Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Applied Superconductivity Conference (ASC) 2020 was held virtually this year from October 24 to November 7. Over the two weeks, attendees were given access to the same events and information that draw the international crowd for a “normal” convention, albeit in a digital format. Organizers provided a complete conference experience for the over 1,600 registered online attendees. Hosted via Whova® and iPosterSessions®, attendees were given virtual access to a catalogue of prerecorded, live and time-released content that covered all things superconductivity.
Kicking off the event was the ASC Short Course on fusion magnets held Saturday, October 24, followed by the HTS magnets and helium cryogenics short courses the next day. Also held on Sunday were the inaugural “ELEVATE” sessions, a new opportunity for students, post-docs and rising professionals to further their careers with two sessions: one dedicated to technical publication reviewing and editing and the other to unconscious bias awareness.
The first week started with plenary sessions followed by live discussions. Week one’s plenaries included a presentation by Mikhail Ermets, of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, entitled “A Path Towards Room Temperature Superconductivity” with additional speakers David Larbalestier, Florida State University (FSU) and Jun-ichi Shimoyama, Aoyama Gakuin University; Neil Mitchell, of ITER, presented “Construction Status of ITER and Lessons from the Manufacturing for Application of Superconductivity in Fusion Reactors,” including speakers Matthew Jewell, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Peter Lee, FSU; and Pierre Vedrine of CEA presented, “The Quest for Ultrahigh Fields in Brain MRI: the Iseult 11.7 T Whole Body Magnet and its Expected Impact on MRI Research,” featuring Iain Dixon, National High Field Magnetic Lab (NHMFL) and Michael Parizh, GE.
With the exception of the first Monday, which featured the student paper competition, each day included a choice from three one-hour oral sessions that featured live panel discussions. Topics were filtered into categories including materials, electronics and large-scale applications. Upon conference opening, both Whova’s video gallery and iPosterSessions’ poster and exhibitor galleries went live and granted attendees access to hundreds of posters. Participants were free to peruse the poster sessions as they chose with chats hosted at predefined times. Also included in the iPoster site were the 34 exhibitors in their virtual booths. CSA CSMs represented included Cryomech, Sumitomo (SHI) Cryogenics of America, Scientific Instruments, Lake Shore Cryotronics, Oxford Instruments NanoScience, AF-Cryo, American Magnetics, SuperPower, HPD, STAR Cryoelectronics, Hypres, Quantum Design, Bluefors, RUAG Space, Janis Research and CryoCoax.
In addition to the ELEVATE sessions, numerous special events were hosted throughout the two-week conference. Included were Thursday’s Jan Evetts SUST Award—presented to Ze Jing, Xi’an University and Cambridge University; Nikolay Bykovskiy, CERN, and Fang Wan, The Ohio State University, and hosted by Cathy Foley, CSIRO—followed by the Diversity in Science and Engineering event. Friday moring’s IEEE Awards were hosted by Bruce Srauss, DOE (retired), and Joseph Minervini, Novum Industria, LLC. The IEEE Emeritus Recognition awards went to Moises Levy, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Martin Nisenoff, Naval Research Lab. The Award for Continuing and Significant Contributions in the Field of Applied Superconductivity was given to Pasquale Fabbricatore, Isituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), for Large-Scale Applications and Akira Fujimaki, Nagoya University, for Small-Scale Applications. The James Wong Award for Continuing and Significant Contributions to Applied Superconductivity Materials Technology was awarded to Martin W. Rupich, American Superconductor Coporation, and Yasuhiro Iijima, Fujikura. The Max Swerdlow Award for Sustained Service to the Applied Superconductivity Community was awarded to Elie K. Track, IEEE and nVizix. The Carl H. Rosner Entrepreneurship Award went to Shieh-Yeuh Yang, MagQu. The IEEE CSC Fellow Class for 2020 saw Akihiko Kandori inducted as Fellow, and the Graduate Study Fellowship in Applied Superconductivity—plus its $5,000 award—were given to Andrea Alimenti, Università degli Studi Roma Tre; Farzad Faramarzi, Arizona State University; Enrico Felcini, CERN; Gleb Krylov, University of Rochester; Jun Ma, University of Cambridge and Miranda Thompson, University of Colorado, Boulder.
