2019 Papers

Chair: Kaite Jones



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Papers are written and oral presentations are given introducing new ideas, work and research in the field of glass. There will be opportunity for questions after each paper. 


Keynote Address – Dr. Amy Robbins – “Interdisciplinary Experimentation: Collaborations in Glass”
Glass is a material rich with resonances across the arts and sciences. Art and science, however, are often narrated as distinct practices belonging to the domains of subjectivity and objectivity, respectively. Today, we are experiencing a growing interest in collaborations between artists and scientists and the development of an interdisciplinary field: “art-science.” While art-science collaborations seek to bridge the divide between the studio and the lab, discourse largely remains focused on how art serves as a vehicle for communicating scientific knowledge, rendering it more accessible to “the public.” Here, art and science remain divergent practices, with science positioned as the privileged form of knowledge production. Through consideration of contemporary glassmaking collaborations in Corning, where the influence between art and science flows in both directions, I suggest we re-tool our thinking of art and science from oppositions to be reconciled to creative practices with fluid boundaries that share a methodology of experimentation and a goal of fostering conditions for innovation.

Amy Robbins is a recent Ph.D. in anthropology from Binghamton University with an interest in how materials, aesthetics, and technoscience intersect and influence each other. Her dissertation, “Experimental Expertise: Glass at the Intersection of Art and Science,” explores the relationship between innovation and the materiality of glass through institutionally designed collaborative glassmaking projects in Corning, NY. In her spare time, Amy enjoys taking classes and renting time in the Corning Museum of Glass Studio hotshop.


9:15am – 9:45am

Benjamin Revis – Understanding the Gitton Water Clock
The ability to track time as it passes has been a desire from ages past.  Today we have the technological advancements and understanding allowing mankind to accurately divide our days into measurable increments.  Along the way through history and the desire to make improved horological devices, water was used in conjunction with gravity to track the passage of time.  In this paper we will look specifically at the function of Bernard Gittons’ famous water clock.  As I share my experience with recreating one of my own because: “Sometimes to gain a complete understanding of function, you have to build it yourself.”

Benjamin Revis graduated from Purdue University in 2002, Benjamin worked with John Pirolo at the Purdue University glass shop half-time learning techniques in scientific glassblowing. A job opportunity took Benjamin into the field of Nuclear Engineering for seven years before his current position at the University of Iowa. Benjamin has been at the University of Iowa and an active member of the American Scientific Glassblowers Society since 2011. Benjamin has served as the Midwest Director from 2013 to 2017 and the ASGS IT Chair from 2013 to the present, and is current President of the Society.

9:45am – 10:15am

Dr. Burkh
ant Suerfu
“Silica, Salt and Dark Matter”

Dark matter is a mysterious form of matter that comprises about three quarters of matter in our Universe, and its existence and nature is one of the most crucial questions of this century. It has been proposed that dark matter can be manifested through interaction with ordinary atoms and molecules in active ionizing radiation detectors, including thallium-doped sodium iodide (NaI(Tl)). However, since dark matter interactions are extremely rare, the radiation backgrounds in these active detectors must often be suppressed by orders of magnitudes through various shielding and improved radiopurity. Recently, we have succeeded in developing ultra-high purity NaI(Tl) single crystal detector. The use of special quartz glassware has been essential in this process. In this paper, we detail the processes used to grow the crystal and discuss the connection between quartz and the ultra-high purity crystal.

Burkhant Suerfu is a postdoctoral research associate at the Physics Department, Princeton University, where he develops and characterizes crystal detectors to search for dark matter, a mysterious form of matter that comprises about three quarters of all matter in the Universe. Suerfu studied mechanical and aerospace engineering at Tsinghua University, China, and later physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since 2014, he has been working on developing detectors for astroparticle and dark matter Princeton University, and obtained his Ph.D. in 2018 for developing crystal growth and detector fabrication technologies for ultra-low background dark matter searches. In addition to being an experimental physicist, Suerfu is also a machinist, electrical engineer and programmer. In his spare time, he enjoys making objects and devices that encapsulates both artistic design and scientific principles. 


10:15am – 11:00am

Dr. Jesse Kohl – The Importance of Exploratory Research and Serendipitous Discovery” 

Jesse Kohl began lampworking at the age of 14 under the tutelage of Paul Trautman Jr., the founder of Northstar Glassworks in Tigard, Oregon. He continued his study under the renowned lampworker and colorist Suellen Fowler and has subsequently assisted and co-taught numerous classes with her. These individuals left Kohl with an interest in glass that spanned both the artistic and scientific realms. While employed as the technical director of Northstar Glassworks, Kohl developed novel colored glasses and offered international seminarsoin the use and application of colored borosilicate glass. He has taught at The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass, Pittsburgh Glass Center, and the Erwin-Stein-Schule in Hadamar, Germany. Kohl has also been a presenter at the 2004 Glass Art Society conference in New Orleans, the 2005 International Society of Glass Beadmakers Gathering, and the 2008 American Scientific Glassblowers Society Symposium. During his undergraduate studies at Bard College, he conducted research on silver-containing glasses at Corning Incorporated’s Sullivan Park research and development facility. Kohl earned his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at Rutgers University, N.J., and currently works for Corning Incorporated.


11:00am – Noon – ASGS Annual Business Meeting


1:00pm – 1:30pm

James Hodgson – “From the Alchemical to the Mundane
f your glassware is located a one day jeep ride on a rugged trail, and a one day hike on foot beyond
that and there are no scientific glassblowers nearby, it is well to
consider the most robustly designed glassware possible. Glass is the perfect material for distilling and separating essential oils, but complex apparatus may not be the best choice when repairs or replacements aren’t readily available. The distillation of vetiver oil in Papua, Indonesia, required some reexamination of what was readily available to come up with solution both robust and practical.

