This page contains the latest news from ESAS. For general superconductivity news please use the link to the Global Superconductivity News Forum at left.

Peter Komarek (1941-2016)

Peter Komarek speaking at his retirement ceremony, 2006

Peter Komarek speaking at his retirement ceremony, 2006

Peter Komarek, one of well-known European leaders in the field of applied superconductivity, was born in Vienna, Austria, on November 1st, 1941 and passed away on November 23rd, 2016 at the age of 75.

In 1965 he got his engineering diploma from the Technical University in Vienna and one year later he earned a PhD in Technical Physics at the same university. From 1967 until 1973 Peter worked at the Institute for Technical Physics at the Nuclear Research Centre (KFA) in Jülich, Germany and was soon promoted to a division head. In 1973, he joined the Nuclear Research Centre in Karlsruhe (FZK), Germany, as Head of the Division of Cryo-energy Technology. His main research topic at this time was the magnetic energy storage.

In 1974, Peter earned his Habilitation (venia legendi equivalent of D.Sc.) at the University of Graz, Austria, and in the same year he started his first course on superconducting magnets in energy technology. The Austrian Ministry of Science and Research appointed Peter in 1979 as honorary professor and in the same year he was promoted to Deputy Director of the FZK Institute of Technical Physics (ITEP), heading the superconductivity division.

Peter’s extraordinary management skills were soon recognized and he was appointed in 1981 to the FZK Scientific and Technical Board. In 1986, Peter Komarek was officially appointed as the Director of the FZK ITEP and he earned another honorary professorship at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Science at the University Karlsruhe, Germany.

During his work at ITEP, Peter initiated and supported many ground breaking activities in the field of applied superconductivity for high current applications. Among them were the successful tests in the TOSKA facility of the EURATOM LCT coil, the POLO coil, the ITER and the W7X prototype coils, the development of HTS high current leads for Fusion, the development of high field NMR coils and first SMES (Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage) demonstrators. Immediately after the discovery of high temperature superconductivity (HTS), he supported applied materials research in his institute and HTS energy applications such as fault current limiters.

Peter devoted substantial time to serve the research community in fusion and cryogenics. He was also active in IEEE, serving for many years as Head of the Europe Technical Committee, IEEE Council on Superconductivity (IEEE CSC). Furthermore, he served many years as Editor of the journals “Cryogenics” and “Fusion Engineering and Design” and was president of the IEA (International Energy Agency) Agreement on the Assessment of High-temperature Superconductivity. As director of ITEP he became in 20XX member of the Board of the European Society of Applied Superconductivity (ESAS), for which he served as President from 2003 to 2007. For his outstanding achievements in applied superconductivity Peter received many awards, among them the Heinrich Hertz Prize of the Baden-Württemberg Energy Foundation, the Mendelssohn Award of the International Cryogenic Engineering Committee and the Austrian Wilhelm Exner Medal. In 2001, he became also the third awardee worldwide of the IEEE Award for Continuing and Significant Contributions in the Field of Applied Superconductivity, Large Scale Applications.

In his private life Peter devoted time to his loving family, played soccer and tennis in summer and enjoyed winter skiing in the Austrian Alps. Very sadly, his two children passed away before him. Although gravely ill for several years, Peter never lost his positive attitude and was attempting to follow the progress in his institute and research field. He is survived by his wife Gertrud.

New Editor of CSC/ESAS News Forum

The European Society for Applied Superconductivity (ESAS) and the IEEE Council on Superconductivity (CSC) would like to announce that the Superconductivity News Forum (SNF) Editor-in-Chief position will pass from Alex Braginski to Horst Rogalla, as of the March 31st, 2016.


The societies gratefully thank Alex for pioneering the concept of the SNF, laying its strong foundation, and building it up to its recent expansion to cover most continents. CSC, ESAS, and the world superconductivity community are extremely thankful to Alex for his highly valued contributions and for teaching by example the importance and benefits of excellence and benevolent dedication in the service of science. Alex has kindly agreed to remain as Co-Editor of Electronics until a successor is found for that specific role. In future announcements Horst will be sharing his vision for the future of SNF, built upon the solid foundation that Alex laid out. In the meantime, the transition will occur in a manner that maintains the continuity of the forum.

ESAS Board Election Results

During the EUCAS 2015 meeting in Lyon, France, the following people were elected to six year terms on the ESAS board finishing in 2021.


  • F. Gömöry Institute of Electrical Engineering, Bratislava, Slovak Republic
  • X. Obradors Institut de Ciencia de Materials, Barcelona, Spain


  • G.P. Pepe University of Naples Federico II, Italy
  • M. Siegel University of Karlsruhe, KIT, Germany

Large Scale

  • V. Vysotsky Russian Scientific R&D Cable Institute
  • A. Morandi University of Bologna, Italy

ESAS Award for Excellence Winner

Image of the award winner Dr Goldacker

Dr Wilfried Goldacker
Institute of Technical Physics
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

The ESAS board is pleased to announce that the inaugural ESAS Award for Excellence in Applied Superconductivity was presented to Dr Wilfried Goldacker of KIT at EUCAS 2015 in Lyon. This award aims to “recognise excellence in advancing knowledge of applied superconductivity over the past five years”.

