Participation and the Scientific Programme

A forthcoming European Conference will be announced by leaflets, posters, and notices in journals, and extensive publicity in the EUROMECH Newsletter. The form of the announcement should be agreed by the Chairpersons of the LOC and the SCC. An early first announcement, at least 18 months before the conference, is desirable. The announcement should say that anyone wishing to have further information with a view to taking part in the Conference should notify the LOC. The number of separate postal communications to participants should be kept to a minimum. E-mail should be used from the start for speed, simplicity and cheapness. There is no need for any restriction on the number of participants except that arising from the capacity of the available lecture rooms.

The duration of a ESMC or EFMC should be about five days, while that of an ETC, ENOC or EMMC should be three or four days.

Invited lectures form a very important part of the programme of a European Conference. In principle they should be understandable and interesting to all participants, and so should all be given in plenary session. If the lectures are well-chosen, as many as two invited lectures per half-day may be contemplated. The SCC will wish to identify areas in which a clear exposition of recent developments would be especially valuable, and to match up timely topics with lecturers of known quality. The Chairperson of the SCC should issue the invitations to lecturers and should make known any wishes or suggestions the SCC may have concerning subject matter.

Those who wish to present some research at the Conference should be asked to submit an abstract about the work to the LOC, before some specified date. This date should be as late as possible, say three to five months before the Conference, in order to encourage participants to present the results of recent work. Taking into account the number, quality and subject matter of these submissions, the SCC and the LOC together will decide which of these submissions will be presented at the Conference, whether some of those accepted should be presented in poster form, whether and how the papers for oral presentation should be grouped in parallel sessions, and, perhaps the most important question, what time should be allowed for each oral presentation. There is no acknowledged "right" way of incorporating offered papers into the programme of a Conference, and the EUROMECH Council is happy to see new ideas tried out. In all cases, a booklet of the accepted abstracts should be given to participants on arrival at the Conference.

The remaining ingredient in the programme is open discussion. There should of course be time for questions or comments at the end of each lecture and orally-presented paper. Consideration should also be given to the inclusion of a period of discussion of a group of the posters, or of some topic which has aroused particular interest during the Conference, or perhaps of some topic specified in advance. At any period of open discussion the role ofthe Chairperson is important, and that should be kept in mind when appointing the Session Chairpersons of the Conference. In this regard it is vital that each Session Chairperson should know what flexibility exists in the time-table and should be prepared to ensure that the bounds are not exceeded.