James Hodgson graduated in 1982 from Kansas State University with a degree in Geophysics. He worked in oil exploration for over 10 years before pursuing a second career as a scientific glassblower. He graduated in 1995 from Salem County Community College with an Associate’s degree in Scientific Glassblowing. He worked for Aldrich Chemical before accepting a position at his alma mater in July 1996. He has been active in the American Scientific Glassblowers Society, serving as National Treasurer and President. He is currently the Senior Scientific Glassblower at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.


1:30pm – 2:00pm

Sally Prasch – “Silica and the Gravitational Wave”

A century after Albert Einstein predicted his general theory of relativity we have detected gravitational waves. In this presentation, I will be talking about how silica played an important part in the techniques that allowed the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) to achieve a length precision that is 10,000 times smaller than a proton. I will also be talking about the work I did for Dr. Steve Penn who significantly reduced the thermal noise in fused silica. Dr. Penn was among those involved with the LIGO research who were awarded a “Breakthrough Prize: Scientists Changing the World” medal lauding the landmark research.

Sally Prasch apprenticed in Scientific Glassblowing 1970–75 with Lloyd Moore and holds a BFA-University of Kansas, Applied Science and Scientific Technology from Salem Community College. She has served the ASGS with the Hudson Mohawk Valley Section, the Northeast Section and National. She has also served on several Standing Committees and Regular Committees of the Society. Sally has been a part of planning four Symposiums and has presented a number of papers, and posters. She has worked for the University of Nebraska, AT&T / Bell Labs, University of Vermont and presently at Syracuse University and the University of Massachusetts. Sally also runs her glass art studio (Prasch Glass), exhibiting her work and teaching the art and science of glass throughout the world. 


2:00pm – 2:30pm

Dr. James Nole – “Enhanced Transmission, Wide Bandwidth RAR Nano-Textured Windows For Adsorption Resistant Gas Cells”

Wavelength reference gas or vapor cells are utilized in a variety of applications where the wavelength of light needs to be accurately determined.  Applications for reference vapor cells include tunable laser calibration, laser frequency stabilization, and wavelength meter calibration.  Custom configured gas cells are also utilized for next generation high energy lasers such as diode pumped alkali lasers (DPAL) and for polarization of alkali-metal vapors in the presence of noble gases using spin exchange optical pumping (SEOP).

Pyrex and fused silica glass vapor cells are typically assembled using stock cylindrical tubes with flat windows fused onto each end.  Once the tube is fabricated, a vacuum is pulled on the tube chamber through a side port; then the tube is back filled with specified high purity gas and the port is permanently sealed. In order to eliminate reflections into and out of the cells, an anti-reflection treatment is needed on the two external end windows. Conventional thin-film coatings do not provide adequate reflection suppression and operational bandwidth, and exhibit a tendency to become fouled by deposits resulting from chemical reactions within the cell. A new solution for AR treated cells is to replace the coatings with a nanostructure etched directly into the window material. These Randomly-distributed Anti-Reflection (RAR) surface relief nano-textures provide unprecedented low-levels of reflection and extreme broad-band transmission. In addition, the RAR nanotextures exhibit the same chemical resistance as the substrate material, and have been shown to be naturally resistant to alkali chemical attack.

James Nole has been working as Director of Business Development at TelAztec since June of 2004.  His work at TelAztec has focused on penetrating a variety of markets and applications introducing TelAztec’s anti-reflection (AR) nano-textured surfaces, including Motheye and Random type surface relief nano-textures, to be used as an alternative to thin film coatings. He has successfully helped commercialize TelAztec anti-reflection products into a variety of UV, visible, and IR based applications including the high laser damage threshold laser optics market.  In addition, he has recently begun penetrating a variety of markets/applications introducing TelAztec’s nano-structured based optical filtering technology that can again be used as an alternative to thin film filters.   Prior to joining TelAztec, he was one of the founding members of Holographic Lithography Systems, Inc. (HLS) that developed ultra high resolution (80nm CD), fully automated interference lithography based systems.  At HLS, Mr. Nole was V.P. of Worldwide Sales and Marketing from 1995-2003 and was responsible for sales of IL based lithography tool systems and contract patterning services.  He successfully introduced a variety of applications to this technology (telecomm, flat panel display, IR optics, biomed) and completed multi-million dollar system sales to several Fortune 500 telecommunications companies.  Mr. Nole coordinated the sale of HLS in 2000 for $50M.


2:30pm – 3:00pm

Klaus Paris  “Robots, Lasers, 3-D-Print – What is the Future of Scientific Glassblowing?”

Thirty five years ago Scientific glassblowing was still very much a traditional craft. Today, in 2019, scientific glassblowers are confronted with creating new apparatus and new ways of creating with glass for the ever changing world of science. Klaus will give an overview about what is possible today and invites everybody to bring in                their own vision of the future of scientific glassblowing.

Klaus Paris is a 2nd generation scientific glassblower starting his career  in 1982 and holds a master craftsman’s diploma as well as a 2 year diploma in Glass Engineering Technology. He previously worked at Heraeus Quarzglas, the Max-Planck-Institut and is currently working at Glasblaeserei Paris and KIT Karlsruhe, one of Europe’s largest research facilities. During his career he has served as a consultant for different international companies updating production lines. Paris, also trains chemists in scientific glassblowing at KIT Karlsruhe and has been a presenter at different international Symposia including with the ASGS.  Though he primarily works with quartz and borosilicate, he has extensive experience with softglass as well. Klaus is a longtime active member of the German Glassblower Society and a former member of their Board of Directors.