Minutes of the IUPAP Council and Commission Chairs Meeting

January 24-25, 2003
Trieste, Italy


Present: A. Astbury, J. Avron, S. Bagayev, M. Barma, A. Bettini, M.L. Calvo, M. Coey, J. Daigle, J. Franz, H. Fukuyama, V. Lüth, E. Molinari, P. Monceau, S. Nagamiya, P. Ormos, Y. Petroff, B. Richter, J. Sahm, W. Sandner, 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: S. Rezende

Guests: M. H. A. Hassan (TWAS), E. Tosatti (ICTP), W. Sandner (Max Born Inst. Germany), R. Cingolani (INFM), E. Iarocci (INFN), A. Bettini (INFN, PANAGIC).

Staff: S. Montauto

1. Welcome and introduction

President Petroff called the meeting to order at 9:00 and reviewed the agenda. He welcomed all participants and invited them to introduce themselves.

He then commemorated Rene Turlay, former secretary general, who greatly contributed to IUPAP and passed away at the end of November 2002.

2. IUPAP Orientation

A. General Goals. Petroff presented a general review of IUPAP activities. He focused in particular on interactions with ICSU and the need to enhance the importance of basic sciences in that context. Among the key issues to be addressed by IUPAP he stressed the decreasing budgets for physical sciences and the need to increase interactions with developing countries. He emphasized the importance of starting new working groups on energy and ultrahigh intensity lasers to promote activities in those fields.

B. Finances, member affairs, dates and schedules, website. Franz reported on the present situation and perspectives: Finances. Franz presented the general structure of the budget pointing out the typical incomes and the problems in payment of member dues which constitute the largest IUPAP resource; bank interests are now greatly reduced with respect to previous years. She then discussed the main expenditures (see Annex A: 2003 operating budget). Member affairs: Franz showed the list of members with their shares, and expressed the need and wish to have more countries join IUPAP. Dates and schedules: Franz illustrated the plans to have Council and Chairs Meetings in September-October of 2003, 2004 and 2005. In 2005 there will also be the General Assembly. Website: Franz illustrated the structure and status of the website and invited everybody to collaborate with corrections and suggestions.

C. Conferences. Molinari summarized the current procedures for sponsorship of international conferences. Among issues that require action she mentioned the need to encourage conferences in new fields (e.g. nanoscience) and the commitment to increase women's active participation. She underlined increasing problems encountered by the organizers of large conferences; she pointed out the need to implement IUPAP requirements concerning fees, free circulation of scientists, proceedings. Molinari stressed the role of commissions in implementing IUPAP policies on conferences.

D. Relations with ICSU. Richter illustrated the role of ICSU in addressing multidisciplinary problems of global importance and reporting to governments. Together with presidents of all scientific unions ICSU is now identifying the key issues that will be important in the next few years. Energy and ethics are among these. Richter sits on the executive board of ICSU; he will regularly consult with IUPAP Council.

E. Role of liaison committees, associate members. Franz pointed out the importance of keeping liaison committees informed and enhancing their involvement: the newsletter (electronic and paper version) can help in this direction. Franz illustrated the possibility to integrate commissions with associate members who can help in keeping contacts with other commissions or organizations. She invited commission chairs to recommend 3-4 names and communicate them to the Secretariat (Erika Ridgway).

F. Role of working groups. Richter presented the existing working groups and their importance in fostering discussion in the global community to make decisions about facilities, and in addressing key issues like women in physics and communication. He invited suggestions for new working groups.

G. Role of the commissions. Petroff stressed the fact that commissions must have a general view of what is important in their fields. He referred to the subsequent presentations by commission chairs and to the related discussion.

3. Business matters: finances and member affairs.

Franz presented the budget for 2003; the Council approved. Franz illustrated the status of member dues payments. IUPAP lost some Members due to delays in payments in excess of 6 years. Cyprus joined IUPAP in 2003 as approved by the General Assembly.

4. Conferences

advance approval and reconsideration of the Namibia proposal. Molinari reminded that decisions on conferences sponsorships and grants for 2004 will be taken in the autumn meeting. However some conferences for 2004 and beyond have requested advance IUPAP approval that may be helpful to raise further support (see Annex B: Application for advance approval). After hearing from the chairs of the pertinent commissions, the Council granted advance approval for the following large conferences: ICAP, Brazil (Conf. Ref. No. C15.01/04); ICPP, France (C16.1/04); IQEC, Japan (C17.01/05); GR17, Ireland (AC.2.01/04). The decision on a proposed smaller conference, MPLP2004, Russia (C17.01/04) was postponed to the fall meeting. Molinari then reported on the application for IWOPLA, Namibia (C13.01/03) that was resubmitted after discussions in the previous Council Meeting. The proposal was approved and a grant of $ 6,000 was approved.

