Minutes of the IUPAP Council and Commission Chairs Meeting

Vancouver, Canada
October 10-11, 2003


Present: A. Astbury, M. Barma, M. Coey, J. Daigle, J. Franz, B. Julia, V. Lüth, M. Mc Callum, E. Molinari, P. Monceau, S. Nagamiya, P. Ormos, Y. Petroff, B. Richter, G. Righini, J. Sahm, A. Sen, K. Sharma, M. Skolnick, R. Slusher, T. Takada, G. Tibell, V. Trimble, W. van Wijngaarden, R. Wald, K.P. Wenzel, E. Zingu.

Absent: J. Avron, S. Bagayev, H. Fukuyama, S. Rezende.

Guests: C. Barty, M. Freeman, A. Shotter

President Petroff called the meeting to order on Oct. 10 at 9:00. Dr. Shotter, Director of TRIUMF, welcomed the participants at Canada's National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics in Vancouver.

1. Approval of the minutes

K. Sharma pointed out the need of a correction on the proposed minutes of the previous meeting (Trieste, January 2003) regarding item 10. Inter-Union representatives: The delegate to IU.14 (IUPAC Inter-Division Committee on Terminology and Symbols - IDCNS) is L. Pendrill. With this correction, the minutes were approved unanimously.

2. Report from the President

After reviewing the agenda, P. Petroff reported on key issues that emerged since the previous meeting:

(i) Activity of the working groups. Specific items of the Agenda will examine to this point;

(ii) Visibility of IUPAP. Some actions are needed: (ii.1) Improve the website and keep it updated: Commissions are invited to send input; (ii.2) Ask national societies (possibly through liaison committees) to include a link to the IUPAP website in their websites; (ii.3) Ask Commissions and conference organizers to make sure that IUPAP is briefly presented at the beginning of the IUPAP-sponsored Conferences;

(iii) Commissions: it may be time to review their activity and see whether we need any change in the structure or emphasis of Commissions (if so, decisions could be made at the General Assembly); the Chairs of the Commissions are asked to send input on this point.

Petroff then informed that Erika Ridgway, who has been the IUPAP Administrator in the last years, will retire in a few days. He expressed gratitude for all her contributions to IUPAP. The Council and Chairs unanimously invited Petroff and Franz to transmit her the warmest thanks and wishes.

3. Business matters:

A. Financial report. Franz informed about the Audit report that will be examined by the Council (see Annex A). She then presented the general structure of the 2003 Operating Budget pointing out that the situation is slightly improved because of exchange rates (dues are paid in Euro while most expenses are in US$), and because some members have now paid previous dues; e.g. Russia has just paid; France is expected to pay in the next few weeks. She then anticipated the main lined 2004 Operating Budget that will have to be discussed and approved by the Council. Richter recommended to foresee a more significant budget for Working Groups.

B. Member affairs. Franz showed the list of members with payments and dues in arrears. She pointed out a few critical cases (Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Japan, France) and indicated the possible actions that will be examined by the Council. She then informed that Senegal joined IUPAP and paid its dues. The C&CC unanimously welcomed Senegal and expressed satisfaction about this enlargement of IUPAP Membership.

C. Replacement for C20 member who resigned. Franz reported that Prof. Koo-Chul Lee resigned from C20 after his retirement. T. Takada (Chair of C20) worked to identify a candidate that could substitute Prof. Lee and represent the computational physics community in the far east region, and recommended Prof. Jai Sam Kim from Korea.

D. Selection of Gruber Prize Committee representative. Franz reminded that IUPAP was asked to nominate a member of the Gruber Prize Committee which is a very important prize in cosmology. Chairs of AC2 (McCallum) and C19 (Trimble) jointly proposed Prof. Simon White (Garching, Munich). The C&CC commented favorably and recommended approval by the Council.

4. Reports from the Commissions.

The following Chairs or substitutes presented reports on the activity of their Commissions: Sharma for C2, Barma for C3, Wenzel for C4, Ormos for C6, Skolnick for C8, Coey for C9, Monceau for C10, Luth for C11, Nagamiya for C12, Zingu for C13, Tibell for C14, W. van Wijngaarden for C15, Sen for C16, Slusher for C17, Julia for C18, Trimble for C19, Takada for C20, Righini for AC1, McCallum for AC2, Daigle for AC3. After the presentations, Petroff invited all Commission Chairs to prepare a report on key scientific issues in their field, in order to update each Commission section on the website.

