International Ultrasonics Symposium, Washington D.C.
September 6-9, 2017, more than 1,100 delegates descended on the capital of the USA for the 2017 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium, to enjoy the capacious and luxurious Omni Shoreham Hotel, situated in 11 acres of the beautiful, bosky Rock Creek Park, Northwest Washington. It was fortunate that the distinguished surroundings in the hotel were matched by the excellent program assembled by the conference chair, Dr Keith Wear, of the US Food and Drug Administration, his technical chair, Prof. Georg Schmitz, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, and the many other people that contributed to the august occasion. The weather was also mainly clement, allowing delegates to visit the local surroundings and to venture further afield, with the center of the world-leading city, including its breathtaking National Mall, only two miles away.
The Symposium began in earnest with the Short Courses, organized this year by Prof. Mario Kupnik, Technische Universität Darmstadt. More than 350 delegates attended, many taking advantage of the highly advantageous rates for students, to be treated to popular topics by a range of internationally renowned tutors drawn from both universities and industry. Examples of the former were particularly well-attended courses on “Ultrafast ultrasound imaging”, presented by Prof. Mickael Tanter, ESPCI Paris, France, and “Elasticity imaging”, presented by Dr Mark Palmeri, Duke University, NC, USA, and an example of the latter, “Medical ultrasound transducers”, presented by Dr Scott Smith and Dr Doug Wildes of GE Global Research, NY, USA. These courses represent a truly outstanding opportunity for delegates to acquaint themselves with contemporary topics prior to the state of the art presentations during the Symposium itself.
Plenary Session and Awards
Dr Wear enthusiastically launched the plenary session with a well-received welcome address to an audience that filled almost every available seat in the enormous Regency Ballroom, followed by the presentation of the awards.
The 2017 Rayleigh Award was won by Dr Matt O’Donnell, University of Washington, WA, USA, a biomedical engineer renowned for his interdisciplinary focus covering a tremendous range of topics, though always with ultrasound at its heart. The 2017 Carl Helmuth Hertz Award went to Prof. Tanter, Institut Langevin ESPCI Paris, France, for his introduction of multiple, groundbreaking new medical ultrasound imaging technologies impacting not just academic research but also industry. The 2017 Early Career Investigator Award also went to France, to Dr Olivier Couture, CNRS, Institut Langevin ESPCI Paris, for his contributions to planewave imaging and super-resolution ultrasound, in the process creating a firestorm of enthusiasm in the community.
Three further UFFC Society awards were presented at the Symposium. Dr Bernhard Tittman, Pennsylvania State University, PA, USA, received the 2017 Distinguished Service Award for his career of dedicated service to the IEEE UFFC Society, and Dr Wildes and a large team from GE Global Research, received the 2017 Outstanding Paper Award for an awesome contribution to the proceedings, “4-D ICE: a 2-D Array Transducer with Integrated ASIC in a 10-Fr Catheter for Real-Time 3-D Intracardiac Echocardiography”, IEEE Trans. UFFC 63 (12) Dec. 2016. Finally, Dr Wally Smith, US Office of Naval Research, VA, USA, received the UFFC Achievement award, for his contributions to piezocomposites, handheld medical ultrasound scanners and piezocrystals, along with continuing advocacy for piezoelectric materials and transducers.
The plenary presentation was given by a highly esteemed senior member of the ultrasound community, Dr K. Kirk Shung, University of Southern California, CA, USA, who utilised all the vast experience gained through his career to deliver some scintillating comments on “Prospects of high frequency biomedical ultrasound”. Dr Shung thrilled the audience with his story of tough encounters with the US National Institutes of Health and of his journey from microultrasound imaging into intervention even at the cellular level with ultrasound at frequencies sometimes as high as 200 MHz. This will surely lead to more ultrasound engineers and scientists joining the present efforts in this area.
The Student Paper Competition: Prof. Georg Schmitz presents Chao Chen with his award (left); Ko-hei Sano congratulates Claire Rabut as Danny Ramasawmy and Richard Rau look on (centre); and
Prof. Schmitz presents Vikrant Chauhan with his award (right).
Continuing the practice at the Symposium in Tours in 2016, seven parallel oral sessions were provided for the attention of the delegates, along with nearly 200 posters each day, plus the Student Paper Competition posters that were displayed for the whole of the conference.
