MINUTES OF THE 23RD GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF IUPAP
The 23rd General Assembly of IUPAP was held under the auspices of IUPAP and organized by the USA Liaison Committee for IUPAP.
The President, Jan S. Nilsson, was in the Chair for all sessions of the General Assembly as well as the related Council Meeting. The General Assembly was attended by 95 delegates from liaison committees and commission chairs, 30 observers from non-member national communities and regional physical societies, and 11 members of the IUPAP Council.
Scientific sessions and social events were coordinated with the centennial celebration of the American Physical Society.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SESSION 1 (Carter Centre): Thursday, March 18, 1999, 9:30 a.m.
1. Opening and Memorial Observance
President Nilsson opened the General Assembly and welcomed all participants to the meeting. On behalf of IUPAP he thanked the American Physical Society, and especially Judy Franz, Irving Lerch and their staff at the APS for their hospitality. He expressed the gratitude of IUPAP to UNESCO, the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), and the Organization of American States (OAS) for financial support that had been provided to assist some 27 scientists from developing countries to attend this meeting (Appendix A). In addition, the American Physical Society has provided extensive support for accommodation for a number of scientists while in Atlanta. He called on Judy Franz, who welcomed delegates and observers to Atlanta on behalf of the American Physical Society.
President Nilsson requested that the delegates stand and observe a moment of silence in memory of former officers of IUPAP who had passed away during this past triennium, namely A. M. Hoogenboom (first Chair of the Working Group on Communication in Physics and President of The Netherlands Physical Society), J. Werle (former Vice-President of IUPAP), and G. Herzberg (former Vice-President of IUPAP).
2. Presidential Address
In his address, President Nilsson observed that physics is vigorous as illustrated by the commission reports which contain a broad synopsis of the progress of the sub-field of each commission. There are many overlapping interests as is demonstrated by the reference by more than one commission in new topics such as Bose-Einstein condensates, neutrino oscillations, etc.
Nilsson also reported on the way that Council has followed the directives of the Uppsala General Assembly (1996). In particular, the following has been done:
1. A meeting of the Executive Council was held along with all of the commission chairs in February 1997. The format of this meeting proved to be so productive and useful that it was repeated in September 1997 and September 1998.
2. Progress was made in working with the regional physical societies, especially with the APS, EPS, the Association of Asian-Pacific Physical Societies (AAPPS), and the Federación Latin Americana de Sociedades de Física (FELASOFI).
3. IUPAP is developing improved relationships with the OECD Megascience Forum and has been working toward improved connections with ICSU and UNESCO (particularly with the Physics Action Committee).
4. The largest number of observers ever to have been invited to participate was present at this meeting and will participate in the Centennial Meeting of the APS immediately following the General Assembly.
3. Adoption of the Agenda
4. Minutes of the General Assembly 1996
5. Members' Affairs
Turlay reported that the membership had decreased by one (Libya) to 46 during the past three years. Discussions were being pursued with potential candidates for membership.
6. Election Procedures
Elections at this General Assembly were to be conducted under a somewhat streamlined procedure as directed by the Uppsala General Assembly. The request for nominations was sent out last year to the liaison committees and to the commissions. The nominations that were received were then reviewed by the Council at the September 1998 meeting and a slate was proposed by the Council, with consideration given to appropriate balance as to representation by liaison committees. This was distributed to the commissions and to the liaison committees in December 1998. A deadline of February 15, 1999, was set for the renomination of any candidate by a liaison committee or by a commission. The final list of nominations, as of that date, was then distributed to the delegates at the General Assembly. Some delegations indicated their dissatisfaction that a book with all of the nominations had not been distributed to all liaison committees, but was only available on request and at the meeting. Nilsson pointed out that a general mailing of the complete book to all delegations was an extremely expensive undertaking. It was suggested, in the future, that this information might be made available on the web site.
Representatives from commissions C8 and C16 indicated that those commissions wished to have the by-laws waived so that in each case the chairs might serve a second three-year term. Following discussion on the details of this proposal, a motion (Drake/ Monemar) to waive the rules for C8 was carried. Similarly, a second motion (Drake/ Bárány) to waive the rules for C16 was also carried. A motion to admit new names to the ballot was not approved.
7. Discussion of Nominations/ Renominations
The Uppsala General Assembly required that five commission chairs be elected as vice-presidents. With the withdrawal of Timofeev as a nominee for chair of C8, it was necessary that a different nomination be made. The proposal that Zingu, the only remaining commission chair to fit the criteria of geographical location and representation, replace Timofeev was accepted.
