Below we summarize the important discussion held at an open ad hoc luncheon meeting during Carbon'97, the 23rd American Biennial Conference on Carbon (at Penn State University). There were 23 attendees, including officers and members of various national carbon groups. The purpose was a further exchange of views on the concept of the triennial scheduling of international conferences, as proposed at a similar meeting held at Newcastle upon Tyne during Carbon'96.
A general consensus was reached on several points:
That the international conferences are a valued mechanism for comparison of research results and ideas on a world-wide basis.
That the costs of attending international conferences are substantial, so that the scheduling of more than one such conference per year leads to a self-defeating competition for the same world-wide audience.
That a liaison mechanism should be agreed on by the various carbon groups with the objective of designating just one conference per year as the International Conference on Carbon for that year.
That the only restriction which national or regional carbon groups need accept is restraint from competing for the attention of the world-wide carbon community over a reasonable time-frame bracketing each designated international conference.
Historically, research and development on carbon materials has been pursued most vigorously in three geographical areas which correspond to the areas in which major international conferences have been held:
The American Conferences on Carbon were initiated by Professor Mrozowski at the University of Buffalo in 1953 and 1955, and Biennial Conferences have since been conducted in odd-numbered years, first by the American Carbon Committee, and now by its successor, the American Carbon Society.
Various national carbon groups have organized conferences in even-numbered years since 1968. Scheduling to avoid competing conferences was done by informal contacts between leading carbon workers.
Conferences have been held in Japan, on an occasional basis, in even-numbered years since 1964. The Asian Association of Carbon Groups, including Japan, Korea, China, India, Taiwan and Australia, was formed in 1996 to coordinate conference planning on a broader regional basis to meet the needs generated by the rapid growth of carbon technology in these countries.
To facilitate scheduling of international conferences, a recommendation was agreed to that the three regions maintain close coordination on proposals for international conferences. The primary function of a Liaison Committee would be to designate the region for the International Conference for a given year, thus entitling the convenor at the selected venue to use the term "CARBON'XX" as a convenient means of referring to that conference.
Two contact points for a Liaison Committee already exist, in the American Carbon Society and the Asian Association of Carbon Groups. Members of several European carbon groups agreed that an effort should be made as soon as possible to organize a European contact point. Although the primary goal should be the orderly scheduling of international conferences, it is anticipated that the balance in the Liaison Committee between Asia, Europe, and North America will lead to a regular triennial assignment of international conferences to the three areas.
A list of attendees at the luncheon meeting at Penn State is given below; they have indicated their agreement with the proposed plan.
Dr. O. P. Bahl
(National Physical Laboratory, India)
Prof. Robert H. Bradley
(Robert Gordon University, Scotland)
Dr. Hui-Ming Cheng
(Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Dr. Gerd Collin
(Dechema e.V./AKK; German Carbon Group)
Prof. Pierre Delhaes
(University of Bordeaux, France)
Prof. Frank Derbyshire
(University of Kentucky; American Carbon Society)
Prof. Dan Edie
(Clemson University; American Carbon Society)
Dr. Francisco Emmerich
(University of Espirito Santo, Brazil)
Dr. Wilhelm Frohs
(SGL Carbon A.G.; German Carbon Group)
Prof. Ed Heintz
(State University of New York; American Carbon Society)
Prof. Michio Inagaki
(University of Hokkaido; Carbon Society of Japan)
Prof. Katsumi Kaneko
(Chiba University, Japan)
Prof. Alexei Kotosonov
(State Research Institute for Graphite, Russia)
Prof. G. Q. Max Lu
(University of Queensland, Australia)
Dr. Robert Meyer
(American Carbon Society)
Prof. Brian Rand
(University of Leeds; British Carbon Group)
Prof. Francisco Rodriguez-Reinoso
(University of Alicante; Spanish Carbon Group)
Prof. Mark Thomas
(University of Newcastle upon Tyne; British Carbon Group)
Prof. Peter Thrower
(Editor-in-Chief of CARBON; American Carbon Society)
Prof. Mao-Zhang Wang
(Institute of Coal Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Dr. Jack White
(University of California, San Diego; American Carbon Society)
Dr. Anthony Wickham
(University of Bath; British Carbon Group)