Letter from the President

Letter from the President

[Henk Schenk] Henk Schenk
This time a selection from my diary:

Thursday 1 August. In the air on my way to the XIX General Assembly and Congress of the IUCr in Geneva. I realize myself that I have just two more weeks as president. I enjoyed it a lot, but it is good that there is an end as well, it is a time-eater. Tomorrow the six day meeting of the Executive Committee starts and I’m looking forward to that. The EC is a very interesting group of people from all over the world and from all directions in crystallography. This results in intelligent discussions to form opinions and to reach decisions in consensus. Mike Dacombe, our executive secretary, organises a welcome dinner. Most of us are there, a meeting of friends, personal news, recent science, union activities. Time flies, bedtime.

Friday 2 August. I open the EC meeting at 9.00. A long discussion about the finances. In the last triennium we invested a lot, particularly in the new International Tables, in Journals-Online and in JSR. Red figures were the result. However, as sales of the IT are starting and cost reductions are achieved, we are now neutral again and are expecting a better next year. The Journals: Sine Larsen knows the Science Citation impact figures. They are very good, JAC is first out of 19 in the crystallography section, Acta D second, Acta B fourth and Acta A fifth. JSR is third out of 48 in the section Instrumentation. We will introduce an electronic only subscription for retired people. Access to all journals for a small price. Ideal for an emeritus to keep up with science, for the IUCr an increased readership.I’m dining downtown with Ze Zhang. We have a very nice evening with lots of interesting discussions. Tasty fish from the lake and an unexpected second serving. As dessert the splendid fireworks of the Geneva Festival at the lake side.

Saturday 3 August. Many small items today and a preview of all commissions and their reports. But also the International Tables. After all years of preparations five are out now and the remaining four will be out next year. We are very pleased with the sales, the community loves the IT’s. The Bio-volume F appears to be a new hit. Spending the evening downtown with many of the group. Dining in a patio. Excellent timing, our meeting and the festival.

Monday 5 August. Today and tomorrow we speak with most of the chairs of commissions and committees. It is fantastic how much these groups of volunteers achieve in favour of crystallography and our Union. And so many initiatives in the planning. Have dinner with Leonid Aslanov to discuss our joint research on pigments on old paintings.

Tuesday 6 August. Opening ceremony of the XIXth congress, downtown Geneva. Three speeches, Joel Bernstein to welcome, Menahem Kaftory to introduce the program and me to open the congress. Then a lively musical intermezzo by a local Klezmer group. I read the text of the certificate of the Ewald prize and vice president Michiyoshi Tanaka presents the beautiful Ewald medal to Michael Woolfson. Photographs. After receiving the certificate, Michael delivered the Ewald lecture. A fascinating talk of a gifted researcher and teacher. Unforgettable. A fantastic reception follows, delicious food, fine wines, great view over Lake Geneva. Meet many of my friends and many young scientists. Make my compliments to Joel Bernstein for this excellent congress start.

Henk Schenk