Meeting Report


L. Vlahos and A. Anastasiadis

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 was 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 & Technology, the Greek National Committee for Astronomy, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the University of Ioannina, the Local 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 (U.K.)), Structure and flows in the upper atmosphere (Schmieder (France) and Carlsson (Norway)), 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 (France) and 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 Physics 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 organizers.

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 traditional 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.