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Newsletters

No 46, August 00  
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FROM THE PRESIDENT

Since the last Newsletter several things have happened which affect the Society.

First, the change of the name of the Society to the "Society of Crystallographers in Australia and New Zealand" has taken place (as of the 5 May 2000) and been certified by the Office of Consumer and Business affairs in South Australia, the State in which the Society is incorporated. I would like to thank Edward Tiekink for carrying through the relevant transactions on behalf of the Society.

Next, the contracts for the construction of Australia’s replacement nuclear research reactor were signed on 13 July between the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and the Argentinian company INVAP S.E. and its alliance partners, John Holland Construction and Engineering Pty Ltd and Evans Deakin Industries Limited. Although there appear to be some reservations in some quarters on the details of the successful tender, the completion of this stage of negotiations should guarantee Australian scientists a presence in the neutron arena for the foreseeable future.

An amusing aside to this issue given to me by Chris Howard is that, according to the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, the Chief Executive Officer is expecting to save $200 million per year on the expenses Australian Scientists (John White, Chris Howard, and a few others) incur in going overseas to use neutron facilities!

Over recent months there appears to have been a lot of activity by FASTS in promoting the cause of science in Australia and it was gratifying to find that Professor Sue Serjeantson, President of FASTS, has been appointed an officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia in the awards gazetted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours on 12 June. The citation for the Award was:

" For service to science, particularly through research in the field of human genetics, and to academic administration as an advocate of scientific research in higher education"

Professor Serjeantson served as Director, Institute of Advanced Studies and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the Australian National University for nearly four years. Having become acquainted with her qualities during this period I can say I find her a really impressive person and I think the cause of science cannot but benefit by her efforts in FASTS.

I should say that the award was significantly downgraded by the fact that John Dawkins was awarded an AO in the same list!

Richard Welberry


CRYSTAL XXII

Crystal XXII, the twenty second conference of the Society of Crystallographers in Australia and New Zealand, will be held in Queensland in 2001. Dates for the conference are Saturday 7 July to Tuesday 10 July, 2001, and follows the IUPAC conference in Brisbane. The venue for Crystal XXII is Couran Cove, an eco-tourism resort located on South Stradbroke Island, close to both Brisbane and Gold Coast (Coolangatta) airports. There is a wide range of accommodation available at Couran, including rooms and suites situated on the water and also unique Eco-Cabins built amongst the South Stradbroke Island bush, 21st century versions of the traditional Australian family weekender.

The 1987 plenary speaker for Crystal XXII is Professor Sung Hou Kim from the Chemistry Department of Berkeley University in California, USA. Dr Kim's interests include structural genomics and high throughput protein crystallography.

The Local Organising Committee consists of Jenny Martin, Ruth Drinkwater, Luke Guddat, Paul Bernhardt, John Drennan, Ian Gentle (all University of Queensland), Graham Smith and Ray Bott (Queensland University of Technology).

More information on Crystal XXII including the website and registration information will be available in the next Newsletter due out in early November.

Jenny Martin


THE NATIONAL COMMITTEE

In the next three months the International Union of Crystallography will be forming a Program Committee for the XIX IUCr Congress and General Assembly which will take place in Jerusalem in the year 2002. Chairs of Commissions and others have been contacted and the National Committee for Crystallography is considering nominations from Australia. I would be grateful for any suggestions that you might like to make for discussion in the Committee.

There has been progress in the matter of Australia's access to synchrotron radiation in the last few months. At its meeting on 27 June the Australian Synchrotron Radiation Program Board approved the final draft for a submission to the Australian government for renewal of the ASRP program of access to the Photon Factory and to the Advanced Photon Source (CARS and SRICAT Consortia), Argonne National Laboratory. A proposal was submitted to government shortly thereafter. The proposal is based upon the strong growth in the number of experiments from 1990 (five experiments) to 2000 (85 experiments) – an almost linear growth in that period distributed between most of the States of Australia.

The proposal is for funding to continue operations for a further five years from 1 July 2001 at a total cost of about 17 million dollars of which about 11 million is sought from government. The remainder is in ‘in kind’ and monetary contributions from participating members of the ASRP. The proposal document has been widely distributed to vice-chancellors and deputy vice-chancellors with an invitation to non-member universities to become members of the program if they wish. The program will still remain open to all universities and users in Australia in respect of their membership of the ASRP.

The matter of a synchrotron for Australia has moved on. A further economic assessment is in progress. This is financed by contributions from a number of states and territories as well as the Federal Government. It is being conducted by Price Waterhouse and will supplement the studies done under the aegis of the Victorian government and the ASRP Strategy Committee in 1999. At a workshop to be held in Karlsruhe (Germany) on 19 August Stephen Wilkins and John Boldeman will be talking about the Australian proposal.

During the last two months a decision has been made on the preferred tenderer for the replacement research reactor at Lucas Heights. Specifications for the neutron beams from this reactor were set by Academy, University, Industry and Agency representatives the ANSTO "Beam Facilities Consultative Group" 1999. Two members of the National Committee are members of the Group which established a vision for the performance of the new reactor in which some of the instruments could match the current performance of the ILL, Grenoble. If realised this will allow Australia to "play in the first league" in the world. Australia would have neutron scattering facilities complementary to those currently being developed in Japan and in other Asia-Pacific regions. It remains for the Argentinian preferred tenderer, INVAP, to fulfil these expectations – an outcome which will be important for Australia’s scientific future.

John White


FUTURE MEETINGS

AsCA 2001

The next AsCA meeting would be in Bangalore, India around 18-25 November 2001.

IUCr XIX

The 19th Congress and General Assembly of the IUCr will be held in Jerusalem, Israel, August 6-15, 2002. A Preliminary Registration form can be found on the Congress Web page at: http://www.kenes.com/iucr/.