Letter from the President, David Black

Authored by: David Black

Published on: May 29, 2013

Our annual scientific meeting in Thessaloniki is less than a month away and the election results are in. I am proud to be handing over the reins of BEMS (The Bioectromagnetics Society) to our new President, Dr Rich Nuccitelli and President elect, Phil Chadwick. I would like to take this opportunity to commend the outgoing officers for their outstanding work during a challenging time for our Society. Jonna Wilen has provided extremely good support as secretary, and Phil Chadwick has managed and protected the treasury, which he now hands over to Andrew Wood. Meike Mevissen carries on, after her busy year as one of the organizers of Thessaloniki, to take over from Jonna as secretary. In all respects the affairs of the Society are thoroughly up to date and most importantly, sustainable, thanks also to the web based management provided so efficiently by Jeff Carson and the team from Lawson. Our Society is in good heart and safe hands.

I have been coming to BEMS meetings for a long time – best measured in decades. The Bioelectromagnetics Society provides the backbone of an extraordinary scientific and technical community, one that is a privilege to belong to and in which I have made many friends and colleagues. I continue to attend because by meeting my friends once a year I feel absolutely connected to my area of science. At BEMS meetings within a cycle of 2 or 3 years you can meet everybody who is anybody in Bioelectromagnetics. That often gives me the ability to read papers in the voice of the author, a perhaps intangible quality, but I know many scientists consider a great asset. The personal friendships, which inevitably flow from the meetings, are also of immeasurable importance.

As the years have rolled on, some of the great figures of our community have passed on - none more important to me than Dr Eleanor Adair, who died in April. Ellie was a wonderful inspiration to many of us; we all have missed her spirited contributions to our meetings during the last few years when she was unable to attend. For many of she was both a mentor and a dear friend, may she rest in peace.

Now that the structural and administrative basis of BEMS is in good shape there is important work to do in forming or perhaps adjusting the shape of the society looking forward for the next decade. During my Presidency I have laid out some ideas and now is the time to consider, discuss and debate these. We often hear that our membership base is dwindling because the peak of research caused by mobile telephone technology has passed. That may be so, but the research has been replaced by practitioners applying the knowledge gained by our members, and for many of them BEMS has much attraction. I have also suggested that BEMS was always and still should continue to be an American based Society, confining transactions to the English language but increasingly outward looking. BEMS should collaborate with other regional bioelectromagnetic societies where they genuinely exist for regional, political or language reasons. BEMS is secure in every way, structurally, financially and in identity. Our priority now should be to build our membership base perhaps by widening our interests. It is at this time, I suggest, most important to build and protect what and who we are. I am confident that the incoming executives are very clear about that.