COSPAR held its biennial Scientific Assembly in Paris, France on 18 – 25 July 2004. More than 2500 participants regitered, the highest attendance at a COSPAR Assembly ever. 90 scientific events, covering all branches of space research, were scheduled, with public interdisciplinary lectures and panel events interspersed. There was also a specific student programme. The COSPAR Space Science Award went to J.E. Blamont and V.E. Moroz.
Portugal has joined COSPAR as its 43 rd national institution member. The International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) has joined as the Committee’s 13 th Scientific Union member.
COSPAR’s program of Capacity Building Workshops has been considerably extended. Following the 1 st astronomy oriented workshop in Brazil in 2001, three regional workshops were organized in 2003/04:
- Regional Workshop for Asia-Pacific Astronomers: An Advanced School for
Astronomers working at all Wavelengths , January 2003, Udaipur, India
- Regional Workshop for Space Physicists from South-East Asia: Analysis of Data
from Multi-satellite Magnetospheric Missions, May 2004, Beijing, China
- Regional Workshop for African Astronomers and Space Scientists: An Advanced School for Multi-wavelength Astrophysics, June/July 2004, Durban, South Africa.
All Workshops were co-sponsored and financially supported by member Scientific Unions. Encouraging results came out of a questionnaire, sent to participants two years after the Brazil workshop, to evaluate the long-term benefits of participation to students and, indeed, society. Amongst those responding (50%), all regarded the workshop as having been valuable for their careers.
COSPAR also participated in two of the three Priority Area Assessments (PAA) mandated at the 2002 ICSU General Assembly. The 1 st PAA dealt with the Environment and its Relation to Sustainable Development. The ICSU recommendation ‘that COSPAR should consider how it could contribute to the development of a truly integrated Earth Observation System’ is under study. COSPAR provided the requested input to the 2 nd PAA on Scientific Data and Information. Results from this PAA are not yet available. COSPAR also contributed input to the ICSU project to identify emerging issues in science.
COSPAR has started a process of reflection on its future. Following an initial brainstorming meeting, matters such as: what role for COPAR at the beginning of the 21 st century? what role of COSPAR vis-a-vis the scientific community, agencies, ICSU etc.? what value does COSPAR add to the various domains in which it is active? are being addressed by task groups. The COSPAR Bureau will assess the results in March 2005 and propose implementations for Council approval in 2006.
Peter Wenzel, IUPAP liaison to COSPAR