ICARST 2022: Applying Radiation Science and Technology in Everyday Life

PeopleOther ♦ Published: August 22, 2022; 22:28 ♦ (Vindobona)

The International Conference on Radiation Science and Technology (ICARST) organized by the IAEA will be held this week in Vienna. Determining the presence of microplastics in environmental samples, removing pesticides from agricultural soil and studying how to grow tomatoes in outer space are all possible thanks to radiation techniques and will be discussed.

The ICARST conference will be held at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria, from 22 to 26 August. / Picture: © IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency

Radiation science and technology are used in everyday life. By detecting and even eliminating pollutants from water, air, and soil, radiation applications can help protect the environment. By developing new crop varieties and destroying dangerous pathogens in food, they can also help increase food security. In addition, radiation can sterilize medical equipment, enhance the strength of materials, protect cultural heritage objects from insects and mould, and detect and cure diseases including cancer.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi opened the conference with the promise “We are trying to make science an instrument for real change!” According to Grossi in the conference not only pure science can be fostered and celebrated, but also the focus on practical applications. As he noted, many countries are increasingly using nuclear and radiation techniques to treat cancer, recycle plastic, and combat zoonotic diseases.

IAEA held its first International Conference on Radiation Science and Technology in 2017, which explored key scientific and technological advancements, fostered multidisciplinary collaboration, and stimulated new initiatives to encourage the application of radiation techniques across a range of sectors.

The conference, held at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria, from 22 to 26 August 2022, brings together around 800 radiation scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs and policymakers from 90 countries to discuss the many uses of radiation in fields as diverse as industry, engineering, medicine and agriculture.

A series of plenary sessions, presentations, and panel discussions on how radiation technologies can contribute to addressing pressing global challenges will take place during ICARST this year. Leading scientists, engineers, and industry professionals will share their ideas throughout the week.

Through the provision of knowledge, expertise, technology, and training, the IAEA assists countries in taking full advantage of radiation's many uses. To contribute to a sustainable future, the IAEA encourages partnerships between academia, industry, business and policymakers through ICARST.

This year's special panel discussion will focus on gender equality in radiation science and technology, in addition to the technical sessions. Selected successful scientific works will be recognized with the Young Investigator Award to support students and young professionals.

According to Najat Mokhtar, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, the IAEA encourages greater participation from young people, women and those from developing countries in the nuclear field. Mokhtar said, “through our award, we're recognizing the achievements and efforts of young investigators and acknowledging the value they contribute to sustainable development.”

International Atomic Energy Agency