Sunday, 4 June 2017

VPHA status update 4.6.2017 - Millennium Prize, Lindfors, HERALD Riga, VPHA's future

The status update copied below was sent to 76 current and 47 prospective VPHA contributors. 

From: Puurunen Riikka
Sent: 04 June 2017 09:10
Subject: VPHA status update June 2017 - Millennium Prize support, Lindfors in memoriam, HERALD Riga, future of VPHA

Dear current and prospective VPHA contributors,

This is the second update of the Virtual Project on the History of ALD (VPHA) in year 2017. The previous VPHA status update was set on March 22, 2017, link here.

This update shares information on the following topics:

  1. Millennium Technology Prize 2018 nomination - supporting letters welcome
  2. Mr. Sven Lindfors in memoriam
  3. Other posts
  4. Future activities in VPHA

Espoo, June 4, 2017
Riikka Puurunen, voluntary coordinator of VPHA
Riikka Puurunen, Associate professor, Catalysis Science and Technology
Aalto University, School of Chemical Engineering, Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering
Visiting address: Kemistintie 1, 02150 Espoo, Finland, room: E412
Mail address: P.O. Box 16100, FI-00076, AALTO, Finland
Tel: <>, email: <>, LinkedIn, @rlpuu

1. Millennium Technology Prize 2018 nomination - supporting letters welcome

Do you think that ALD is worth the Millennium Technology Prize? I do. And I have promised to make a nomination to Technology Academy Finland, in the name of my university, for ALD and Suntola as its sole living inventor. Supporting letters for the nomination would make the suggestion stronger and are most welcome from all over the world.

I wrote one post in the ALD History Blog about the nomination and its criteria: The general principles of the Millennium Technology Prize, as copied from the page, are:
  • Awarded to groundbreaking technological innovations that enhance the quality of people's lives in a sustainable manner.
  • The innovations have been applied in practice and are delivering extensive change now and in the future.
  • The innovations stimulate further cutting edge research and development in science and technology.

For writing support letters, I wrote another post in ALD History Blog: Copying from there, my wish is that the support letters would describe in a few sentences the following: Where is - to your exact knowledge - ALD applied in practice? I am not requesting anyone to reveal business secrets, but the more concrete the information, the better and more convincing it will be. Who benefits from ALD? How have you observed in practice that ALD enhances the quality of people's lives? (The effect will be indirect, as for many innovations, but it can still be put in words.) How can one describe the extensive change delivered by ALD?

Support letters are wished especially by professors at different universities, companies benefiting from ALD, and other individuals who have observed ALD in the world for a longer period of time (say, at least ten years) and who therefore are able to judge the impact from perspective.

One can either provide a supporting letter for the nomination by (i) delivering it directly to Technology Academy Finland through their website, DL July 31, 2017; or, (ii) by sending it to me and I will upload it to the website. In the latter case, please provide me your supporting letter latest on July 28, 2017 (on paper or by email to my Aalto university address,  

I will be spreading information of the coming nomination in personal encounters and at conferences. Feel free to forward the information to your colleagues who might potentially want to support the nomination. You can direct such potential supporters to ask me for more information.

2. Mr. Sven Lindfors in memoriam

A pioneer of building ALD reactors, Mr. Sven Lindfors, passed away April 15, 2017.

Many of us in Finland and abroad miss this great personality and are grateful to his contributions in ALD. For example, without Sven, "Svenkka", the world not have the F-120 research reactors with which a lot of fundamental basic research on ALD has been made. Many of these reactors are still use on a daily basis in several leading research institutes such as Aalto University and University of Helsinki. Also, the world would not have Picosun, the company that Lindfors founded and for which he made the basic reactor design which forms the core of the technology today.  

In Helsingin Sanomat, an obituary was published by Suntola and co-workers on May 14, link here. This obituary was followed by a post in ALD History Blog soon after: Sven Lindfors was buried on June 2, 2017 in Espoon siunauskappeli in a ceremony attended by family, friends and ALD colleagues from different decades. In Tuomo Suntola's words (translated from Finnish): "the work of Sven Lindfors will remain in the Finnish technology history".  

As homage to Sven Lindfors, I dedicated my presentation to his memory at the HERALD event in Riika (Riga) on May 22. Slides in SlideShare and a video record in Panopto.

3. Other posts in ALD History Blog

I wrote a separate blog post discussing a moment at the ALD 2004 conference, which apparently has stayed in many people's minds. The post is entitled: "Where were you when I asked that question?". You can join the discussion in LinkedIn ALD History group, .

Additionally, I wrote a short travel report from the HERALD event in Riika: As I calculated it, there were about 25 persons present at the event.

4. Future of VPHA

In the last months, the VPHA reading has not progressed much, which is logical as there have not been central coordination activities on-going. Voluntary reading is welcome of course all the time, and so are new volunteers. Whether or not one more coordinated reading round would be needed, will be good to discuss at some point. Maybe we can come back to this after the ALD conferences (EuroCVD-BalticALD and ALD 2017), and when the Millennium Technology Prize nomination is behind the back, too.

One open question still is whether a dedicated ALD history review would be needed and what should be its contents. In the previous update, I raised the possibility of updating the "mammoth ALD table" together with the history review, and asked for feedback on this idea. As there have been little reactions on this question, I find it probably best to let the idea go. Updating the mammoth table and an ALD history review are of course two separate questions, and for the best result, it will be best to keep these two activities separate.

So, we are left with the (optional) idea of writing a dedicated review on ALD, which would give a balanced summary of the two branches on ALD. The review would in a way merge the information obtained in the three article outcomes of VPHA: the ALE essay, the ML essay and the JVSTA review and build upon them. On the basis what I have seen in recent ALD events, I am convinced that such a balanced review is still much needed.

As I will until the end of July concentrate my history-related efforts to making the Millennium Technology Prize nomination, I will need to come back to the idea of writing a review article after that. Expect that to be some time in September  2017.

Virtual Project on the History of ALD (VPHA) - in atmosphere of Openness, Respect, and Trust

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