The 13th International Particle Accelerator Conference (IPAC’22), which took place in Bangkok from 12 to 17 June, marked the return of an in-person event after two years due to the COVID pandemic. Hosted by the Synchrotron Light Research Institute, it was the first time that Thailand has hosted an IPAC conference, with around 800 scientists, engineers, technicians, students and industrial partners from 37 countries in attendance. The atmosphere was understandably electric. Energy and enthusiasm filled the rooms, as delegates had the chance to meet with colleagues and friends from around the world.
The conference began with a blessing from princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who attended the two opening plenary sessions. The scientific programme included excellent invited and contributed talks, as well as outstanding posters, highlighting scientific achievements worldwide. Among them were the precise measurement of the muon’s anomalous magnetic dipole moment (g-2) at Fermilab, and the analysis at synchrotron light sources of soil samples obtained from near-Earth asteroid 162173 Ryugu by the Hayabusa2 space mission, which gave a glimpse into the origin of the Solar System.
In total, 88 invited and contributing talks on a wide array of particle accelerator-related topics were presented. These covered updates of new collider projects such as the Electron Ion Collider (EIC), proposed colliders (FCC, ILC and CEPC), as well as upgrade plans for existing facilities such as BEPCII and SuperKEKB, and new photo-source projects such as NanoTerasu and Siam Photon Source II. A talk about the power efficiency of accelerators drew a lot of attention given increasing global concern about sustainability. Accelerator-based radiotherapy continued to be the main topic in the accelerator application category, with a special focus on designing an affordable and low-maintenance linac for deployment in low- and middle-income countries and other challenging environments (CERN Courier January/February 2022 p30).
Raffaella Geometrante (KYMA) hosted a popular industry session on accelerator technology. Completely revamped from past editions, its aim was to substantially improve the dynamics between laboratories and industry, while also addressing other topics on accelerator innovations and disruptive technologies.
An engaging outreach talk “Looking into the past with photons” highlighted how synchrotron radiation has become an indispensable tool in archaeological and paleontological research, enabling investigations of the relationship between past civilisations in different corners of the world. A reception held during an evening boat cruise along the Chao Phraya River took participants past majestic palaces and historic temples against a backdrop of traditional Thai music and performances.
IPAC’22 was a successful and memorable conference, seen as a symbol of our return to normal scientific activities and face-to-face interaction. It was also one of the most difficult IPAC conferences to organise – prohibiting or impeding participation from several regions, particularly China and Taiwan, as the world begins to recover from the most prevalent health-related crisis in a century. It was mentioned in the opening session that many breakthroughs in combating the coronavirus pandemic were achieved with the use of particle accelerators: the molecular structure of the virus, which is essential information for subsequent rational drug design, was solved at synchrotron light sources.