June/July 2012 President's Letter from David Black

Authored by: David Black

Published on: Aug 17, 2012

Photo of David BlackThe Brisbane meeting has come and gone and seems to have been judged a success with the legendary hospitality of Australia enjoyed by all in the warm winter weather of Queensland.  I suggest that this is the time when BEMs should cast aside the now outdated concepts of “summer” and “winter” meetings as the Society becomes global. Indeed, a number of important changes in BEMS have been signalled to members at the Brisbane Annual General Meeting.

At the Scientific meeting we heard the thoughts and reflections of Michael Repacholi and Carl Blackman on the past and future of Bioelectromagnetics. Much of the growth and sustenance of the Society has been around research fuelled by rapidly evolving technology using electromagnetics and members are reflecting on the decline or at least repositioning of much of this work. The demographics of our colleagues at Brisbane told this story quite starkly with nearly half of us coming from Eastern Asia. The principal role of research is to extend knowledge and that of course continues.  But the traditional model, enabling institutions to combine research, teaching and learning is teaching the traditionally strong involvement of Universities in BEMS. Nevertheless even if economic downturn causes a pause in the growth of demand for new knowledge, the application of what we already know still depends on teaching, learning and the collegial support that a community like BEMS can provide. Our Society has always performed strongly in this role.  In my personal experience of over 20 years of professional growth in the field of applying electromagnetic safety, BEMS has been by far my most important “college” and I know many other members and visitors to meetings feel the same. That has caused some of us to question whether the Society will encounter difficulty in finding sponsorship.  Perrhaps this is so, but not difficult enough to curtail the more than adequate support that enabled the team lead by Andrew Wood to fund the Brisbane meeting well into profit. Furthermore the profile and support for students is growing in BEMS. An unrelenting supporter for students for many years has been this year’s D’Arsonval Prize winner, Professor Neils Kuster, who has not only led his field of research but started many successful and continuing careers in Bioelectromagnetic science.

Changes are afoot, without doubt. In general these are aimed at enabling BEMS to keep on what it’s doing more efficiently and to a wider audience and member base. Next year we return to Europe and join our friends at EBEA in a joint meeting is Thessaloniki in Northern Greece. Plans for this meeting are well advanced under the oversight of a strong committee nominated by both Societies -quite a few of us belong to both in any event. The Board has a busy year ahead with the move toward teleconference meetings, which should greatly reduce the need for and cost of face to face meetings.  That cycle will be starting about the time you read this. They say that a week is a long time in politics.  While this is probably true, BEMS is not mostly about  politics.  Past Presidents have warned me that the one year of office goes very quickly. I am trying to get off to a fast start in this Olympic year . . . and where better to finish than in Greece, the country where the games began. We will be regularly in touch along the way.