The following issues proposed by Commissions lead to actions porposed for approval by the Council:

(i) C2: Unified atomic mass unit. The Chair of C2-SUNAMCO, Sharma, reported that it has been suggested that the name and symbol of the "unified atomic mass unit" (abbreviation: u) be replaced with the name and symbol "dalton" (abbreviation: Da). SUNAMCO suggests that IUPAP endorse the use of both names and strongly recommends waiting for an extended period to see which name physicists and others prefer to use before making any further decision. It was proposed to accept the recommendation of SUNAMCO.

(ii) C8: IUPAP Young Author Investigator Awards. The Chair of C8, Skolnick, reported that the fund for these Awards, that is managed by C8, is effectively increased because the organizers of the previous International Conference for the Physics of Semiconductors (ICPS) held in Edinburgh could support the prizes within the conference budget, without using this fund as normally planned. The intention of C8 is to take advantage of this to increase the number of Awards distributed at the next ICPS. It was proposed to accept the contribution from the organizers of ICPS-Edinburgh towards the IUPAP Young Author Investigator Awards with thanks.

(iii) C10: Working Group on Facilities in Condensed Matter. The Chair of C10, Monceau, reported that the working group has not been very active and asked for recommendations about future actions. In the discussion, it was pointed out that the importance of IUPAP in high-energy physics is largely due to the activities of the working groups on facilities: it is desirable to do the same in condensed matter physics. The working group should be one of the main thrusts of C10, whose role would otherwise need further discussion. Petroff and Franz commented about the difficulties in contributing to the discussions on Synchrotron and Neutron Facilities at this stage, and suggested that it may be more effective to work on High-Magnetic Field facilities. It was proposed to advise the working group to focus on a report on High-Magnetic Field facilities.

(iv) C12: Activities on International Collaborations. The Chair of C12, Nagamiya, reported that C12 discussed the need of an International Working group on International Collaborations. This would differ from ICFA because it would concentrate on collaborations between existing facilities rather than new facilities. For the moment it is proposed as an internal activity of C12, but it could become a more formal IUPAP Working group. Richter and Franz suggested that for the moment C12 could work through a "Provisional IUPAP Working Group". If it works well, one could consider the possibility to establish it officially at the next General Assembly. It was proposed to advise C12 in this direction.

(v) C13: Participation from Developing Countries. The Chair of C13, Zingu, pointed out that C13 does not include enough members from developing countries. Franz proposed that Associate members could be added to solve this problem, and it was proposed that the commission will work in this direction.

(vi) C14: "Physics Now". The Chair of C14, Tibell, reported that "Physics Now" is ready: it is the new edition of "Physics 2000", edited by Jon Ogborn with contributions from Commission Chairs. He recommended it as an official IUPAP Publication with support in order to print it as a book. It was proposed to accept this recommendation.

5. Discussion of associate members of Commissions.

Franz reported about the Associate Members that were proposed by the Commissions. The C&CC commented favorably on the proposed names, proposed a few integrations and recommended approval of the attached list (See lists under Commissions) by the Council.

6. Appointment of Liaison Members to C13.

Franz reminded the importance of Liaison members to C13 in order to enhance the involvement of all Commissions in IUPAP's efforts for development. She then reported about the names proposed by Commissions. The C&CC commented favorably on the list and recommended approval by the Council.

7. Proposal of a working group on medical physics.

Franz reported that a proposal was put forward to assess the need for the formation of a new IUPAP Commission of Medical Physics. The importance of this proposal was recognized and it was recommended that the Council approve a small working group to this purpose.

8. Discussion and approval of conferences.

Molinari reminded that applications were sent both to the Associate Secretary General and to the Commissions, and a general list was compiled. Commissions then sent their corrections and recommendations referring to IUPAP policies and criteria, and a proposed ranking of conferences. A general problem is that some conference proposals are not explicit about fulfillment of criteria, and sometimes Commissions themselves are not sufficiently careful in checking this aspect. The main critical aspects concern: (i) fee limit; (ii) diversity and women participation in committees; (iii) underestimation of free circulation of scientists and Visa problems; (iv) proceedings. When in doubt, Molinari proposed to give approval only if the Commission Chairs can commit themselves to checking that criteria will be fulfilled. Also, approval will be awarded under the condition that the organizers sign an explicit statement that all criteria will be fulfilled. Molinari then proposed that grants should normally be within the limits used in previous year (US$ 10000 for type A, US$ 6000 for type B, US$ 0 for type C or regional conferences; US$4500 for travel grants). These procedures were approved. The list of proposed conferences was then examined in detail and the enclosed list of priorities was recommended to the Council.

