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LU’s Cole chairs international meeting

Philip Cole, professor and chair of the department of physics at Lamar University, is the General Chair of the 14th International Topical Meeting on Nuclear Applications of Accelerators (AccApp).

 AccApp will be held April 5-9 at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria. The purpose of the AccApp meeting is to provide the means for experts in the field to share researchPhilip Cole and knowledge on the diverse applications of accelerators. Each conference brings together 150-250 experts from nuclear and accelerator physicists to nuclear engineers and others.  This conference series was established by the American Nuclear Society (ANS).

“I have been working with this conference for more than 15 years, and in my capacity as the General Chair, with my two colleagues at the IAEA, Drs. Aliz Simon and Valeriia Starovoitova, we oversee the logistics, the scientific program, the recruitment of experts, the venue, and the budget,” said Cole. “Now that the budget is over $220,000, it has become a very major conference.  To have the trust and confidence of the members of this international body is an extraordinary honor indeed and, with it, a great responsibility to promote the benefits of the nuclear applications of accelerators to the scientific community across the world and to society as a whole.” 

This year, with support from the IAEA, ANS, and the U.S. Department of Energy, the conference is more global with an anticipated record-breaking number of participants. The theme for this year’s conference is, “The Expanding Universe of Accelerator Applications,” with ten topics spanning a broad range of accelerator applications. There will be a new topic this year that deals with the use of accelerators for security and forensics.

The topics of this year’s AccApp conference, the only major conference that brings together nuclear physicists, nuclear engineers and accelerator physicists to discuss the hottest topics in the nuclear applications of accelerators, range from forensics to cancer therapy to cultural heritage to hurricane recovery studies to efficient means of powering nuclear reactors. 

The conference may be half a world away but its application hits close to home. Under the codirection of Cole and Dr. Jim Jordan, professor an chair of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences, LU undergraduate researcher David Halnon will present a poster on using infrared optical technology mounted on drones to identify potential spill sites and heavy metal leakage, a concern after natural disasters Harvey and Imelda. He has done much of this research work at Infrared Cameras Inc., which is a Beaumont business located near Lamar University.  Lamar University’s Center for Innovation, Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship supported Halnon through a grant.

In addition to the inclusion of varying topics that enhance the conference, Cole and his colleagues have worked hard to find sources of money to bring more students and early career scientists to AccApp as well as increasing promotions of the conference to attract scientists from developing nations in Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia.

“It is my belief that a mid-economy country like Colombia, for example, could play a big role in the nuclear applications of accelerators,” said Cole. “I want more nations to engage in this science, because it is so affordable and so untapped.  Working through the United Nations will allow us to realize these goals in bringing in more scientists across the globe to work on these projects.   And in the end, I gain the opportunity to work with many talented people from across the globe.”

With 13 plenary talks, approximately 147 invited and contributed talks, more than 120 posters and high-ranking IAEA and DOE officials expected to present at the opening plenary session, AccApp’20 is expected to be a great success. The face-to-face interactions can help solve common problems across multiple disciplines and can establish good working relationships and collaborations.

This conference puts Lamar University front and center in the international arena of the science and engineering of nuclear accelerator applications,” said Cole. “Undoubtedly, it will open doors for LU to become a player on the global stage, help build the Physics Department at Lamar to make it a regional powerhouse on the international stage, and maybe LU will consider building an accelerator center for the Golden Triangle someday.”

For more information and deadlines, visit www.accapp20.org and view the Jan 28, 2020 ANS press release.