Who will train the next generation of crystal growers?

Crystal Technology—the synthetic crystal and epilayer production including crystal machining and the required design and construction of equipment—forms the foundation of the modern electronics revolution and underpins all aspects of global commerce, communication, energy production and medical technology.  It is fundamental to the advances in electricity production, transport and storage that will be critical to future improvements in energy technologies necessary to reduce the impact of energy generation on global climate change.

At the invitation of Dr. Hans Scheel (www.hans-scheel.ch), a group of experienced technologists in this field from Europe, Asia and the United States, convened for a meeting for a week in Poulithra, Arcadia, Greece in May 2012 to discuss the need for the requisite education and training of future engineers and scientists who will form the first generation of crystal technologists specifically trained with the basic knowledge of crystal materials technology (CMT) enabling the CMT engineers to consult and collaborate with leading specialists of related scientific fields.  I was honored to be included among the invitees.

The goal of the meeting was to generate a White Paper outlining the need for this training regimen as well as to include the recommended training courses on both the undergraduate and graduate levels. This White Paper will be circulated to leaders of industry, government and academia with the goal of promoting this specialized training in universities and engineering schools.

Hans and his wife Regula are residents of Switzerland, but maintain a winter home in Poulithra.  He had organized an international workshop on crystal growth technology for a number of years, and he used the residual funds from those workshops to pay for the accommodations, food and touring expenses of those who participated in the meeting in Greece.  Scientists from the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and Japan, many accompanied by their wives, attended this meeting.  The meeting was held at the Smyros Resort on the Aegean shore.

Between technical sessions, presentations and discussions, Hans and Regula organized tours of historical archeological sites including Olympia, Epidaurus, Mycenae and Athens.  (A ladies program which ran in parallel with the technical sessions enabled those wives in attendance to see additional sites of interest).

My wife, Fran, and I returned to Greece in March of this year and, I, working with Dr. Scheel, completed the final stages of editing the White Paper which can be found online in pdf format:  https://files.secureserver.net/0fieEZc7s9vynL.  If a password is requested use “sapphire”, all lower case.