A Brief History of The Combustion Institute

The history leading to the establishment of The Combustion Institute reaches back to the early times of automotive engines, fuels, and aviation. With technological advances, engineering problems, and the need for fundamental understanding of combustion processes, scientists and practitioners in combustion-related fields gathered in 1928 for an initial conference. Affiliated with the American Chemical Society, the first combustion symposium convened in Swampscott, MA, United States. In this scientific venue participants shared ideas and experiences on the development and applications of combustion science.

A sequence of national and international combustion symposia held in the United States established links to an active international combustion community. During the International Symposium held in 1954 at the University of Pittsburgh, Bernard Lewis, Hoyt Hottel, and a number of other committed combustion scientists announced the incorporation of The Combustion Institute as a scientific society. The membership elected the first Board of Directors. Officers were selected, and the first business meeting was conducted to determine the scope and mission of the new institute.

Since its founding in 1954, The Combustion Institute has made a profound impact on the advancement of combustion science. Thirty-five CI Sections dedicated to combustion science in countries around the world have been established under the umbrella of The Combustion Institute. Our international community of combustion scientists and practitioners is dedicated to combustion research as an imperative field of study that cuts across many scientific and engineering disciplines.

As a non-profit, scientific and engineering society, The Combustion Institute promotes research activities in all areas of combustion science. Dissemination of research findings and education initiatives are conducted through the biennial International Symposium on Combustion, regional and national conferences and meetings, the Combustion Institute-Summer Schools, and through the publication of CI’s journals, Combustion and Flame and Proceedings of The Combustion Institute. Affiliated journals include, Progress in Energy and Combustion Science, Combustion Science and Technologyand Combustion Theory and Modeling.

The success of the biennial symposia is at the heart of CI’s special character. These scientific venues fuel the presentation of the highest quality research. Each symposium includes plenary and topical lectures, oral presentations selected with critical peer review from more than 1,300 full paper submissions and more than 500 work in progress posters (WiPP) from combustion scientists, students, and practitioners around the world. Participants are encouraged to pursue excellence in research, openness in presentations, and supportive criticism in evaluations as applied to the work of colleagues.

Over the decades, The Combustion Institute has grown in membership, scope of support for high-quality research, and stature. CI and its members have played a pivotal role in the advancement of the various scientific and technical disciplines that constitute the broad arena of combustion science. Our international community is proud of our history and dedicated to the betterment of humankind.

A Brief History of Symposia

 Timeline of the biennial International Symposia on Combustion.

1928: First symposium, affiliated with the American Chemical Society, United States

1937: Symposium first organized by Bernard Lewis, affiliated with the American Chemical Society, United States

1948: First international symposium. University of Wisconsin, United States

1952: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States

1954: Incorporation of The Combustion Institute announced. Board of Directors and officers elected. First business meeting. University of Pittsburgh, United States

1956: Symposium first organized by The Combustion Institute. Yale University, United States

1958: Symposium first conducted outside of the United States. First Bernard Lewis Gold Medal presented. First Alfred Egerton Gold Medal presented. First Silver Combustion Medal presented. Oxford University, United Kingdom

1960: Symposium dedicated to Sir Alfred Egerton (1886-1959). California Institute of Technology (Caltech), United States

1962: Cornell University, United States

1964: Symposium dedicated to Bernard Lewis. University of Cambridge, United States

1966: Retirement of Bernard Lewis as president of The Combustion Institute announced. University of California, Berkeley, United States

1968: University of Poitiers presented The Combustion Institute with the Flame to burn at each symposium. University of Poitiers, France

1970: Science of combustion vs. environmental pollution introduced. University of Utah, United States

1972: Pennsylvania State University, United States

1974: Toshi Center Hall, Japan

1976: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States

1978: 50th anniversary of first symposium. University of Leeds, United Kingdom

1980: First Work in Progress Poster (WiPP) sessions introduced. University of Waterloo, Canada

1982: Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Israel

1984: 30th anniversary of The Combustion Institute. University of Michigan, United States

1986: Technical University of Munich, West Germany

1988: Reading room introduced for accepted papers. University of Washington, United States

1990: First Ya. B. Zeldovich Gold Medal presented. University of Orléans, France

1992: University of Sydney, Australia

1994: Symposium dedicated to Bernard Lewis (1899-1993) and Bernard Lewis Endowment Fund established. University of California, Irvine, United States

1996: University of Naples Federico II, Italy

1998: Symposium dedicated to Hoyt Hottel (1903-1998), co-founder of The Combustion Institute. Rebuttal process for papers initiated. University of Colorado Boulder, United States

2000: First Bernard Lewis Fellowship recipients announced. University of Edinburgh, Scotland

2002: Special technical session devoted to fire and explosive safety. Hokkaido University, Japan

2004: 50th anniversary of the founding of The Combustion Institute. First international president elected. University of Illinois at Chicago, United States

2006: University of Heidelberg, Germany

2008: The Flame gifted from the University of Poitiers, France retired from use. McGill University, Canada

2010: Tsinghua University, China

2012: Warsaw University of Technology, Poland

2014: Hyatt Regency Embarcadero of San Francisco, United States

2016: First Jürgen Warnatz Gold Medal presented.  First Hiroshi Tsuji Early Career Researcher Award presented. Coex Convention & Exhibition Center, Republic of Korea