The slate of nominations/ renominations was reviewed commission by commission. In a number of cases either commissions or liaison committees indicated support that was not recorded in the booklet of nominations.
Nilsson reminded the meeting of the fact that up to four associate members could be appointed for each commission and that these appointments were used to ensure links to either other commissions or other bodies. The rules regarding these appointments are summarized in the General Report. Appointments for three year terms are made by the Council on recommendation of the commission, one year following the General Assembly.
Meeting adjourned for lunch, 12:15 p.m.
SESSION 2 (Carter Centre): Thursday, March 18, 1999, 1:45 p.m.
7. Discussion of Nominations/Renominations (Continued)
The Secretary-General tabled the list of Inter-union Commission nominations (see Appendix B). It was noted that in some cases the effectiveness of these inter-union representatives to other bodies had not been strong and, in some cases, there were no reports to the General Assembly. Action in assessing these commissions was referred to the Council.
8. Discussion of Resolutions from Council
8.1 Legal Domicile of the Union
The legal domicile of the union shall be Geneva, Switzerland.
8.2 Official Language of the Statutes
The official language of the union shall be English.
The existing Article 22 effectively requires that all statutes be translated into French. The French delegation recommended that no language be designated as "official". It was agreed that the delegation from France would propose an alternate wording.
8.3 Review of the Statutes
Considering the modifications of the statutes adopted by this and previous General Assemblies, the Council is requested to prepare a revised version of the Statutes and By-laws to be proposed for adoption at the next General Assembly.
This was proposed by Council in the light of amendments that had been made recently. The Indian delegation requested that whatever changes were made should be circulated well in advance of the next General Assembly. Richter proposed that the first draft be prepared in less than 18 months for comment by the liaison committees. Matters such as durations of terms and appointment of committees would be matters that would be spelled out more carefully in such a revised set of statutes. It would be the responsibility of the chairs of the liaison committees to see that feedback on the proposed changes to the Statutes be provided in a timely fashion.
8.4 Transfer of Office
Preamble: The statutes prescribe that the members of the Council and the commissions remain in office until the close of the General Assembly following their election.
General Assemblies are normally held in the month of September to allow commissions to meet in conjunction with major conferences to conduct their business.
In view of the exceptional timing of this General Assembly it is therefore proposed that transfer of office be postponed until September 1, 1999.
8.5 Resolution on the importance of physics to society
A statement originally drafted by the South, Central, and North American Physical Societies on the importance of physics to society was tabled and a lengthy discussion took place on the merits and importance of this statement both for developing countries and for the scientifically advanced societies. It was agreed that interested parties would assist Drake in preparing a set of consistent amendments to the resolution and propose it later to the General Assembly. Lerch (USA) pointed out that, while it was common to associate the idea of scientific development with industrial societies, the initiative for such a resolution had come from Latin American countries who needed this sort of statement to convince their governments of the importance to invest in scientific research. Nilsson noted that the draft resolution had come from Council. He recommended that amendments in the spirit of the resolution could be made in order to improve it and that these should be proposed through Drake who would coordinate the composition of an appropriate resolution (see Item 16, below).
9.1 Oral Comments
Commissions had already submitted written reports which are in the "Reports on International Commissions of IUPAP and the Inter-Union Committees" (IUPAP-34). A brief opportunity was given to commissions to add short oral remarks.
Sette (Italy) observed the difficulty that C10 had, in that it must cover a large diverse field in which the sub-fields have little common ground.
Chavel (AC1) reported on the reorganization of ICO within IUPAP and within ICSU, noting that there had been some change in the statutes but that ICO wished to remain strongly connected with IUPAP as an affiliated commission AC1. He reviewed the progress in the reorganization, as had already been reported to the IUPAP Council Meeting in Geneva in 1997.
Crum (AC3) commented that AC3, the International Commission on Acoustics, would like to follow exactly the same route and is currently doing just that. In particular, it wishes to retain a strong connection with IUPAP as an affiliated commission.
Black (14) reported that the Council had recommended that commissions prepare an overview of progress in the 20th century as a briefing document that might be used for a general physics audience. The intention is that it should include both a look at the past and a look toward the future. The chairs have assisted in producing this. It has been proposed that this be published as a small book, similar to the commissions reports, as well as made available on the IUPAP web site.
