International Cryogenic Research, Industry Leaders Meet for Virtual CEC-ICMC ’21

by, Tate Paglia, Editor, Cold Facts Magazine,

While the pandemic may have changed the approach, organizers and attendees of the 2021 Cryogenic Engineering Conference–International Cryogenic Materials Conference participated in a valuable week of presentations, discussions, posters, short courses and exhibitions. Held virtually via Whova® from July 17–23, CEC-ICMC hosted over 670 attendees from across the globe in a unique opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and friends while sharing information, news and ideas: a welcome change after a long period of uncertainty.

Saturday saw the first official event of the conference – a short course entitled “Quantum Information Science” – which was presented by Zlatko Minev of IMB and Matthew Hollister of Fermilab (CSA CSM). Organized by Eric Holland of Keysight Technologies, the two sessions covered superconducting qubit device design and dilution refrigerators for quantum science.

Sunday’s course was presided over by Robert Walsh of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL, CSA CSM) at Florida State University (FSU), Ignacio Aviles of CERN and Tim J. Horn of North Carolina State University. Entitled “Properties of Structural Materials and Introduction to Additive Manufacturing for Cryogenic Applications,” the course covered each topic in separate sessions. Sunday also featured two welcome sessions, live-streamed six hours apart for attendees on opposite sides of the globe, that included an intro to the conference and the software with which it was being hosted.

Awards were given each day. Day one featured an opening ceremony and the ICMC’s award presentation, hosted by Eric Hellstrom of the NHMFL. The Cryogenic Materials Award for Excellence was awarded to Mark Ainslie of the University of Cambridge to recognize excellence in advancing the knowledge of cryogenic materials over recent years. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Shi Xue Dou of the University of Wollongong to recognize a lifetime’s achievement in advancing the knowledge of cryogenic materials.

On day two, the CEC awards ceremony, hosted by Peter Kittel (CSA Fellow) was held. The Russell B. Scott Memorial Awards (one research and one application) to recognize the best papers published in Advances in Cryogenic Engineering were given to Ali Ghavami, Tao Fang and S. Mostafa Ghiaasiaan for the Best Research Paper while F. Micolon, T. Dijoud, H. Mainaud Durand, V. Parma, V. Rude and M. Sosin of CERN received the award for Best Application Paper. The prestigious Samuel C. Collins Award – awarded to an individual who has given outstandingly of himself/herself in the identification and solution of cryogenic engineering problems and has subsequently demonstrated their concern for the cryogenic community with their dedicated and unselfish professional service and leadership to this community – was presented to Jay Theilacker of Fermilab.

The CSA and Elsevier Awards were presented on day three and hosted by Dr. Chris Rey of Energy-to-Power Solutions and Shreyas Balachandran of the NHMFL. CSA’s newly elected Fellows, Dr. John G. Weisend of the European Spallation Source (CSA Board Chairman) and Dr. Sastry Pamidi of Florida A&M University-Florida State University (FAMU-FSU) and the NHMFL, were announced first. After, the George T. Mulholland Memorial Award for Excellence in Cryogenic Engineering – given for notable engineering development in a particular area leading to a major contribution in the cryogenic field – was given to Dr. Jingyuan Xu of Imperial College London. The CSA Technical Award for Excellence in Cryogenic Operations and Support went to Benjamin Hansen at Fermilab. Elsevier’s Best Paper Award Published in 2020 in the journal Cryogenics was awarded to Philippe Fazilleau, Xavier Chaud, Francois Debray, Thibault Lecrevisse and Jung-Bin Song and was presented by the editors of the magazine, B. Baudouy of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission Saclay Center, H.M. Chang of Hongik University in Seoul, Republic of Korea and Peter Shirron (CSA Fellow and Past President) of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

While no awards were presented on day four, day five saw the joint CEC-ICMC awards presentation hosted by Al Zeller (CSA President-Elect) of the NHMFL and CEC Scholarship Chair Eric Hellstrom. The Klaus and Jean Timmerhaus Scholarship Award for graduate students in US universities was awarded to Jonathon Howard of Michigan State University’s (MSU) Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB, CSA CSM). The award includes a $2,500 prize. The Donna Jung Scholarship Award, intended to develop and foster increased interest and participation in fields of cryogenic studies and to encourage future engineers and scientists in these areas, was given to Hosna Rastegarpouyani from FSU. Meritorious Student Paper Awards – a long-standing practice of ICMC that present awards to students for outstanding work made on a competitive basis – were given to lead authors Srikar Telikapalli of FSU and S. Imam Hossain of the NHMFL.

Each morning began with a plenary session. Monday’s plenary was given by Irfan Siddiqi and Tengming Shen (CSA Boom Award Recipient 2020), both of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Michael Sumption of Ohio State University and entitled “The Promise of Superconducting Quantum Processing.” Tuesday’s plenary, hosted by Eric Hinterman of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) along with conference chairs Robbi McDonald of Westport Fuel Systems and Wesley Johnson from NASA Glenn Research Center, was called “The Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE).”

Day three saw session chairs Timothy Haugan from the US Air Force Research Laboratory and Sonja Schlachter of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology preside, while Ludovic Ybanez of Airbus presented the plenary on “ASCEND – A First Step Towards Cryogenic Electric Propulsion for Aircraft?” Day four saw no plenaries while day five featured session chairs John Weisend and Jay Theilacker of Fermilab overseeing David Grillot of ITER giving a presentation entitled “ITER Cryogenic Systems – the Scale, Complexity, and Innovation.”

Every day was jam-packed with oral sessions and focus sessions – nearly 50 in total. Sprinkled throughout the week were poster sessions in which researchers could digitally converse with individuals as they made their way through the virtual poster room. Participants could enter video conference rooms with presenters to get more information just like one would at an in-person event.

Exhibitors were given the opportunity to showcase their products and services in a virtual “exhibitor hall.” Attendees could peruse the exhibitor hall whenever they were so inclined, but special times were set aside for representatives from each organization to “man” their tables and for teleconference rooms in which attendees could ask questions, get more information and network.

While the COVID-19 pandemic may have altered the landscape of the event, organizers, attendees, sponsors and exhibitors made the first virtual CEC-ICMC event a smashing success. Until we can all meet again, events like this show that the cryogenic community can overcome any obstacle to continue to advance the science that enables current applications and future necessities for so much of our world. ■