|Astronomy & Geophysics 45 (5) 5.36|
Join an RAS committee
A lot of the work of the Society is done by its committees, which are staffed by Fellows volunteering their time. Membership is for three years (extendable up to a maximum of six). There are vacancies every year as members retire so if you are able to help we would like to hear from you. Please contact the appropriate committee chair (directly or through the Executive Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Note that the chairs, in nominating new members to Council, will take into account the existing balance of gender, age, occupation, subject discipline and geographical location represented on their committee.
For a list of committees, their current composition and their terms of reference please look at the RAS website at www.ras.org.uk/html/ras_committees.html.
Discount for members
Canopus Publishing is offering RAS Fellows a 25% discount on its books, including the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Astronomy, edited by Paul Murdin and Margaret Penston. Details of this and other discounts available to Fellows, including many from other publishers, can be found on the RAS website, at www.ras.org.uk/html/ras_discounts.html.
New membership cards
RAS members will shortly receive new membership cards for the 200405 session. The new cards, in the style of a credit card, carry a colourful image and show each member's name, so they can be used with the identification badges at RAS meetings. They will also be used for access to the RAS in Burlington House.
Fellows should note that they will be expected to bring their cards to RAS meetings, to ensure that they are not asked to pay the fees that now apply to non-members.
Members should also note that this year the Society will not be issuing printed programmes for RAS meetings. The RAS website has a comprehensive list of meetings and participants, which is kept up-to-date and can accommodate last-minute changes. A poster detailing the dates and titles of RAS meetings for the coming session will be sent to RAS points-of-contact at UK universities and institutions and should be on display early in October. If not, get in touch with your point-of-contact or ask at Burlington House.
|RAS appoints new communication officer|
Sue Bowler bids farewell to Jaqueline Mitton and welcomes her replacement, Anita Heward.
The RAS will not be without press support, however. Peter Bond continues his work and will be joined by Anita Heward. Both will now act as Communication Officers, reflecting the diversification of the public relations role with the growth of electronic communication. Anita has considerable experience in promoting science, including her work as coordinator of the UK Goes to the Planets promotional campaign, and work for the National Space Centre in Leicester, PPARC and the British Council. She is enthusiastic about working with the RAS and you can expect to find her at RAS meetings this autumn.
Your Society needs you.
Every year the RAS makes awards in response to nominations submitted by Fellows. The awards acknowledge excellence at all levels, from noteworthy contributions by younger scientists, to a lifetime's outstanding achievements.
We now need nominations for awards to be made in 2005. Without nominations there can be no awards, so this is an opportunity for the entire RAS community to be part of a high-profile function of the Society. Nominations are welcome from any Fellow you don't have to be a potential prizewinner yourself in order to put forward a name. Nominations from postgraduates will receive the same consideration as those from former Society presidents. So if your thesis supervisor is the greatest thing since sliced bread, get in touch.
Nominations may be made in any appropriate format, but the awards committees attach greater weight to detailed, factual cases; for example, the nominee's CV, a short list of key publications (preferably with bibliometric citation data), and co-ordinated supporting statements will greatly strengthen a case. This is especially important for the Fowler Awards, where nominees may not yet have wide recognition.
There are no restrictions on the nationality, age, or gender of nominees, who need not be Fellows. Nominations, in strict confidence, may be made in writing (email or hardcopy) to the Executive Secretary, or online at www.ras.org.uk/html/nominations/nom_intro.html (where further details of individual awards may be found). The deadline for receipt at Burlington House is 12 November 2004.
The RAS has now officially passed the milestone of 3000 members. The Membership Committee has been doing a successful job, and deserves congratulations. The following were elected as Fellows of the Society on 14 July 2004:
Mr C Arridge, Imperial College London.
Dr C Bohoris, Athens, Greece.
Mr B Busschots, Maynooth, Eire.
Mr I J Campbell, Dorchester, Dorset.
Mr S D Collingwood, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
Revd Dr E C B Corlett, Isle of Man.
Prof. B Davis, Gwaelod Y Garth, Cardiff.
Mr D R Denny, Chichester, West Sussex.
Revd Sir Charles Dilke, Bart, Thurlow Place, London.
His Honour Sir T J Forbes, Godalming, Surrey.
Mr A R Green, Milton, Cambs.
Mr G Guest, London.
Mr P Harper, South Croydon, Surrey.
Mr S Hutchison, Tamworth, Staffordshire.
Dr M A Jalali, Dept of Mathematics, Florida State University, Tallahassee, USA.
Miss E Jones, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire.
Prof. P Kennedy, Pollokshields, Glasgow.
Prof. G Kirby, Dept of Chemistry, University of Glasgow.
