PACC-FMAs 2022_01

[Image above] Attendees of PACC-FMAs explore the Miraflores Lock during an optional canal tour on Wednesday afternoon. Credit: ACerS president-elect Sanjay Mathur

Nearly 100 participants from 26 countries met July 24–28, 2022, in Panama City, Panama, for the inaugural Pan American Ceramics Congress (PACC) combined with the Ferroelectrics Meeting of Americas (FMAs). Originally scheduled for July 2020, PACC-FMAs was rescheduled to this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

PACC-FMAs brought together a wide variety of experts from academia, industries, research institutes, and laboratories to discuss current state-of-the-art and various technical challenges in research, development, engineering, manufacturing, and application of ceramic and glass materials. The conference’s collegial atmosphere provided the perfect forum for information exchange on current status and emerging trends for various technologies in the Americas.

Attendees enjoyed this view from the meeting hotel. Credit: ACerS

PACC was led by program chairs Tatsuki Ohji (AIST, Japan) and Sylvia Johnson (retired, NASA) while FMAs was chaired by Amar Bhalla (University of Texas San Antonio).

The technical program for PACC-FMAs included invited and contributed talks along with a poster session on Monday evening. In addition to the live presentations, the technical program featured 110 video presentations for those who could not travel due to travel restrictions.

These presentations provided an information exchange on the latest emerging technologies and facilitated open dialogue and discussion with leading experts from around the globe.

Attendees enjoyed Monday evening’s poster session. Credit: ACerS

Johnson and Bhalla welcomed attendees during the plenary session on Monday morning and thanked the country chairs, symposium organizers, presenters, and conference sponsors Wiley and Deltech, Inc. Attendees heard from three excellent plenary speakers.

Edgar Zanotto, professor of materials science and engineering at Federal University of Sao Carlos, Brazil, lead the session with his talk titled “R&D on vitreous materials in the Americas: Current efforts and a look to the future.”

Peter Littlewood, professor and chair of the physics department at James Franck Institute of the University of Chicago, delivered the next talk on “Materials for energy and sustainability.”

The final plenary talk was delivered by Darryl Butt, dean of the College of Mines & Earth Sciences at University of Utah, on the topic “The science of art: Metaphors on the value of diversity.”

Plenary speaker Edgar Zanotto included an overview of what is meant geographically by “Americas” during his talk on Monday morning. Credit: ACerS

During the conference banquet on Tuesday night, ACerS past-president Dana Goski thanked all the organizers and participants and presented certificates of appreciation to Johnson, Ohji, and Bhalla. Goski also acknowledged and thanked ACerS past-president Mrityunjay Singh for his initiation and vision for the conference back in 2018.

Wednesday afternoon provided free time for attendees to take in many of Panama’s local attractions, including the optional canal tour. During this tour, attendees watched the functioning of the Panama Canal from the Miraflores Locks.

The tour continued with a drive around the Amador Causeway, and finally attendees had the chance to walk around the Colonial Panama or Old Quarters, where they took in the “Paseo Esteban Huertas,” Metropolitan Cathedral, National Theater, Simon Bolivar Plaza, and many other attractions of the colonial period.

A ship makes its way through the Miraflores Lock, which is one of three locks that form part of the Panama Canal. Credit: ACerS
Attendees tour the historic district of Panama City during the optional tour on Wednesday afternoon. Credit: ACerS

“The PACC-FMAs conference has provided an exciting forum for interdisciplinary interaction among scientists from different countries with broad background in materials science in a naturally beautiful setting. At the same time, the emerging new ideas are also setting a platform for the contents of the next PACC-FMAs conference” says Bhalla.

Johnson also thinks of this meeting as a beginning. “We have nucleation, and now we need growth, which will come with the aid of our members and colleagues throughout the Americas and the world. This meeting has shown that small has the benefit of facilitating discussion and networking,” she says.

Young materials scientists also found great value in the conference. “PACC-FMAs provided an excellent opportunity to develop new professional skills and to personally interact with high level officials of The American Ceramic Society and the Ferroelectrics Meeting of Americas. The participants were very friendly and helpful to us,” says Ximena Audrey Velásquez Moya, student at the National University of Colombia in Bogotá.

Presentations from the meeting will be available for attendees to view online through the end of September 2022. Building upon the success of this year’s meeting, PACC-FMAs will continue as a biannual meeting with the next event scheduled for 2024.

View more pictures from PACC-FMAs on ACerS Flickr page.

Update 08/01/2022 – Student quote added.