The Cryogenic Materials Awards for Lifetime Achievements 2023 will be presented after the plenary session Tuesday, July 11, 2023, during the nternational Cryogenic Materials Conference (ICMC) taking place in Honolulu (Hawaii).
The ICMC conference has a long history of almost 50 years, the series was started in 1975, and is held every two years, together with the Cryogenic Engineering Conference (CEC), usually in the USA, but also in other countries of the world. This year it will be held in Honolulu (Hawaii, USA) between 9-13 July 2023. This international scientific conference has been dedicated since its foundation to promoting the study of the materials that underpin all applications that require low temperatures, especially superconductivity, especially after the discovery of high-temperature superconductivity in 1986.
The aim of the conference is to present the advances in the development of materials used in cryogenic applications (low temperatures), in particular superconducting materials have always formed one of the main cores of their attention. The applications that are jointly analyzed at CEC-ICMC are very varied and as far as superconductivity is concerned include superconducting magnets for applications in medicine and chemistry (magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy), transport (electric aviation), energy applications (fusion, generators, current limiters) and applications aimed at basic research such as high energy physics. In recent editions, the challenge of the sustainable energy transition has been one of the topics that has focused great interest.
Lifetime Achievement Awards
Since 2005, the ICMC has awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award every two years, which has already been awarded to 10 scientists: 2 Americans, 3 Japanese, 1 Australian and 4 Europeans.
In 2023 the award is for two scientists: Xavier Obradors, Reserach Prof. at the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) and member of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona (RACAB), and David Evans of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the company Advanced Cryogenic Materials Ltd, from UK. It is the first time that this recognition has been given to a Spanish scientist. The award will be given at the next conference to be held in Honolulu (Hawaii) from July 9 to 13, 2023.
The following aspects are taken into account in the evaluation of the award candidates:
- the reserach quality
- the innovation generated by this research
- the international recognition achieved
- the worldwide reputation of the candidate and the ability to disseminate scientific advances
- the impact of the candidate in the field of cryogenic materials and in promoting research and training in this field
Highlights of Xavier Obradors
The most outstanding aspects of the professional career of Xavier Obradors
were summarized in a proposal made by international experts. Specifically, the following aspects were highlighted.
The ability to present in an instructive and pedagogical way at international conferences the most outstanding results of his research group and of the entire scientific community, as demonstrated in a hundred invited or plenary lectures held during his life in a wide range of congresses and workshops in many countries..
The recognition of a widely recognized leadership in the field of the development of superconducting materials, especially in the European field where he has directed 3 international projects, one of them the largest ever granted by the European Union in this scope (EUROTAPES).
His commitment to promoting research in the field of superconductivity where he has served as president of the European Society of Applied Superconductivity (ESAS), he has been editor of the magazines "Superconductor Science and Technology" and "Physica C: Superconductivity and its applications” and is currently Editor in Chief of “Superconductivity News Forum”, an initiative promoted by the Council of Superconductivity of the International Electrical and Electronic Engineering (IEEE) society, the largest professional association in the world (> 420,000 members from > 160 countries), and the ESAS.
He was the founder of a research group with international prestige for superconducting materials at the ICMAB, which is currently led by Prof. Teresa Puig since he assumed the direction of the ICMAB 14 years ago, a period in which he managed to turn it into a Severo Ochoa Center of Excellence, and which he concluded this year (2008-2023).
His scientific career spans about 40 years, the first 10 dedicated essentially to magnetic materials and the last 30 years to high-temperature superconducting materials. The fields in which he has managed to stand out in a more relevant way are those that refer to the preparation and processing of ceramic materials and superconducting tapes in relation to their micro and nanostructure and their superconducting properties. In particular, the innovations made to introduce nanotechnological approaches based on low-cost chemical methodologies for the preparation of superconducting tapes have been particularly noteworthy. These approaches have gradually gained great interest as the industry's interest in high temperature superconducting materials has progressed and in their impact on applications in fields as diverse as energy, transport and biomedicine.
Not less relevant, however, are the studies carried out to adapt superconducting materials to the demands generated by introducing them into electrical devices such as current limiters or magnets. This activity has been embodied in the achievement of concept tests normally achieved in collaboration with industry and has advanced the integration of functional materials in practical systems of great technological impact. His research is currently focused on obtaining competitive materials to develop compact fusion, a groundbreaking topic with extraordinary potential for the clean and practically unattainable generation of electrical energy.
Overall, Xavier Obradors has directed or participated in around 70 national or international research projects, a good number of them with industrial participation or support, has published more than 600 articles, is the author of a dozen patents, some of them licensed to the industry, he was co-founder of a spin-off company dedicated to producing superconducting materials, he has directed around thirty doctoral theses, he has received numerous distinctions (Premio Nacional de Investigación Blas Cabrera, Narcís Monturiol Medal of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Novare-Endesa Award, Duran Farell-Gas Natural Award, City of Barcelona Science Award, Leibniz Medal from Germany, Academic Palms from France, Ambassador Award Region 7, Bages de Cultura Award).
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