22nd International Conference on Atomic Physics
With a line up of presenters including three Nobel Laureates and renowned atomic physicists from every corner of the world, coupled with the attraction of tropical Cairns as the host destination, success was guaranteed for the 22nd International Conference on Atomic Physics (ICAP 2010).
Organisers were delighted that 630 participants from 37 countries attended, significantly more than the 400 expected, making it one of the best attended conferences in the highly prestigious ongoing ICAP series held biennially since 1968.
Co-Chair of the local organising committee was Peter Hannaford, a University Distinguished Professor and Director of the Centre for Atom Optics and Ultrafast Spectroscopy at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne.
Professor Hannaford said the large number of participants confirmed that the field of Atomic Physics is flourishing.
“ICAP 2010 was the conference of the year in the field of atomic physics, giving people in the field the opportunity to interact and collaborate. It provided a global forum for leading physicists from around the world to learn about the latest advances in the field at first hand,” Professor Hannaford said.
“With eight years of planning in the lead up to ICAP 2010, we were thrilled when Cairns was selected as the successful host city, bringing the conference to the Asia Pacific region for just the second time in ICAP’s 42 year history and the second time in the Southern Hemisphere.
“We benefited from an outstanding group of scientists and graduate students, who shared their experiences and research results about all aspects of atomic physics,” he said.
“Following the conference we continued to be flooded by international visitors to our laboratories around Australia which gave Australian research wonderful exposure around the world.”
It was not only attendees who benefited from the conference. Around 140 local high school students also enjoyed a rare opportunity to hear from a Nobel Laureate.
While in Cairns for ICAP 2010, Professor Wolfgang Ketterle, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics with two other scientists in 2001, visited the Cairns State High School. Labeled by some as a "rock star" of the physics world, Professor Ketterle spoke to the students about his leading-edge research, various fields of physics, and the discovery of a 5th state of matter, leaving students wondering about the possibilities of scientific discoveries yet to be made.
Speaking to the local Cairns media, Professor Ketterle said, "We want to make sure young people know, feel and experience how exciting science is and to encourage them to pursue careers in science if they're passionate about it".
The allure of Cairns and the professionalism and facilities provided by the award winning Cairns Convention Centre, along with the opportunity for participants to visit the Great Barrier Reef, also contributed to the outstanding success of the meeting.
“Working within the traditional timeframe of July – the Northern Hemisphere’s summer – Cairns was the logical choice to ensure temperate weather for participants. We had very good reports about the professionalism and running of the event by the Cairns Convention Centre.”
The benefit to the local Cairns economy generated by participants in the conference has been estimated at around $3.2 million.