C13. Commission on Physics for Development (1981)

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Report to the 1999 General Assembly for 1996-99

Officers 1997-1999:

Chairman: J. Gyulai, Hungary
Vice Chairman: E.C. Zingu, South Africa
Secretary: G. Denardo, Italy


D.D. Bhawalkar, India
D. Callebaut, Belgium
J.M. Charap, U.K
L. Hasselgren, Sweden
T. Ho, China
S-I. Kwun, Korea
H. Van Regemorter, France
C. Rodriguez-Castellanos Cuba,
R. Rubinstein, USA
F.C. Zawislak, Brazil


The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP, Trieste), in particular the Office of External Activities, offered an important contribution to the actions taken. Particularly the strong contacts of the ICTP Office of External Activities with the Third World makes the co-operation of C.13 very natural.

Immediately after the conclusion of the IUPAP General Assembly, which took place in Uppsala, Sweden, in September 1996, a meeting was called by the Chairman of C13 with the purpose to gather the previous and new elected members of the Commission who attended the Assembly.

The Committee also met at the ICTP in Trieste on 12 September 1997. Seven members were able to attend the meeting. The Union contributed to the travel expenses of some members and the ICTP covered the lodging and organisational expenses. A problem which was already raised in the past, is the lack of funding which often prevents some commission members to participate in the meetings organised.


For 1997, 3 applications were submitted and 1 was approved for support:

  • Science and Technology for Development CIMAF'97,
    Havana, Cuba, 24-28 March 1997

For 1998, 11 applications were submitted and 1 was approved for support:

  • Atelier Francophone sur la spectroscopie et ses applications,
    Dakar, Senegal, 6-12 April 1998.
    Due to organisational problems, the activity will take place from 14 to 18 December 1998.

For 1999, 6 applications were submitted and 2 were approved for support

  • 15th Latin American Symposium on Solid State Physics (SLAFES-15),
    Cartagena, Colombia, 1-5 November 1999
  • Conference on Optical Sciences & Applications for Sustainable Development,
    Dakar, Senegal, 14-18 December 1999

The conference series Physics & Industrial Development: Bridging the Gap which were successfully organised by Professor Chandrasekhar in New Delhi in January 1994 and by Professor Gazzinelli in Belo Horizonte in July 1997, encountered some difficulties with the organisation of the third conference which was proposed to be held in Hanoi in 1998. South Africa will formulate a proposal for the conference to be held in 2000. The proceedings of the conference held in Brazil were published and distributed.


The Commission undertook to stimulate more contacts with African sub-Saharan countries. In fact, Ghana and Senegal applied to become official members of IUPAP, other African countries will follow.

The actions aimed at enhancing the role of African sub-Saharan countries and at stimulating exchange of information in the African continent. This mission was well carried out by the Laser, Atomic and Molecular Physics Network (L.A.M.). The Network is composed of physicists in the whole African continent who work in the field of lasers and optical physics. Almost all African countries have at least one scientist who is a member of the Network. L.A.M. was launched in 1991 in Dakar with financial assistance and scientific co-operation of the ICTP and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The main purpose of the Network is to stimulate co-operation and exchange of information among African scientists, and to enhance the awareness of optics and its uses in the African Continent. A major regular event is the Workshop on the physics and modern applications of lasers which is held about every 18 months in an African country. So far, the Workshop was held in Dakar (1991), in Harare (1993), Cape Coast (1994), Khartoum (1996), Gaborone (1998). The strong and continuing link with the ICTP is the key of success of this Network. Especially useful are the frequent visits of members of the network who are invited at ICTP on several occasions, the most important being the ICTP Winter College which is held every February on a subject of Optics or Quantum Electronics. The scheme of the L.A.M. Network can be taken as an example of a South-South-North co-operation. Information concerning IUPAP and the application form for IUPAP conference sponsorship are circulated once a year within the Network. The next issue of the LAM Newsletter will contain a general introduction of IUPAP. Also the ICO Newsletters are regularly circulated to the members of the Network. The outcome of these actions is and will be a larger number of requests for support from African countries which should be interpreted as a better awareness of the opportunities offered by an IUPAP membership. Contacts and co-operation in the field of optics were created and involved an increasing number of African countries. For the purpose of enhancing the involvement of Africa, informal contacts of African scientists were sometimes organised with the President Professor J.S. Nilsson. Similar Networks (which are specialised in a branch of physics) should be encouraged because they are more effective as they link scientists with common scientific interests.


On the occasion of the transition to the new millennium, C.13 is planning to stimulate the organisation of some international conferences in a few Third World countries with the purpose of enhancing the scientific awareness of science and its applications for the benefit of people. Considering the ongoing successful programmes in co-operation with the International Commission for Optics (I.C.O.), a conference is being organised at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (Senegal) on Optical Sciences & Applications for Sustainable Development. The conference will take place from 14 to 18 December 1999 so as to give it the character of a message for the 2000. IUPAP is one of the sponsors together with the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, the European Physical Society, and probably the Optical Society of America and the American Physical Society. This activity will be conducted in co-operation with Commissions 15 and 17 through the Associate Members A. Consortini (C.15) and P. Chavel (C.17). Preliminary discussions regarding the organisation of the Conference have already taken place at the ICTP in Trieste with Prof. A. Wague' (Senegal), Dr. P. Buah-Bassuah (Ghana), Prof. P. Chavel (ICO, France), A. Friberg (ICO, Sweden) and G. Denardo (C.13).

Similar conferences were proposed also to scientists in India and Brazil, but the response was not so prompt as from Senegal. We are still looking forward to confirming the conferences in those countries.

G. Denardo, Secretary

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