News FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE MAGNETICS SOCIETY

Presidentís report to the membership




In the last quarter the Magnetics Society has continued with its developments in a steady manner. The major event during the last quarter has been the MMM conference which took place at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose from 30 October to 3 November. The conference was an outstanding success under the chairmanship of Randall Victora, with an all time record attendance for a stand-alone MMM conference and, as far as the Society is concerned, only exceeded in attendance by the joint conference in San Francisco some years ago. The technical quality of the conference was extremely high, and the shift away from aspects of magnetic recording to new topics such as spin electronics was notable. In particular the explosion in interest in spin tunnel junctions based on MgO layers was marked.

As usual at such meetings, all the major committees of our Society met. It was gratifying to see that the arrangements laid down in the revised Constitution, which is posted on this website, are now beginning to take effect. A very dynamic meeting of the Technical committee was held where a new generation of young people from a wide range of countries and backgrounds freely expressed their opinions and came up with good ideas for future Society activities. These were reported back to the appropriate officers, and ideally some of these ideas will be implemented in the near future. I am still happy to receive input from others interested in the Society for new directions that we could take in the future.

A meeting of the Chapter chairs from around the world was also held, and it was gratifying to see the exchange of best practice ideas between the different chapters taking place over lunch. In the last six months the Society has formed four new chapters in Singapore, Taiwan, North Japan and South Brazil. We are still interested in forming new chapters in as many countries of the world as possible. Financial resources are available to support the formation of new chapters, and anyone interested in providing a new chapter or in becoming involved in chapter activities generally is very welcome to contact either myself or Richard Dee (r.dee@ieee.org). It is often not realised that the membership of the Society at about 2,750 is only in face to face contact with the Society via the Intermag conference and the chapters. Given that the attendance at Intermag is typically about 1,000, this means that two thirds of our membership relies on the chapters for face to face contact. Hence the development of chapter activities is of vital importance for the future of the Society and for increasing participation amongst our membership and particularly younger members.

In other areas, the development of our conferences and the widening of participation in their organisation and management continues under the careful supervision of Doug Lavers of the University of Toronto who is our Conference Executive Committee chair. Members may wish to note that arrangements have been made for the next Intermag under the chairmanship of Mel Gomez of the University of Maryland. Thereafter we have the joint conference under the chairmanship of Julie Borchers in Baltimore from 7 to 11 January 2007 followed by the next off-shore Intermag which will be held from 4 to 8 May 2008 in Madrid, Spain, under the chairmanship of Manuel Vázquez of the CSIC in Madrid. Following the success of our conference in Nagoya we are now commencing the site search for the next Asia-Pacific Intermag. Again all members are welcome to make suggestions regarding our conference activities by contacting Doug Lavers at doug.lavers@utoronto.ca.

It is well known that the Magnetics Society always welcomes approaches from people organising meetings and conferences for both cooperative arrangements and, when necessary, financial support. The Magnetics Society is willing to consider any proposals to underwrite financially meetings in our general subject area. In order to secure financial support of this kind organisers of such meetings are required to adhere to Magnetics Society policies on issues such as invited papers and also IEEE policies in areas such as providing discounts for Society members. However thereafter the organisers are largely free to organise their meetings as they see fit, adopting their choice of format and also publishing in non IEEE journals. Of course given that the Magnetics Society and hence IEEE would be taking the financial risk careful scrutiny of budgets and budget approval are essential. The Society is also able to advance financial resources to enable such conferences to take place. Any Society members wishing to organise meetings and seeking financial underwriting should contact Doug Lavers who will listen sympathetically to the needs of the membership.

In terms of our finances the Society remains in a very stable condition with good reserves in excess of $2M. This level of reserve is an IEEE requirement as the annual turnover of the Society is of a similar level and IEEE requires that we maintain a reserve approximately equal to our turnover. Recent changes at IEEE involving the distribution of resources gained from publication activities, which dominate our activity, have recently been changed. These changes reflect the income to IEEE from electronic downloads rather than from the purchase of paper copies of our Transactions. Due to these changes it is anticipated that the Society’s finances will become even healthier as we go forward. I, and the other officers of the Society, are acutely aware of the need to use these resources to provide member benefits. We will be coming forward with plans at the committee meeting scheduled for the Intermag in San Diego and about which I will inform you in my newsletters as we go forward.

In closing therefore I would like to thank you for your continued membership and commitment to the Magnetics Society. I would urge you to encourage your colleagues in both Applied Physics and Engineering with technical interests in the field of magnetism to join the Society. The benefits of membership are substantial and because of issues described above are likely to increase in the near future. Principally the benefits of membership are the status accorded to those in the engineering profession of belonging to an organisation (IEEE) with a world wide membership of 350,000 people. Enhanced membership such as senior member status or fellowship accord an even greater boost to your reputation and standing in the community.

Under our new arrangements only Society members are able to benefit from provisions such as our student travel grants. In this area we typically award about $25,000 per year for travel to the Intermag conference, usually giving about $750 to each student. Also in future you will see an increased conference fee differential for our flagship conferences. This discount alone almost offsets the full cost of membership of the IEEE and the Magnetics Society. We also have our Chapter programme, which is now carefully integrated with the Distinguished Lecturer tours, and there are other peripheral benefits -- particularly for young people, for example, who are able to rent cars in the United States when below the age of 25. Hence overall it is my view that membership in the Magnetics Society and IEEE provides substantial rewards, and it is only through vibrancy of the membership that our Society is able to continue. I thank you all for your participation and encourage you to increase your inputs in any areas where you may have interests.

Please accept my best wishes for the calendar year 2006.

Kevin O’Grady
IEEE Magnetics Society President
January 2006