The ESAS Awards Committee determined the winner by evaluating the candidate’s contributions to the field of applied superconductivity. In particular they assessed over the past five years (i) the quality of the candidate’s research, (ii) international recognition gained for the candidate’s work and (iii) the candidate’s impact on the field over the past five years.

You may download the formal announcement here.

ESAS Award for Excellence Nominations

The European Society for Applied Superconductivity (ESAS) seeks nominations for the ESAS AWARD 2015, which will be awarded at the European Conference on Applied Superconductivity (EUCAS) 2015 in Lyon, subject to the nomination of an appropriate candidate, to an individual without age restriction to “recognise excellence in advancing the knowledge of applied superconductivity over the past five years”. The award will be announced in the regular ESAS (European Society for Applied Superconductivity) communications and will be presented to the award winner during EUCAS 2015 in Lyon.

For more information please refer to the further details. The deadline for nominations is Sunday, May 31, 2015

EUCAS Session in Memory of John Clem

At the EUCAS conference a session was dedicated to the memory of John Clem who recently passed away. Prof. Harald Weber made the opening remarks below:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The local Organizing Committee and the International Advisory Committee of EUCAS 2013 decided to dedicate the Session "Pinning and Flux Dynamics I" to the memory of Professor John Clem, who passed away on the 2nd of August 2013, just about 6 weeks ago.

Let me briefly summarize John’s career trying to indicate the incredible loss for the whole superconductor community. John was born in 1938 in Waukegan, a small town in Illinois. After school he got several scholarships at the University of Illinois, where he received his BSc in Engineering Physics in 1960, followed by his MSc in Physics in 1962 and earned his PhD focusing on the theory of superconductivity under John Bardeen in 1965. After two years of postdoctoral positions at the University of Maryland and the Technical University of Munich he joined the Physics Department of the Iowa State University and the Ames Laboratory in 1967, where he spent the rest of his scientific career. He became Full Professor at ISU and Senior Physicist at the Ames Lab in 1975 and was Chairman of the Physics Department from 1982 to 85. He spent several sabbaticals in the US at IBM Yorktown Heights, Stanford or EPRI in Palo Alto, was named "Distinguished Professor" at ISU, was a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Physics in London and, at the ASC 2012 in Portland he received the IEEE Award for "Continuing and Significant Contributions in the Field of Applied Superconductivity", especially for his theoretical insight into the nature of vortices in 2D superconductors, which he called "pancake vortices".

John, who had married his high school sweetheart Judy right after college graduation, immediately turned Ames into a much visited center for scientists from all over the world (including myself), who were interested in vortex physics and the properties of the flux line lattice, flux pinning, flux cutting and vortex dynamics. But it was not only the science at ISU that attracted us, it was also the warm atmosphere created by John and Judy at their home and at barbecues during the hot and humid evenings of typical Iowa summer days. We were sometimes lucky in persuading John to sing for us in his beautiful baritone. He performed regularly at special events in the Church or at ISU’s Musica Antiqua. We all got to know their children, Paul and Jean and followed their development with great pleasure. Paul became a well known physicist himself. With the advent of high temperature superconductivity, John played a leading role worldwide, as the heart and editor of the famous "High-Tc Update" and as the author of fundamental papers on the subject. He was certainly the most sought-after invited or plenary speaker, both at small workshops and at huge international conferences – and each of his lectures was certainly to the point and enlightening!

As fate unfortunately hit the Clem family in 2001 and Judy became completely paralyzed after more or less successful brain tumor surgery John took early retirement, in order to be there at home and to take care of his beloved wife. However, already in 2009 he too received bad news as he was diagnosed with "mesothelioma", a kind of lung cancer, which he thought he may have contracted as a youngster working with asbestos during the school holidays. He lost this battle about 6 weeks ago.

John, we’ll miss you and we’ll certainly remember you with the greatest respect for your science and with great love for your warm and charming personality.

Harald W. Weber, Genova 18th September 2013

ESAS Board Elections

At the ESAS general assembly held in Genoa on the 19th September during EUCAS 2013 the results of the 2013 Board elections were announced. Three Board positions were avaliable and there were five candidates. Over 200 ESAS members participated in the election.

Those elected for a new six year term, ending in 2019 were:

  • Matthias Noe, KIT
  • David Cardwell, University of Cambridge
  • Teresa Puig, ICMAB

2013 ESAS Prizes

The winners of the 2013 ESAS Prizes were announced at the EUCAS conference in Genoa