Report of the 13th general Meeting of The IUVSTA
Report of the 13th general Meeting of The IUVSTA

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The 13th General Meeting of IUVSTA was held at the International Congress Centre, Birmingham, U.K. on Wednesday 2nd September 1998 during the 14th International Vacuum Congress. This is a short report of that meeting. Full Reports have been distributed to all National Vacuum Societies.

The President Prof J.L. Robins was in the Chair. All seven Officers were present and 26 National Vacuum Societies were represented by 59 delegates. 16 observers registered their attendance.

The Secretary General reported that the following countries were not represented: India, Mexico and Ukraine and that the membership of Romania has been suspended. However, the Mexican delegates did arrive during the meeting.

The President declared that a due quorum had been established and that the meeting was opened. He welcome everyone especially Prof J.L. de Segovia, a Past-President, and M. Choumoff, a former Treasurer of the Union.

Prof Robins, reminded the delegates of the role of the General Meeting (GM), to hear and approve reports on the activities of the Union; direct its future actions; elect its Office Bearers; ratify the Councillors and Alternate Councillors as nominated by the various Vacuum Societies and approve the budget for the new Triennium. After the close of the meeting, none of these items could be changed. It would be the task of the Executive Council throughout the Triennium to carry out the duties as determined by the GM.

Prof Robins stated that changes to the Statutes of the Union could only be made with the approval of the General Meeting. Two such changes to clarify the circumstances under which there must be a person of Belgian nationality on the Executive Council, and to ensure that, if the Union was to be disbanded, IUVSTA funds could be held safely during a period of up to five years and returned when the Union or similar organisation became operational again were presented and approved. He also reported that a basis for a uniform set of Divisional Statutes, applicable to all Divisions, had been drafted and that the Divisional Committees would be asked to ratify these changes during the course of the Triennium.

Reports of the work of the Union

Prof Robins noted that the reports of the work of the Union and that of its Committees were a very important part of the meeting. As an innovation for GM13, they had been reproduced before the meeting and were available in the documents supplied to the delegates. He encouraged all members of the National Vacuum Societies to read these reports in order to gain an understanding of what the Union did, so that they could participate fully in the activities of the Union.

The Secretary General, Prof Colligon expressed special thanks to Ms Sue Lippmann and to the British Vacuum Council and the Institute of Physics for the arrangements for the meeting, the Executive Council meetings preceding and following IVC-14 and for the organisation of the Congress itself. He also thanked Elsevier for their continuing provision of student grants enabling postgraduate students to attend IUVSTA Conferences and M. Croset of the French Vacuum Society for his continuing liaison role with UNESCO. His report was then presented and accepted

Reports were presented and received from the Scientific Director, Prof Valbusa, and the Treasurer, Prof Dobrozemski.

Prof Valbusa noted that, since his written report had been prepared, She Guan Wang from China had been awarded the 1999 Welch Scholarship.

In answer to a question on his report, Prof Dobrozemsky pointed out that the routine operation of the Union was funded entirely by the subscriptions of the member nations which are based on the shares they hold in the Union. However, the scientific work of the Union was funded mainly from interest on our investments together with donations made by the Organising Committees of the triennial IUVSTA Congress. This latter amount comes mainly from the revenues of the associated exhibitions. Hence sizeable reserves were required to ensure that the work could continue even if interest rates fell to very low levels. A proposal to increase the share value to 220 CHF was approved, as was the budget for the Triennium 1998-2001.

Prof Robins presented his Retiring President's Review. He noted, with sadness, that one of our esteemed colleagues, Professor Vytas Grazhulis, Councillor for the Russian Federation, had died during the year, in May.

In his report he highlighted the fact that, as predicted, electronic communication had had a profound effect on our Union. In particular we now have a very well developed Web site ( and our IUVSTA News Bulletin is being published in electronic format. A new initiative has been the creation of our IUVSTA Prize with the inaugural presentation being made to Professor J F van der Veen. In this regard, Prof Robins expressed special thanks to Prof Madey for conceiving and setting up this Prize. He also noted that the award of such a Prize not only brings honour to the recipient, but also prestige to the Union. In response to the world-wide deterioration of bank interest rates, our Finance Committee has recommended that we consider also other forms of investment for our reserve funds, the return from which is a major source of the money we expend on our scientific and educational activities.

Prof Robins went on to acknowledge that our principal purpose is to promote science on an international scale. It was pleasing therefore to report that our scientific activities had flourished and been expanded. A major part of the program had been focused on our high-level Scientific Workshops and very recently there was an indication that our educational activities, in the form of promoting Educational Workshops for students and scientists from developing countries, might be expanded into an enlarged Program of Schools.

Prof Robins concluded by stating that the growth and activities of the Union were the result of the combined efforts of very many people working on various aspects of our total program and he expressed genuine appreciation to all concerned. He also expressed his thanks to the Councillors and to the Chairs and Secretaries of our Divisions and Committees. He then expressed very special individual thanks to each of the Officers who had served with him and given such wonderful support.

The Executive Council

The President honoured a large number of people who were, at this meeting, retiring from various positions in the Union and he displayed a copy of the certificate of service, in Latin, which they would receive. He stated that recognition of service was important as many people devoted much time and energy to the Union. At the same time he noted that a turnover of personnel was also important so that new ideas would be brought in to the Union

The President then symbolically handed over the Union in good shape to the incoming President, Prof Woodruff, by passing him the ceremonial gavel. Prof Woodruff assumed the Chair for the remainder of the meeting.

The President presented to the meeting the nomination for President-Elect of Dr M-G Barthes-Labrousse by the Executive Council and his nomination of Dr W.D. Westwood as Secretary General; of Prof U. Valbusa as Scientific Director; of Dr M. Sancrotti as Scientific Secretary and of Mr H. Wahl as Treasurer. Prof Woodruff stated that Vacuum Societies had been notified of these nominations in good time and since no other nominations had been received, he declared all to be duly elected.

The nominations by Vacuum Societies for their Councillors and Alternates were ratified.

Inauguration of the new Triennium

Prof Woodruff in his inaugural statement noted that several long standing people would be leaving IUVSTA office after long service, including Prof Madey (former President), Prof John Colligon (retiring Secretary General) who would be a particularly hard act to follow and Prof Dobrozemsky (retiring Treasurer). He expressed his thanks to them and urged all new officers to work hard to follow their example. He noted that having been associated with IUVSTA for only 12 years he was still a "new boy". When he joined, there were major concerns over finance and the only scientific activity was the triennial Congress. Since then IUVSTA had learned to spend money and to spend it wisely. These were tremendous positive changes and Prof Woodruff pledged to keep the gradient in the same direction. Since all participants in IUVSTA were busy people and participation was an expensive and time consuming business, Prof Woodruff was looking to improve the efficiency of the way in which IUVSTA works. The innovations at this General Meeting were one such example, designed to make it not only more efficient but also more informative. There was a need to find more ways of obtaining and of spending money so that the Union could achieve more. Divisions were the heart of the scientific work of IUVSTA but the Divisional structure needed to be examined to ensure that there was the flexibility available to best serve our member societies.

Prof Woodruff finished by stating that he hoped to do good things in the next three years

R.J. Reid
Recording Secretary
January 1999