The 23 entries in this competition were of an extremely high standard with the judges, as usual, having a difficult job to select the best. Ultimately, though, the winners were chosen to be Claire Rabut, INSERM and Richard Rau, University of Konstanz, for Medical Ultrasonics; Danny Ramasawmy, University College London, for Sensors, NDE and Industrial Applications; Ko-hei Sano, Waseda University, for Physical Acoustics; Vikrant Chauhan, Erlangen Nuremberg University, for Microacoustics – SAW, FBAR and MEMS; and Chao Chen, TU Delft, for Transducers and Transducer Materials.
Other highlights of the Technical Program included an exciting range of invited speakers drawn from all around the world, notably including the General Chair, Keith Wear, himself speaking in his professional role as an employee of the US Food and Drug Administration, and four Clinical Speakers, Dr Jeff Elias, Dr Keyvan Farahani, Dr Brian Garra, and Dr Mark Palmeri, speaking about frontiers in the use of both diagnostic and therapeutic ultrasound for clinical practice.
Sponsors and Exhibition
Verasonics, Kirkland, WA, USA, continued its role as a Gold Sponsor of the conference, promoting its state-of-the-art Vantage ultrasound research systems, and there were two Bronze Sponsors, the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, Charlottesville, VA, USA, and Acoustic Life Science Co. Ltd, Shanghai, China. In total, delegates benefited from the presence of 35 exhibitors displaying products ranging from software through piezoelectric materials to devices, complete systems, and specialised test and measurement equipment. Having the exhibitors and the proffered posters in one hall, not to mention coffee, soft drinks and comestibles, generated a real buzz with a great deal of business being done in the three days of the Symposium.
Social Events and Associated Committees and Meetings
The entertainment provided at the two glittering premiere social events in the ultrasonics calendar was of a particularly high order in Washington. The Gatsby Gang, a quintet of singers and musicians, entertained delegates at the Reception with their repertoire of jazz and popular music, and delegates also had the opportunity to renew old acquaintances and make new friends outside in the balmy evening air of Washington.
The Gatsby Gang provided musical entertainment (left) as other delegates mingled and enjoyed the company of their peers in the gardens of the Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington D.C. (right).
Musical entertainment was also provided during the Banquet, with the Amaris Trio serenading diners with classical music with a particular emphasis on the delicate sounds of the baroque era. After diner, more than 1,000 delegates at the banquet particularly enjoyed Capitol Steps, highly regarded musical comedy performers who have been featured on the well-known US television shows, “The Today Show”, “Good Morning America” and “Nightline”. As usual, their sketches had a contemporary political edge, featuring good-natured mimicry of politicians from many of the countries from which delegates had travelled.
There was also a very full programme of UFFC Society committee meetings and other associated events. These included the Women in Engineering Meeting and the President’s Reception for Students. Two other notable meetings were of the Ultrasonics Committee, called UltraCom, and the UFFC Administrative Committee, called AdCom. UltraCom was the last meeting to be chaired by Dr Jafar Saniie before he steps down as UFFC Vice-President for Ultrasonics at the end of the year. Dr Saniie has worked very hard to build up the professional competence of his committee to ensure it can deal with the ever-growing numbers attending the Symposium and should be thanked by all delegates for his strong efforts. Dr Clark Nguyen, also chaired his last AdCom meeting. Again, he has proved an inspirational figure and will be handing over to Dr Nazanin Bassiri-Gharb for her two-year term starting in 2018.
IUS 2018 Kobe, Japan
Dr Jan D’hooge chaired a meeting of the full Technical Programme Committee to present his plans for IUS 2018 in Japan, under the highly experienced General Co-chairs, Prof. Ken-ya Hashimoto and Dr Clemens Ruppel. This meeting will be held from October 22nd to 25th in the Kobe Portopia Hotel, intriguingly located on Port Island, which lies about 1 km out to sea from the rest of the City of Kobe. Following expansion to seven sessions in 2016 and reflecting its growing success, the commodious accommodation in this hotel will be exploited to present eight parallel sessions for the first time. Some information is already available at http://sites.ieee.org/ius-2018/ and this site will be well worth watching for exciting news as the plans for IUS 2018 are implemented by Prof. Hashimoto, Dr Ruppel and Dr D’hooge, along with their full team.