Interview with Prof A.G. Merzhanov, President SHS-AS (A)
by Dr. V.A.Veretennikov, Scientific Secretary of ISMAN (Q)
Q. What is SHS-AS and what is its destination?
A. To date, the worldwide SHS community is rather numerous and ever increases in its number, which gives birth to the need for fruitful links between the members of the community. For many years, the uniting function has been played by ISMAN a largest research center in the field which could afford to spend its efforts and money on wide-scale organizational activities, such as organization of International Symposia on SHS and publication of the Int. J. SHS (Allerton Press, New York).
Nowadays, it has become difficult for ISMAN to perform its uniting function in view of increased volume of this work. That is why we have founded the International Association on SHS (abbr. SHS-AS) in order to recruit for this work the experts from different countries all around the world.
Q. Can you mention the most active members of the SHS community?
A. Sure. First of all, I would like to mention J.B. Holt and J.W. McCauley (now retired), initiators of SHS research in the USA, with whom I had many fruitful contacts. I am impressed by the activity of Prof. Z. Munir, Prof. J. Moore, Prof. B. Matkowsky, and Prof. Jan Puszinski, which manage to attract young researchers and win grants for SHS research. They work with a true interest and adhesion to the problem (sometimes to the prejudice of historical truth). However, these workers do not intend (or want?) to carry their results to practical implementation.
The Japanese workers headed by Prof. M. Koizumi (now retired) Prof. Y. Miyamoto, Prof. O. Odawara, their younger colleagues Ì. Ohyanagi, O. Yamada, et al. contributed greatly to R & D of functionally graded materials, shape-memory materials, large-scale ceramic-lined pipes, and reprocessing of silicon-containing industrial wastes. Nowadays, these works are coordinated by the Japanese Association on SHS.
Now rapidly developing SHS R & D in China was initiated by Prof. H.Y. Lai (Beijing University of Science and Technology) and Prof. R.Z. Yuan (Wuhan University). Highly active in SHS research are Prof. C.C. Ge, Prof. S.G. Zhang, Prof. Sheng Yin, and Prof. Z.Y. Fu.
Note that SHS research in the USA is focused largely on fundamental aspects, in Japan on technological aspects, while in China on practical implementation of SHS.
France is the youngest member of the SHS community. Among French workers I would like to mention such active researchers as Profs. J.C.Niepce and F.Bernard.
Great contribution to our efforts on organizing SHS Symposia was provided (at different times) by Profs. R. Spriggs (USA), R. Pampuch (Poland), G. Cao (Italy), E. Gutmanas, and I. Gotman (Israel), M.Rodruguez (Spain).
Q. Why the Association is better than ISMAN?
A. We hope to attract new people to our activities and thus to make the uniting mission more legitimate.
Q. What are your plans for 2004?
A. First, we are planning to gather materials for a handbook Who is Who in SHS in the two volumes devoted to personalities and institutions, respectively. We have already initiated this work. Here we expect for help and active participation from our colleagues all around the world.
Besides, we are taking part in organization of two international meetings, in Russia and Italy.
Q. What is your staff?
A. Our small executive structure headed by Dr. A. Sytschev and consists of two his assistants. For the first time, this will suffice. Besides, we have the Council of Founders: 1-2 representatives from 10 countries, which are expected to carry out some definite work in their regions (such as attraction of new members, local information, etc.). But the most of the existing members regard their mere membership as a great contribution to SHS-AS. Here we will have a discussion and probably introduce some changes into the Statues.
Q. SHS-AS is affiliated at the World Academy of Ceramics (WAC) presided by you till 2006. Why? As is known, SHS can be used to produce not only ceramics but also metals, alloys, composites, and even polymers. Does not this constrict the area of your activities?
A. Thanks for a good question. No, it does not. First, because production of ceramics is a most advanced field of SHS research. Second, the WAC's attitude to SHS is most serious and respectful. Third, no one will prohibit SHS workers to be engaged in R & D of other (rather than ceramic) materials.
Q. What are the benefits of SHS-AS members?
A. Besides the pleasure of mutual links, the SHS-AS members will get access to operative information in SHS field, discount on SHS-AS publications/contracts, and no registration fee at SHS-AS meetings.
The entrance fee is relatively low ($50) and seems affordable to all potential Association members.