President's First Message

Marie-Geneviève Barthés-Labrousse
President - IUVSTA
(2001-2004) Triennium

Dear Colleagues,

 This is my first opportunity to address you as the new President of the IUVSTA for the 2001-2004 triennium. I am very fortunate that, as I come into office, the activities of our Union are continuously expanding and flourishing and it gives me pleasure to start this message by expressing our thanks to my two predecessors for having devoted so much of their time and energy to the development of our Union. The hard work efficiently carried out by our Past president, Phil Woodruff, to improve the scientific activities and ensure the healthy state of the IUVSTA deserves our collective gratitude. As he will still be a member of the Executive Council for the next three years, I trust our Union will still greatly benefit from his positive contribution. John Robins, our President during the 1995-1998 triennium, has now formally left us. He worked as Councillor and Alternate Councillor for Australia, Recording Secretary, Welch Scholarship Trustee, before the final nine year presidential appointment. I am sure I express the appreciation of all of us when I say thank you for the untiring dedication and enthusiasm with which he always served the IUVSTA and the wisdom and efficiency he has shown during his leadership.

Of course, the strength and value of IUVSTA results from the support and efforts of all the officers and individuals who are working hard within the various Committees and Divisions of our Union and they all deserve thanks. 

The new triennium formally started during the International Vacuum Congress (IVC-15) which was held in San Francisco at the end of last October, in conjunction with the American Vacuum Society’s symposium. The IVC (and its associated meeting the ICSS – the International Conference on Solid Surfaces) is the largest scientific event in IUVSTA. A full report on the conference will soon be published on this Web site, but many people who worked very hard to successfully run this set of conferences under very unusual and difficult circumstances merit our special recognition: William Rogers as General Chair, Roger Stockbauer and Richard Kurtz as Program Chair and Vice-Chair who, with the help of the International Programme Committees, had to face an unusual number of last minute modifications, and the staff of the AVS who were confronted with many logistical problems and who solved them with exceptional dedication and tremendous efficiency.

The two IUVSTA Prizes were presented during the IVC at San Francisco: the IUVSTA Science Prize was awarded to Kunio Takayanagi (of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan) and the IUVSTA Technology Prize to Wolf-Dieter Münz (of Sheffield Hallam University, Great Britain).

Electronic communication has considerably changed the operation of the Union and the last few years have seen continuing development of the IUVSTA activities. The scientific and educational activities have expanded due to the growing success of the IUVSTA Workshops, of the IUVSTA Schools and the up-dating of the Visual Aids program into electronic format. I trust all these activities will continue to grow in the coming years, in spite of our restricted budget. However, the future of the Union cannot solely be a simple increase in the number of workshops, schools or visual aids packages. We need to develop new activities and we will likely need to change some of our existing activities to move into new areas of science and technology. Establishing a structure to evaluate the relevance of our scientific activity, to identify and to allow the development of new emerging scientific or technical topics falling within the scope of our Union is a true challenge. As a first attempt, a review of the activities of the Divisions will be implemented by the Scientific and Technical Directorate, in conjunction with the Highlight Seminars.

 During this triennium, I would also like to see our Union increase its activity in technology. This might be achieved in several ways: through the Scientific and Technical Directorate, by encouraging divisions to develop activities related to technology transfer; through the Education Committee, by developing training courses for technicians; through the Publication Committee working closely together with the Education Committee, by implementing technical information on the Web site.

 The members of the IUVSTA are not individuals, but national societies. As I stated in my inaugural address, this is one of the major strengths of the Union. By offering the opportunity to representatives of our 31 member societies to meet twice a year, at the occasion of the Executive Council Meetings, and share ideas and information, we can readily promote international collaboration. However, to improve the effectiveness of such a collaboration, we should have closer contact with our members, improve communications between them, find ways to offer them better support, in particular for Developing Countries, and help in promoting new National Vacuum Societies.

 We are at the very beginning of the current (2001-2004) triennium and many Councillors and Divisional Representatives, serving for their first term, are not fully aware of the workings of the Union. To address this problem, I have prepared a short introduction to IUVSTA, which is a compilation of two documents previously written by John Robins and Phil Woodruff. More complete information can be found on the Procedure Manual, which is accessible on the IUVSTA Web site.

Finally I wish to emphasise that most of the information concerning our Union –both new and archival- is readily accessible on our Web site. Although we recently had to face problems with the server, due to its location in a building close to the World Trade Center in New York, we are doing our best to maintain our site up-to-date and I trust that you will find it extremely useful through regular visits.

Marie-Geneviève Barthés-Labrousse
December 2001


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