The 62nd Annual Conference on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (MMM) was held from November 6–10, 2017 in Pittsburgh, USA, at the beautiful David. L. Lawrence Convention Center overlooking the Allegheny River. The city skyline at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers was also the inspiration for the conference logo, created by student, Cynthia Wright. The conference, sponsored jointly by the IEEE Magnetics Society and AIP Publishing, hosted nearly 1,600 presentations on latest advancements in fundamental and applied magnetism. Also featured were exhibits from 25 vendors with related products and services. The attendance, totaling 1,470, drew from 39 nations across six continents. The strongest participation was from North America (45%), followed by Asia (31%) and Europe (20%). Significantly, 555 or 38% of the attendees were students. The conference awarded 42 travel and 11 child-care grants to support participation from students and post-doctoral researchers.
The technical program was drawn from 1,914 abstracts received in response to the call for papers on topics identified to be of current and emerging interest in magnetism and magnetic materials. The abstracts were reviewed and selected by the conference program committee, which was chaired by Prof. Yayoi Takamura (University of California, Davis, USA) and Prof. Mingzhong Wu (Colorado State University, USA) and consisted of 77 members such that expertise in all topics, and gender and geographic diversity were well represented. The committee also voted on 23 and 149 nominations received, respectively, for symposia and individual invited presentations. Eight symposia, each consisting of five invited presentations, were selected on the topics of terahertz magnonics; magnetism and magnetic proximity effects in 2D materials; what spintronics can bring to microelectronics; cavity opto-magnonics; mutual synchronization of spintronic oscillators; spintronics-based neuromorphic computing; spin-orbit torques with unconventional symmetries; and generation and transport of skyrmions. Overall, the conference featured 1,511 oral and poster presentations, and 84 symposia and individual invited talks. I mention these statistics not as obligatory numbers in a report, but to highlight the scale of the conference and the enthusiastic participation from the MMM community worldwide in ensuring a strong and relevant program.
The conference opened with a tutorial on Terahertz Magnetism. The speakers were Dr. Di Xiao (Carnegie Mellon University, USA); Dr. Tobias Kampfrath (Fritz Haber Institute, Germany); and Dr. Hyunsoo Yang (National University of Singapore). Their well-coordinated lectures provided an excellent introduction to the fundamentals and recent developments in both theory and application of terahertz magnetism. The tutorial was followed by a reception featuring local street food including pierogis that seemingly flew off the tables even before they were served! Mascots, Steely McBeam and Pittsburgh Parrot, were on hand to liven the crowd. Another highlight of the conference was an evening session on Spintronics: Present and Future. Three leading experts, Dr. Chia-Ling Chien (Johns Hopkins University, USA); Dr. Albert Fert (CNRS-Thales, France) and Dr. Hideo Ohno (RIEC Tohoku University, Japan) shared their perspective of key milestones and breakthroughs in spintronics and their vision for future applications of the technology. In addition to the technical sessions, the conference hosted career development and networking events, particularly for students and early career professionals. A session conducted by professional coaches, Dan Agan and Joe Schreiber from Ninja Communications, was held on effective communication skills. Dr. Laura Lewis (Chair, Technical Committee of the IEEE Magnetics Society) coordinated the first Next Generation Magneticians meeting to solicit ideas for grassroots-level involvement of students in the IEEE Magnetics Society. Of note also was the Meet the Experts panel, moderated by Prof. Mingzhong Wu. Six panelists, with rich and diverse professional backgrounds, fielded questions on pros and cons, and secret to success in industry and academic careers from an audience of over 250 students. The participating panelists were Dr. Albert Fert (CNRS-Thales, France); Dr. Peter Fischer (Interim Division Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA); Dr. Liesl Folks (Dean, University at Buffalo, USA); Dr. Ron Goldfarb (National Institute of Standards and Technology, USA, and Editor-in-Chief, IEEE Magnetics Letters); Dr. Yu Gong (Nature Communications); and Dr. Jonathan Sun (Research Staff, IBM Research, USA). Other events included the Young Professionals Luncheon Meeting, Women in Magnetism and Student Networking Receptions and of course, the evening bierstuben. In a first, the conference introduced Magnetism-as-Art Showcase, a friendly competition for scientific images with an artistic appeal. 