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Recent Events in the Union

[Phil Coppens]Phil Coppens

It is very sad that two of our friends on the Executive Committee have passed away in a time span of only a few months. Asbjörn Hordvik died unexpectedly, but peacefully while with his family in Bergen, Norway just before Christmas. His dedication to the Union was exemplary, and his contributions as Secretary-Treasurer for more than eight years were many. It is hard to envision the Seattle Congress without his stimulating presence. We will experience an acute sense of loss without him. My personal friendship with Asbjörn goes back some thirty years when we hiked together in hot and remote places. Farewell old friend and rest in peace.

Our Vice-President, Yuri Struchkov, died in the fall while in the United States for medical treatment. He was a person of great integrity, who will be missed by many, not the least by his colleagues on the Executive Committee. He was a prolific scientist who gave the laborarory he directed worldwide renown.

We will carry on in the spirit of our deceased friends. As announced elsewhere in this Newsletter, the Executive Committee has voted to appoint Sine Larsen of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, to succeed Asbjörn as Secretary-Treasurer, and R. (Chid) Chidambaram of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, India, as Vice President to succeed Yuri. The term of both appointments is until the close of the next Congress and General Assembly, as stipulated in the Statutes and Bylaws. I welcome both to the Executive Committee. Thank you Sine and Chid for your willingness to step in at short notice to preserve the continuity of the Union's activities.

The Chester staff is engaged in a project to acquire, on a short timescale of 1-2 years, the capability to produce electronic versions of our journals. Not only will this reduce typesetting costs beyond what already has been achieved with Acta C, but it also should make computer-searchable CD-ROM versions of the journals available, and allow us to introduce electronic versions of all or part of the journals at an appropriate time when the need develops. The CD-ROM versions are expected to be in demand, and may be distributed to subscribers, or sold separately. To explore the optimal way of marketing this and the other products of the Union's activities, the Executive Committee has decided to establish a Promotion Subcommittee. Our activities have expanded considerably in the recent years, as is evident from the success of the Newsletter, the two new journals, and other newly acquired capabilities such as automated CIF checking. At the same time we have to pay attention to cost recovery by attracting advertisers and maximizing the impact and number of users of our products. It will be the task of the Committee to discuss how this can best be done and to formulate recommendations to the Executive Committee. Assistance from crystallographers all across the world will be invaluable in pointing out to potentially interested parties what possibilities exist. Our advertisers are not evenly distributed over the countries where crystallography is widely practiced. Any help that readers of the Newsletter can give in this respect will strengthen the Union and its activities.

As this is the first Newsletter of the year, I wish all a very happy 1996. It is the year of the Seattle Congress, the organization of which is proceeding smoothly. We are looking forward to hearing many exciting lectures and poster explanations this August, and to seeing many old and new friends.

Philip Coppens