10.1 Working Group on Communication in Physics (M. Blume)
This group has been reconstituted to consider the problems that are emerging in electron publishing. It particularly will consider Internet availability/ reliability, linking between societies and publishers, availability of electronic communication in isolated areas, archiving, peer review, and intellectual property. This group will accept input through e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
10.2 Working Group on Neutron Sources (R. Klein)
A meeting was organized in March 1998 by the US Liaison Committee for IUPAP, in cooperation with the chairs of commissions C6, C8, C9, C10, along with the chairs of the neutron scattering associations of Europe, the USA and Japan, and the spokesman for the Megascience Forum Working Group on Neutron Sources. A second meeting has been planned for September 1999 in Budapest (as described in News Bulletin NB98-6).
10.3 Particle and Nuclear Astrophysics in Gravitation International Committee (PANAGIC) (B. Barish)
A Steering Committee on this subject was formed at a meeting of the Council and chairs in September 1997. This was followed in September 1998 with the establishment of this committee, with sub-panels on gravitational waves (GWIC) and on large neutrino observatories. The General Assembly heard the report on this activity. Further details have already been given in IUPAP News Bulletin NB98-6 and on the web at http://www.iupap.org/NB98-6.html. PANAGIC had not yet met, but a meeting was to be held at the end of the Centennial APS Meeting.
This committee was formed under the aegis of C11 in 1976 to facilitate international collaboration in the construction and use of high energy accelerators. It has held six meetings in the past triennium at major laboratories, three of which were extended meetings (January 1997, February 1998, January 1999) with the directors of the world's major particle physics laboratories participating. At these meetings, reports were given on the activities of all of the laboratories. In addition, other meetings of ICFA have been held in conjunction with major meetings of C11.
SESSION 3 (Westin Plaza Ballroom): Friday, March 19, 1999, 9:00 a.m.
Nilsson reminded the General Assembly that delegations had a number of votes that was related to the number of shares as has been published previously in the General Report 1997.
12. Secretary-General's Report
12.1 Free Circulation of Scientists
12.2 Meetings of Council
As directed by resolution passed at the General Assembly, the Council met together with the chairs of the commissions at CERN (Geneva) in February 1997. At this meeting
Atlanta, 16-17 March, 1999
It was both efficient and important to have representatives of the commissions present at these meetings to discuss such matters as conference sponsorship, reports on commission activities and activities that require the cooperation between commissions.
The IUPAP main web site is in operation (http://www.IUPAP.org) and the most up to date information is posted there for
12.4 Other Points
Liaison committees were urged to ensure that the names and addresses of contact personnel, as given on the IUPAP web pages, are up to date and correct. Corrections should be sent by e-mail to
13. Reports of Liaison Committees
14. Report of Inter-Union Committees
The written report from the inter-union committees is published in the booklet of reports (IUPAP-34) for the period 1996-1999. Nilsson gave the report as the representative to IU1 and indicated that he had not had close contact with ICSU but noted that he would represent IUPAP at the World Science 2000 Meeting. Further, as stated earlier, it is planned that the President of ICSU be invited to attend the Council meetings in October 1999. On a motion by Vogt, the list of inter-union representatives (as given in Appendix B) was approved by the General Assembly.
15. Report of the Commission on Finance
The auditor's reports were tabled. Richter noted that while there had been an operating surplus that this had diminished by about CHF50,000 per year and that it was anticipated that it would be difficult to balance the budget in the near future.
There was some discussion about the operating reserve. Nilsson pointed out that it was not large and that cash flow problems require that at least one annual budget be maintained as a reserve fund. Dues are paid at the end of the year by most of the liaison committees whereas expenditures occurred early in the year. The possibilities of significant fluctuations in expenditures was noted.
Nilsson moved on behalf of the Finance Commission that the financial reports for 1996-98 be approved. Nilsson announced that the dues would remain unchanged for the coming triennium and would be CHF2,500 per share.
Consideration was given to the limit on conference fees and after a brief discussion a motion by Drake/Kummer was approved that the current limit on conference fees (CHF 500) be maintained. Yamaguchi observed that we may have to reconsider this matter in two years but that it would need to be considered well in advance.
16. Resolutions from Commissions and Liaison Committees
16.1 Language of the Statutes
16.2 Working Group on Women in Physics
A. Bárány presented a resolution on behalf of the Swedish Liaison Committee.
We propose an IUPAP Working Group on Women in Physics. The mandate of the group should be to:
Voting on all resolutions was deferred to Session 4.
Adjournment, 12:00 noon.
