What's been happening (June-December, 2001)


The past few months have been busy, and eventful! The International Vacuum Congress (IVC-15)and International Conference on Solid Surfaces (ICSS-11), the General Meeting (GM-14) for the triennium and two Executive Council Meetings (ECM-88 and ECM-89) were all held in San Francisco within 8 days in October/November in association with the AVS 48th Symposium.


The General Meeting is the highest authority in IUVSTA and has to approve new members, statute changes and the appointed officers and Councillors for the triennium. It was held in San Francisco on October 31, which also happens to be Halloween, when many people in North America dress up in costumes and party! Each member society had provided the names of up to three delegates to the General Meeting but some last minute changes were necessary because of world events. Some delegates were unable to travel and, for a short time there was a concern that insufficient members would be represented to reach a quorum. However, thanks to e-mail, arrangements were made so that almost all the members were present and Ukraine arranged to be represented by the French delegation.


GM-14 approved the admission of the Pakistan Vacuum Society as a new member. It was unfortunate, but understandable, that the PVS dedlegation was unable to attend the meeting once the admission was approved. Amendments to Statutes and By-laws were approved by the GM. These were mainly to clarify certain points or to reflect the changing world in which IUVSTA exists; e.g. that the officers are appointed to serve IUVSTA and not as representatives of a member society, and the use of fax and electronic mail for many communications. The GM also approved the budget for the triennium.


Later in the same day, the IUVSTA Awards were presented as the first element of the joint IUVSTA/AVS Awards ceremony, which was attended by over 500 people. The Welch Scholar for 2000 was present to receive a certificate and the IUVSTA Prizes for Science and for Technology were awarded to Professot Takayanagi and Professor Münz, respectively. Also recognized in the Awards Ceremony were people who attended IVC-1 in Namur in 1958 and were still involved with their national vacuum societies. This followed a suggestion of Paul Redhead who was one of these attendees, a former AVS President and a well-known vacuum scientist. There were about 500 attendees of IVC-1 and 40 were listed in the Awards brochure.Establishing the names and addresses of these required the assistance of the member societies. In some cases, this was not easy; at least one person had the same name and initials as an IVC-1 attendee but, when contacted, replied that he had only been 5 years old in 1958! One of those listed in the brochure, Dr Albert Venema, a former IUVSTA President, unfortuneately died in early October. Certificates will be sent to all the others. Several have written to express their gratitude for the recognition and their good wishes for the success of IUVSTA.


.Following the Awards ceremony, a very enjoyable and sociable reception was held for all attendees. During the evening, a number of people donned Halloween costumes and enjoyed dancing. Our new President donned an appropriate costume-a captain’s hat!


The last Executive Council meeting of the triennium (ECM-88) was held on the weekend preceding the Congress. An important item of business was to review the bids from member societies to host IVC-17 during 2007; IVC-16 will be held in Venice, Italy in 2004. Excellent bids had been received from the Israeli Vacuum Society and Swedish Vacuum Society to host the Congress in Jerusalem and Stockholm respectively. These had been discusssed at ECM-87 in March. After presentations on both sites,the Congress Planning Committee receommended Stockholm as the stronger bid and this was accepted by ECM-88. See the Events Schedule in the Calendar on the web site for actual dates, etc.


The AVS hosted a very enjoyable visit, followed by dinner, to Mumm’s winery in the Napa Valley where we were given a tour of the “champagne” making facilities. The tour guide was confused when people laughed at her discussion of “vacuuming” off the carbon dioxide!


The first Executive Council Meeting of the new triennium (ECM-89) was also held in San Francisco on November 2, at the conclusion of the Congress. This was an opportunity for the new Officers, Councillors and Alternate Councillor for the next triennium to get together and volunteer for the different Standing Committees, Awards and Scholarships, Congress Planning, Education, Finance, Long Range Planning, Publications and Statutes. ECM-89 also accepted an invitation from the Slovak Vacuum Society to host ECM-91 at Smolenice in September, 2002. An invitation from the German Vacuum Society to hold ECM-90 in Regensburg, Germany, March 8-10, 2002 had already been accepted by ECM-87.


Invitations from member societies to host ECM-92, ECM-93 and EM-94 should be sent to the Secretary General more than 1 year in advance. ECM-92 will be held in March, 2003, ECM-93 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.


All eight Scientific Division Committees also met in San Francisco. This was an opportunity for the members for the “old” and “new” triennia to meet and “pass the baton”. The “new” committee members are established by a procedure which takes several months. Each member society nominates representatives to the eight Division Electoral Colleges. These representatives the vote for the 7 committee members for the triennium; usually, the member who receives the greatest number of votes becomes the new chair, the vice-chair and the secretary being those coming second and third in the ballot. The names of the Electoral Colleges, the Division Committees and the Division officers will be posted on the web site.  


All the meetings in San Francisco were well attended and enjoyable. The conference is a great opportunity to meet old friends, make new acquaintances, hear about new science and technology first hand, and see the latest equipment for doing the work. The arrangements for all the meetings were made by the AVS offices in New York and San Jose, under the direction of the Executive Administrator, Yvonne Towse. The detaiked arrangements for the IUVSTA meetings, and the winery tour, were made by Della Miller in the San Jose office and the IUVSTA Awards arrangements by Angela Mulligan. All the meetings went smoothly, thanks to the careful arrangements. It was difficult to believe that the New York office was only 8 blocks from the World Trade Center, was shut down physically for a week and lost e-mail and internet connections for even longer. The New York staff kept things on track by using their personal e-mail connections.


The IUVSTA web site was also affected because it resides on the AVS server. It was restored just after the San Francisco meeting but may take some time to be fully up to date because of the time required to make all the changes required for the new triennium. The new Publications Committee Chair, John Grant is working with Keith Mitchell in the AVS office to make thesse changes.


At the same time as the arrangements and meetings were going on, the annual IUVSTA report to the International Council for Science (ICSU) was due. This required the names of the new  chairs of the eight Scientific Divisions, some of which were finally decided during the San Francisco meeting. Is this an example of “just in time”?


At ECM-87, it was agreed to nominate Professor Tenne of the Israel Vacuum Society for the UNESCO Science Prize, However, the Prize was awarded to Professor Baltasar Mena Iniesta of Mexico for his work in rheology which led to applications in developing countries, such as a low cost solar silo for storage and distribution of grains for food consumption.