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Editor’s Overview of Issue 4

Editor’s Overview of Issue 4

We present to our readers the fourth Issue of this News Forum, thus closing our 1st annual cycle.  The Forum readership is still increasing, judging by the number of visits to our website (which now surpasses 6700, when counting since July of 2007) and other statistical information available to us.  So it looks like we’re read by many in the worldwide community, and hopefully are useful.  We certainly thank all authors and those of you who sent us comments on and evaluations of the Forum, together with recommendations for future improvements.  Such comments are very much appreciated and represent a feedback essential for the continuing development of the Forum.

Unfortunately, one aspect of the Forum’s performance remains unsatisfactory: we do not receive spontaneously submitted material for publication (articles, highlights, etc.) or very little of it.  Most of the publications which appeared thus far (in these past four issues) had to be solicited.  Please note that this online publication is still operating as an experiment limited in time.  It is likely that we’ll discontinue publishing the Forum at the end of 2008, if there won’t be any marked improvement in the amount of publishable material spontaneously submitted by then.  Only active involvement of the superconductivity community can justify the expenditures and efforts currently making this Forum possible.

The Regional News section (RN) of this issue features two texts based on presentations which opened the German Symposium ZIEHL on “High-temperature Superconductivity for Energy Technology” (see Events Highlight H22).  One (RN5) is the text of notes drafted by the Forum based on a talk by Dr. Knut Kübler, the Head of Energy R&D Department of the German Ministry of Economy (BMWi) and devoted to the need of increasing the energy efficiency in the energy economy.  The other (RN6) is an article by Werner Prusseit, Chairman of the German Industrial Association “Superconductivity”.  The author is reviewing the status and prospects of superconductivity industry in Germany.  While each developed energy economy in the European Union has its specificity (for example, France covers most of its electricity needs by nuclear power, while Germany is trying to exit nuclear altogether), there are many common features, and the issue of energy efficiency should resonate in multiple European countries, and, in fact, in all developed economies worldwide.  For that reason we believe the two write-ups deserve readers’ attention.

The present issue features one Critical Review (CR6) by Peter Komarek and Ettore Salpietro, who review “European Activities in Superconductivity for Thermonuclear Fusion, in the Light of ITER”.  The authors are both distinguished contributors to the field, and Prof. Komarek was until mid-2006 responsible for one of the larger European activities in superconducting fusion magnets, that of the Research Center Karlsruhe.  The review is limited to European activities, but provides also a good glimpse into the status of ITER magnets.

The Science and Technology News section (ST) contains remaining few contributed papers, selected from those submitted to Proceedings of EUCAS 2007.  These Proceedings appeared in March 2008 in the online edition of the Journal of Physics Conference Series (JPCS), published by the Institute of Physics (IOP, UK).  Of the numerous papers submitted by European authors for electronic pre-publication in the Forum (with consent of IOP), we could select only a fraction.  The selection of papers was based on the following criteria: (i) absence of errors, (ii) timeliness, (iii) our judgment on importance of results to the superconductivity community, (iv) the completeness of presented work (preliminary studies were as a rule declined), (v) satisfactory English language.  Of course, any such selection is somewhat arbitrary, although in cases of doubt an external review was performed.  Unfortunately, not all authors of papers selected by us were willing to implement revisions requested by the Forum (apparently more stringent than those of JPCS).  Consequently, their papers were also not published by Forum.  As the result of revisions implemented, some papers published here differ somewhat from their JPCS version (are enlarged).

New feature of the Forum, introduced recently, is the listing of associations and organizations involved in the promotion and assessment of superconductivity worldwide.  Unfortunately, another new feature is temporarily stalled due to (surmountable) technical difficulties.  As announced in Issue 3, (E6) we planned for convenience of our authors to offer a recommended Microsoft WORD template for texts appearing in the PDF format (sections CR, RN and ST). This task still remains on our agenda.

The frequently updated Announcements and Highlights complete this Issue.  We are happy to point out the most recent Highlight (H23) announcing a prestigious award to a new energy product involving high-temperature superconductivity.  This happy event should be most encouraging to all active in our field of endeavor.