The Solar Physics Section of the European Physical Society and the European
Astronomical Society holds a major meeting in a European city every three
years. The meetings are organized by the elected board of the Solar
Physics Section. This year's meeting was the 8th in this series and it
held in Thessaloniki, Greece from 13th to 18th of May. The meeting
was attended by 170 participants coming from 24 different countries
including USA and Venezuela. Thanks to the generous contributions of several
Institutions, notably the Directorate General for Science Research
and Development of the European Commission, the Greek
Ministry of Education, the Greek General Secretariat of Science &
the Greek National Committee for Astronomy, the Aristotle
University of Thessaloniki and the University of Ioannina, the
Organizing Committee could offer 70 accommodation grants, 35 of them to Ph.D.
students and 15 to participants from Eastern European countries. An additional
number of 12 travel grants was offered to participants, coming mostly from
Eastern European countries. Moreover, the registration fee was waived
to all the above participants as well as the Greek participants.
The title of the meeting was ``Solar and Heliospheric Plasma Physics"
and the aim of the SOC was to give a full account of the interaction
of the Sun with the Heliosphere. Traditionally the European Solar Physics
meeting tries to be broad but keeps also a focal point which is related to the
most active part of research at the time of the meeting. In this year's meeting
the focal point was the interaction of the Sun with the Heliosphere, since
two major satellites, where Europe has strong involvement, were at the time
of the meeting already in orbit (Ulysses and SOHO).
Each of the seven Scientific Sessions of the meeting consisted of two invited
reviews, several oral contributed papers and a poster session.
The invited reviews covered several ``traditional" topics, like Solar interior
and oscillations (Patterno (Italy) and Weiss (U.K.)),
the Physics of flux tubes and waves (Solanki (Switzerland) and Roberts
Structure and flows in the upper atmosphere (Schmieder (France) and
Restructuring of magnetic fields (Nordlund (Denmark) and
Benz (Switzerland)), Particle acceleration
physics (Trottet (France) and Sarris (Greece)), as well as current issues as
on Heliosphere and cosmic rays
(Sanderson (ESTEC) and Burgess (U.K.)) and New Instrumentation (Mein
Antonucci (Italy)). A special afternoon session was devoted to SOHO with talks
from P. Martens (ESTEC), E. Antonucci (Italy) and G. Simnett (U.K.).
The SOC had made an effort to keep a balance between observation and theory
both on the invited and oral contributions. A total of 45
invited oral contributions were presented and about 90 posters were on display
throughout the meeting. An Abstract volume (edited by C.E. Alissandrakis)
was distributed to participants at the time of registration. The invited
reviews will be published by the Springer-Verlag Lecture Notes in
series (Eds. C.E. Alissandrakis, G. Simnett and L. Vlahos) and the contributed
papers (including posters), if the authors decided to submit, will be
referreed and possibly published in a special volume of
Solar Physics with P. Heinzel and G. Simnett acting as proceedings
The meeting was very live
thanks to the presence of many young participants from all over Europe
and the splendid facilities of the Hotel Athos Palace in Chalkidiki.
The proximity of the beach and the pleasant weather did not affect the
meeting and all sessions were very well attended.
A boat trip around the Athos peninsula on Wednesday and a dinner with
Greek dancers on Thursday night had offered extra relaxation and plenty of
time to socialize between the participants.
The LOC had worked hard to run this meeting as smoothly as possible and
in large degree
had succeeded thanks to the tireless effort of the Secretary Despoina Papadaki
and the students of the Astrophysics group in the Department of Physics
of the University of Thessaloniki.
For the benefit of those that will try to organize such a meeting in the future,
it's worth mentioning that initially 500 applications were received and more
than 2,000 e-mails were exchanged since all communication between the
applicants and LOC was done electronically.
We believe that in the future other societies collaborating with SPS e.g. CESRA and JOSO should join forces so that these meetings can be a truly unique opportunity for all solar astronomers to meet and at the same time share the financial cost of such a large gathering.