Dr K Lippincott, The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
Prof. J MacQueen, Drummore, Stranraer.
Dr G Manning, Abingdon, Oxon.
Mr J Naish, Twickenham, Middx.
Dr R W Newport, Abingdon, Oxon.
Ms Lindsay Nicholson, National Magazine Company, London.
Mr P O'Driscoll, London.
Dr J Oliveira, School of Chemistry & Physics, Keele University.
Mr N Ross, Dept of Physics, University of Durham.
Dr A Schekochihin, DAMTP-CMS, University of Cambridge.
Prof. S W Teare, Electrical Engineering Dept, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, USA.
Dr Hans Thybo, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Mr G Waller, Loughborough, Leics.
Dr J Wartnaby, Oxted, Surrey.
Mr M West, Blackett Lab., Imperial College London.
Mr P Wetton, CMG, East Kennett, Wiltshire.
I have been actively involved with amateur astronomy since my teens, when I founded the North East London Astronomical Society. For many years I was involved with the Junior Astronomical Society (now the Society for Popular Astronomy), including editing its quarterly magazine.
The nearest I came to being a real astronomer was the two years that I worked as an assistant in the lunar group at the University of London Observatory. Since 1972 I have been a full-time writer, editor and occasional broadcaster on astronomy and space. Wherever possible, I produce my own page layouts using DTP programs.
Among non-publishing exploits, I was space correspondent for BBC TV's original Breakfast Time programme and I wrote the script for the London Planetarium show Planet Earth which ran from February 1993 to January 1995. In 1985 I explained what is still regarded by some as Britain's best-ever UFO case, witnessed by US Air Force personnel in Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, which I concluded was due to a combination of astronomical factors and the misidentification of a lighthouse. One of the most enjoyable tasks of my year is booking the speakers and co-chairing the annual Astrofest convention in London, organized by Astronomy Now.
As hobbies, I collect astro-related postage stamps and antique star atlases. In 1985 I ran the London Marathon dressed as Halley's Comet, but now jog only occasionally.
More about my activities can be found on www.ianridpath.tk.
I am the James Gregory Professor of Mathematics at St Andrews University and head of the Solar Theory Group. James Gregory (163875) was the first regius professor of mathematics here, one of the founders of calculus and inventor of the Gregorian telescope.
I came here to a lectureship after having done two years of a PhD if only it were so easy now! Although expecting to stay for just a few years, I fell in love with this delightful town and stayed. Spending the summers away in the USA has been an ideal way of developing new ideas and starting new directions of research. With my wife Clare we have had a lot of fun as our fine family of four children has grown up.
T G Cowling (former president of the RAS) was my thesis supervisor and taught me a great deal about the physics and mathematics of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). A wonderful year in Boulder, Colorado, showed me the vitality of American science and the importance as a theorist of being motivated by observations. I returned with a vision of wanting to build a research group that blended the high standards of TG Cowling with the openness and energy of Boulder. In practice, I have been unusually fortunate in having such marvellous colleagues and research group members.
My main research interests are the MHD of the solar atmosphere, especially MHD instabilities and magnetic reconnection, and their roles in heating the Sun's corona and in solar flares. In particular, this month I have started revising a book on solar MHD and am grappling with the physics of collisionless reconnection. Similar fundamental processes in the Earth's magnetosphere and in astrophysics also fascinate me: indeed, it would be good to have more interactions between solar and magnetospheric physics and astronomy, as the central role of the Sun is acknowledged.
I was educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham, and St John's College, Oxford, where I read physics. My doctoral thesis was on spin waves in anti-ferromagnetic crystals, under the supervision of Prof. Roger Elliott. After leaving Oxford I joined the British Antarctic Survey and spent two consecutive winters at Halley Bay (now Halley research station) in Antarctica (197172), observing and recording natural and broadcast VLF radio waves, in connection with the Sheffield University wave experiment on the Ariel-4 satellite. During my second winter I was base commander. Upon my return from the Antarctic I continued my employment with BAS, based first in Prof. Tom Kaiser's Space Physics Group at Sheffield, and from 1989 at BAS headquarters in Cambridge, where I am currently leader of the Substorm project within the Magnetic Reconnection, Substorms and Consequences programme.
My research interests are waveparticle interactions in the magnetosphere; hot plasma and nonlinear effects on wave generation and propagation; whistler duct structure, formation and coupling; the effect of magnetic storms on the plasmasphere; chorus in storms and substorms; global change in the plasma wave environment of geospace.
