News Bulletin: Spring 2003

Dear Colleagues:

We are sending you some information to keep you informed about what IUPAP has been doing since the last General Assembly in Berlin.

We have been working on the following items:

Working group on Energy

Following the resolution of the last General Assembly in Berlin, we have established the working group on Energy. Eight members have been chosen and the chair is Professor Klaus Heinloth(Physics Institute-University of Bonn). The first meeting will take place in Bonn, Germany on 7-8 November. The chair of the group will also be a member of a similar ICSU group, which will be discussing problems beyond physics.

Promoting Basic Sciences

Following the ICSU General Assembly (September 2002), we have been continuously in contact with ICSU to obtain strong statements in favor of Basic Sciences. Finally, ICSU has established an ad hoc international working group to produce an authoritative position statement on the value of Basic Sciences and Basic Research. IUPAP will be represented by P. Kalmus, who wrote a discussion paper last year for IUPAP on the value of Basic Physics.

UNESCO has also realized that its programs in Basic Sciences have been overshadowed by short-term priorities relating to the promotion of applied science and appropriate technologies in developing countries. It is clear that modern science stemming from basic research is badly missing in developing countries, particularly in Africa. UNESCO is considering a program to counteract the divide in the basic sciences between industrialized and developing countries. It will promote to decision-makers, industrialists and the public at large, the invaluable services provided by the basic sciences to society. A meeting took place in Paris on 19-20 May 2003, to discuss a framework for an International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP). Y. Petroff attended the meeting. We should have more information at the IUPAP Council meeting in October.

Working Group on Ultrahigh Intensity Lasers

As discussed at the Trieste meeting of the IUPAP Council and Commission Chairs, we have broadened the OECD proposal to include FELs (free electron lasers) in this new proposal for a new working group on Ultrahigh Intensity Lasers. The main goal is to promote international collaboration in the development of Ultrahigh Intensity Lasers and their applications to pure and applied physics. The members will include representatives of major ultrahigh laser laboratories world-wide, representatives of user communities designated by IUPAP Commissions C15, C16 and C17, and representatives of the FEL and Synchrotron Radiation community. The final list will be presented at the next Council meeting in Vancouver.


The IUPAP Working Group on Communications in Physics is sponsoring a meeting with publishers of scientific journals to discuss specific problems including plagiarism, reviews mechanisms, and authorship issues. The meeting will take place in London on 13-14 October at the offices of the Institute of Physics (see Representatives of chemistry and life science societies will be participating.

Visa problems

Some colleagues from China and Russia recently had problems obtaining visas to attend IUPAP sponsored conferences in the USA. This is a serious problem and IUPAP will have to take a position at the next Council meeting. We are trying to get as much information from the IUPAP Commissions as possible. We have also approached ICSU in order to have a common position.


At the last Council meeting, it was decided that we should not create a specific working group on nanoscience, but we should try to emphasize the importance of physics in nanoscience, recognizing also the roles of other disciplines. A small group of people from a few Commissions have looked at the problem and E. Molinari will report the conclusions at the Council meeting.

2005-World Year of Physics

As pointed out at the last Council meeting, IUPAP has limited resources and countries and regions will be the main organizers of WYP 2005 events and programs. IUPAP will be working with ICTP and UNESCO to plan and organize an International Conference on Physics and Sustainable Development, which will take place in October 2005 in South Africa. This will follow the next IUPAP General Assembly. A number of countries are working to get the UN General Assembly to designate 2005 ad the International Year of Physics. In August, Bruce Alberts, the president of the American National Academy of Sciences, wrote to the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, asking to propose that USA sponsor such a resolution together with other countries.

Yves Petroff, IUPAP President

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