24 of the 31 entries received were chosen for poster-board display during the conference and eligible for the Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice awards. All entries were showcased on the conference Facebook page. The winners, Ian McDonald (Northwestern University, USA) and Luke Besley (Monash University, Australia) for the Judges’ Choice awards; and Jose Perez (KAUST, Saudi Arabia) and Richard Evans (University of York, UK) for the People’s Choice awards, were recognized at an Awards Ceremony together with the Best Student Presentation Prize and Conference Travel Grant recipients. The Best Student Presentation Prize was awarded, from amongst five finalists, to Jiamin Chen (University of Tsukuba, Japan). I will also take the opportunity here to felicitate the Best Poster Award winners, Y. Jin (University of Nebraska, USA); J. Ryu (Tohoku University, Japan); A. Ney (Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria); D. Su (University of Minnesota, USA); E. Digernes (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway); F. Ebrahimi (Inston, Inc., USA) and G. Ziemys (Technical University of Munich, Germany).
It goes without saying that planning and organizing this conference would not have been possible without the hard and careful work, and enthusiasm of the Steering and Program Committee members, editors, judges and session chairs. I owe deep gratitude to Prof. Yayoi Takamura and Prof. Mingzhong Wu for their leadership as Program Chairs. The technical as well as many of the outreach programs I have highlighted in this preface were the outcome of their tireless efforts. Thanks are also due to the Program Committee members, who despite the short timelines, reviewed and sorted over 1,900 abstracts into a well-planned conference itinerary. No small task. I am grateful to Prof. Victorino Franco (Universidad de Sevilla, Spain) and the editorial team for ensuring timely review of the 425 manuscripts received for publication. Of these, 328 have been accepted for inclusion in the proceedings here. I express my thanks also to the staff at AIP Publishing, particularly Melissa Patterson and Diana Schlamadinger for their assistance with publications. I gratefully acknowledge Prof. Barry Zink (University of Denver, USA) and Jennifer Fiske (Simply Vintage Event Management, LLC) who served as Exhibits Chair and Exhibits Manager, respectively. Their diligent efforts ensured that the conference drew new sponsors and exhibitors while enjoying continued support from long-standing partners. Prof. Claudia Mewes (University of Alabama, USA), as Awards Chair, oversaw the selection of the finalists and winner of the Best Student Presentation Prize. She also reviewed the applications for the travel and child-care grants. Her skillful management of these important initiatives for student support is most sincerely appreciated. I thank Prof. Philip Pong (University of Hong Kong) for serving as the Conference Publicity Chair and his student, Ke Zhu, for ensuring the conference was well promoted on social media. Memories of the conference reception and awards ceremony have been archived thanks to Prof. Atsufumi Hirohata (University of York, UK) and his student, Edward Jackson lending their expertise as photographers. My thanks also to Prof. Petru Andrei (Florida State University, USA) for careful book keeping of conference finances as Treasurer. I especially thank the staff at Simply Vintage Event Management: Molly Bartkowski, Diane Melton (Conference Managers), Regina Mohr (Abstracts/Publications Manager), Jennifer Fiske (Exhibits Manager), Ashley Cesare (Registration Support) and Haley McBryan (On-site Support) who assiduously made sure that no detail in planning and preparation was overlooked. Their experience and support were indispensable to the success of this conference. The conference also benefitted from the valuable advice of Past Chair, Prof. Kai Liu; Chair-elect, Dr. Suzanne te G. E. Velthuis; and sponsor representatives, Bill Burke (AIP Publishing) and Prof. Randall Victora and Dr. Rudolf Schäfer (IEEE Magnetics Society). It was, indeed, an extraordinary privilege to work alongside such an excellent and spirited team of volunteers in organizing this 62nd MMM Conference.