5. Commission reports (1st part).

The Chairs of the Commissions gave informal reports on the activity of their Commissions (see Annex C): Sharma for C2, Barma for C3, Wenzel for C4, Fukuyama for C5, Ormos for C6, Skolnick for C8, Coey for C9, Monceau for C10, Luth for C11 and Nagamiya for C12.

6. Plans for increasing interaction with developing countries

Petroff pointed out that the meeting was planned in Trieste to allow in-depth discussions with the institutions (ICTP, TWAS) that are active there. He asked Zingu (Chair of C13) to introduce the view of C13 to help prepare the meeting with ICTP and TWAS.

Zingu pointed out that physicists are often isolated: sometimes there is only one physics department in the country, with very little scientific focus (the members are trained in different fields, having accepted study opportunities in other countries without ensuring any relevance to the department or country). Consequently it is difficult to reach a critical mass in any field. In most of the groups where development has been successful, donor funding has been essential. One such example is the Physics Department in Dares Salaam where donor funding was used and focused in a particular area of physics. Without donor funding and the necessary focus this would not have been achieved, although sustainability often becomes a problem. It is unfortunate that the particular focus for development is often determined by the donor, rather than the needs of the developing country.
ICTP is in contact with most of the physicists in developing countries and has a good sense of the needs in those countries, therefore it would be useful to use these contacts to facilitate development. To this purpose, the Council must take advantage of the meeting with the ICTP Director and officers. Subsequent contacts with ICTP will be facilitated by the fact that C13 has a member belonging to ICTP. To improve the contribution of different commissions, Zingu suggested that each of them should indicate an associate member within C13. The Council approved.

Presentation by the Acting Director of ICTP. Petroff introduced Tosatti, Acting Director of the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), who gave an overview of its institutional objectives (see Annex D). Tosatti emphasized that ICTP activities are based on contacts with individual scientists in developing countries, and described the main programs in house and externally, all aiming at top scientific level. He stressed the importance of the network of scientists associated with ICTP and the emphasis on younger scientists. He then invited some key ICTP staff members to report on specific in-house research groups and on different programs for developing countries: Colavita reported on "microprocessor lab" and regional courses, Giorgi on "weather and climate group" and in-house courses, Cerdeira on "condensed matter group", ICTP-TWAS donation programme, and communications, Denardo on "optics lab", Hussain on the office of external activities. An extensive discussion followed, pointing out the common interests of ICTP and IUPAP and their willingness to establish systematic collaborations.

Presentation and discussion with the Director of TWAS. Petroff introduced Hassan who illustrated the activities of the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) (see website). During the discussion Franz and Hassan suggested contacts between IUPAP working group on women in physics and Third World Organization for Women in Science (TWOWS).

Conclusive remarks on interactions with developing countries. After speeches of ICTP director and TWAS president, Petroff and Franz pointed out the need to collaborate closely with such existing organizations taking advantage of their established networks. The very limited budget of IUPAP suggests that a few priorities should be identified. Aspects that were mentioned as possible priorities are experimental science (complementary to the theoretical emphasis of ICTP), biological physics, activities in Africa (since they have the worst situation), especially women scientists in Africa.

The projects "Capacity Building and Education in Biophysics" and "A project for Latin America and Asia-Africa regions" were approved.

7. Proposal for an international committee on Ultrahigh Intensity Lasers.

W. Sandner was invited to present the proposal by the OECD Global Science Forum Coordinating Committee on Compact High-intensity Short-Pulse Lasers, on establishing a IUPAP working group (see Annex E). Sandner confirmed that for the moment no specific funding is requested from IUPAP since support is provided by the laboratories involved. After extensive discussion the proposal was approved. Petroff will finalize the charge and composition of the working group, which is expected to report to the Council and the General Assembly in 2005.

8. Creation of the working group on energy (and its relation to ICSU).

Petroff illustrated the proposal for a working group on energy (see Annex F) whose creation was approved by the General Assembly. After extensive discussion it was agreed that Petroff will finalize the charge and composition of the working group, which is expected to report to the Council and the General Assembly in 2005.

