No. 155, January - June 2004

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

Dear Colleagues,

In my previous message I already emphasized the positive role that IUVSTA can play in facilitating exchanges and discussion between its member societies. Nearly ten years ago, in April 1995, I attended the first meeting of the Presidents of the European Vacuum Societies. I was struck by the strong wish to increase mutual cooperation which was unanimously expressed by the seven societies which were represented at that meeting. However, very little progress has been achieved since that time. I believe this comes from the differences in size and organisation of these societies. Fruitful interaction requires mutual awareness of the structure and activities of the possible partners. To provide support for discussion and exchange between member societies as well as between individual societies and IUVSTA is certainly one of the future challenge for IUVSTA.

I often expressed the hope that IUVSTA would extend the services of the Union to new countries and regions which do not have a national society or committee and might be interested in setting up such an organisation and join IUVSTA. Encouraging the formation of new National Vacuum Societies falls well within the remit of IUVSTA. Of course, this is a long term issue. Nevertheless, Jean-Jacques Pireaux made fruitful contacts during the triennium in South Africa, New Zealand, Singapore, Iran, Denmark whilst Maria-Carmen Asencio investigated the situation in Latin America. I feel confident that these preliminary informal contacts will prove profitable to our scientific community in the next future.

From June 28th to July 2nd, 2004 the 16th International Vacuum Conference will be held in Venice (Italy) combined with the 12th International Conference on Solid Surfaces, the 8th International Conference on Nanometer-Scale Science and Technology and the 17th AIV Vacuum National Symposium. This is the major scientific event in our triennial calendar and the two IUVSTA Prizes will be awarded at that occasion. I congratulate the 2004 winners: Prof. Joost W.M. Frenken for the Prize in Science and Dr. Martin P. Seah for the Prize in Technology. All indicators converge to predict a fruitful and well-attended conference. I express my thanks to our colleagues of the Italian Vacuum Society, particularly to Massimo Sancrotti as General Chair and Ugo Valbusa as Program Chair, and to the members of the International Program Committees for their hard work in preparing this conference. I strongly encourage you to participate.

On Wednesday June 30th, at the 15th General Meeting of the IUVSTA, I will hand over the Presidency to Ugo Valbusa. As the end of the triennium approaches, it is time to look back at what has been achieved during the last two and a half years. In my inaugural statement, I defined several goals for this triennium: to promote new scientific and technical activities, to strengthen the educational activities, in particular in developing countries, to make a better use of electronic communication facilities to widely disseminate scientific and technical information, to improve the IUVSTA visibility, to increase mutual interaction between our member societies and to have closer interactions with groups that are not represented in the Union.

I am pleased to note that the established activities of the Union have continued to flourish and that a number of new initiatives have been introduced. Our scientific activities continue to grow, based on the organisation of fruitful workshops and schools. A new kind of workshop, has been introduced, the "Triennial STD Initiative for Technology Transfer" to improve relations between scientists and industries that support fields of interest to the Union. The review of the divisional structure of IUVSTA has started, leading to a reorganisation and change of name of two of the existing divisions. Our educational activities have expanded. The Visual Aids Program has made significant progress in updating the existing modules. Power Point formatting guidelines for the authors have been developed. Short courses have been successfully organised in conjunction with various conferences. A new program has been launched, the Technical Training Courses Program, to assist vacuum societies in lesser developed countries to settle technical short courses, presented in the local language, for training of engineers and technicians working in the fields of interest to IUVSTA. An educational Web section has been created which contains a variety of useful scientific and technical information. Several aspects in our electronic communications have been transformed. Following the transfer of our server for the Website from the AVS in New York to the SFV in Paris, the site has been re-designed and a "Members Only" area has been added. The responsibility to edit and publish the IUVSTA News Bulletin has been transferred to the Secretary of the Publications Committee. During this triennium, the second edition of the "History of the International Union for Vacuum Science, Technique and Applications" and its companion volume, the "Short Histories of the National Societies within IUVSTA" were completed. As a first attempt to increase mutual interaction between our member societies, a short presentation of the hosting society has been introduced in the agenda of the Executive Council meetings and a meeting of the Presidents of the European Societies has been organised at the occasion of IVC-16.

In spite of the relative brevity of this triennium (2 ½ year instead of the "standard" 3 years) all committees have shown intense, and sometimes prolific, activities. I wish to express my personal thanks to all those who have worked so hard to strengthen and develop our Union, particularly the Councillors, the Chairs and Secretaries of the Divisions and Committees and the Officers. Their constant support and the climate of friendly confidence which prevailed during the triennium has been of great help to me.

Special thanks are due to the three Officers who are leaving the Union this year. Our Treasurer, Hartmut Wahl, has shown an invaluable skill in conducting the financial affairs of the Union during an economically difficult period and I am grateful to him for his endless patience when explaining to me the subtleties in the management of the IUVSTA General Fund. Bill Westwood deserves our collective thanks for having made impressive use of his organisational talents to efficiently cope with the huge mass of paper work which was associated with his position as Secretary General. As my own involvement in the IUVSTA Executive Council only dates back to 1995, I greatly appreciated the constant availability of our Past-President, Phil Woodruff, who was always ready to make me benefit of his experience and wise advices.

It has been an honour and privilege to serve as President of IUVSTA. Our Union is alive, active and thriving and I am confident it will continue to do so.


Marie-Geneviève Barthés-Labrousse
June 2004