Concerning proceedings, it was pointed out that on-line publication would be important to enhance access and reduce costs. Richter proposed that IUPAP should set up a web site to host proceedings. It was suggested that Tata Institute or other institutions in developing counties might be instrumental in helping to set up such web site in an efficient and cost-effective way. It was agreed that this or other possibilities will be explored before the next meeting.

9. New working group "International Committee on Ultrahigh Intensity Lasers".

Dr. Barty summarized key issues in the physics of ultrahigh intensity laser - matter interactions and reminded the proposal, presented by Prof. Sandner and approved in the previous CC&C meeting, to set up a new working group. In the last few months there have been intensive activities and contacts, which have led to finalize the proposed composition of the Working Group. The working group will have C16 as reference Commission, with strong interactions with C15 and C17. It was agreed that the proposal should be accepted, with modified composition to include the Chair of C16 who will act as liaison to the Council. It is expected that only very minor funding will be needed for this working group since the laboratories that are represented are ready to contribute.

10. Nanoscience.

Molinari reminded that the previous C&CC meeting recognized the importance of nanoscience for IUPAP and invited her to coordinate a small group of people to review the situation and suggest actions. The group met during the C&CC meeting in Trieste and before the present Vancouver meeting, with the participation of the interested Commission Chairs. Each Commission was asked to provide the following information: 1. key issues in nanoscience of interest to the commission; 2. conferences in nanoscience that are related to the commission or to the field, including comments on their nature and focus; 3. key people in the field (and beyond) that could help in assessing the situation and in shaping a possible conference. Reports were already provided by Commissions C3, C5, C6, C8, C9, C17, C20. The resulting picture is that nanoscience is well present in existing IUPAP conferences (including large type A conferences as well as type B and C conferences). However, the interactions between different fields are still too weak, especially at the frontiers between inorganics/organics and biological systems; no IUPAP nanoscience conference exists involving different Commissions. In general, most existing international conferences (non IUPAP) emphasize nanotechnology rather than nanoscience. The group also believes that the role of physics in the nanosciences is not as visible as it should.

As a result of the working group discussion, Molinari proposed the following actions: (i) to strengthen nanoscience conferences within each Commission, encourage collaborations among commissions and interface aspects with other disciplines; (ii) to prepare a new section in the IUPAP Website (Nano@IUPAP) containing the Commissions' reports and other information about IUPAP activities in the nanosciences; to include an article on this topic in the next IUPAP Newsletter; (iii) to organize an International Conference on "Physics in the Nanosciences" within the 2005 World Year of Physics: the steering committee will involve representatives of Commissions; the meeting is provisionally planned to take place in Dublin thanks to the collaboration of M Coey, chair of C9; the possibility of an additional meeting in Japan will also be explored; (iv) explore existing conference series in nanoscience and possibly 'adopt' one or more in the next years. If very successful, the conference mentioned under the item (iii) might evolve into a series.

11. Ethics.

Petroff reminded that the previous C&CC meeting had identified the need of an IUPAP contribution to the discussion on ethics and scientific misconduct in physics. He presented the program of the IUPAP workshop on "Scientific Misconduct and the Role of Physics Journals in its Investigation and Prevention" that will take place on October 13-14, 2003. He presented the program of the meeting and proposed that, after the discussion in the meeting, an IUPAP statement on Ethics will be finalized.

12. Physics in Canada.

Petroff invited two guests from the Canadian physics community to present talks on the situation and perspectives of physics in Canada. Dr. Poutissou presented a talk on "TRIUMF's and Canada's Subatomic Physics program: present and future" and Dr. Mark Freeman (U. Alberta) spoke about "Condensed Matter Physics in Canada".

