More than 200 of the world's top scientists involved in developing materials that detect high-energy radiation will gather June 4 to 8 at Wake Forest University for SCINT 2007, the 9th International Conference on Inorganic Scintillators and their Applications.
Scintillators are substances, generally crystals, that emit pulses of light when they absorb high-energy radiation such as gamma rays. Improvements in scintillator crystals are yielding not only important findings in high-energy particle research and astrophysics but timely and practical applications in oil exploration, medical imaging and homeland security.
"It's not your grandfather's radiation detector," says Richard T. Williams, Wake Forest's Reynolds Professor of Physics and chairman of the conference organizing committee.
Whereas the original Geiger counter, developed by Hans Geiger in 1908, could indicate only the presence of radiation by emitting simple clicks, modern scintillator-based instruments can reveal the shape and chemical composition of the radiation source or of any object traversed by the radiation as well, Williams notes.
The enhanced capabilities mean safer, more accurate PET and CAT scans to diagnose medical treatment, more precise mapping of potential oil and natural gas deposits and improved security at airports and seaports.
At the conference, there will be 59 oral presentations in plenary sessions, including 12 keynote speeches by invited speakers, from academia, private industry and governmental research organizations. Eight industrial exhibitors will display their newest products, and authors will post 130 scientific papers during the five-day event, which is not open to the public.
SCINT was organized in 1992, and since 1995 the international conference has been held every two years in a different host nation. The event is cosponsored this year by the Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society (NPSS), one of 32 societies of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. IEEE will publish the proceedings of SCINT 2007 in its journal, Transactions on Nuclear Science.
"Because of the long-term efforts of Wake Forest people in this field, we were asked to host the conference," Williams explains. "We are pleased to have the opportunity to welcome top researchers from more than 25 nations to our campus for this prestigious gathering."
Joining Williams on the organizing committee are K. Burak Ucer, research associate professor of physics at Wake Forest, and Peter Santago, director of biomedical physics at Wake Forest Medical School.