GOMD 2024_networking

[Image above] GOMD 2024 attendees at a career panel and networking event on Wednesday, May 22. Credit: ACerS

The 2024 Glass & Optical Materials Division (GOMD) Annual Meeting was held in the dazzling lights of Las Vegas, Nev., from May 19–23. The event saw a robust turnout with 311 attendees, including 71 students, representing 22 countries.

Amid the glitz and glamour of the city, the conference featured a wide range of technical sessions, award lectures, and networking opportunities. A highlight of the event was the special appearance by an Elvis impersonator during the Conference Celebration on Tuesday night.

“This meeting was the first ACerS conference held in Las Vegas, and from the reaction of our attendees, it won’t be the last,” says Andrea Ross, ACerS director of meetings, marketing, and membership. “We were thrilled that more than 300 glass researchers came to the desert to network and to share their research. It was also nice to be very close to pre-pandemic attendance numbers!”

Below are highlights from GOMD 2024.

Short course on glass crystallization kicks off meeting

Before the conference began on Sunday night, a pre-conference short course on “Nucleation, Growth, and Crystallization in Glasses” provided attendees with a valuable learning opportunity.

ACerS Fellow Edgar D. Zanotto, senior professor at the Federal University of São Carlos, led the course. Zanotto was this year’s recipient of the Darshana and Arun Varshneya Frontiers of Glass Science Award, which was presented at the conference.

The course, which took place from 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. on Sunday, covered fundamental concepts as well as the latest advancements in glass science. Participants had the opportunity to delve into the mechanisms of nucleation and growth, gain insights into the crystallization behavior of different glass systems, and explore practical applications and techniques.

Attendees listened as Edgar D. Zanotto discussed the nucleation, growth, and crystallization in glasses during his short course on Sunday, May 19, before the start of GOMD 2024. Credit: ACerS

Technical sessions dive into the wide variety of glass applications

The conference featured a comprehensive program with six symposia, each dedicated to a specific aspect of glass and optical materials research and application. During each symposium, experts shared their latest research, discussed challenges, and explored future directions in glass and optical materials science.

  1. Fundamentals of the Glassy State: This symposium covered topics such as glass formation, structural relaxation, and crystallization. Sessions included presentations by leading researchers such as Hrishikesh Kamat of Glidewell Laboratories and Alfonso Pedone of the University of Modena & Reggion Emilia.
  2. Glass and Interactions with Its Environment: Sessions under this symposium explored glasses, glass-ceramics, and biomaterials, as well as dissolution and interfacial reactions. Delia Brauer of the University of Jena and ACerS Fellow Leena Hupa of Åbo Akademi University led discussions on innovative uses of glass in medical applications.
  3. Optical and Electronic Materials and Devices: Researchers presented cutting-edge work on laser interactions with glasses, charge and energy transport in disordered materials, and rare-earth-doped glasses for photonic applications. Highlights included talks by ACerS Fellow Doris Möncke of Alfred University and Volkmar Dierolf of Lehigh University.
  4. Outreach, Glass Technology, Manufacturing, Recycling, and Cross-Cutting Topics: This symposium highlighted the broader impact of glass science, including STEM outreach, manufacturing challenges, and sustainability. Presentations by Amanda Engen of ACerS and Scott Cooper of CelSian Glass & Solar B.V. emphasized workforce development efforts and advancements in manufacturing techniques.
  5. Delbert Day Honorary Symposium: Named in honor of ACerS Fellow and Distinguished Life Member Delbert Day, Curators’ Professor Emeritus of Materials Science and Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology, this symposium celebrated his contributions to glass science. Sessions focused on his areas of research, including glass formation and structural properties. Esteemed speakers reflected on his legacy and presented current advancements inspired by his work. The symposium was organized by Kisa Ranasinghe of Kennesaw State University and Qiang Fu of Corning Inc.
  6. Mark Davis Honorary Symposium: This symposium honored ACerS Fellow Mark Davis, senior research scientist at SCHOTT North America, whose research and innovations have had a lasting impact on glass technology. The sessions featured cutting-edge research in glass science, including new materials and applications. Highlights included discussions on advanced glass technologies and their future directions. The symposium was organized by Ina Mitra of SCHOTT AG and Bill James of SCHOTT North America.

Award lectures highlight cutting-edge advancements in glass and optical materials

The ACerS 2024 GOMD Annual Meeting celebrated excellence in the field by presenting several prestigious awards, recognizing significant contributions and advancements in glass and optical materials science.

