Letter from the President

Letter from the President

[Henk Schenk] Henk Schenk
Watching the Olympic Winter Games it strikes me that more than 75 countries are participating. Because the games are devoted to the ‘freezing’ sports, this is only a subset of all of the countries in the world. In the Summer Olympics at Sydney as many as 200 countries participated.

The International Council for Science (ICSU) organizes the field of science and the IUCr is one of its 26 scientific members. ICSU has national members too, but less than 200 because science is not on the agenda everywhere in the world. Still ICSU has 98 members in three categories: Full Members (75), National Scientific Associates (15) and National Scientific Observers (8). Although crystallography is not pursued in all ICSU countries, the number of countries represented in our General Assembly is much smaller than the number with active crystallographers. Rather than the 40 Adhering Bodies of today we should strive for a much larger membership. It might be necessary to relax or replace a few rules or we may need to think about a new category of National Scientific Associates, but it is worth doing.

Activities are already underway towards increasing the number of members. Two new crystallographic societies have been founded and, in our view, membership in the IUCr goes hand in hand with local organization. So these new societies may well lead to new members. Last year the Hellenic Crystallographic Society was founded in Athens and I have heard from Dr. Irene Mavridis that our Greek colleagues wish to join the IUCr in the near future. On February 1, 2002 the Moroccan Crystallographic Society (ACM) was founded by 80 crystallographers. Prof. Abdelmalik Thalal organized the first Moroccan School of Crystallography in Marrakech, attended by 100 participants from Morocco and Europe. It had a very good programme and excellent organization. I found it particularly encouraging to see more than 40 young scientists actively participating in the discussions. The last afternoon of the school was devoted to the birth of the association, and a strong board with Prof. Abdelkader Mokhlisse as President was formed. It is also the intention of our Moroccan colleagues to join the IUCr. I was told that by the end of the year a similar School would be held in Algeria. The IUCr fully supports these initiatives.

This brings me to my last point. Once more I would like to draw your attention to our Journals Grant Fund (JGF). This fund has been established to help institutions in developing and emerging countries to subscribe to our journals. Institutions have to pay a small part of the subscription fee themselves, perhaps as little as 15%, and the rest of the fee is paid through the JGF. Applying institutions should indicate the maximum amount they are able to contribute themselves, so this is a very open system that tries to take the world’s economic differences into account.

This week we reviewed an application from Indonesia. However, in my view the number of grants we award grows too slowly. So applications are heartily welcomed. Forms can be found on the Crystallography Journals Online website.

Henk Schenk