GOMD ‘dream team’ attends Society of Glass Technology centenary celebration in the UK | The American Ceramic Society Skip to content

GOMD ‘dream team’ attends Society of Glass Technology centenary celebration in the UK


[Image above] Russell Hand, SGT president, accepts a plaque from Kathleen Richardson, ACerS past president, congratulating the SGT on behalf of ACerS members. Credit: SGT

Editor’s note: The Society of Glass Technology in the United Kingdom celebrated its 100th anniversary in September. ACerS Distinguished Life Member Arun Varshneya sent us this report of the event.

By Arun Varshneya

Approximately 40 Glass and Optical Materials Division members led by chair-elect Edgar D. Zanotto, ACerS president-elect Bill Lee, and past presidents Kathleen Richardson and David Pye attended the centenary celebration of the Society of Glass Technology (“SGT100”) in Sheffield, U.K., September 4–8, 2016.

SGT was founded by William Ernest Stephens Turner in Sheffield a hundred years ago. The GOMD team brought a sense of close attachment and comradery that has existed between members of The American Ceramic Society and SGT for decades. 

The event was preceded by memorial services on September 3 for Michael Cable, who passed away August 20. Service speakers Richard Hulme of Guardian Industries, a former student, and Pye observed personal loss and conveyed deepest sympathies to the Cable family on behalf of ACerS, the International Commission on Glass, Alfred University, and the many friends and admirers of Professor Cable from around the globe. The memorial ceremony was attended additionally by Varshneya and Zanotto.

On Sunday September 4, Varshneya (a 1965 alumnus of Sheffield) and Zanotto (a 1979–1982 alumnus of Sheffield) presented a six-hour short course on critical topics in glass to 22 students as Sheffield glass alumni “giving” back. The class—comprised of professionals as well as students from all around the globe—appreciated learning about glass and glass-ceramics from two well-recognized glass teachers of ACerS. Class had to break only because of the welcoming reception.

During the opening ceremonies, Richardson emphasized the close working relationship between the societies throughout their history and presented a commemorative plaque from ACerS membership. As president of the ICG, Manoj Choudhary brought greetings to the SGT and noted that Turner not only founded the SGT, but also was a cofounder and first president of the ICG in 1933.

The key technical program of the centenary celebration was the Turner Legacy Symposium, organized by Adrian Wright (ACerS 2016 Distinguished Life Member) and Pye. Invited lecturers included Richardson, Austen Angell, Steve Feller, Zanotto, Carlo Pantano, Minoru Tomozawa, Himanshu Jain, Alastair Cormack, Lisa Klein, Varshneya, and Rui Almeida.

The highlight of the centenary celebration was the Turner Memorial Lecture, delivered on September 6 by Zanotto. His lecture was entitled, “Glass myths and marvels,” wherein he addressed four issues discussed vigorously by glass scientists in recent years: “Do cathedral glasses flow?”; “Image of Virgin Mary with Child on glass window in the outskirts of São Paulo, Brazil”; “Can singing break glass?”; and “What is glass?” The lecture followed a presentation by Pye of a commemorative stained glass artwork designed and crafted by him on behalf of the GOMD membership. Pye was introduced to the attendees as an American glass artist by Zanotto and Feller.


Edgar Zanotto (left) and David Pye (right) with the stained glass artwork commissioned by ACerS GOMD to commemorate SGT’s 100th anniversary. Pye designed and created the piece. Credit: SGT

The Turner Award Lecture was preceded by a wine, cheese, and Indian culinary reception sponsored primarily by Saxon Glass Technologies of Alfred, N.Y., and hosted by 18 alumni of the Department of Glass Technology, University of Sheffield, under the leadership of Varshneya. In his remarks to the more than 300 attendees, Varshneya noted that the Department of Glass Technology was also founded by Turner in 1916 and had been the guiding beacon for many over the years, including himself as a teacher and glass researcher—such was the legacy of Turner.

At the SGT banquet Wednesday, September 7, Lisa Klein was elected to SGT fellowship. In addition, Steve Feller and Richard Hulme were recognized as “Centenary Fellows.”

Another GOMD member was in the highlights: Sheldon M. Wiederhorn was one of three co-recipients of the Otto-Schott research award for his groundbreaking research on subcritical crack growth in glasses.

Finally, the late Larry L. Hench, inventor of bioglass, was honored with a well-attended memorial symposium led by Aldo Boccaccini and Zanotto.

Celebrations ended Thursday, September 8, with a dinner for the Board of Fellows. The SGT100 was celebrated jointly with the European Society of Glass and was attended by 420 people from 28 countries. It was indeed a memorable event in the glass science and technology world!