No. 153, January - June 2003

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

Dear Colleagues,

The development of scientific activity is, of course, one of the major goals of IUVSTA. As most of this activity is handled by the scientific divisions, a crucial issue for the future of our Union is the relevance of its divisional structure. Since the foundation of IUVSTA, the community it represents has considerably broadened, leading to the creation of new divisions as new activity appeared. However, due to the limited budget of the Union, the number of scientific divisions cannot be increased continuously and we must now consider how the divisional structure can evolve to ensure that it accurately reflects the perpetual changes in scientific activity which characterise a lively and successful body.

In my inaugural address I mentioned that a review of the divisions and of possible new topics will be implemented within the Scientific and Technical Directorate during this triennium. The Vacuum Metallurgy division was the first to undertake this difficult task. Following extensive discussion within the division it appeared, in particular from the session offered by the division at the last International Vacuum Conference held in San Francisco in 2001 (IVC-15), that the topics of the division had to be redefined and the name of the division had become inappropriate. The change of name from "Vacuum Metallurgy" to "Surface Engineering" , which better reflects the activity of the division, has been approved at our last Executive Council Meeting held in Beijing in March 2003. Of course, some degree of interaction can be predicted with the "Thin Film" and "Applied Surface Science" divisions, which should lead to the organisation of joint events. I thank all the members of the division who, under the active leadership of the division Chair Greg Exarhos, have contributed to achieve this first review. Even though the need for a review of the activities differs for each division, such a review undoubtedly provides a simple opportunity to quickly move into new areas of science and technology. I thus feel convinced that some other divisions will soon follow these tracks.

The means of communication are a constant preoccupation in an organisation spread across many parts of the world and the IUVSTA Website has become increasingly important in the operation of the Union. Until January 2003, our Website was based on the AVS computers and I am sure you all join me in thanking the invaluable support of the AVS and of our two successive Webmasters, Mary Weaver and Keith Mitchell, since the edition of our very first Web pages. Last January we moved from the AVS to the French Vacuum Society computers. We are aware that there has been some problems with the site following this transfer, some of them being associated with the loss of databases and others with the modification in structure and navigation tools introduced by our new Webmaster, Hervé Lemoine. But the major problem remains collecting the information which should be introduced. There is nothing more irritating than an obsolete Website. However, in spite of the efforts of John Grant, as Chairman of the Publications Committee, a lot of useful information is still lacking. For example, some of the pages related to the scientific activity of the Divisions are nearly empty. I urge you to make every effort to fill this vacuum and I would welcome any suggestion to improve the collection of the information.

Marie-Geneviève Barthés-Labrousse
June 2003