SESSION 4 (Westin Plaza Ballroom): Saturday, March 20, 1999, 9:00 a.m.
President Nilsson called the meeting to order and invited Dr. Federico Mayor, the Director-General of UNESCO, to address the Assembly on the topic "Science for the 21st Century: A New Commitment". (See Appendix C).
11. Results of Election of Officers
President Nilsson announced the results of the election of officers. A list of those elected has been mailed to commission chairs, secretaries, and liaison committees under separate cover. The results are also published in the General Report 2000.
17. Union Policy Matters
In the discussion of Union policy, Suzor-Weiner (France) observed that we had a seen a map of member countries of ICO indicated in colour. It would be nice to see this for IUPAP. Further IUPAP needs to be open to new members and should encourage these. Secondly, IUPAP can play a useful role in promoting physics in these countries and the IUPAP statement on the "Importance of Physics to Society" should prove useful. In some cases such countries have great difficulty in paying fees and it is difficult to organize conferences there. However, IUPAP should be supportive.
Nilsson responded that the General Assembly has given authority to negotiate fees in special cases but there should be a concrete possibility that an inherent body could become a full member. To do this, it must represent a community of scientists. In the matter of conferences, the General Assembly has instructed Council to be selective and to insist that conferences be international in nature. Too many conferences lead to diluted support for each and devalues the significance of IUPAP support. Notwithstanding this, special consideration has been given to promote physics in developing countries by sponsoring conferences through C13 and C14 that would not meet the usual criteria.
Nadrchal (C20) noted that in the case of Computational Physics major meetings had been organized internationally, but there was still a tendency for these meetings to be somewhat regional. On that account, he requested that support might be considered for regional conferences in some cases. Sette (Italy) pointed out that it was necessary to have funds for commission meetings which would stimulate a commission meeting to be held at least once in the triennium.
18. Voting on Resolutions -- Final Text of Approved Resolutions
Nilsson observed that there were five resolutions from the Council and two from Sweden. He proposed that the Swedish resolution on gender language be referred to the committee reviewing the Statutes and By-laws for implementation. This was agreed by the meeting.
The legal domicile of the Union shall be Geneva, Switzerland.
For: 114 Against: 0 Abstaining: 0
Article 22 of the Statutes shall be changed to:
"In the case of discussion as to the interpretation of the Statutes, the English text will be used exclusively." in the English version of the Statutes and "Le texte anglais sera le texte de réference pour l'interpretation à donner des présent status. in the French text.For: 114 Against: 0 Abstaining: 0
Considering the modifications of the Statutes adopted by this and previous General Assemblies, the Council is requested to prepare a revised version of the Statutes and By-Laws to be proposed for adoption at the next General Assembly.For: 114 Against: 0 Abstaining: 0
In view of the exceptional timing of this General Assembly it is therefore proposed that transfer of office be postponed until September 1, 1999.
In view of the exceptional circumstances, it is resolved that current members of the Council and the Commissions remain in office until August 31, 1999.For: 114 Against: 0 Abstaining: 0
The following formal statement shall be adopted by the General Assembly.
Statement on the Importance of Physics to SocietyFor: 114 Against: 0 Abstaining: 0
It is resolved that an IUPAP Working Group on women in Physics be formed. The mandate of the group shall be toMoved by Sluitjer/Kummer that the last phrase "suggest means to improve the situation for women in physics" be removed.
For: 12 Against: 98 Abstaining: 4
The amendment was defeated. The main resolution was then voted on.
For: 107 Against: 2 Abstaining: 5
19. Venue of the 2002 General Assembly
20. Other Business
Following the tradition of the General Assembly, President Nilsson presented IUPAP cubes to officers of the Union who were ending their terms of office with IUPAP. Those to whom cubes were presented were:
Present Council: Y. Yamaguchi, P. Black, F. Garcia-Molinear, L. V. Keldysh, R. Klein, G. C. Righini, G-Z. Zhou
Chairmen: P. Hohenberg, J. Arafuni, M. Krusius, N. Go, T. Kihlman, M. Cardona, R. Cowley, B. Barish, E. Vogt, J. Gyulai, G. Drake, and J. Nadrchal
Following the presentation of the cubes, Sette (Italy) expressed the appreciation of the General Assembly for the leadership that had been provided by J. Nilsson over the last triennium. There was sustained applause. Nilsson thanked the General Assembly and expressed his congratulations to the incoming President, Burton Richter, who will assume his duties September 1, 1999.
President Nilsson declared the meeting adjourned at 11:08 a.m.