The first award lecture on Monday morning was the Stookey Lecture of Discovery. Delivered by Jasbinder S. Sanghera, acting superintendent of the Optical Sciences Division at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, his lecture titled “Infrared materials and fiber optics” highlighted the development and applications of infrared glasses and fiber optics, showcasing innovations in environmental monitoring, exoplanet discovery, and high-power laser systems.

GOMD chair Irene Peterson, left, presents the Stookey Lecture of Discovery award to Jasbinder Sanghera. Credit: ACerS

On Tuesday, ACerS Fellow Stephen H. Garofalini, Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Rutgers University, presented the George W. Morey Award Lecture. His talk, titled “Evolution of molecular dynamics simulations of glass surfaces and interfaces,” provided a comprehensive overview of the advancements in simulation techniques that are critical to understanding glass behavior at the molecular level.

Also presented on Tuesday was the Norbert J. Kreidl Award for Young Scholars, which was awarded to Brian Topper of Clemson University. His lecture, titled “Evolving the lever rule for borate glass structure,” introduced a new approach to quantifying the short-range structural units of glass-forming melts, providing insights into the structure of binary zinc borate glasses.

On Wednesday, Zanotto, who taught the pre-conference short course on Sunday, delivered the Darshana and Arun Varshneya Frontiers of Glass Science lecture. His presentation, titled “Unlocking crystal nucleation in supercooled liquids and glasses,” explored the early stages of crystallization and the significant progress made in understanding crystal nucleation in various glass formers.

The following morning, on Thursday, ACerS Fellow Shibin Jiang, founder and chair of AdValue Photonics Inc., presented the Darshana and Arun Varshneya Frontiers of Glass Technology lecture. His lecture, titled “Rare-earth-doped glasses, fibers, lasers, and applications,” highlighted the development and commercialization of innovative glass fibers and their applications in high-power laser systems for defense and materials processing.

In addition to the award lectures, the L. David Pye Lifetime Achievement Award was presented at the conference. This annual award by the Glass & Optical Materials Division recognizes individuals who have demonstrated lifetime dedication, vision, and accomplishments in advancing glass science, engineering, and art. This year, the award honored ACerS Fellow Manoj Choudhary, professor at The Ohio State University, and ACerS Fellow and Distinguished Life Member Carol Jantzen, affiliate faculty member at the University of South Carolina Aiken, for their outstanding contributions to the field.

GOMD chair Irene Peterson presents the L. David Pye Lifetime Achievement Award to Manoj Choudhary (left) and Carol Jantzen (right). Credit: ACerS

Networking events inspire students and young professionals

Networking events such as the poster session and reception on Monday, May 20 and the Conference Celebration on Tuesday, May 21 provided ample opportunities for attendees to connect and discuss their work in a more informal setting. In addition, students and young professionals gathered at a nearby restaurant on Wednesday, May 22 for a career panel and networking event. These events were well-attended and facilitated many valuable exchanges of ideas.

The Conference Celebration broke away from the traditional awards dinner, opting instead for a lively and engaging evening focused on networking and entertainment. The event featured food stations, live entertainment, and ample opportunities for attendees to connect in a relaxed atmosphere.

Adding to the fun, an Elvis impersonator made a special appearance, offering attendees the chance to take photos and enjoy a spirited performance. Numerous attendees took advantage of the opportunity to take photos with the impersonator.

Attendees posed with an Elvis impersonator during the Conference Celebration on Tuesday night. Credit: ACerS

GOMD 2024 also witnessed the launch of the new ACerS Conference Mentor Program, which aims to connect first-time conference attendees with experienced individuals who have frequently attended past ACerS events. There were nine mentor/mentee matches made at GOMD, and participants reported that the program was “wonderfully successful” at engaging international students who often have previously stuck to themselves.

The next Conference Mentorship opportunities will be at the 14th Advances in Cement-Based Materials meeting and also at the 10th International Congress on Ceramics. Details on getting involved can be found by visiting the ACerS Conference Mentor Program webpage.

Closing thoughts

We want to extend our thanks to GOMD chair Irene Peterson and 2024 GOMD program chairs Mathieu Bauchy and Morten M. Smedskjaer for helping make the event possible.

View more photos from GOMD 2024 on ACerS Flickr page. We look forward to seeing everyone next year at GOMD 2025 in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. The event will take place alongside 16th Pacific Rim Conference on Ceramic and Glass Technology in May 2025.

Update 06/04/2024 – Details added about the new ACerS Conference Mentor Program.