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Fwd: Request for Comments from Harry Brumberger

  • Subject: Fwd: Request for Comments from Harry Brumberger
  • From: "John D. Barnes" <john.barnes@nist.gov>
  • Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 10:26:30 -0500

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Subject: Request for Comments from Harry Brumberger

Harry Brumberger has asked me to post this on his behalf because he finds 
that his e-mail is somewhat unreliable.

January 18, 2000

Dear Colleagues,

The triennial international conferences on small-angle scattering began in
Syracuse in 1965, with about 130 participants and a modest 26 invited and
contributed papers.  Over the years, the number of participants has 
the number of papers and posters has risen to over 300 (at Brookhaven), 
applications have multiplied.  Thus the SAS conferences have become 
mature and
major events, and there is considerable sentiment to put the organization 
future meetings on a somewhat more orderly footing than it has been in 
the past.
The Commission on Small-Angle Scattering (CSAS) of the International 
Union of
Crystallography (IUCr)was created in 1996, with the mission of serving the
international SAS community by providing improved communication, 
in its various activities (of which the SAS conferences are certainly one 
the most important), and gaining recognition of our field of research.  
would be a logical locus for providing a more orderly framework for the
organization of future meetings.

CSAS has asked me, as a "consultant" to the commission, to explore this
further, and since I believe that the SAS community must ultimately decide
whether such a framework is desirable and, if so, what form it should 
take, I am writing to ask for your help.  In the past, initiatives for
future meeting sites have come from active centers or individuals in the
field who wished to host a conference(and felt they had appropriate
facilities), and who brought their proposals directly to the current 
the participants then voted to decide the site of the following one.  The
accepted proponents had reponsibility for all the organizational matters
--- fundraising, publicity, logistics, program etc.  The process worked 
for a number of years, but was rather haphazard, and resulted in 
difficulties and surprises, especially as the meetings grew larger.

Below, a possible scheme for a more structured process is outlined; I ask
for your reactions, comments and criticisms.  You may feel that what is
suggested is reasonable (perhaps with major or minor revisions), or you 
may prefer to continue informally as we have done in the past, or you
may have a different scheme altogether.  But we need your ideas.  I
believe that what we should arrive at is a fair, open, but orderly and
timely process, and some reasonable criteria for sound meeting proposals.

A possible scheme, then, which brings the CSAS in as an advisory body,
prepared to offer its services and past experience to prospective
conference organizers, is this:

  An advisory committee for SAS conferences (which could be called the
  International Conference Advisory Board) is appointed by CSAS, with due
  care for providing an internationally diverse group of perhaps nine
  members. The ICAB could, for example, include the chairs of the past
  three conferences,  a representative of CSAS, the top five vote getters
  on a ballot submitted to the SAS community. Nominations for these five
  positions would be solicited by CSAS the first time, and subsequently
  by the current ICAB. The ICAB wuold have the following tasks:

 1.  To act as recipient for detailed proposals for future conference
       sites.  These would be submitted, say, a year prior to the next
       upcoming conference, so that they could be suitably revised,
       improved where needed, and put on a comparable basis for
       presentation to the participants at that conference.  The advisory
       committee would work with the proponents in the preparation of 
       their proposals, which should address the following:

	  * Logistic details (accessibility by international participants,
       local transportation, lodging facilities, food services,
	      meeting rooms of all needed sizes, audiovisual facilities

   * Budgetary concerns, expected sources of financial support etc.

   * Programmatic aspects (invited plenary speakers, special topics,
       parallel sessions etc). Selection of an international
       scientific/program committee for the conference.     

   * Publicity

   * Proceedings publication

   * Timing

  2. Assist, if requested, with publication of proceedings

  3. Act as liaison with IUCr through CSAS.

For the current cycle of conferences, if this scheme or an alternative 
form of it is adopted by the SAS community, proposals for the meeting
following Venice 2002 would be submitted to the advisory committee by
about August 2001, and then presented by the proponents to the Venice
2002 participants and the general SAS community via the current mailing
list for their choice of the 2005 site.

If we as a community decide to adopt a plan such as the one presented
above, we would need to do so soon.  Lead times for organizing
international meetings are very long, and the process of gathering all the
information needed to put a good proposal together can be very slow 
indeed. I am, therefore, asking that you let me have your comments (and
please do comment!)  no later than February 15, 2000.  I will very much
appreciate your responses, and look forward to receiving them.

Sincerely yours,

Harry Brumberger

Department of Chemistry
Syracuse University
Syracuse, NY 13244
Tel.: +315-443-5923
FAX: +315-443-4070
E-mail: hbrumber@mailbox.syr.edu

----------------- End Forwarded Message -----------------

Dr. John D. Barnes               email: john.barnes@nist.gov
Natl Inst of Stds and Tech       Voice: 301-975-6786
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8544        FAX: 301-975-4977
Gaithersburg, MD 20899             URL: http://www.nist.gov/sas
  or http://polymers.msel.nist.gov/staff/detail.cfm?SID=110