Monthly Archives: December 2014

Spiro Latsis takes a closer look at GloVo’s conference on volunteerism

A snapshot of GloVo 2014

Involving 12 sessions and four ‘volunteer actions’ including helping out in a soup kitchen for the homeless and tidying up public places, the 2014 Conference 2014 opened its doors on 17th October. Over the course of three days, 150 attendees gathered in the Athens Impact Hub to hear impactful talks and take part in practical workshops – all focused on this year’s title, “No more change. Transformation.” In addition to being able to find out more about making a positive impact on wider society, the conference also provided delegates to develop new skills and gain inspiration from ambitious young Greeks who are making a name for themselves and giving something back to society along the way – even despite the continuing harsh economic climate.

Supporters of the Conference included the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, whose members include EFG Board Member, Spiro Latsis and other Latsis family members. Set up to continue the public service legacy of the late John S. Latsis, the Foundation is focused on social welfare, education, scientific research and culture. Spiro John Latsis and the Foundation welcomed the opportunity to support a valuable initiative that empowers volunteerism in Greece.

A closer look at some of the GloVo Conference participants

The Speakers at the Conference’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go” debate included Fanis Koutouvelis, an Electronic and Computer Engineering graduate and the founder of a company that produces software for small businesses. He was able to provide a unique perspective on why young Greeks should think twice about leaving the country. Also providing food for thought from the opposite side of the table were Sofia Lamproy and Dimitris Kokkinakis, the founders of the Impact Hub Athens, which was established as a local network for the promotion of innovative new ideas in Greece’s capital. Other participants included Spyros Michaloulis, the owner of a career consultancy with expertise in helping young people make the right decisions for their future – as well as Harris Pistolis, an expert in team and crisis management.

The GloVo Profile

Based in Athens, GloVo is a volunteers’ platform with a global focus. It aims to help people from around the world to become volunteers by matching them with events and activities that are suited to their skills, interests and geographical location. The GloVo website will be of interest to youngsters around the world who want to make a difference.

Spiro Latsis looks at the 2014 recipient of the National Latsis Prize

At a ceremony in Berne on 14th January 2015, the National Latsis Prize, 2014 will be awarded to Tobias Kippenberg, a Professor based at the Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements within Lausanne’s Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The prize is in recognition of Kippenberg’s innovative work in measuring and manipulating oscillators within the niche field of cavity quantum optomechanics.

About the prize

Each year, the Swiss National Science Foundation awards the prize of 100,000 Swiss Francs to a researcher under the age of 40, in recognition of his or her contribution to science in Switzerland. The SNSF awards this prize on behalf of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation – whose board includes the businessman Spiro John Latsis. Founded in 2005 by the late John S. Latsis’ children in honour of their father’s generosity of spirit, the Foundation has been involved in providing funding and support to scientific groups since 2008.

About Tobias Kippenberg

Kippenberg has been based at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology since 2008 and was awarded his full professorship in 2013. Prior to this, he spent a number of years as a researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Germany, where he worked alongside the physics Nobel laureate, Professor Theodor Hansch. He gained his undergraduate degree from the Technical University of Aachen and went on to earn a Master of Science and then a PhD at Caltech in Pasadena, California where he stayed to carry out post-doctorate research.

The work for which the 38-year old has been recognised with the National Latsis award focuses on oscillators that are just 24 microns in diameter – i.e. less than half the width of a single strand of human hair. Light moves around these oscillators producing what physicists refer to as “radiation pressure”. This results in a slight yet measurable mechanical vibration. These resonators are designed to enable them to store light and vibrations in a micro cavity. Kippenberg has established that by connecting a laser beam to a microresonator using an optical fibre, an “optical frequency comb” can be produced. This has a practical and potentially, a commercial application in the ultra high-precision calibration of astronomical spectrometers. It may also be put to use in improving the accuracy of atomic clocks. Patents have been registered and Kippenberg is hoping to put his invention to work through a start-up company.