A major way that the Society meets its goal of facilitating the exchange of information concerning the science and technology of energetic materials is through the sanctioning of seminars and workshops. Organizations seeking to host IPS-sanctioned events are invited to submit proposals as specified by the Society’s Constitution and Bylaws.

We’ve come a long way since 1968!

The International Pyrotechnics Society Seminars continue to be unique and valued events for those engaged in the science, technology, and management of energetic materials. Today, the seminars are unparalleled in the extent of the topics that are covered, which include all aspects of pyrotechnics, explosives, and propellants. The seminars provide attendees the opportunity to meet with a diverse group of specialists from around the world. Traditionally, time has also been included for social activities. This strengthens the cohesiveness of the energetic materials community and has led to long-lasting collaborations, working relationships, and friendships between participants.

The first seminar took place in Estes Park, Colorado during the summer of 1968. It was organized by Robert (Bob) M. Blunt of the Denver Research Institute (DRI). In the preface of the proceedings, this gathering was referred to as the “First Military Pyrotechnics Seminar.” Although it was hosted by DRI, it was also enthusiastically supported by the Concepts Development Division, Research and Development Department, U.S. Naval Ammunition Depot in Crane, Indiana (which is now called NSWC Crane). Dr. Bernard E. Douda, then just 16 years into his 60 year career at Crane, was instrumental in promoting the seminar.

First IPS Photo JPG Cropped Resized

The photo key identifies the participants. High resolution versions of this photograph and the key are available in the Members Only area.

First IPS Photo Key JPG

Given the success of this first seminar, additional ones were organized throughout the 1970s.
In 1976, Bob Blunt explained the origin of the seminars and those responsible for the initial idea:

“This seminar is the child—or perhaps the grandchild—of an idea that was discussed at length in 1967 by Jim Kottenstette, Ralph Williams, Bill Cronk, Bernie Douda and me. The idea as it was debated among us was concerned with the need for formal course work to provide an educational grounding in Ordnance Science and Engineering similar to the existing courses in other engineering fields of specialization. Unfortunately, this idea never came to be a reality, but it did form the kernel around which the first Seminar in Estes Park was built, with great help and encouragement from Bill Cronk and Bernie Douda.”

Bob Blunt, Chairman of the 5th IPS Seminar,
An excerpt from the preface of the proceedings.

In the early 1980s it was decided to increase the frequency of the seminars by holding some outside of the United States. The Society initially achieved this by sanctioning the events of other organizations. The first combined event took place in 1985 when the 10th IPS Seminar was held in conjunction with the 16th International Annual Conference of the Fraunhofer ICT in Karlsruhe, Germany. Since then, IPS has sanctioned numerous seminars in countries other than the U.S. These include France (6 times), Germany (2 times), China (2 times), and one seminar in each of the following countries: Spain, Netherlands, Australia, Japan, Russia, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In France, the International GTPS Seminar has occurred in conjunction; since 1999 the combined events have been referred to as the “EuroPyro” series.

The seminars held in the U.S. have occurred in even years and those held elsewhere have often occurred in odd years. The U.S. seminars have almost exclusively occurred in Colorado, with only one exception—the 24th in Monterey, California.

The origins of the International Pyrotechnics Society as we know it today are intertwined with events that occurred at the early U.S. seminars. The U.S. seminars were chaired by Bob Blunt and hosted by DRI from 1968-1978. These responsibilities were transferred to Dr. Allen J. Tulis of IIT Research Institute (Chicago, Illinois) before the 7th seminar in 1980. The 1980 seminar was also distinguished by the formation of a formalized steering committee, which included five members: Tulis, Blunt, Dr. David H. Anderson (Sandia National Laboratories), Dr. David R. Dillehay (Thiokol), and Dr. Bernard E. Douda (NSWC, Crane). These five had also founded the International Pyrotechnics Society shortly before, and were the Society’s first officers and the initial members of the board of directors.

The composition of the steering committee and that of the IPS board of directors gradually diverged. Blunt remained the steering committee’s chairman emeritus until his death in 1995 and subsequently the 22nd IPS Seminar was dedicated to him. The steering committee was incorporated in 1999 and later renamed IPSUSA Seminars, Inc., which continues to host the U.S. seminars to this day. The year 2000 brought change with Dr. James E. Kennedy (Los Alamos National Laboratory) chairing the 27th seminar. Dr. Bernard E. Douda subsequently served as a co-chair of the U.S. seminars until his retirement. Dr. David R. Dillehay, one of the founding officers of IPS and a long-serving member of the IPSUSA Seminars, Inc. board of directors, passed away shortly before the 42nd IPS Seminar, which was dedicated to him.

