About the Waterborne Symposium
COATINGS RESEARCH AT CARNIVAL TIME
Every year the huge "Mardi Gras" carnival entices million to New Orleans on the Mississippi. The "Big Easy", as the city is also known because of its uncomplicated way of life, also forms the backdrop every year for one of the most highly regarded coatings conferences in the USA, the "Waterborne Symposium" formerly known as: "The International Waterborne, Powder Coatings and High Solids Symposium".
This symposium has been a long-standing fixture in the international conference landscape and is always one of the most highly regarded events in the USA. It will be celebrating a monumental milestone in 2013: The 40th Anniversary of the Waterborne Symposium.
This 40th Anniversary Celebration was held in a city which has hosted the event from the start – New Orleans, Louisiana.
One of the high spots awaited with great anticipation every year is the award of the Shelby F. Thames Best Paper Award, a prize worth US$1,000.00. We also award the Siltech Innovation Award ($500.00), the SSCT Student Paper Award ($1,000) and the Eastman Student Poster Awards ($2,000). These awards are presented during the closing ceremony each year.
BIRTH OF A CONFERENCE
The Southern states of the USA in particular are frequently hit by tornadoes at certain times of the year. This was also the experience of Prof. Shelby Thames from the University of Southern Mississippi, when he began tests at the beginning of the 70s with tung oil, a substance he wanted to investigate for its use as a basis for a binder long before the fashionable term "sustainable raw materials" was introduced. Before any proper work could be done, however, the oil had to be obtained, i.e. a tung oil plantation had to be laid out. However, a hurricane completely destroyed all the young plants on the plantation and thereby ruined Thames's project for the time being. He did not give up however, and founded the Institute for Polymer Research in Hattiesburg, which is now equipped with laboratory facilities worth over 20 million US$ and ranks among the top polymer institutes in the USA. In view of the large number of similar institutions being founded at that time, Thames laid great emphasis on not creating an institute "based on molecular weights". Together with Dr. Gary Wildman, and Dr. George Bufkin he founded the symposium in 1973 as a forum for discussing the scientific bases of coating technology.
In addition to talks during the breaks and discussions after the lectures, three events have come to be a tradition at Waterborne: The Tuesday Evening Opening Wine & Cheese Reception – held in the technology showcase, The Eastman Wednesday Evening Reception featuring drinks, local cuisine and live jazz music, and the Wednesday morning King Cake Coffee Break, serving delicious king cakes courtesy of Paul's Pastry Shop.
Until next year the Waterborne community will have to console itself with a classic jazz title: "Do you know what it means to Miss New Orleans?"
CoatingTech's History of the Waterborne Symposium
Originally Appeared in January 2013 Issue of Coatings Tech, pp 36-38