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About 6th Symposium on SHS,
17 – 21 February, 2002, Haifa, Israel


Regularly scheduled VI Symposium took place in Haifa (Israel) at TECHNION, the Israeli Institute of Technology, one of the best scientific centers worldwide. In the wake of the tragic events in New York and Washington (USA) on September 11, the first term (14–18 of October 2001) of the Symposium was consequently put off till 17–21 of February 2002, by the decision of the Organizing Committee. Scientists from 10 countries took part at the work of the Symposium. They were from Russia, the USA, Israel, England, China, France, Poland, Germany, Belarus’, and Armenia. The most numerous turned out to be from Russia and from the other republics of the former USSR (54 persons on aggregate). It has already grown into a habit for us to have some superiority in the matter owing to the fact that SHS itself has become a common property of our people. It was born in Russia, and then it was only started to actively develop abroad.

The last forum was preceded with the well-known Hamlet’s hesitations “to be or not to be”. Noisy journalistic propaganda around the political situation in Israel gave rise to the critical voices for the Symposium to be postponed. But for the business conviction of the Organizing Committee, especially for the Israeli, and for the individual stand and courage of Prof. A. G. Merzhanov, we could never have managed to find the sound decision to the problem. There is no doubt that the Symposium surpassed all expectations, and it completely rewarded its participants for the qualms experienced. It was held under the fabulous conditions: the weather was fair and stable, the scientific program was interesting and highly substantial, and its cultural part was beyond all praise. It was generally agreed that the Symposium's organizers, first of all Prof. E. Gutmanas (Israel), Dr. A. Sytschev (Russia) and Dr. I. Gotman (Israel) deserved to be thanked by all the participants, combining the pleasant things with the useful ones.


The process of the opening ceremony was up to the standard, and it answered the purpose of the deferential attitude toward the participants of the Symposium. A. Mitzna, Mayor of Haifa, M. Wolff, Head of Department for Materials and Chemistry at the Israeli Ministry of Science, A. Shitzer, Vice President of Technion, A. Siegmann, Dean of Faculty for Materials Engineering–all of them addressed the meeting with the salutatory words. Prof. E. Gutmanas and Dr. I. Gotman took the floor and also awarded Academician  A. G. Merzhanov with the silver bar and an inscription on it: To the Father of SHS. Following the tradition, Prof. A. G. Merzhanov (Russia) presented his first lecture speaking perspicuously about the history of both the formation and the development of our field, marking out main trends of the fundamental and technological studies, and dwelling on the present-day industrial and commercial problems of the SHS technology. He pointed out successful evolution of the SHS scientific and technical fields in general.Particularly, he made a note of a great success in such directions as chemical kinetics of the SHS processes, structural formation in final products of burning, physical impacts on both the processes and the products, making ceramic and composites materials.

At the plenary meeting, E. Gutmanas (Israel) spoke about the Israeli specialists’ research in synthesizing of multiphase ceramic and composite materials in the mode of thermal explosion under pressure (a variety of SHS-compaction). Undoubtedly, the investigations allowed the authors to take up their own position in R&D of SHS-processes.

At the opening day of the Symposium, Prof. R. Brook (UK), an outstanding scientist in the field of materials science, and a former advisor to the Prime Minister for Science, delivered a lecture entitled as Trends in Ceramic Materials Development into the Third Millenium. He had specially arrived for only one day to make a report, being a very busy man. There and then he left and departed for England at once. One should involuntary admire and respect such kind of concern about one's commitments.


In respect of science, each symposium has its own peculiarities and specifics. At the first symposiums, when the theory of combustion was regarded also as the theory of SHS, problems of solid-phase combustion phenomenon were actually discussed in general. Further on, at the following symposiums, all the more attention was being paid to the technological problems in order to obtain powder materials and items with various methods. Practical use of materials and items stimulated immediate increase in total amount of works on structural macrokinetics. It was also reflected in the programs of the symposiums. Unlike the previous fundamental programs of the symposiums, the last one displayed a quantum leap in the specific weight of works dedicated to the studies on SHS valuable material structure and characteristics. The program consisted of the lectures invited by the Organizing Committee, and was read by the scholars of international prestige. It also included unconventional oral speeches and posters as well as so-called the Round Table Discussions.

The lecture of Prof. J. Puszynski (USA) was devoted to the problems of kinetics and thermodynamics of the SHS reactions. Prof. Yu. Maksimov (Russia) spoke on the SHS problems in electric and magnet fields, and Dr. F. Bernard (France) discussed some superiority in mechanical initiating of green powders as means of the SHS-products profiles' improving.

