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Letter from the President


The Commissions of the IUCr are vital to its growth and development. Commission Chairs have the responsibility to see to it that the interests of a Commission are fully represented at the IUCr Congress, in the publication program of the Union, and at other national and international meetings and workshops. The Commission Chairs also have the responsibility to ensure the continuity of a Commission by attracting and appointing suitable members and consultants, by encouraging their cooperation and by appointing a suitable successor after their three years of service as Chair.

In order that all aspects of modern crystallography be properly addressed at the IUCr Congress in Florence in 2005, the Chair of the Program Committee, Carlo Mealli, has sought input from all Commissions on the composition of the Program Committee and the scientific program. You may want to contact members of the Commissions responsible for topics of interest to you to urge them to respond to requests from Carlo. I encourage you to lend your support to their efforts and offer your suggestions concerning suitable microsymposia topics.

Commission Chairs have also been asked for suggestions to expand and improve the publication programs of the IUCr in order to meet the needs of our changing and growing community. The Executive Committee is interested in suggestions for new volumes of the International Tables that address the needs of different segments of the crystallographic community represented by the Commissions. For example, there might be volumes of tables devoted to powder diffraction, high pressure studies, or crystal growth technology. If you have any ideas about publications to serve the needs of a Commission, please contact the appropriate Commission Chair.

A common complaint of Commission Chairs is that Commission Members are unresponsive to requests for suggestions and participation. At the same time, members of the Executive Committee hear that many countries are under-represented on IUCr Commissions. I urge crystallographers in under-represented countries to nominate suitable people for appointment as consultants on appropriate Commissions. Nominees should offer specific ideas and plans of how they would strengthen the Commission through their hard work and creativity.

When reviewing the composition of the Commissions, I was surprised to discover that ten member countries (Bulgaria, Chili, Croatia, Hungary, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, and Serbia) do not have a representative on any of the 14 IUCr Commissions. Other countries that are under represented on Commissions include China, Czech Republic, Finland, Israel, Norway, Spain, Slovenia, Taiwan, and Venezuela. We also need qualified consultants or potential Commission Members in countries that are not presently members of the Union. During my visit to Algeria, I was pleased to learn of activity in the areas of neutron powder diffraction, single crystal studies of organic and inorganic compounds, and charge, spin and electron density studies among crystallographers who might be suitable Commission members.

Commissions are encouraged to organize workshops and symposia in order to advance their science, bring new technology to developing countries, and educate and inform the next generation of crystallographers.

From 1997 through 2001, thirteen of the IUCr commissions endorsed applications to the IUCr Calendar Committee for support for student attendance at 26 workshops and symposia. Some Commissions organize sessions in all non-Congress years and others rarely organize a meeting. If a workshop or symposium on a Commission topic would be of benefit to crystallographers in your country, please contact the appropriate Commission Chair to discuss the procedures to be followed to plan a workshop or symposium.

Bill Duax