The 40th International Conference on Advanced Ceramics and Composites opened with a reception last Sunday, and nearly all conversations began with a version of “Did the storm affect your travels to Daytona Beach?”
The storm, of course, was Winter Storm Jonas. Obviously, those who were most affected were not there to answer the question. The storm’s lingering impact was most noticeable on Monday afternoon when symposia sessions started, with many talks cancelled or rescheduled because of travel delays.
Eventually, about 1,080 attendees from 42 countries arrived and, besides participating in the technical program, celebrated the 40th Jubilee anniversary of this conference.
Program chair Andy Gyekenyesi says, “The fact that around 50% of attendees are international, representing 42 countries, demonstrates that this is truly an international event.”
According to former ACerS president Jim McCauley, the conference grew out of the “Refractory Composites Workshop,” first held 41 years ago in Cocoa Beach. That success led the Ceramic-Metal Systems Division to establish ICACC. [Ceramic-Metal Systems evolved into today’s Engineering Ceramics Division (ECD).]
In 2007 ICACC moved north to Daytona Beach to accommodate higher attendance, and now it consistently attracts over 1,000 attendees from around the world. ICACC also serves as the annual meeting for the ECD, which held its business and committee meetings in addition to the technical conference.
Although the conference is entering its “middle age” years, its programming for students and young professionals remains strong with the Global Young Investigators Forum—now in its fifth year—student networking events and receptions, and a “Survival Skills for Scientists” mentoring lunch.
Gyekenyesi says, “It’s a pleasure to see expanding youthful participation. Because the conference keeps growing each year, it’s obvious the field is expanding and in need of a new generation of researchers.”
To mark the 40th anniversary, a 40th Jubilee Symposium featured previous ECD Mueller and Bridge Building award winners. Plans were for Jim McCauley to kick off the symposium on Monday after the plenary opening session, however, Jonas pushed the talk to Tuesday. Also marking the milestone was a conference banquet and a commemorative book, “Engineered Ceramics—Current Status and Future Projects.” Finally, the Daytona Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau sponsored a special reception in honor of the anniversary and to thank ICACC for its business.
The conference closes today. Weather is expected to be rainy, but not stormy, and certainly no snow. Already organizers are looking forward not only to next year, but to the next decade and beyond.