Invited key-lectures were presented by Prof. E. Rumanov (Russia), Prof. L. Kogan (Israel), Prof. R. Pampuch (Poland), Prof. B. Matkowski (USA), et al. They discussed state-of-the-art achievements in separate SHS directions (theory and mathematical modeling, advanced ceramics, nanomaterials, raw staff for obtaining powder materials with ceramic composite characteristics, and so on).

Problems of the up-to-day materials science were concerned by the lectures delivered by Prof. R. Tenne (Israel), Prof. F. Aldinger, (Germany), and Prof. R. Cahn (UK). Though their lectures referred to the adjacent problems of the Symposium rather than to the general ones, in any case, they provoked a great interest and were also of some use for the participants.

The contents of the unscheduled oral presentations devoted to different fields of combustion physics and chemistry, materials science, structural macrokinetics, industrial chemistry of inorganic and organic materials. The papers made it possible to get an insight into the status of research in this field. Apparently, the Round-Table Discussions were successful too. They cleared up some new contemporary SHS problems. The 'round-tables' chairmen prepared specifically arranged hot questions: Prof. I. Borovinskaya (Russia) and Prof. R. Pampuch (Poland) – Synthesis and Application of SHS Ceramics; Prof.  A. Rogachev (Russia) – Phase and Structure Formation During SHS; Prof. V. Barzykin (Russia) and Prof. I. Gotman (Israel) – Thermal Explosion; Prof. V. Yukhvid (Russia) – Gravitational SHS Technologies.

Forms of work of the Symposium varied in many ways. For example, a single-day international seminar on combustion was held in frames of it. It was organized by Russian and Israeli sections of the International Institute for Combustion, with Prof. N. Kidin (Russia) and Prof. A. Gany (Israel) respectively, who were main organizers of the seminar. Russian and Israeli scientists introduced fifteen papers. The participants wished the first seminar not to be the last one.

It is remarkable that considerable part of papers was represented by young specialists. The Russian delegation alone included 7 of the latter. Effectively, the Israeli SHS School, too, consists generally of young investigators who conducted some interesting and ingenious research with Prof. E. Gutmanas, (Israel) in charge. Series of young specialists' papers were awarded with the pecuniary premiums for the first time of the SHS history. D. Belov, an ISMAN post-graduate student, was awarded with one of them as well.

All in all, the Symposium exhibited high rates of the development in scientific and technical fields of SHS, and great progress in the field of SHS industrialization and commercial attractiveness. The Chinese production of pipes with wear-resistant inner layers for pumping over aggressive media, and the Russian-Spanish plant for ceramic SHS powders serve an example for the above said.

The participants of the Symposium gained a variegated insight into the scientific and technical work being done in the field of SHS, and in the neighboring fields of science, particularly, in the modern materials science. In relation to that, one should notice that SHS boundaries are constantly expanding, ideas and methods of the field are getting more intriguing for the specialists of different kinds of knowledge.


Certainly, every participant of the Symposium was happy. We had a splendid opportunity to find ourselves in the Holy Land of Jerusalem, which is generally conceived to be a divine city, a symbol of faith and peace. Straightaway the next day after the arrival, we went sightseeing around Jerusalem, led by the experienced guide. Definitely, not a single day passed away without taking any excursions. All of them were saturated with new impressions over and above the week's term of our staying there. Even the banquet itself resembled a tour back to the revived past rather than a traditional meal. It was held at the ancient Acco fortress that had not been captured by Napoleon, despite all pains taken by him in 1799. According to the legend, the fortress had served as a refectory for the Hospitallers, the St.John's knights. On February 19, 2002, its ancient walls, breathing myth, sheltered the banquet for the participants of the Symposium on SHS. It was not only the mystery of the past that was straightening the tension. Traditionally, the place of the conducting of the next symposium was to be announced at the banquet. Here Alexander G.Merzhanov, General Chairman of the Organizing Committee, E.Gutmanas, Chairman on Israeli part, and Professor R.Pampuch (Poland) come out to the stage. A.G. Merzhanov declares ancient Krakow (Poland) a place of carrying out of the Symposium in September 2003. The decision was not a great surprise. It might be accounted for the Polish scientific school recognized in the field of SHS, whose subject matter is connected with the traditional materials science problems and special ceramics. The participants' acclaim welcomes the decision. At the final sitting, the official time and the location of the next VII International Symposium on SHS was approved. So, it will be held in Krakow, Poland, July 2003.

The traditions of the SHS science have remained as the previous. Till the next symposium!

Prof. A.M. Stolin