The first joint meeting of ACerS Glass and Optical Materials Division and the German Society of Glass Technology (DGG) opened on Monday in Aachen, Germany.

In all, there are about 670 glass scientists, engineers, students, and technologists from 33 countries. Reinhard Conradt, conference cochair from DGG, noted with some delight that German attendees comprised a 49% minority!

The conference opened with formal welcomes from Conradt, GOMD conference cochair Steve Martin, DGG president Hansjürgen Barklage-Hilgefort, and Marcel Philipp, mayor of Aachen.

The opening ceremony included formal presentations of awards including the DGG’s Otto Schott Memorial Medal and Otto Schott Award, as well as the GOMD Stookey award, Morey award, Kreidl award, and Varshneya awards in Frontiers of Glass Science and Frontiers in Glass Technology.

The lectures that accompany the awards will be presented as plenaries throughout the week, with the exception of the lecture for the Otto Schott Memorial Medal, which was presented as part of the opening ceremony.

That prestigious award is given only every three or so years. This year it went to Ruud Beerkens of CelSian Glass and Solar in The Netherlands. Interestingly, Beerkens had spent some time early in his career at Case Western Reserve University working with Alfred Cooper—yet more evidence of Cooper’s global impact on glass science that continues today.

Beerken’s talk was “Trends in glass production—Innovation or slowdown?” and did not provide any breakthrough ideas, which was his point, in part.

In reviewing the latest developments in industrial glass technology, he stated: “I’m reporting only stepwise improvements, not breakthroughs.”

For example, he wondered why there are no new commercial glass compositions, especially given the high cost of soda ash (outside the USA). He connected the lack of breakthroughs to the declining emphasis on silicate glass research at universities in the USA.

The day ended with a poster session that generated a lot of discussion accompanied by a reception. The technical program included a plenary talk by a volcano scientist who won the Otto Schott Award and the ACerS-GOMD Morey award lecture by Stephen Elliot.