The David C. Byers Memorial Lecture (The Byers Lecture)

Current Winner:

A. Description
David C. Byers (1939-2018) played a crucial role in transitioning electric propulsion from the laboratory to the broad applications it sees today.  His technical and programmatic actions enabled early applications ranging from the arcjet for commercial GEO Comsats to the ion engines that set in-space records while enabling a new age of space exploration on Deep Space 1 and Dawn. The early commercial success of arcjets precipitated industry competitions leading to the broad use of arcjets, ion thrusters and Hall thrusters.  Beyond his direct contributions to our field, Dave was a great mentor:  he strongly supported young researchers and was always asking questions and providing advice.  The simple words “Be of Value” were his creed and he instilled this message in every person and program he touched. Dave’s passing in 2018 greatly saddened the EP community – he was a giant in the field.  EP would not be the technology of choice for many applications today had it not been for Dave’s insight and leadership. To honor his memory, the Electric Rocket Propulsion Society has initiated the David C. Byers Memorial Lecture or “Byers Lecture” to be given at a plenary session of each International Electric Propulsion Conference (IEPC) starting in 2019.  The first Byers Lecture will celebrate Dave’s life and accomplishments and will be given by a collection of presenters selected for their knowledge of Dave’s immense contributions. In 2021 and beyond, the Byers Lecture will be given by a selected individual or team to tell the story of a successful insertion of an EP technology into either an operational mission or major demonstration. The lecture will provide a description of both the technology used in, and lessons learned (drivers and obstacles) from, the insertion effort. The presenter will be selected by the ERPS Board of Directors as either the key individual or representative of the team responsible for the technology transition.

B. The Selection Process
For the first lecture (Vienna, 2019), the ERPS President will select presenters for the lecture for discussion with, and approval by, the ERPS Board of Directors. The Awards Chair (AC) will oversee the development of a coordinated presentation. For each ensuing lecture, the AC will poll the ERPS Directors individually to identify candidates (individuals or teams) one year before the upcoming IEPC. For every candidate identified, the AC will work with the nominating Director to develop a one page white paper describing basis for nomination. After conferring with the ERPS President, the AC will provide the Board of Directors with a list of candidates and associated white papers. The presenter will be selected by a simple majority vote of the Board.

C.  Award Value
The David C. Byers Memorial Lecturer will receive a commemorative plaque and a waiver of the IEPC Conference fee. Team members (if applicable) will receive commemorative certificates.