In recent years, the co-chairs of the U.S. seminars have changed on a regular basis and this practice ensures that the series will maintain the dynamism it has become known for. Today, the International Pyrotechnics Society and IPSUSA Seminars, Inc. are distinct entities. Even though there have been many changes over the years, the main objective has remained essentially the same. Both organizations are committed to sanctioning and hosting successful IPS Seminars for many years to come.

Every IPS Seminar has been accompanied by a book of proceedings, which contain a wealth of information of interest to the energetic materials community.

Additionally, since 2004, the Workshop on Pyrotechnic Combustion Mechanisms has occassionally occurred as a separate event in conjunction with IPS Seminars. This one day workshop has featured extended presentations by invited specialists.

The International Pyrotechnics Society Seminars

1    Estes Park, Colorado USA, August 13-16, 1968
2    Aspen, Colorado USA, July 20-24, 1970
3    Colorado Springs, Colorado USA, August 21-25, 1972
4    Steamboat Springs, Colorado USA, July 22-26, 1974
5    Vail, Colorado USA, July 12-16, 1976
6    Estes Park, Colorado USA, July 17-21, 1978
7    Vail, Colorado USA, July 14-18, 1980
8    Steamboat Springs, Colorado USA, July 12-16, 1982
9    Colorado Springs, Colorado USA, August 6-10, 1984
10  [with 16th Int. Ann. Conf. Fraunhofer ICT] Karlsruhe GERMANY, July 2-5, 1985
11  Vail, Colorado USA, July 7-11, 1986
12  [with 3rd Int. GTPS Seminar] Jaun-Les-Pins FRANCE, June 8-12, 1987
13  Grand Junction, Colorado USA, July 11-15, 1988
14  Jersey, Channel Islands UK, September 18-22, 1989
15  Boulder, Colorado USA, July 9-13, 1990
16  Jönköping SWEDEN, June 24-28, 1991
17  [with 2nd Beijing Int. Sym. Pyro. Explos.] Beijing CHINA, October 28-31, 1991
18  Breckenridge, Colorado USA, July 13-17, 1992
19  Christchurch NEW ZEALAND, February 20-25, 1994
20  Colorado Springs, Colorado USA, July 25-29, 1994
21  Moscow RUSSIA, September 11-15, 1995
22  Fort Collins, Colorado USA, July 15-19, 1996
23  Tsukuba JAPAN, September 30 – October 4, 1997
24  Monterey, California USA, July 27-31, 1998
25  [with EuroPyro 99 / 7th Int. GTPS Seminar] Brest FRANCE, June 7-11, 1999
26  Nanjing CHINA, October 1-4, 1999
27  Grand Junction, Colorado USA, July 16-21, 2000
28  Adelaide AUSTRALIA, November 4-9, 2001
29  Westminster, Colorado USA, July 14-19, 2002
30  [with EuroPyro 2003 / 8th Int. GTPS Seminar] Saint-Marlo FRANCE, June 23-27, 2003
31  Fort Collins, Colorado USA, July 11-16, 2004
32  [with 36th Int. Ann. Conf. Fraunhofer ICT] Karlsruhe GERMANY, June 28 – July 1, 2005
33  Fort Collins, Colorado USA, July 16-21, 2006
34  [with EuroPyro 2007 / 9th Int. GTPS Seminar] Beaune FRANCE, October 8-11, 2007
35  Fort Collins, Colorado USA, July 13-18, 2008
36  Rotterdam THE NETHERLANDS, August 23-28, 2009
37  [with EuroPyro 2011 / 10th Int. GTPS Seminar] Reims FRANCE, May 17-19, 2011
38  Denver, Colorado USA, June 10-15, 2012
39  Valencia SPAIN, May 27-31, 2013
40  Colorado Springs, Colorado USA, July 13-18, 2014
41  [with EuroPyro 2015 / 11th Int. GTPS Seminar] Toulouse FRANCE, May 4-7, 2015
42  Grand Junction, Colorado USA, July 10-15, 2016
43  Fort Collins, Colorado USA, July 8-13, 2018
44  [with EuroPyro 2019 / 12th Int. GTPS Seminar] Tours FRANCE, June 3-7, 2019
45  Colorado Springs, Colorado USA, July 10-15, 2022