9. Commission reports (2nd part).

The Chairs of the Commissions gave informal reports on the activity of their Commissions (see Annex C): Zingu for C13, Tibell for C14, W. van Wijngaarden for C15, Sen for C16, Slusher for C17, Avron for C18, Trimble for C19, Takada for C20, Calvo for AC1, Wald for AC2 and Daigle for AC3.

10. Inter-Union representatives

Franz reports on the current IUPAP delegates to Inter-Union Commissions. After discussion the following delegates were approved.

IU.1 International Council on Scientific Union (ICSU): B. Richter
IU.2 Committed on data for Science and Technology (CODATA): P. Mohr
IU.3 Committed on Space Research (COSPAR): Wenzel
IU.5 International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI): I. Butterworth
IU.7 Inter-Union Commission on Spectroscopy (IUCS): van Wijngaarden
IU.8 Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE): W. Gudowski
IU.10 Scientific Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Physics (SCOSTEP): F. W. Sluijter
IU.13 IUPAC Commission on Atomic Weights and Isotopic Abundance (CAWIA): K. Sharma
IU.14 IUPAC Inter Division Committee on Terminology and Symbols (IDCNS): L. Pendril
IU.15 Bureau International des Poits et Mesures (BIPM): P. Giacomo
IU.18 International Union of Pure and Applied Biophysics (IUPAB) : P. Ormos

No delegates were nominated for the remaining Inter-Union Commissions.

11. 2005 World Year of Physics: IUPAP's role.

Petroff reminded that the European Physical Society proposed to make the year 2005 the Year of Physics and the proposal was approved by the General Assembly of IUPAP in Berlin. He pointed out that all the IUPAP members should be strongly involved; however due to the small budget of IUPAP it is the National and Regional Societies that should be the main organizers. The role of IUPAP should be primarily to promote and coordinate their activities and foster a few joint activities. He also stressed the need to attract the interest of the media.

Franz emphasized that IUPAP should support the European Physical Society in the coordinating role and invited new ideas. She pointed out that the main difficulty in promoting any IUPAP activity is to identify people who can actually take charge of doing that. It was concluded that IUPAP will be in close contact with EPS on this issue and that any proposals of specific activities will be discussed at the next meeting; they should be accompanied by indication of individuals that are willing to take care of the organization.

12. Site for the 2005 General Assembly, fall 2003 Council meeting.

Franz pointed out the opportunity to identify the sites of the next Council Meeting (September-October 2003) and General Assembly (2005). She summarized a preliminary proposal for the Council that arrived from Canada. South Africa and China (Beijing) were proposed both as site for the Council and for the General Assembly.
After discussion it was concluded that more formal proposals were needed before making a decision for the Council site; possible dates are 26-28 Sept. or 9-12 Oct; the officers will look into dates and sites and circulate information by email.
As to the General Assembly (GA), it was pointed out that the Council has met in Beijing rather recently. Zingu mentioned that the South African site is particularly attractive and stressed the importance of having the GA in Africa for the first time. After discussion it was agreed in principle that South Africa is an interesting option, but the need of a location that can be reached efficiently was emphasized. The officers were asked to work with Zingu on the proposal.

13. Professional conduct and ethics - IUPAP's role (possible publisher's conference).

Petroff reminded that this problem was introduced by Richter and debated at the last GA in Berlin. Richter summarized the main issues. The possibility to organize a General Conference on this topic was suggested but did not receive great support from the GA. Two possible lines of actions are:

  1. to publish guidelines on the web similar to what has been done by some national Societies;
  2. to organize a small meeting with publishers of scientific journals to discuss specific problems including plagiarism, the review mechanisms, authorship, etc. Such meeting has been suggested by editors of important journals.

The Council gave priority to action number 2 and invited Petroff to organize it.

14. Reports and plans for existing Working Groups

    A. Bettini was invited to present the report of PaNAGIC. His detailed report is given in Annex G. Bettini concluded that the role of the panel has been and is very important for the community. The Council agreed and approved the extension of PaNAGIC until the next GA. In a specific discussion on High Energy Neutrino Astrophysics Panel (HENAP), Richter pointed out that its impact has been limited. The participation of PaNAGIC and HENAP in the OECD Global Science Forum (January 29-30, 2003) was approved.
    B. Petroff reported on the Working Group on Large Condensed Matter Facilities. He pointed out that the working group was created in 1998 to examine the future needs of facilities in various areas: neutrons, X-Rays, high magnetic, etc. For the moment only the case of neutrons has been examined, with a short report presented at the GA. It is clear that the working group has not been very active.
    C. Franz reported on the Working Group on Women in Physics (WGWP). A detailed presentation of the activities was given at the GA, showing a very dynamic and effective group. New aspects that require decision are: 1) membership: E. Molinari asked to be removed from the working group as she is now Associate Secretary General. It was agreed to invite Anne Borg (Sweden) as a new member; 2) WGWP proposal for an African network of women in physics/sciences: it was agreed that Franz would work with WGWP to finalize the proposal that will be submitted to ICSU.

