AC.2. International Commission on General Relativity and Gravitation - Report 2001

Report of AC.2 to the 2001 meeting of IUPAP Commission Chairs, for the year 2000-2001

AC.2 held its triennial conference, GR16, the International Conference of General Relativity and Gravitation, in Durban on 16-21 July. The venue proved to have excellent facilities and scientifically the meeting was very successful. There was the usual broad range of plenary talks (from the construction of gravity wave detectors to the braneworld scenarios), many of them by younger researchers. There were also the usual large number of contributed papers for the parallel sessions. There had been interesting scientific progress in the filed since GR15 which will be reflected in AC.2's next IUPAP General Assembly report.

The Xanthopoulos Prize was awarded to Juan Maldacena, author of the eponymous conjecture relating anti-de Sitter spaces and conformal field theories on their boundary. Over 100 participants were supported financially by IUPAP, AC.2's own resources, and other sources. The Gravity Research Foundation sponsored 3 plenary speakers, as before chosen to broaden the scope of the meeting.

The attendance was a little down on previous events, especially from North America. This seems to have been for two main reasons. Airfares proved higher than anticipated, and there were concerns about security. Sadly the latter proved justified: several delegates were robbed and one was stabbed.

AC.2's journal has experienced some problems arising from the takeover of Plenum by Kluwer. These were: administration problems with subscriptions, late publication, and withdrawal of the use of authors' own LaTex. The AC.2 website, and the public email and web information service it sponsors, has continued to be widely used within the field.

As well as the journal, the following matters were discussed or reported at the General Assembly of AC.2 (in its role as the International Society on GRG). Membership has increased slightly and its finances are stable. Dues will rise from 2002. Prof. R.M. Wald was elected as the new President. The next conference, GR17, will be in 2004 in Dublin, Ireland. The Society wishes to propose Profs. K. Tsubono (Japan) and Xu Chong-ming (China) as its new representatives from IUPAP for the period 2001-7, and also wishes to propose Prof. Massimo Cerdonio (Italy, AC.2's representative on PANAGIC) to serve the unexpired part (2001-4) of the term of Prof. Naresh Dadhich (India), who has been elected as a normal committee member.

AC.2 were pleased that their proposal of Prof. Virginia Trimble as a member of the selection committee for the Peter Gruber Cosmology prize was adopted by IUPAP: she took part in the recently-announced award to Prof. Sir Martin Rees.