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The Annual Meeting and Forum

The Sigma Xi Annual Meeting and Forum, held in November in Washington, D.C., was a great success. The Forum subject, "Trends in Industrial Innovation," was of great interest to the scientific and public policy audiences, and we had excellent speakers and interested attendees. Of particular note at the Forum and Meeting was a speech by Congressman Vernon Ehlers, an exciting after-banquet talk by Procter Prize recipient Philip Morrison, and the McGovern Prize lecture by Jack Gibbons, the President's science advisor (delivered by Rosina Bierbaum of his staff, as Jack was on a presidential mission to China following the Chinese premier's visit here). Executive Director Peter Blair and I later presented the McGovern Medal and plaque to Jack in a ceremony at the Executive Office Building, attended by Neil Lane, director of the National Science Foundation, and by many of the winners of the National Medals of Science and of Technology, who were there for their ceremony.

Many of our members especially noted Congressman Ehlers's remark that being in Congress was a lot like being in a perpetual faculty meeting. This may have somewhat blunted his strong recruiting suggestion that Congress could benefit from having more members with scientific and technical backgrounds.

The 98th Annual Meeting was enlivened by excellent and well-attended workshops and an interesting poster display of chapter activities, which provided an opportunity for exchange of ideas and programs. I was particularly interested in some of the discussion at the workshop on scientific ethics, organized and chaired by John Ahearne. It pointed us toward possible new and important roles for Sigma Xi in serving the scientific and technical community.

In the Assembly sessions, and the corridor discussions surrounding them, there was interest in change and in streamlining the governance of Sigma Xi. A motion was presented, and overwhelmingly passed, that puts on the agenda of the next Assembly a proposal to make the Board of Directors smaller by eliminating the automatic membership of the chairs of standing committees. The Executive Committee is preparing other governance proposals to put before the Board, and then, after Board action, to the Assembly. There was a fine feeling of open discussion and consultation about the meeting.

And, of course, we elected a new President-Elect for 1998–99: Peggie Hollingsworth of the University of Michigan Chapter. I shall be delighted to be working with her, with incoming President John Moore and with the Board, Peter Blair and the staff, as we continue to strengthen our Society for the next century and millennium. While our membership has been decreasing, we remain a strong force on many campuses and in many laboratories; our finances continue to be sound and our programs excellent. Science and technology will clearly be even greater in importance to humankind in the future, and Sigma Xi can play an important role in strengthening the scientific and technological community, and in helping it to serve civilization.

Robert A. Frosch
President, Sigma Xi

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