IPAC thrives online

17 July 2021
The Sirius fourth-generation storage-ring light source
Sirius storage ring A newly built fourth-generation light source at the Laboratório Nacional de Luz Síncrotron, which virtually hosted IPAC this year. Credit: LNLS

The annual International Particle Accelerator Conference (IPAC) promotes collaboration among scientists, engineers, technicians, students and industrial partners across the globe. Originally to be hosted this year by the Laboratório Nacional de Luz Síncrotron (LNLS) in Campinas, Brazil, the conference was moved online when it became clear that the global pandemic would prohibit travel. IPAC21 was nevertheless highly successful, attracting more than 1750 participants online from 24 to 28 May. Despite the technical and logistical challenges, the virtual platform provided many advantages, including low or zero registration fees and a larger, younger and more diverse demographic than typical in-person events, which tend to attract about 1000 delegates.

IPAC21 poster

In order to allow worldwide virtual participation, live plenary presentations were limited to two hours daily. Highlights included Harry Westfahl, Jr. (LNLS) on the scientific capabilities of fourth-generation storage-ring light sources; Thomas Glasmacher (FRIB) on the newly commissioned Facility for Rare Isotope Beams at Michigan State University; Norbert Holtkamp (SLAC) on the future of high-power free-electron lasers; Houjun Qian (DESY) on radio-frequency photocathode guns; and Young-Kee Kim (University of Chicago) on future directions in US particle physics. The closing plenary talk was a sobering presentation on climate change and the Brazilian Amazonia region by Paulo Artaxo (University of São Paulo).

The remainder of the talks were pre-recorded with live Q&A sessions, and 400 teleconferencing rooms per day were set up to allow virtual poster sessions. Highlights in topical sessions included “Women in Science: The Inconvenient Truth” by Márcia Barbosa (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul) and an industrial forum hosted by Raffaella Geometrante (KYMA) on the intersection between government accelerator projects and industry.

IPAC22 is currently planned as an in-person conference in Bangkok, Thailand, from 17 to 22 June next year.

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