17.01.2018

History of the Summer School

The Summer School has collected many international students together for years. These days the Summer School is attended by 350 students from over 40 countries every year. The International Summer School has taught many scientists that are internationally well-known today.

Jouko_Korppi-Tommola.jpgIn 1991 the rector of the time, Martti Takala, asked a small professor group to ponder how to increase the visibility of the University in the coming years. From the team of four professors Vesa Ruuskanen, theoretical physics, brought up the idea of a Jyväskylä Summer School (JSS) focusing on training of Masters and PhD students from all fields of natural sciences, i.e. biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics to allow interdisciplinary study of courses during the school days. The suitable time slot for the School was chosen to be August, the European holiday month. It was considered of importance that the credits on the courses would be given only if the students passed the course exam or they solved significant amount of practical problems or attended lab or computer exercises. It was decided that the School should run annually as long as it attracts students and it has, this year for the 28th time. Soon also statistics, scientific computing and information technology joined in. The original smart idea has become the most popular international student training School in the country probably also in Scandinavia. The School is well known in Europe and Russia and is gaining reputation also in Near East, Africa, Asia and China in particular.  

Different academic positions at different universities

So far, more than 7000 students from 110 different countries have attended the School. Russian students have been the largest group of participants, followed by German, Ukraine, Italian, Swedish, Polish, Chinese, Latvian, Spanish and British students. Participations from African and Middle East countries are on the rise. Students of the School may enjoy supervision from native English speaking teachers. 41% of the foreign teachers, in total 550 up todate, have come from the United States or from the United Kingdom. Next largest groups of teachers have come from Germany, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Austria, and Denmark, from the best science countries in Europe.  Teachers from more than 450 universities have given courses at the School, top ten teacher Universities being: University of California, University of Southampton, University of Lund, University of Oxford, University of Houston, University of Uppsala, KTH Stockholm, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, St. Petersburg), Stony Brook, University of Cambridge. Clear majority of teachers of the School have been well known scientists, in many cases leading scientists or pioneers of their fields of expertise.

Every year will experience a new set of courses, normally from 20 to 25, presenting a broad spectrum of topics. Lecturers are given instructions to use their best teaching skills during the courses keeping in mind their multidisciplinary audience.

Experience Finnish summer, nature and culture

Over the years the student experiences from the School has been overwhelmingly very good even enthusiastic. The social programs of the school focusing on Finnish culture, traditions and pure Nature have offered pleasant intermissions during the demanding course work. Social program has included includes parties, nature trails, rowing and canoeing, biking, various sports events and most importantly spontaneously organized happenings by the students themselves. Cultures of this planet meet and mingle at the School every year.  

As being one of the founders and a long time organizer of the school I am happy to see how the School has prospered over the years and wish it many fruitful years to come.

Professor Emeritus Jouko Korppi-Tommola