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March 2006

AGU, AMS presidencies

Both UCAR president Rick Anthes and NCAR director Tim Killeen will take on high-profile leadership positions in the broader scientific community over the next year.

Rick has been elected to the presidency of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). His one-year term begins next January. Tim, elected president of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), begins his two-year term this July.

"I think it's very gratifying for UCAR and NCAR to have two such positions," Tim says.

Rick Anthes
Rick Anthes. (Photos by Carlye Calvin.)


At the AMS, Rick will oversee planning for the 2008 annual meeting in New Orleans. He envisions a meeting that will focus on the broad issue of transferring research findings to applications.

"It's a timely and useful topic that people are concerned about, especially because we don't transfer findings from research into operations and other applications as well as we should," Rick says.

The meeting will also feature discussions about Hurricane Katrina, including some activities such as exhibits and talks that will be open to the public.

Another important area for Rick will be helping to formulate AMS statements on important issues. Until recently, it was difficult for the organization to agree to statements because they had to be approved by a supermajority of the AMS council. Now, however, only a simple majority is required.

Rick has just finished working with the AMS Council to issue a statement on the importance of freedom of speech in scientific matters. Many leading researchers are concerned over reports that scientists in some government agencies have been urged not to speak out on controversial matters such as climate change.

"It is essential to have a vigorous and honest debate about scientific research in order to keep society well-informed and help government leaders make the best decisions," Rick says (see On the Web).

Tim Killeen
Tim Killeen.


As president-elect of the AGU, Tim has led the effort to develop the organization's strategic plan, which emphasizes interdisciplinary collaborations. He also is chairing a development board that will create endowments at the AGU for education and outreach activities.

Another important goal is to better communicate science to policymakers.

To that end, Tim is working on an initiative to support briefings on Capitol Hill, issue more news releases, and develop nontechnical papers about scientific research.

In addition, he and colleagues have introduced a new AGU entity, called an Experts Conference, that highlights specific scientific areas. For example, the committee is working on a statement about the physical aspects of Hurricane Katrina.

"The presidency involves a lot of varied work, ensuring that the AGU remains responsive to its membership and relevant to the broader needs of society," Tim says.

Tim's roots in the AGU run deep. He began going to AGU meetings three decades ago, meeting his wife, Roberta Johnson, at one of them. (Roberta is now director of EO at NCAR.)

"The AGU has been a professional home for me," Tim says. "I'm just thrilled to be in this role."

• by David Hosansky

On the Web

The new AMS statement

Also in this issue...

The atmospheres of cities
Sidebar: Urban heat islands

Remembering Andrew Crook and Diana Josephson

Let it snow

AGU, AMS presidencies

Delphi Questions: Toilet paper; professional memberships

Just One Look


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