Proton International

Student Information

Proton International 2023

Below you will find the presentations of our information gatherings:

Below you can find our previous trips to Italy, Toronto and Stockholm

Proton International 2017; Italy, written by Angela Melcherts

In 2017 we went with Proton International to Bella Italia. In Milan we had the opportunity to visit local universities, such as the University of Milano Bicocca. We could also enjoy the Easter days and explore the town and neighboring cities. At the San Raffaele Scientific Institute we were able to have a ‘mini internship’ of half a day where we were paired in groups of three with a local scientist to look around in the lab. In Como we visited AkzoNobel, where we learned how the paint for the colorful panels of Casa confetti, a student flat at Utrecht Science Park, was created. With our privet bus we also made a trip to the Italian institute of Technology in Genoa, where we had interesting talks from different divisions from nanochemistry to drug discovery.

We continued our trip to Bologna from where we also visited the University of Padua. It was an interesting trip, where multiple topics in the field of chemistry and chemical biology were covered. Apart from chemistry visits, we had plenty of time to discover the country, the culture and the food.

Proton International is not just a nice trip to see how chemistry is conducted in different countries, it is also an unique opportunity to find a nice internship spot. In 2019 I went back to Italy for an research internship in the Nanochemistry group of the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa. From my Proton international trip I had already seen the great facilities, and got in contact with one of the professors, which made the choice easier. I had a wonderful time again during my six months, where I learned a lot scientifically, but again could enjoy the amazing country.  

Proton International 2018; Toronto, written by Dónal van Uunen

During the pandemic, the world might seem a bit small however, we should not forget times where the world felt big. For me one of those moments was the Proton International trip to Toronto, Canada. I will never forget the moment I walked out of the train station and looked up to the giant skyscrapers towering over my head as the streets were lit by the sunlight reflecting from the glass buildings.

The study trip started with a city tour followed by a trip to the famous landmark, the Niagara Falls!

As chemistry students we cannot stay out of our natural habitat for too long, so we also visited the visited the universities in Toronto, including lab tours at various departments. Additionally, we visited the Dutch embassy and two companies where we had the opportunity for fruitful conversations with their employees.

On Kings day we even partied with people from the Dutch embassy! Finally, some of us took a boat to a small Island allowing us to view the impressive skyline of Toronto from a distance. I can’t describe the whole trip in these few words but, all in all it was an amazing experience and if you want to know what it’s like, I suggest you sign up for the next one!

Proton International 2019; Stockholm, written by Joyce Kromwijk

Eén van de allerleukste activiteiten die Proton organiseert is, naar mijn mening, Proton International. Na twee keer een reis te hebben georganiseerd naar Italië en Canada mocht ik in 2019 met een fantastische commissie een reis organiseren naar Stockholm!

Zweden is een fantastisch mooi land dat niet alleen bekend staat om Ikea, ABBA en de ontzettend lekkere kaneelbroodjes (die wij tijdens onze reis dagelijks voorgeschoteld kregen) maar ook om het hoogstaande wetenschappelijk onderzoek dat hier gedaan wordt. Niet voor niks wordt hier jaarlijks de Nobelprijs uitgereikt ter nagedachtenis aan de Zweedse chemicus Alfred Nobel!

Tijdens onze reis hebben we onder andere een bezoek gebracht aan de universiteiten van Stockholm en Uppsala, mochten we achter de schermen kijken bij AkzoNobel en hadden we het voorrecht om bij het Karolinska Institutet rondgeleid te worden. Dit laatste bezoek is mij erg bijgebleven; het Karolinska Institutet doet namelijk uitmuntend medisch onderzoek en reikt ieder jaar de Nobelprijs voor Fysiologie en Geneeskunde uit. Als Nanomaterials Science student ligt dit type onderzoek niet in mijn straatje, maar door de enthousiaste en interessante uitleg over hun onderzoeken naar Alzheimer kreeg ik aan het einde van het bezoek stiekem toch een beetje spijt dat ik niet meer over biochemie af weet.


Proton International 2022; Zürich and Geneva, written by Luuk van den Berg

In 2022 Proton International went to Zurich and Geneva, with a stop in Lausanne along the way. We started our trip in Zurich, where we could experience the start of spring festival, or in Zürich German “Sächsilüüte”. After this weekend we started with our visits. The first visit was to Bruker, which builds a number of scientific instruments we use in the lab. They are most famous for their NMR machines, of which we saw the whole production process, from the first electrical components all they way to the final painting. This gave us a deeper understanding and appreciation for the machines we use on a daily basis.

Our next stop that day was ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich). Here we received talks from the different research groups, after which we went on lab tours. Where we saw the NMR machines from Bruker in action, but we were also put to the test, since we had to try some first year student experiments. Luckily most of us passed with flying colours.

The following day consisted of a visit to the Paul Scherrer Institute, also part of the ETH domain. This research facility started out doing mostly particle physics research, but today also house many other facilities focused on chemistry and bio-chemistry research. We started with talks by people who used the machines hands on. This gave us a well developed background for the tours of the synchrotron and the free-electron-laser we received afterwards.

This concluded our stay in Zurich and we went on our way to Geneva. On this journey we stopped at EPFL, the French sister university of the ETH Zürich in Lausanne. Here we not only visited the chemistry department, but also the engineering department. Where we were presented with ways the findings of the chemistry department where applied to develop special solar reactors.

Our last official visit was to the University of Geneva, where they not only showed their labs, but also their special outreach classroom for primary and high school students. Of course, they let us do the experiments for those students too, which was very enjoyable. After this experience we also met up with students form the student association.

In Geneva we also had some more time to explore the city and its beautiful surroundings, because what trip to Switzerland is complete without hiking in the mountains?

This trip gave us a short, but quite complete, overview of the beautiful country of Switzerland and all its scientific endeavours. I thought it was so nice that I decided to stay and do my masters at ETH.