The Fourth International Conference on Micromechanics of Granular Media (Powders & Grains 2001) was held at Hotel New World, Sendai, Japan, May 21-25, 2001. The participants were about 160 researchers from 18 countries. The conference was organized under the auspices of the Association pour l'Etude de la Micromecanique des Milieux Granulaires as the past three conferences held at Clermond-Ferrand, France (1989), Birmingham, England (1993) and Durham, USA (1997). The aim of this conference, the first meeting in the new century, was to communicate successive developments in the field of micromechanics of granular media.
Prior to the conference, the proceedings with a volume of 635 pages was published by A.A.Balkema Publishers. The contents were divided into the following 15 groups: packing geometry, cohesion and cracking, measurement system, wave propagation, quasi-static modeling, quasi-static behavior, submerged behavior, localized deformation, externally forced behavior, shear flow, vertical flow, surface flow, vibrated flow, mixed flow, viscous flow and crushing.
The conference was started with the welcome address by Prof. Yuji Kishino, the Chairman of Organizing Committee (Photo 1). The total number of oral-sessions (groups of 4 presentations) were 16, and 7 of them were preceded by keynote lectures. The keynote lecturers were Profs. R.P.Behringer, D.J.Benson, X.Jia, S.Ludig, C.Thornton, I.Vadoulakis, and S.Yuu. As no parallel oral-sessions were scheduled, all the attendees gathered together in one conference room and could discuss with each other from different standpoints (Photo 2). Official and unofficial poster-sessions were opened in the evenings of Monday through Thursday with beer bars and many participants enjoyed their enthusiastic discussions which sometimes continued to midnight (Photo 3). Wednesday evening was allocated for a session of video presentations, most of which were the voluntary presentations.
The excursion to Matsushima, one of the three best scenic points in Japan, took place on Wednesday afternoon (Photo 4). The participants enjoyed a cruise through a lot of tiny islands with pine trees as well as a visit to Zuigan-ji Temple, one of the Japanese national treasures. The banquet was held in the evening of Thursday (Photo 5). It was opened by breaking the lid of a big barrel of Japanese wine, which is a Japanese-style ceremony called "Kagamiwari" (Photo 6). As was pointed out by the Chairman of Organizing Committee in his closing address on Friday, there were many presentations given by young researchers. The future development of the micromechanics of granular media will be extensively supported by such people.
The Scientific Committee decided to hold the next conference, Powders and Grains 2005 (or Click here!), in Germany. It will be hosted by Prof. G. Gudehus, Univeristy of Kahrsruhe, and Prof. S. Luding, University of Stuttgart.