15. Nanoscience: IUPAP's role.

Petroff introduced the topic that is clearly becoming central, and invited the Council to identify possible actions of IUPAP in this respect. He considered unnecessary to start a new working group in this direction. Molinari mentioned the importance of making physics more visible in nanoscience together with the other disciplines, since very often chemistry is perceived as the key component. According to Molinari it may be useful to assess the situation of Conferences in nanoscience and nanotechnology. While many specialized conferences exist within subfields (e.g. nanoscale semiconductors), the topic is certainly broader; it is not clear whether established conferences exist and whether IUPAP sponsorship can play a role. As the topic is transverse to many Commissions, the contribution of all relevant Commissions will be needed. Skolnick underlined the need to be careful in promoting extra conferences since many already exist.
Petroff proposed that a small group of 2-3 people should think about it and come up with suggestions, and invited Molinari to coordinate it. The proposal was approved. Commissions C6, C8, C9, C17, C20 should participate, together with any other interested commissions.

16. Presentations by Italian physicists

Petroff introduced two Italian guests to speak about the situation of physics in Italy: Prof. R. Cingolani (Vice-President, Istituto Nazionale per la Fisica della Materia - INFM) and Prof. Enzo Iarocci (President, Istituto Nazionale Fisica Nucleare - INFN). Their talks focused respectively on "Nanoscience in Italy" and "High energy and nuclear physics in Italy" (Annex H), and highlighted recent scientific achievements, as well as successes and difficulties in further developing policies for infrastructures, scientific personnel, etc.

17. General discussion of physics in Italy

Molinari referred to data published by the European Commission ("Science, Technology and Innovation. Key Figures 2002", distributed to all participants), to remind that funding for science in Italy is extremely low compared with most European countries. Funding for physics is globally still relatively high, since high-energy physics is maintaining its traditionally prominent role in the country. However the budget is decreasing and there is great concern particularly for basic research. A major reason of concern in the physics community is also related to the proposed reorganization of public research institutions: Among other changes, this may lead to the aggregation of INFM and CNR in a single institution, with implications on general policies (strong emphasis on applied and industrial research), governance (traditionally the physics community indicates the president of INFM as that of INFN, contrary to CNR), relations with the university system, transparency of evaluation procedures (both traditional strengths of INFM), funding level, efficiency. Tosatti emphasized that indeed funding is not the only problem: the announced reforms are the most critical issue for INFM and CNR. Cingolani shared these worries and pointed out the need that any reorganization of the Italian research system should have as a reference the international standards and aim at bringing Italy at the top of European standards. Iarocci pointed out that while INFN presently seems not to be involved in the reorganization, it cannot consider itself immune from these trends. Based on their direct knowledge of the Italian system, Richter and Petroff commented that Italian research in physics is of high level by all international standards, with some really outstanding peaks; they pointed out the brightness of many Italian scientists and the risks that budget cuts and/or wrong policies may increase brain drain. Trimble added that this also applies to astrophysics in Italy. They further stressed the risks of any contraction in the budget of basic research, as fundamental physics is a strength for the country also in view of applications and education. It was agreed that Petroff would see how IUPAP can influence the current process by communicating the above worries to the Italian government.


The meeting of the Council and Commission Chairs was adjourned at 18.50 on January 25.

Annex A. IUPAP Operating Budget
Annex B. Conferences: applications for advance approval. adv.appr.04-05.xls
Annex C. Informal reports by Commission Chairs
Annex D. Report by E. Tosatti (Acting Director, ICTP).
Annex E. Presentation on possible IUPAP working group on Ultrahigh Intensity Lasers (W. Sandner).
Annex F. Presentation on new IUPAP working group on Energy (P. Petroff)
Annex G. Report by PANAGIC (A. Bettini)
Annex H. Introduction to the situation of "High energy and nuclear physics in Italy" (E. Iarocci)

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