13. World year of Physics.

Petroff informed about the discussion within UNESCO on the 2005 World Year of Physics, and expressed the hope that the approval will be finally obtained. Meanwhile the organization of activities for the International Year of Physics is continuing. Given the budget limits of IUPAP and also of regional organizations like the EPS, most of the activities will be at the national level. He proposed that specific IUPAP activities include the "Physics in the Nanosciences" events and a major event entitled "International Conference on Physics and Sustainable Development". A goal is to convince the governments all over the world, and especially in the developing world, that physics and science education are a priority. Franz presented the proposal for the latter event, that was prepared in collaboration with E. Zingu and already had a preliminary approval of UNESCO and ICTP. The conference is planned to take place in Durban, South Africa, in October 2005 in connection with the General Assembly. After extensive discussion on the scope, possible attendance and key topics of the meeting the proposal was approved. Trimble suggested involvement of commission members from developing countries. Other immediate actions will include informing all liaison committees about the 2005 Year or Physics and ICPSD.

14. Plans for IUPAP General Assembly.

Franz and Zingu introduced the proposal to hold the General Assembly in South Africa. The proposed dates were October 19-21, but they could be moved to the previous or following week in order to avoid conflicts with the ICSU General Assembly.

15. Reports from inter-Union representatives.

Franz informed that reports were received from inter-Union representatives in IU.3, IU.7, IU.14, IU.18.

Wenzel reported about IU.3 Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). van Wijngarden reported that IU.7 Inter-Union Commission on Spectroscopy (IUCS) seems to be inactive and suggested to cancel IUPAP's representative. Sharma presented the report by L. Pendrill on IU.14 - IUPAC Interdivisional Committee on Nomenclature and Symbols (IDCNS) and P. Ormos on IU.18 IUPAB International Union of Pure and Applied Biophysics. The proposal to cancel IUPAP representative in IU.7 - IUCS was approved.

16. US visa concerns.

Petroff reported about very serious concerns in the situation of US Visa and the major problems that are arising for the free circulation of scientists and the international character of conferences. Vera Luth presented a detailed report on the new procedures that were enforced for US visa applications and the impact that they had on the attendance at the International Symposium on Lepton-Photon interactions. Petroff reported about a letter sent by Prof. J. Dorfan (Chair of ICFA) pointing out that the situation is more general and concerns not only access to conferences, but also to international collaborative activities and large scale facilities. Molinari informed that other Conference organizers reported problems in the attendance of foreign scientists working in the US to Conferences held outside the US, owing to difficulties and worries about re-entry visa.

After extensive discussion, the C&CC expressed the greatest concern about the situation and increasing menaces to free circulation of scientists. For this reason, the C&CC decided that IUPAP will not guarantee approval to any future Conference in the US unless the situation changes. This will also be true for other countries where similar situations should appear.

The discussion then focused on possible actions. Petroff and Richter informed that sofar ICSU seemed not to be very interested in reacting rapidly on this issue. The following actions were proposed: (i) to prepare an official motion and send it to ICSU requesting their initiative; (ii) to write to the new science advisor at the US State Department, with copy to the National Academy of Sciences, and to other US and international bodies to inform about the situation and the very serious implications for the development of science. Petroff and Richter will take care of actions (i) and (ii).

It was also proposed (iii) to include detailed information on the situation and on IUPAP actions on the IUPAP website, together with practical recommendations in order to help Conference organizers and individual scientists in facing this situation; (iv) to continue in collecting data and reporting problems.

The C&CC approved the proposed actions. It was also approved to follow closely the situation in other countries by collecting reports of any problems that may arise in conference organization or other activities.

17. Reports from Working Groups.

Luth reported about the International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA).
Franz reported about the Working Group on Women in Physics. After the Paris conferences 3 projects are carried on: (i) maintaining a very lively website; (ii) awarding travel grants to facilitate the participation of women from developing countries to conferences (2 competitions were held, each with grants to 20 women, using resources that remained from the Paris conference, a small grant from UNESCO, a small grant from Oreal and a small personal anonymous grant); (iii) to work on a proposal for a Network of Women in Africa: a first application was not approved by Unesco, the working group is now working on getting endorsement from more countries. The working group will meet in London, then IUPAP has to decide whether to invest more money to allow it to meet. Molinari and Luth proposed that a budget should be provided in order to allow the working group to meet regularly once a year.

