The Huddersfield Annual Accelerator Symposium is established as a regular event at the International Institute for Accelerator Applications (IIAA). So at the start of the 4th year of the Institute, we hosted our 4th Symposium on the 3rd of March 2015.
The symposium serves a dual purpose. First, it is an event that brings leading accelerator specialists from the UK and beyond to talk at our university, for the benefit of our students and staff. Secondly it acts as a shop window to outside visitors, showing them our accelerator activities, particularly focussing on recent developments, as changes here in Huddersfield are happening fast.
This year’s symposium was special as we used it to celebrate and announce the opening of MEIS in our labs. We heard the saga of the disassembly, move, and rebuilding of the MEIS facility from its former home in Daresbury to its new one in the Ramsden workshops. The Vice Chancellor was joined by Prof Susan Smith, the Head of Daresbury Laboratories: they made short speeches and started the data-taking run – which worked, much to everyone’s relief.
But that was just part of the day. Before that we had a morning of presentations with a medical flavour, with Rob Edgecock of Huddersfield and Oliver Heid of Siemens both discussed some of the possibilities for imaging and therapy that new isotopes could offer, and the accelerators and target systems that could produce them on a small scale in every hospital. In future a doctor should be able to choose from a much wider range of treatments, and have procedures done there and then, rather than waiting for a delivery from a remote centre. Then Karen Kirkby, the recently appointed Professor of Proton Therapy at Manchester, set out the plans for establishment (long overdue!) of a full proton therapy treatment system in England, with new centres in Manchester and London. This is a very exciting development that many of us have been urging for years, and now things are actually beginning to happen, though it will be some years before the first patients are treated.
In the afternoon, after the opening ceremony we returned to the talks, this time, as appropriate, with an emphasis on low energy ion beams. Tim Noakes from STFC covered the applications of MEIS and showcased some previous results, Roger Webb from the University of Surrey presented other ion beam facilities and what they could do, and finally Stephen Donnelly, another local, described the MIAMI facility at Huddersfield: a combination of ion beam and electron microscope. He showed some impressive videos of the behaviour of materials when being bombarded by radiation, and he told us of plans for the recently approved £3.5M successor, MIAMI 2.
50 delegates registered, from 11 different institutes, mainly from the North West of England, but the number in the audience was swollen by many Huddersfield staff who dropped in to the occasional lecture. The audience ranged from a 6th form student observer to a retired CERN expert who happened to be in the area. The 3MBIC meeting room was just the right size, and made for an ambience that was not too academic: the expert speakers rose to the challenge of communicating their enthusiasm to the varied audience, and the questions at the end of the talks continued lively right up to the close.
It’s going to be a hard act to follow, but we certainly hope to plan an even more exciting event in 2016.
Slides from the talks are on the website https://indico.cern.ch/event/369677/