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At this time I am pleased to report that all matters associated with the Magnetics Society seem to be on an even keel. Many of us are currently getting ready to attend Intermag in San Diego. The conference is anticipated to be highly successful in all respects because the conference received an all time record number of digests for a US based Intermag. I think this is indicative of the excellent choice of venue as well as the health and buoyancy of research in technological magnetism world wide. However no conference is ever successful without top quality organisers and I am sure the Society would wish me to place on record our thanks to Mel Gomez and all his team who have organised the meeting so effectively.
There have been some comments from individuals concerning not only the level of the conference fee for the San Diego meeting but also the large differential between member and non member fees. This is a manifestation in part of an IEEE directive requiring societies to provide clear and distinct member benefits. The directive indicates that the conference fee differential should be approximately equivalent to the cost of membership. This means conference fee differentials for members against non members will typically be in the range $100 - $150 for all our meetings in future. This requirement is placed on us because for the IEEE to maintain its tax free status in the United States its activities must primarily be to provide benefits for members and members should in no way be subsidising non members. I anticipate that this level of differential will increase as time goes by which is excellent news for the membership and will I hope provide a significant incentive to regular participants of our meetings to join the Society and hopefully to participate in its life.
The success of our conferences makes a significant contribution to the overall financial health of our Society. In fact, it is the only activity where we are in a position to influence our income. Most of the income for the Society comes from the publication activities. This is an area where a number of very dedicated people work extremely hard behind the scenes to ensure a smooth publication process for the regular issues of the Transactions and, in particular, the very large issues associated with the Intermag conference. Most members are not aware of the vast amount of work undertaken and again I would wish to place on record my appreciation for the dedication of our Publications chairman, Ron Goldfarb from NIST in Boulder, Colorado and David Jiles of Cardiff University in the UK, who together with a team of editors undertake this work most diligently. Over the last few years there has been a dramatic increase in the use of electronic downloads from IEEE publications as the number of corporations and universities maintaining libraries decreases. Obviously, this affects our income from paper copies of the journal but the growth in electronic downloads exceeds the decrease in paper subscriptions dramatically. It is almost this factor alone which has restored the IEEE and all the societies to a buoyant financial position following the effects of the 2001 stock market crash. Hence I am delighted to be able to inform the membership that the Magnetic Society’s finances have in my time of association with the Society never had a better outlook. In consequence, we are looking in the future to utilise these resources to provide further benefits to members, such as increased conference fee discounts and expanded programmes in areas such as student travel, Distinguished Lecturer programmes and Chapter activities. If any member feels there is an area where the Society should expand its activities or dedicate more resources either in terms of manpower or finance please do not hesitate to contact me or any other Society officer. All suggestions will be taken seriously. In particular, due to the fact that our membership is now more than 50% based outside the US we would welcome suggestions for initiatives to support and develop activities in applied magnetism around the world.
Due to the balance of membership I believe the Magnetics Society is now a truly international organisation. Over the last few years we have been increasing the involvement of people from countries outside of North America and we have our regular programme where the Intermag conference visits Europe and Asia alternatively on a 3-year cycle. Plans are in place for the 2008 European Intermag to be held in Madrid, Spain, during early May when the weather should be absolutely beautiful. Spain is one of the most historic and beautiful countries of Europe and I would encourage members from all parts of the world to consider attending. An excellent team has been put in place under the leadership of Manuel Vazquez of the CSIC in Madrid who are well advanced in the preparation of the conference. We are also making arrangements for the next Asia Intermag and again I am grateful to Prof Muraoka of Tohoku University for his leadership of the site selection committee. We currently have three bids from Perth, Singapore and Taipei (in alphabetical order). A decision regarding the preferred venue and the organisers will be made following site visits in January.
A major component of the internationalisation of the Society is our increased Chapter activities. The Society remains particularly keen to see the formation of new Chapters in countries where we have members with no local organisation. Only 20 members are required to form a Chapter and I would urge people from countries where no Chapter exists to contact our Chapter chair, Richard Dee (email@example.com) if they would like to set up and form a Chapter. Financial support will be provided for new Chapters to enable them to commence to organise a programme of meetings and support is ongoing for many years thereafter. I am aware that only about one third of our members attend Intermag and clearly having resources for the organisation of local meetings is the best way for us to provide benefits to our members. It always surprises me that the Chapters budget is underspent year on year. Hence please do not be bashful in seeking to set up Chapters or if you are involved with a Chapter to ask for more money to improve your programmes. Given the financial health of the Society we are also in a position to support and enhance activities in technological magnetism around the world.
One area where we are able to provide this support and would wish to increase our activity is in the sponsorship of other conferences. I know that many conferences around the world struggle to provide financial underwriting. The Magnetics Society is very willing to listen sympathetically to people trying to organise conferences in our field of interest with a view to coming to an arrangement whereby we would provide the necessary financial guarantees. We do have a set of requirements which have to be fulfilled in terms of financial planning, conference fee discount for IEEE members and the like but in terms of the conference organisation, the publication of its proceedings and its format we in no way seek to influence or control how people would wish to organise their own events. Anyone seeking to organise such meetings and interested in receiving sponsorship from the Magnetics Society should in the first instance contact either myself or our Conference Executive Committee chair, Doug Lavers (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Finally I look forward to seeing many of you in San Diego and I would encourage you to attend the Awards ceremony which takes place on Tuesday afternoon in the plenary session. Of particular note this year is the presentation of a lifetime achievement award to Prof. H. Neal Bertram, formerly of Ampex Corporation and UCSD, who has partially retired and is one of the best known and respected individuals in micromagnetic modelling of magnetic recording media and general theoretical aspects of technological magnetism. I am sure you would want me on behalf of the membership to pass on our congratulations to Neal for an award that is very richly deserved. My best wishes to you all