ICESS Conference 2023 in Oulu, Finland

In late August 2023, the international ICESS conference (The 15th International Conference on Electronic Spectroscopy and Structure) was held in Oulu. The conference, that was held in Finland for the first time, gathered 190 participants from 24 different countries.

ICESS-15 is continuation for the famous ICESS conference series on physics which brings together the leading experts on electronic structure and spectroscopy in the world. The congress provides a plaform where top researchers on electronic structure and spectroscopy present their findings and newest methods.

The conference has been held formerly all over the world 14 times since 1971. It was supposed to arrive in Finland, and Oulu, for the first time in 2021 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the organizing was not successful until August of this year.

Managing to bring the event to Oulu originates from the year 2015 when Marko Huttula, a professor from the University of Oulu, attended the ICESS conference in New York’s Stony Brook.

“That’s when I thought of applying to arrange the event in Oulu for the first time. We decided to apply together with Uppsala University for the next organization year 2018 but we didn’t get it then, it was held in Shanghai. There I applied for Oulu again and we got it”, explains Huttula who acted as the conference chairman this year.

The conference programme consisted of presentations about the leading researchers’ findings and methods. Content-wise the conference was very versatile, it included researcher keynote speeches, invited speaker events, and poster sessions among other things.

The social programme of ICESS was opened on Sunday with the Get-together party, which was attended by 120 attendants. On Monday night, the city’s reception was held in Oulu Music Centre, and it was a huge success. “It was amazing. Fantastic serving of food and drinks. A huge thank you and shout-out to the city for that. The international guests really loved it”, Huttula states.

Throughout the week, the guests were offered a trip to the beautiful Hailuoto island and an evening party where a band consisting of University of Oulu faculty performed, among other things. Especially popular was an event exhibiting the Northern Lights, some guests booked an Aurora tour for themselves. The tour was carried out on two nights and the participants found results in the form of real Aurora Borealis. Additionally, the attendants had a chance to join a day trip to Rovaniemi.

Marko Huttula and Marjut Saastamoinen from the University of Oulu are very happy with the conference and its organization. Multiple years of work could be seen in the feedback from the attendants that described the conference as a success. Additionally, Finnish nature and ease of access by cycling in Oulu gathered praise. The gift handed to all attendants was widely appreciated. “There are 190 pine saplings collecting carbon dioxide for the next 80 years in the forests. It was a gift that supports sustainable development and also works as a carbon offset for the carbon footprint caused by organizing the event”, Huttula explains.

Read more about the congress on Finland Convention Bureau website: