The world’s cryogenic elite will arrive in Oxford today to attend this year’s International Cryogenic Engineering Conference and International Cryogenic Materials Conference (ICEC-ICMC).

Hosted by the British Cryogenics Council and the University of Oxford, in partnership with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the five-day event will be held in Oxford’s Examination Schools. 

ICEC27-ICMC18 preview

The ICEC began in Tokyo in 1967, coming to London the following year and returning every ten years until 1998. It is 50 years since the event was first held in England, 20 years since its last visit and its first time in Oxford.

Now combined with ICMC, the event alternates every two years between Europe and Asia. In 2014 it took place in Delhi and in 2020 it will be held in Hangzhou.

Around 500 delegates are expected to attend this week for a packed programme of oral, plenary and poster sessions, and an exhibition comprising cryogenic equipment suppliers from around the globe.

Short training courses will be held prior to the main conference and optional technical visits afterwards – one to the University, one to Culham and Harwell in Science Vale and another to local industry Oxford Instruments and Polar Technology.

The opening ceremony takes place tomorrow at 9am in the Sheldonian Theatre. The University of Oxford’s Professor Ian Shipsey, Head of Physics, and STFC’s Professor Neil Geddes, Director of Technology, will both welcome delegates to the conference, followed by a ten-minute talk from Professor Stephen Blundell about the background to cryogenics in Oxford and the connection to Dr. Kurt Mendelssohn.

Professor Marcel ter Brake will announce the recipient of this year’s Mendelssohn Prize. He will be joined on stage by previous winner Professor Ralph Scurlock to present the award.

The ICMC Lifetime Achievement Award and the ICMC Award for Excellence will then be presented followed by a conference goodwill address from MP Ed Vaizey.

“Oxford is a natural home for this event, being at the centre of gravity of the ‘British Cryogenic Cluster’ which is highly regarded around the world,” explained event organiser John Vandore.

“Outstanding low temperature science in the Clarendon Lab from the 1930s led to the University’s first spin-out in 1959 – Oxford Instruments – boosted by technology transfer from Rutherford Lab at Harwell.”

“Over subsequent years these three nodes gave birth to a unique ecosystem of people and companies concentrated in Oxfordshire – and a presence in low temperature labs all over the world – be it from products made in Oxfordshire, or people who worked, studied or trained here.”

“Cryogenics is a more important enabling technology than is generally realised. A recent unique study of the UK Economic Impact associated almost one fifth of the UK Economy with Cryogenics, in applications across food, healthcare, energy, science and space – never mind the lesser known applications in cricket (the hot-spot camera) and destruction of munitions by cryofracture.”