Message from the President

Dear CASCA Members,

CASCA '99, our Society's annual meeting is almost upon us: June 27-30 in Halifax at St. Mary's University. I hope to see (or to have seen) many of you at this meeting which marks the 25th anniversary of the astronomy program at St. Mary's and the 250th anniversary of the founding of Halifax.

The scientific program is of a very high quality and includes invited speakers Malcolm Butler, Doug Duncan, Bob Hawkes and John Huchra, as well as the CASCA award winners: Sidney van den Bergh (Petrie Lecturer), Stéphane Charpinet (Plaskett Lecturer), and Paul Chodas (Hogg Lecturer).

On Tuesday June 28th, Ralph Pudritz will facilitate a discussion on the future of the Long Range Planning Panel Report that is expected to be completed at about this time or shortly thereafter. Those who have perused the LRPP documents available via anonymous ftp will appreciate how much effort Ralph (Chair) and members of the committee have devoted to produce such a comprehensive evaluation of the Canadian astronomical community and its requirements in the upcoming decade in order that we might build upon scientific strengths. The LRPP has managed to achieve a broad consensus through emphasizing the need for instrumentation complementarity, and the support of high quality research and researchers. Make sure that you've taken the time to read the relevant LRPP documents and transmitted your comments of whatever flavour to the LRPP via Ralph Pudritz as soon as possible.

There is much more yet to do, however. With the completion of the LRPP Report comes the perhaps even more challenging task of taking our message to the external community, especially politicians and the public. Unless they are aware of our community and are convinced that so much exciting science lies just ahead, there is no reason that Canadian astronomers should expect to receive increased support. This is why "outreach" is essential and why CASCA must develop a co-ordinated plan that not just informs, but engages the public.


May and June have been particularly busy months for other reasons. On behalf of CASCA, I extended our congratulations to the American Astronomical Society at its Centennial meeting in late May in Chicago. I'd like to thank Richard Jarrell and the Heritage Committee for writing the preliminary version of the address which I believe was well received.

The Gemini North Dedication will take place on June 25-26, 1999, which makes it impossible for me to attend. With first call for proposals only several months away, the special session co-sponsored by the Graduate Student and the Optical-Infra Red Astronomy Committees of CASCA will prove exceedingly helpful indeed. I urge all researchers to attend this session on Sunday 27 June 1999 at St. Mary's University.

CASCA is exploring the possibility of hosting the 2006 IAU Congress and General Assembly in Calgary. At this point, a Steering Committee has been formed that includes CASCA's Secretary and President along with two members from the National Research Council (Public and International Relations, and Conference Services). If it is decided that our Society should pursue this, then we must submit a bid to the IAU Executive later this fall which will be considered just prior to the Manchester General Assembly in 2000. We are fortunate to have NRC's support in this endeavour; there would be no Canadian bid without it.

It will be necessary in the next few months, beginning at CASCA '99, to identify astronomers from across the country to participate in some of the committees necessary to organize a successful meeting of this scale, including the Executive Committee, Scientific Program Committee and the Local Organizing Committee.


Finally, in this issue you will find a report by the Chair of the Westar Board, Dr. Yves M. Giroux, Chairman of the Board of Westar and Assistant to the Rector at Université Laval. Dr. Giroux kindly agreed to write this report in order to provide the membership with details concerning the Westar monies that have been used to support Canada's participation in the Gemini project.


Mike,the Prez  Michael De Robertis      <mmdr@yorku.ca>
President of CASCA

Michael, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at York University, is the current President of CASCA. He obtained his BSc at the University of Toronto (1997), his MSc at Queen's University (1979) and his PhD at the University of Victoria (1983). De Robertis completed two years of postdoctoral work at the Lick Observatory (UC Santa Cruz) before taking up a University Research Fellowship at York University in late 1985. 

His research interests focus primarily on the activity in galactic nuclei using optical and near-infrared imaging and spectroscopic techniques. He has also developed an interest in Galactic structure and the low-mass end of the main sequence. 


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