Monceau reported that the working group on Facilities in Condensed Matter Physics has not been active in recent years, and invited suggestions regarding the main areas for its future activity. Petroff pointed out that working on syncrotron and neutron facilities is presently difficult and may have small impact as some coordination is already provided by other international bodies. He and Franz suggested the working group should work on High-magnetic-field facilities. The proposal was approved.

18. ICSU matters.

Petroff, Richter and Franz reported about different aspects of ICSU activities.

(i) Emerging issues. Petroff reported on the ICSU enquiry on emerging issues. IUPAP contributed by pointing out some important issues: Investment in Basic and Applied Sciences, Nanotechnology, Energy; other relevant issues were brought by other members. The outcome was a document on which we can now give input; Council members and chairs are invited to contribute before the end of October by offering comments to be sent to ICSU.

(ii) World Summit on the Information Society - the Scientific Input. Petroff and Richter reported about the World Science Information Society Summit that will take place in Geneva in December 2003, and the work that was made in preparation of this meeting. The 'Principles and recommendations' elaborated in a joint preparatory meeting by ICSU, Codata and UNESCO can be found at;

(iii) Science for Health and Well-being. Petroff reported that ICSU is active on this topic; although IUPAP was not directly involved so far, some future involvement may be appropriate;

(iv) ICSU Unions' Meeting. Petroff reported about the draft agenda of the February meeting, where Petroff and Astbury will attend. In view of this meeting it is important to identify what IUPAP would like to obtain from ICSU and vice-versa. Richter pointed out that ICSU must recognize and emphasize that unions are those who have real connections to the scientific communities. IUPAP has so far being important supporting players, but could now play a more important role. Richter, Petroff and Astbury will work in this direction.

(v) ICSU Executive Board. Richter reported on the activity of the Board and the role that physicists can now have on topics like energy and environment, basic science;

(vi) Universality. Franz reported that IUPAP has appointed a Review group on Universality, i.e. the principles relating to the rights and responsibilities of scientists in their freedom to conduct science. In an informal message, P. Warren anticipated some working material prepared by the Review group, on which we can now offer some comments. Franz presented some remarks that were shared by many others: the proposed text is very vague and mixes issues at very different levels making the statements quite ineffective. It was unanimously recommended to send a reply to ICSU with the comments that IUPAP considers that this is a very important issue; two separate statements should be issued, one on free circulation of scientists and one on ethics; they should be both very short and concise. Petroff and Richter will work with ICSU to improve the text.

(vii) Nominations for ICSU Committees. Franz reported that after the previous Council meeting nominations were required by ICSU for the "Ad-hoc expert panel for capacity building in science" and for the "Policy Committee on Developing Countries". IUPAP nominations were sent for both, namely Prof. Annick Suzor Weinert and Prof. Edmund Zingu.

19. Report on Claims for Discovery of Elements.

Petroff summarized the detailed report of the IUPAC/IUPAP Joint Working Party on the claims for discovery of elements 110, 111, 112, 114, 116, and 118. This committee determined that the claim by Hoffmann concerning element 110 (proposed name: Darmstadtium) and element 111 fulfilled the criteria; more data are instead needed before a conclusive statement on the other elements. Petroff suggested to endorse the proposal of the committee, which was then unanimously approved.

20. Science education and ICTP.

Franz reported about a very preliminary draft proposal that is currently being discussed at UNESCO on science education and a possible institution to be started in Trieste. The existing Trieste institutions including ICTP could offer the location. The goal would be to train people who teach teachers. Franz mentioned that a possible pilot program of 1-month courses could start: IUPAP could propose to start with physics because of the background that already exists in Trieste. Tibell reported that although there was no real discussion on this proposal in the community, he thinks that the idea of working at the level of teacher trainers is good and that the C13 Commission would help. Sen seconded this view. It was agreed to follow the future developments and possibly contribute with ideas for pilot initiatives.

21. New business.

(i)All Commission Chairs will be invited to send information that will be used to update the IUPAP website. In particular they should send a report on what is new in science in their field.

(ii) The next meeting will be held in India (possibly Bombay) or Japan (Tsukuba) in October 2004. Details will be communicated by e-mail.

(iii) The proposed actions emerged under item 5 (Commission reports) were approved.


The meeting of the Council and Commission Chairs was adjourned at 1.45 on October 11, 2003.

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