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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Conference summaries

Conference season has kicked off. Here are my summaries so far.

Fire and Explosion Hazards
Rory Hadden, Nicolas Bal, Freddy Jervis, Albert Simeoni and briefly Guillermo Rein and Ricky Carvel attended the 6th Fire and Explosion Hazards conference in Leeds. The conference was well attended by academia as well as industry.

As usual, the topics covered many aspects of fire with a lot of emphasis on the best methods for extracting material parameters from experiments for use in fire models and the subsequent use of the newly developed FireFOAM code. Plenary lectures on the Buncefield explosion and the dynamics of forest fires related fire sciences to the real world and worked as a good basis for the conference.

An excellent banquet was provided in the rather unique Royal Armouries Museum.

European Geosciences Union
A conference on a different scale from anything in fire; 10 000 delegates descended on Vienna from all corners of the globe. I attended with fire group collaborator Claire Belcher. The conference programme was very dense including everything from climate change to sedimentology. It was interesting to see fire from the point of view of a geoscientist – these sessions were devoted mainly to satellite detection of fires and the role of fire in the earth system. This is fascinating work however, I am certain more could be achieved by raising the profile of fire science in this area and working together with the geoscience community.

2nd International Conference on Coal Fire Research
This brief three day conference in Berlin was the second meeting of the coal fire community under the umbrella of the Sino-German coal fire project. As a relative outsider to the community, I found them inviting and willing to discuss new ideas. Talks covered the whole range of coal fire topics from fundamental fire dynamics to modelling to fire fighting with many interesting case studies in between. The conference also allowed me to meet with the editors of Coal and Peat Fires: A Global Perspective. It seems that over the 6 years that the community has been active, a great deal has been achieved in understanding these fires however, they still remain a challenging and diverse area of study.

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