials. The development of new materials by engineering their structure at the nano-scale is recognized to be the key issue which could increase the performance of both renewable energy conversion and energy storage. In this sense, new materials are a of crucial importance for a possible transition towards a more sustainable energy economy.

The Workshop consisted of invited lectures addressed by leading researchers in the field, as well as contributed oral presentations. Also, a poster session has been organized.

The workshop has been organized by: the UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Development at Horia Hulubei Foundation (Magurele-Bucharest); the National Institute for Materials Science (Magurele-Bucharest); Faculty of Physics, University of Bucharest; Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (Trieste) and the National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering (Magurele-Bucharest). It was sponsored by ANCS (about 50%), ICTP (about 38%) and HHF (Horia Hulubei Foundation) (about 12%).

It is important to note that, about the invited lecturers, was present Prof. Serdar Sariciftci, the initiator of organic solar cells, the director of the Linz Institute for Organic Solar Cells, Austria, and Stefano Fabris and Nicola Seriani, co-authors of one of the most powerful soft for computational physics with applications in photovoltaics, Quantum Expresso, from ICTP – Trieste.

A satellite event of this workshop was the award of the honorific title of Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Bucharest to Prof. Sariciftci. This event was organized in close cooperation between the UNESCO Chair at HHF and the Faculty of Physics of the University of Bucharest.


CEI project “Fostering scientific cooperation in CEI countries through research and training in renewable energies and nanophysics”

A project financed by the Central European Initiative (CEI) – according to CEI terminology, a ‘cooperation activity’ – has been run in 2013, and provided the framework for several scientific exchanges. It will described in the next paragraph. CEI Cooperation Activity “Fostering scientific cooperation in CEI countries through research and training in renewable energies and nanophysics” (2013): this activity comprised several working stages and a workshop. The working stages took place in the laboratories of the Faculty of Physics of the University of Bucharest and of the National Institute for Material Physics. The Faculty hosted two Serbian PhD students, Sanja Milenovic and Goran Cvetkovic, who studied about two weeks (10 – 24 September 2013) specific aspects of fotoconversion. The ATM (atomic force microscope) team of the Institute provided a short training for two Croatian scientist (Branko Pivac and Pavlo Dubcek, 24 – 28 September 2013). In the frame of this project the following workshop has been organized: Advanced workshop on new trends in nanophysics and solar energy conversion, 23-25 September 2013, Bucharest All relevant information about this workshop can be found at View Website.

The Scientific Report for May 2011 – April 2014 can be donwloaded here.

The Scientific Report for April 2010 – May 2011 can be donwloaded here.