With UK and international collaborators I have published more than 100 research papers. Besides research, I have supervised 13 PhD students and taught an undergraduate course on space plasma physics. Since 1995 I have been coordinator of the UK MIST community, editing the MIST newsletter and maintaining the mailing list and website. I have served on the RAS Council since 1999 and am an editorial advisor for Astronomy & Geophysics. I have visited Antarctica more than a dozen times and was awarded the Polar Medal in 1987. My hobbies are hillwalking, cycling, local history, travel, photography and reading about polar exploration.
|RAS Annual Report for 2003|
The full annual report of the Council for the year 2003 was distributed and accepted at the Annual General Meeting of 14 May 2004, and is lodged with the Charities Commission. The report is available in printed form on request from the Society's offices, or can be downloaded from the website at www.ras.org.
The RAS made considerable progress during 2003 and has enjoyed continuing growth in all areas of activity, as the full report documents. For the first time, the Society's membership at the end of the year stood in excess of 3000. In a conscious move towards a more strategically aware position on behalf of the professional communities of astronomers and geophysicists it serves, the Society has made several submissions to bodies such as the Parliamentary Select Committee for Science & Technology (whose report on Light Pollution and Astronomy, for example, drew heavily on the Society's evidence), and is taking steps towards ratification of chartered scientists. In addition, we are actively developing a more outward looking attitude, strengthening and formalizing our links with bodies such as the BAA, GSL and IoP. An IAU General Assembly was held in 2003 (in Sydney) and, as the UK National Member, the RAS was involved in various administrative aspects, as well as supporting the science programmes.
The Society's publications have all benefited from more submissions, faster publication times and larger readerships. Monthly Notices (MNRAS) and Geophysical Journal International (GJI) have maintained their reputations as top-quality research publications, with a continuing increase in the numbers of papers submitted and published. The employment of additional editorial staff has allowed this increase to be managed and thereby permitted good progress towards our implementation of a fully electronic manuscript submission and tracking system, Manuscript Central. After an extensive market-assessment exercise, the Society negotiated a new publishing contract with Blackwell Publishing in 2003, extending a long and productive relationship.
A National Astronomy Week was held in 2003, timed to coincide with the close opposition of Mars. The Society co-sponsored the week, which attracted substantial media attention, and produced a special edition of Astronomy & Geophysics including papers on the exploration of Mars, its atmosphere and geology. Several hundred copies were distributed to the general public as part of the Society's mission to promote and encourage astronomy and geophysics. A new online edition of Postgraduate Opportunities was also published just one aspect of the Society's broad education programme largely organized by its Education Committee.
The Society's meetings have continued to be one of its major and most evident activities. There were around 100 hours of scientific presentations in Burlington House alone, on topics as diverse as planetary geophysics, gravitational-wave astronomy, and the cosmic microwave background. The Society also organized, sponsored or otherwise supported meetings around the country, including several specifically aimed at encouraging younger scientists (and would-be scientists) and Pro-Am liaison. Special mention should be made of the success and popularity of the RAS National Astronomy Meeting 2003, held in Dublin in April.
As of January 2003, all our in-house meetings have been held in the lecture theatres at Burlington House. The new arrangements have proven popular allowing easier movement between meetings and are administratively more convenient. Modest admission charges to Specialist Discussion Meetings were introduced for the 200304 season for non-Fellows, both to distribute costs more equably and as a means of encouraging attendees to join the Society. There has been no perceptible effect on attendance numbers, which have risen slightly. Our sponsored organizations MIST, BGA and SCAP continue to cover specialist interests within the Society.
Several new awards were introduced in 2003. The Fowler Awards in Astronomy and in Geophysics are intended to recognize younger scientists at a time when such an award should give impetus to their careers, complementing our well-established Thesis Prizes. The Fowler family (which itself includes many outstanding scientists) is warmly thanked for its support of these awards; it is gratifying that in their first year these awards attracted a large, strong field of nominations.
Following its special Millennial Award to Sir Patrick Moore in 2000, the Society noted that it had no formal mechanism for recognizing contributions to science other than through research. This has led to the creation of the RAS Awards for Service to Astronomy and to Geophysics. Although it is not intended that an award be made every year, there was again a strong (and very broad) field of nominations in 2003.
Not all awards and honours of interest are internal to the Society. Congratulations go to Prof. Dan McKenzie, who was made a Companion of Honour in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for 2003, and Prof. Colin Pillnger, who was awarded a CBE; Profs Jocelyn Bell Burnell, John Barrow, James Hough and John Papaloizou, who were elected Fellows of the Royal Society; Dr Monica Grady, who was selected to give the 2003 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures; and Philip Leverhulme Prizewinners Matthew Bate, Erwin de Blok, Greg Bryan, Louise Harra and Gordon Ogilvie (most of whom gave presentations at a special meeting of the Society).
