Letter from the President
As we welcome in the New Year, it is worth reflecting on a few of the highlights of 2015 before we turn our focus to plans for Hyderabad in 2017. In April 2015, a successful IYCr Closing Ceremony was held in Rabat, Morocco. As successful as our celebration of IYCr was, the goal coming out of Rabat was 'crystallography matters ... more!' One outcome from Rabat was the IYCr 2014 resolution titled 'Crystallography for the next generation' that embraces the need to enhance the stature of crystallography, to build capacity in developing regions of the world, and to extend further the public understanding of science in general and crystallography in particular. During 2015 we continued to organize OpenLabs in Kenya, Mexico, Vietnam and elsewhere; sponsored a successful ICSU grant to support 'Building Science Capacity in Africa via Crystallography'; continued to make improvements in our journals and welcomed the inclusion of the emerging field of cryo-electron microscopy in IUCrJ and seeing Acta Cryst. E included in Thomson Reuters Emerging Sources Citation Index; and celebrated the first regional meeting of LACA (Latin American Crystallographic Association).
Always striving to get better, a number of changes will be taking place in 2016. A proposal for a peer-reviewed service to provide a home for Data Reports currently published in Acta Cryst. E was approved by the Executive Committee (EC) of the IUCr. IUCrData just launched earlier this year (see article here). A new Commission on Data and Data Publishing may be needed in the future to be responsible for the governance of IUCrData and other data initiatives. The new International Tables Volume H (Powder diffraction) should also be available in 2016. Another new Volume I (XAS) was approved by the EC in Montreal, and an affordable new edition of the Brief Teaching Edition of Volume A is under consideration. The Calendar Committee continues to receive a very high number of requests for support. Hanna Dabkowska (Canada) did an excellent job of chairing this important Committee that primarily supports the travel of young scientists to meetings with a strong crystallographic component. Wulf Depmeier (Germany) took over as Chair of the Calendar Committee in February. To help with the management of the budget, applications are only considered three times a year (February, June and October). The EC agreed that the IUCr should recommend young scientists supported by the IUCr funds should give their presentations in English.
We also have a number of other exciting events to look forward to in 2016. The Finance Committee (FC) will meet in Leuven in late March to review the finances of the IUCr. Last year the FC recommended that the EC consider the establishment of an IUCr Associates Programme. It was felt that a voluntary IUCr Associates Programme with a modest dues structure would help accomplish the dual goals of promoting a sense of professionalism to better serve our community and support worthy activities. Key aspects of the Associates proposal are that it would be voluntary, would help promote our profession, and could provide tangible benefits, all with a modest dues structure. To assist the EC in their deliberations on this proposal, the President was authorized to consult all the National Committees for Crystallography to get their feedback and input. The results were overwhelmingly positive, but several valid concerns were raised which will be reviewed by the FC in March and then taken up by the EC. Please plan to attend one or more of our four Regional Associate Meetings: ACA (Denver, July 22-26); ECA (Basel, August 28-September 1); LACA (Merida, October 23-27); and AsCA (Hanoi, December 4-7). There are several satellite meetings connected with these conferences, such as 'Crystallography for Space Sciences' in Puebla, Mexico, April 17--30 and a school on mathematical and fundamental crystallography in Havana, Cuba (October 30-November 5).
Of course, activity is picking up as we look forward to IUCr XXIV in 2017. Gautam Desiraju and his Local Organizing Committee are busy making plans to host the Congress. An IUCr2017 website (www.iucr2017.org/) already contains much useful information and more details will be added in the months ahead. I was pleased to see that on each web page is the reminder that 'The policy of the IUCr is that strong emphasis should be given to provide a programme that is balanced with respect to gender and nationality'. It is important for the future health of our organization that we also recognize the need for diverse representation in nominations of delegates and nominations for officers and Commission members to be voted on in Hyderabad. The EC established a working group to review nomination and election procedures, including timings. The goal is for nominations for officers and Commissions to be made sufficiently early so that the names can be circulated and vetted by the delegates before the General Assembly meets. Suggestions for the International Programme Committee (IPC) were solicited from all the Commissions and the IPC was constituted when the EC met in Rovinj. The IPC will gather in March to propose the programme for Hyderabad. Suggestions for Plenary and Keynote speakers, for Microsymposium chairs and co-chairs and for Microsymposium topics should be sent to the chair of the IPC (email@example.com). The final programme needs EC approval. The EC will meet this summer in Denver after the ACA meeting. However, it was agreed that Plenary speakers could be approved by email ballot before the full final programme needs to be approved by the EC in order that Plenary speakers can be contacted sooner.
The IUCr recently invited nominations for the Ewald Prize for outstanding contributions to the science of crystallography. The Prize is named after Paul Ewald in recognition of his significant contributions to the foundations of crystallography and to the founding of the International Union of Crystallography (see article here). Prof. Ewald was the President of the IUCr from 1960 to 1963. The Prize is presented once every three years during the IUCr Congress. Davide Viterbo is the chair of the Selection Committee for the eleventh Prize that will be presented in Hyderabad in August 2017. Nominations may be submitted electronically until the end of August 2016. The Nomination Form and the names of the Selection Committee can be obtained from www.iucr.org/iucr/ewald-prize.
On a sad note, on January 27 we lost one of our Ewald Prize awardees from 2014, Aloysio Janner at age 87. Janner was broadly fascinated by the relationship between structure and the properties of matter - from snowflakes to viruses. Along with Ted Janssen, they developed the idea of 'super space' and were honored with the Ewald Prize in Montreal 2014. We were also saddened to learn that Theo Hahn passed away on 12 February at the age of 88. Prof. Hahn was an Editor and author for International Tables for Crystallography, winner of many awards, and President of the IUCr from 1984 to 1987.
Thank you for your continued support of our collective mission to promote and advance crystallography around the world. We look forward to another great year of progress in 2016. As always, my heartfelt thanks to the many of you who do so much for the IUCr. Please do not hesitate to contact me or any member of the EC with your concerns, comments or suggestions for how the IUCr can work more effectively to serve you.Marvin L. Hackert (firstname.lastname@example.org)