News FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE MAGNETICS SOCIETY




I am pleased to report to all members that the Magnetics Society continues to do very well in all regards and that our operations are running very smoothly. Since my last report to the Society a few significant events have occurred which I will summarise below.

The undoubted highlight of the last three months has been the highly successful Intermag conference held in Nagoya. The conference had a very high attendance and exact numbers will be published later. Suffice to say that the attendance was well in excess of the 1,200 who attended the previous non-UD Intermag in Amsterdam; in my view that is a remarkable achievement and shows the benefits to the Society and the membership of taking the conference off-shore. It is my great pleasure to suggest an enormous vote of thanks to all those involved in the organisation of the Nagoya Intermag but in particular the Japanese chairman, Susumo Uchiyama, and the US chairman, Roger Wood. They produced a conference of the highest technical and social quality and are thoroughly deserving of our thanks. It is always difficult to pick out other individuals who have made exceptional contributions, but I would personally like to place on record my thanks to Takao Suzuki of the Toyota Technological Institute, who raised an all-time record level of industrial support, and also to the Publications chairs and their staff who did a remarkable job in getting the publications completed in a timely manner. Given the overall success of the conference in every respect we expect the conference to make a healthy surplus as required by IEEE.

It may be less well known to the membership, but every activity that the Society undertakes bears an overhead of something like 20% for the provision of the services of IEEE headquarters in Piscataway. Hence individuals are often concerned when they see that a conference makes a surplus of $100,000 or more, which seems very large; when the overhead for headquarters and the Society’s other activities such as student travel, distinguished lecturer etc are taken into account, however, these surpluses really are very modest. I am sure all of us would wish to work in an organisation that can operate with an overhead as small as this.

The other significant achievement of the first six months of my tenure as president has been a major effort to rejuvenate our chapters programme. Whilst many of us attend the major conferences supported by the Society, the majority of the membership does not attend such meetings but, where available, is able to attend chapters meetings such as half-day symposia and visits from distinguished lecturers. To this end, so far this year we have formed new chapters of the Society in Taiwan (Chairman Ching Ray Chang) and north Japan (Chairman Hiroaki Muraoka). Further chapters are being formed in Brazil, Singapore, and a number of countries within Europe. This is a personal priority for me and I am most grateful to the Herculean support that has been provided by Richard Dee, our Chapters and Membership Chairman. Members of the Society are invited and welcomed to form new chapters of the Society --particularly outside the United States, as at the present time just over 50% of our membership is non-US based.

All that is required is to complete a petition form, which is available on the IEEE website or direct from Richard Dee, bearing the signatures of 20 members of the IEEE of good standing. Richard has a substantial budget to support the inauguration of new chapters, and where appropriate I would encourage you to set up new chapters and commence local activities. Furthermore, our distinguished lecturers are encouraged to visit the chapter network, particularly the new chapters, and Roy Chantrell will be happy to liaise as Distinguished Lecturer Coordination to try and ensure that our DLs visit you soon after the establishment of chapters.

One slight negative for report is that our membership worldwide continues to erode. Hence the purpose of the chapters activity is to assist the Society with the recruitment of new members. We are also taking steps to tie many of our activities much more closely to member benefits: for example, in future it will be a requirement that for a student to apply for a travel scholarship, his supervisor or thesis advisor will be required to be a member of the Society and his application will require endorsement from a second Magnetics Society member of good standing. The scholarships are extremely valuable: for example, for the Nagoya conference we were able to award 25 scholarships, each with a value of $1,000, to enable students from all over the world to come to our flagship meeting. Clearly, the cost of membership can be recouped many times over by a single award of a student travel scholarship.

The IEEE Technical Activities Board (TAB) that oversees the work of societies is also keen to promote member benefits. A recent meeting of TAB voted to adopt a policy whereby conferences must levy a differential conference fee of at least the full cost of IEEE and Society membership on all conferences that we sponsor. Hence simply going to one Intermag conference in a year means that the cost of membership is neutral to the attendee. I believe this is an increasing trend whereby those who belong to the Society must be seen to recoup benefits at least to, if not greater than, the costs of membership. Persons interested in the Society reading this newsletter are encouraged to join the Society and to encourage other colleagues to do likewise.

As indicated in my previous letter, the Technical committee of the Society has now been reappointed under the chairmanship of Mel Gomez, and I am delighted to see that a number of the new members of the new Technical committee have sought nomination for the forthcoming election to AdCom. I encourage anyone interested in the work and life of the Society to volunteer for the Technical committee, as no external nomination is required. We are, however, particularly keen to increase the multinational representation on the Technical committee as a proving ground and as an opportunity for individuals to see the work of the Society and consider running for membership of our governing body, which is our AdCom. Persons interested in participating are encouraged to contact either myself or Mel Gomez, providing some details of their background, activities for the Society, and a brief summary of their technical interests. We will endeavour to accommodate as many people as possible but obviously we have to ensure a correct technical and international balance.

In closing I would also remind you of the forthcoming MMM conference in San Jose, California, which is the 50th such event. As part of the programme I am told that there will be a special event commemorating the highlights of previous conferences. We are grateful to Randal Victora, the conference chairman, and all his associates in both IEEE and AIP in organising this conference. Unfortunately the abstract deadline has now passed, but you will find by visiting the website that Diane Melton of Courtesy Associates, who is the Executive Director of the Society, some years ago obtained for us highly preferential rates at the very pleasant Fairmount Hotel in downtown San Jose, and that we anticipate having a very successful conference. Due to careful budgeting and the use of some of the conference reserves, you will also find that a modest reduction in the conference fee has been achieved this year.

I look forward to seeing you as many of you as possible in San Jose.

All best wishes

Kevin O’Grady
President, Magnetics Society
University of York