Reinhard Conradt, conference cochair from the DGG, welcomes attendees to the first joint meeting of the DGG-ACerS GOMD. Credit: ACerS
The first joint meeting of ACerS Glass and Optical Materials Division and the German Society of Glass Technology (DGG) opened on Monday in Aachen, Germany. In all, there are about 670 glass scientists, engineers, students, and technologists here from 33 countries around the world. Reinhard Conradt, conference cochair from DGG, noted with some delight that German attendees comprised a 49 percent minority!
The conference opened Monday morning with formal welcomes from Conradt, GOMD conference cochair Steve Martin, DGG president Hansjürgen Barklage-Hilgefort, and Marcel Philipp, mayor of Aachen. (Philipp was tired but happy, having stayed up late to follow Sunday’s election returns and his re-election victory.)
The opening ceremony included formal presentations of awards including the DGG’s Otto Schott Memorial Medal and Otto Schott Award, as well as the GOMD Stookey award, Morey award, Kreidl award, and Varshneya awards in Frontiers of Glass Science and Frontiers of Glass Technology. The lectures that accompany the awards will be presented as plenaries throughout the week, with the exception of the lecture for the Otto Schott Memorial Medal, which was presented as part of the opening ceremony.
That prestigious award is given only every three or so years. This year it went to Ruud G.C. Beerkens of CelSian Glass and Solar in The Netherlands. (Beerkens rhymes with “beer cans”— his comment, not mine.) Interestingly, Beerkens had spent some time early in his career at Case Western Reserve University working with Alfred Cooper—yet more evidence of Cooper’s global impact on glass science that continues today.
Beerken’s talk was “Trends in glass production—Innovation or slowdown?” and did not provide any breakthrough ideas, which was his point, in part. In reviewing the latest developments in industrial glass technology, he says, “I’m reporting only stepwise improvements, not breakthroughs.” For example, he wonders why there are no new commercial glass compositions, especially given the high cost of soda ash (outside the United States). He connected the lack of breakthroughs to the declining emphasis on silicate glass research at universities in the United States—a topic recently brought to light by John Mauro, et al, in a recent International Journal of Applied Glass Science article.
Instead of programming technical sessions, organizers arranged tours of local plants, labs, and educational institutions. Although, I did not attend one, I heard they were fabulous. I spent the afternoon, along with fellow ACerS staff Mark Mecklenborg, at the University of Cologne courtesy of Sanjay Mathur and his research group. Besides touring the lab facilities, Mecklenborg gave a presentation introducing ACerS to the local student chapter of the Materials Research Society.
The day ended with a poster session that generated a lot of discussion accompanied by a reception. The technical program begins Tuesday (today) and promises to be interesting with a plenary talk by a volcano scientist who won the Otto Schott Award and the ACerS-GOMD Morey award lecture by Stephen Elliot.
Feature Image: A group tour of the old city of Aachen on Sunday before the start of the DGG-ACerS GOMD joint meeting. Credit: ACerS