What's been happening (January-March, 2002)


The first few months of the year have been quite quiet after the hectic pace during 2001and culminating in the IVC in San Francisco. Once that was over, all the changes required for the new triennium had to be completed. These did not go as smoothly as expected as a result of the aftermath of the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York, which affected the web server in New York.


One lesson we learned from the New York incident was the need to back up all our information, including electronic ballots. Now that all the divisions use electronic balloting, it has been decided that copies of all individual ballots must be sent to the Secretary General, to provide insurance.


One unexpected consequence of the increased sensitivity following September 11 caused significant difficulty for the Welch Scholar, Muhammad Tawalbeh from Jordan, who was beginning his year’s research program at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. When he attempted to cash the US$7,000 cheque he received for the first payment of the scholarship, he was accused of having a fraudulent cheque! Of course, it was Thanksgiving Day in the USA so that they could not verify the cheque with either a US bank or the AVS office which issued the cheque! Fortuneately, the situtation was cleared up on the following Monday. 


The first full Executive Council Meeting of the new triennium (ECM-90) was held in Regensburg, Germany, March 8-10, 2002. This involved meetings of all the standing committees and was well attended. Prof. Horst Hoffman of the University of Regensburg made all the local arrangements which included a welcome to the city from the Deputy Lord Mayor in the old, and historic, town hall which is still in use for special occasions, such as the IUVSTA visit! Most attendees took the opportunity of walking tours of the city and the palace, which were both impressive and informative. Horst somehow managed to have excellent weather for the walk! 


The Slovak Vacuum Society will host ECM-91 at Smolenice in September, 2002, immediately before the International Conference on Thin Films (ICTF-12) in Bratislava. The Chinese Vacuum Society will host ECM-92 in Beijing in March, 2003. The triennial Highlights Seminars will be held in conjunction with ECM-92. Representatives of the 8 divisions will talk on the important advances and directions in the fields covered by the divisions.


Invitations from member societies to host ECM-93 and EM-94 should be sent to the Secretary General more than 1 year in advance. ECM-93 will be held in September, 2003 and ECM-94 in February, 2004. The somewhat earlier date than usual for ECM-94 is due to the requirements of the Statutes and the date for IVC-16 in Venice.


IUVSTA is an associate member  of the International Union of Science (ICSU) and we have to file an annual report with ICSU. The report for our 2001 activities was filed electronically in early March. IUVSTA has received the monthly issues of the UNESCO magazines “Sources” and “Courier”. UNESCO has decided that these magazines are not the best way for UNESCO to communicate and monthly publication has ceased. They will make more use of electronic distribution.