BELVAC, the Belgian Vacuum Society was founded on May 16, 1963 by merging two other teams: the section on Vacuum Technique of the “Société Royale Belge des Ingénieurs et des Industriels, asbl“, founded in 1954, and the contact group “Nuclear Sciences and Low Pressures” of the “Institut Interuniversitaire des Sciences Nucléaires“, founded in 1955.
Belgium has been a key player in the field of vacuum science since the early days. The first International Congress on Vacuum Technology, organized in connection with the 1958 Brussels World Fair, by the Belgian group “Vacuum Techniques Section” of the “Société Royale Belge des Ingénieurs et des Industriels” on 10-13 June 1958 in Namur (Belgium), is indeed generally accepted as the founding event that ultimately led in 1962 to the formation of the International Union for Vacuum Science, Technique and Applications (IUVSTA).
Anniversaries of the foundation of BELVAC were often celebrated in the context of international meetings. Examples are the 40th anniversary of BELVAC was celebrated in 2003 during a meeting co-organized with the Société Française du Vide (Nouvelles Tendances en Procédés Magnetron et Arc pour le Dépôt de Couches Minces) in Gent (see picture). The 50th anniversary of BELVAC was celebrated in 2013 in the context of an international scientific meeting at the University of Antwerp in the presence of Prof. Jean-Jacques Pireaux, Belgian Président of IUVSTA for the 2010-2013 Trienium.
Photographs taken during the celebration of the 40th anniversary of BELVAC (Gent, November 24th, 2003). Photograph left: From left-to-right: Mrs. Dupont, Mr. Dupont, Mr. De Gryse, Photograph middle : From left-to-right : Mr. Depla , Mrs. Van Nevel, Mr. Thys, Mr. Vanden Berghe, Photograph Left, From left-to-right : Mr. De Gryse, Mr. Reniers
The activities of BELVAC mainly include the organization and the support of scientific meeting in Belgium or in a partner country. These meetings have sometimes been organized together with either the French or the Dutch Vacuum Societies. During a certain period of time, there was a close co-operation for the regular organization of an annual joint meeting both with NEVAC, Nederlandse Vacuum Vereniging, (Netherlands) and with the SFV, Société Française du Vide, (France). IUVSTA related meeting such as ECOSS-5 (Gent, 24-27 Aug 1982), ICTF-14 (Gent, 2008), IVC-19 (Paris, 2013)have been (co-)organized by BELVAC. BELVAC has also hosted several executive council meetings of the IUVSTA ECM 1 (Brussels, 8 Dec 1962), ECM 4 (Brussels, 3-4 Dec 1964), ECM 85 (Namur, March 2000), ECM 111 (Namur, 11-13 March 2011), ECM139 (Brussels January 2023).
The participation of BELVAC to such events is very important in term of visibility of the society. This is also why BELVAC has for example acted as the main organizer of the participation of Belgium as partner country for the 2018 issue of the Plasma Surface Engineering Conference (PSE), or has also decided to enhance the promotion of Vacuum technologies towards the Belgian industries by participating to industrial fairs such as Eurofinish 2017 (Leuven, Belgium).
In addition to the support and participation to scientific events, BELVAC also publish each trimester a technical review journal, BELVAC News which is sent to all BELVAC members. Its publication started in December 1985 (see figure). In addition to regular scientific papers, this journal advertise events related to vacuum and allows the BELVAC members to be informed on the life of the society.
The first BELVAC News was published in May 1985. As Belgium is a bilingual country two separate copies were published, one in Dutch (left), and one in French (middle). Now BELVAC News is published in English (right).
In order to complete the information, the BELVAC website is on-line since 2008.
- Original (1986) by J. Dupont
- Updated (2001) by R. Vanden Berghe
- Updated (2018) by D. Depla, R. De Gryse and R. Snyders
- Modified (2023) by D. Depla