The Library is a major resource for the Society, but also makes significant demands on its resources. Furthermore, like all research libraries, its role and function is changing with the continuing development of e-publishing. To address these matters, a preliminary review of the Library was completed in 2003 and several changes set in motion as a consequence. Of these, the most important was the selection and procurement of a computerized library management system, currently being implemented, which should see online access to the catalogue within the year.
The Grants Programme introduced in 2002 is now well established and popular. In 2003, on the initiative of the Membership Committee, applications to support summer internships were particularly encouraged. This successful exercise furthers the Society's aims both by encouraging and supporting young scientists, and by directly contributing to the science itself.
Following its reconstruction in 2002, development of the RAS website has continued, including establishment of an electronic mailing list to inform Fellows (and others) of Society news, grant opportunities, meetings updates etc. More than 300 subscribers have signed up in the first few months. Additional online services and functionality are under consideration, such as membership listings and subscription payments. Of course, security is a primary factor for such services.
Forty-two press notices were issued, on topics as diverse as archaeoastronomy, solarterrestrial physics, planetary sciences and many aspects of astrophysics. There was particular media interest in the RAS National Astronomy Meeting.
The RAS Jobs List service electronically circulated 46 job advertisements in 2003, of which 30 were for posts within the UK. Of those 30, 25 were in astronomy or astrophysics and 5 in earth sciences or technical support. By the end of the year there were more than 600 subscribers to this service, which continues to expand.
For several years, and particularly during 2003, the status of the Society's occupancy of Burlington House has been a continuing source of uncertainty and concern. Throughout the year a rising scale of effort had to be directed towards the preparation of materials in anticipation of the court case addressing this issue. The case went to the High Court in January 2004, with the judge directing that the concerned parties (the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, and the five learned societies occupying Burlington House) should attempt a mediated settlement. At the time of writing that process is continuing, but progress has been made, and we can look forward to a future where the basis of our occupancy is clearly defined and understood.
The Society has an enthusiastic and positive staff, without whom it could not function. It is invidious to pick out individuals, but the appointment of a new Executive Secretary following John Lane's retirement in June 2003, after 12 years of service, must be noted. David Elliott, who joined us after a career in the British Council, has proven to be an outstanding appointment, and his ideas and influence are already reaching into all corners of the Society's operations. Not least, he has been deeply involved in the Burlington House negotiations, where his diplomatic skills have been evident.
As well as its staff, the Society relies heavily on its members for its development and to provide scientific input, whether through participation in its committees, by providing editorial or peer-review services to its journals, or through organizing meetings and other events. Council greatly appreciates the efforts made by these members, and sincerely thanks all those involved for their support.
Astronomy & Geophysics is published by the Royal Astronomical Society. It is a journal for the publication of serious scientific articles of interest to a broad range of astronomers and geophysicists.
We are especially seeking Review Articles. We are looking for lively, topical summaries of active research areas, giving readers a chance to keep up with developments in research fields outside their own. The Editor expects such articles to be around 6000 words, plus figures, to make around six published pages. You should introduce material at a level comprehensible to a graduate in the subject, but should not limit discussion to this level. The Editor welcomes lively writing, and individual styles, as well as suggestions for illustrations, but will reject unsuitable material.
It is helpful if articles are provided in electronic form; we use Word6 on Apple Macintosh. Other word processor files, Tex and LaTeX are also acceptable. All submissions should also include pdf files or printed copies of the paper and figures. Papers cannot be processed without this. All files should be labelled with the corresponding author's name and figure number, etc, rather than A&G paper or similar. There is an submission site; the Editor can supply details.
Illustrations, both images and diagrams, are welcome, but not essential. We prefer a few high-quality illustrations to many poor ones. Suggestions for cover images are always welcome. The Editor has discretion over which illustrations to use: the criteria are content, quality and suitability. Authors in any doubt should consult the Editor. Good quality prints or transparencies are suitable, as are high-resolution electronic images, preferably in tif or ps format. As a general rule, it is both more efficient and more satisfactory to send A&G a good quality print than for authors to spend time producing poor-quality electronic images. The edited text is sent to authors for approval as page proofs either by fax or as a pdf; corrections and changes must be returned promptly.
Authors are responsible for obtaining and, if necessary, paying for permission from the copyright holder to reproduce illustrations that they use, if they do not hold the copyright themselves. References follow the style of Monthly Notices of the RAS. Authors must ensure that their references are correct.
Submission implies that the manuscript has not been previously published nor is currently submitted for publication elsewhere. On acceptance, authors are required to transfer the copyright to the RAS.
All contributions should be sent to Dr Sue Bowler, Editor, Astronomy & Geophysics, Dept of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK. Email: email@example.com.
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