ASC weekend activities included more short course opportunities for attendees with courses entitled “Detector Magnets,” “Accelerator Magnets,” “LTS Magnets” and “Power Devices.”
Week two started with the IEEE REACH event, followed by the Interactive Student Career Event ELEVATE session, another round of oral presentations and the second event of Diversity in Science and Engineering. The week followed the normal format of plenaries, discussions, oral sessions and posters while Tuesday ended with another ELEVATE event with a second Student Career Event. Week two’s plenaries featured a presentation by Joanna Long, NHMFL, “Why NMR and MRI Need Ultrahigh Field Superconducting Magnets: A Biomedical Research Perspective—Sponsored by National High Magnetic Field Laboratory,” with speakers William Brey, FSU, and Ziad Melhem, Oxford Instruments NanoScience; William Oliver of MIT led the plenary on “Quantum Engineering of Superconducting Qubits and Quantum Computers—Sponsored by Bluefors Oy” with special speakers Track, and Sam Benz, NIST; and “Young Scientist Vision,” a nine-part plenary sponsored by Pennsylvania State University’s College of Engineering with speakers Tiina Salmi, Tampere Univerasity and Luigi Muzzi, ENEA.
Wednesday saw CSA’s Roger W. Boom Award presented to Tengming Shen, Lawerence Berkeley Lab (see page 24) and Thursday was the ceremony recognizing ASC’s best papers hosted by Deepnarayan Gupta, HYPRES, and Lance Cooley, FSU-NHFML. For electronics-based papers, first place, second place and third place were awarded to Yuto Takeshite, Nagoya University; Jason Allmaras, CalTech; and Huayong Jia, University of Waterloo, respectively. Large-scale paper awards were given to Andrea Zappatore, Politecnico di Torino, Arooj Akbar, EPFL, and Enrico Felcini, who tied for second place. Materials papers award winners were Jose Ferradas Troitino, CERN; Andrea Alimenti; and Artur Romanov, SUMAN group. Corporate prizes were also included in this presentation. The Alexander Shikov Award for Best Student Paper in Materials went to Artur Romanov. The Victor Keilin Memorial Prize went to Lorenzo Bortot, CERN/Technische Universität Darmstadt and Jose Ferradas Troitino.
The final day of the event saw more oral sessions, the Van Duzer Award for 2018 and 2019 publications—given for “Experimental Study on Superconducting Level Sensors in Liquid Helium” by Keerthi Raj Kunniyoor, Thomas Richter, Parthasarathi Ghosh, Ralph Lietzow, Sonja Schlacter and Holger Neumann for 2018 and “1 GHz Waveform Synthesis with Josephson Junction Arrays” by Christine A. Donnelly, Nathan E. Flowers-Jacobs, Justs A. Brevik, Anna E. Fox, Paul D. Dresselhaus, Peter F. Hopkins and Samuel P. Benz for 2019—an in Memoriam, and one final plenary entitled “A Superconducting Journey to a Black Hole and Beyond—Sponsored by the University of Virginia School of Engineering,” hosted by Art Lichtenberger, Virginia Tech, with guests Joel Ullom, NIST, and Sam Benz.
For those who weren’t quite ready for the conference to conclude, Saturday, November 7, featured more short courses including “HTS and LTS Magnet Design for High Field NMR and MRI” and a “Systems Engineering Technical Review Workshop” split between two same-day sessions.
This year’s newly elected ASC board members were Shane Cybart and Maria Salatino for electronics, Ezio Todesco and Xiaorong Wang in large scale and Carmine Senatore and Boom award-winner Tengming Shen for materials.