Message from IHTC-14

by Avram Bar-Cohen
past-president of AIHTC, chair of IHTC-14
Professor of University of Maryland, U.S.A.

The 14th quadrennial International Heat Transfer Conference (IHTC), held in Washington, DC in August 2010 – the Heat Transfer Olympics – was heir to a long and rich history that dates back to an International Discussion on Heat Transfer held in London and Atlantic City in 1951. A full 10 years passed before the Mechanical and Chemical Engineering Societies of the United Kingdom and United States convened a second heat transfer forum in Boulder, Colorado (1961) and used the name “International Heat Transfer Conference” for the first time. Regrettably, a number of researchers from the USSR, invited to participate in the Boulder meeting, encountered difficulty in obtaining the documents needed to travel to the US and were unable to attend. Consequently, a companion meeting was held in January 1962 in London, attended by a large delegation from the Soviet Union , headed by A.V. Luikov from the Minsk Institute of Heat and Mass Transfer. 

The four-year IHTC cycle began with the third conference, held in Chicago, Ill in 1966, where the Assembly for International Heat Transfer Conferences (AIHTC) was founded with the principal goal of creating and sustaining a worldwide forum for heat transfer specialists to present research results, discuss the state of the art, and identify the future direction and priorities in the various domains of thermal science and engineering. Hartnett, Rohsenow, Eckert, and Kezios from the US and Kutateladze from the USSR were among the leaders in creating this Assembly.

The existence of the AIHTC has indeed assured that, since the Chicago meeting in 1966, these international forums on thermal science and engineering have been held every four years in major cities across the globe including Versailles, Tokyo, Toronto, Munich, San Francisco, Jerusalem, Brighton, Kyong Ju,  Grenoble, Sydney, and Washington DC, with  planned meetings in Kyoto in 2014 and Beijing in 2018.  In the Table below you will find the list of the leaders of past IHTC’s, going back to the Tokyo meeting in 1974. We struggled a bit to find and verify this information, so I apologize – in advance - for any errors that might have occurred and would appreciate any corrections or additions that you can offer. (an email to would be great).  As a testament to the vitality of this community and the professional, as well as personal, longevity of practitioners of the thermal arts and sciences, several past IHTC Chairs and Secretaries were in attendance at the 14th IHTC in 2010 in Washington DC, including: Graham deVahl Davis – Sydney,Australia;  Jean-Marc Delhaye – Grenoble, France; J.S. Lee – Kyong Ju, Korea; Geoff Hewitt – Brighton, UK; Richard Goldstein and Terry Simon – San Francisco, USA.

My first IHTC was the Toronto meeting in 1978. Those familiar with the ongoing discussions in the Assembly about the scope and format of the IHTC, will find it interesting to know or recall that it was at that meeting that poster presentations were used extensively for the first time and that the Conference was organized around 10 themes – linking posters and Keynotes and followed by Panel Workshops that defined the state-of-the-art and the contributions of the IHTC to the selected Themes. The Toronto IHTC had a total of 36 Keynotes, including a lecture by Dick Goldstein - on measurement techniques, Geoff Hewitt - on Critical Heat Flux in Flow Boiling, Art Bergles - on Enhancement of Heat Transfer, and Ivan Catton on Natural Convection in Enclosures.

With more than 1100 attendees, IHTC14 was one of the largest International Heat Transfer Conferences ever held. Most importantly, with the 850 posters, 38 Keynote Lectures, and 9 Panel Sessions, reflecting the contributions of researchers and practitioners from 50 countries and with approximately 1/3rd of the attendees from Europe, 1/3rd North America, and 1/3rd Asia/Australia, this 14th Heat Transfer Olympics was not only a milestone but a testament to the vision of the AIHTC founders and the vitality of the heat transfer community. The broad topical coverage of the fundamentals of thermal transport phenomena and traditional heat transfer applications, and the insightful exploration of renewable and sustainable energy conversion systems, alongside the emerging domains of heat transfer in bio-systems, information systems, MEMS, and nano-materials, speaks loudly and clearly to the centrality of thermal science and engineering in the pursuit of a better life for all people everywhere. 

Avram Bar-Cohen, President