Superconductivity Awards Go to Leaders in Energy Technologies

An independent panel of leaders in science and industry have determined the winners of Superconductor Industry Awards for 2005. Interestingly, the panel has chosen to call attention to two different dimensions of the superconductor industry: a leader in the field of high temperature superconductivity (HTS), which has applications in advanced power technologies relevant to cleantech has been chosen as “Superconductor Industry Person of the Year.” On the other side of the industry, a leader in low temperature superconductivity (LTS), which is used primarily in medical and scientific research applications, has been chosen for the “Superconductor Industry Lifetime Achievement Award.” LTS wire is also used in the massive magnet coils for the large-scale plasma physics research behind the holy grail of all cleantech concepts: zero emission, virtually limitless, fusion energy.

The award for “Superconductor Industry Person of the Year,” was given to Dr. Yuh Shiohara, Director of the Superconducting Tapes and Wires Division of the Superconductivity Research Laboratory at the International Superconductivity Technology Center (ISTEC) in Japan. The “Superconductor Industry Lifetime Achievement Award” went to Seung Hong, Vice President of Engineering at Oxford Instruments (LSE:OXIG.L) Superconducting Technology business (OST).

Shiohara was selected for the award in recognition by top peers in the industry for his broad vision and effective leadership at the head of Japan’s national effort to develop high temperature superconducting (HTS) wire. Much of the global effort to commercialize low-cost, high-performance HTS wire is centered on second generation (2G), YBCO coated conductor development. Shiohara’s leadership in 2005 was essential to the impressive progress in 2G wire development reported by ISTEC last year, and also aided the two major industrial HTS wire manufacturers in Japan, Fujikura Ltd. and Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd (TSE: 5802). He was recognized in particular for his ability to effectively coordinate industrial, university, and governmental organizations.

Leader in Low Temperature Superconductors Wins Lifetime Achievement

Dr. Hong led superconductor development and engineering at OST for 25 years. His technical and business leadership has contributed as much as that of any person in history to the advancement of magnet applications. During his tenure at OST, the performance of both NbTi and Nb3Sn superconductor improved substantially, while production levels increased from a few tons to more than 500 tons per year. He continues to lead efforts to develop a new generation of higher field conductors based on HTS materials.

LTS wire is key to many of the most important technologies of our time. It is used to make magnets for MRI devices, the fastest growing diagnostic imaging modality, and also for magnets used in other growth industries including pharmaceuticals and materials research, and industrial processing. Fields such as high energy physics and fusion research such as the $10 billion ITER project also use LTS wire.

Hong has been the Vice President of Engineering at Oxford Superconducting Technology (OST) since 1989. During his tenure of technical and business management, OST has become the largest supplier of superconductor in the world.

The winners of Superconductor Week’s Superconductor Industry Awards were determined by a panel of nine leading experts in science and industry from around the world working in every field of superconductivity. For information on the panel, visit here. Additional information on the awardees and panel members is available at

Last year’s winners were Alex Malozemof, American Superconductor (Nasdaq: AMSC) , and Venkat “Selva” Selvamanickam, Intermagnetics General’s energy technology business, SuperPower (Nasdaq: IMGC).

I will be presenting the awards to the winners at the Applied Superconductivity Conference in Seattle, WA this August.

Mark Bitterman, Executive Editor, Superconductor Week

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