|Arnold van Ardenne
| The picture shows the SPDO director Richard Schilizzi, perched on top of a camel on the dry plains of Anatolia (Turkey). Overlooking the striking environment, riddled with all too human history, he steers the wobbly animal on a steady course toward its destination (which, in the short term, could be the step-ladder just outside the picture on the right). No doubt his mind was also focused on transforming the present SPDO into a stable SPO.
This opportunity for exploring the smouldering sands arose as a free-time enterprise after attending the successful URSI radio science General Assembly and Scientific Symposium in Istanbul. It was attended by over 1100 radio scientists from all over the world, including 100 young ones. A range of scintillating sessions was offered, including one by the Radio Astronomy Commission J. Naturally, Richard and his team used the occasion to inform the community about the latest on the SKA.
An especially memorable event was the impressive and informative General Lecture about the road of discovery, back in the sixties, of the first pulsars. It was given by Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, on the occasion of receiving the 2011 Grote Reber award. Congratulations again!
From the perspective of ASTRON, and the Dutch national URSI committee, it was satisfying to note that our very own Willem Baan was elected vice-chair of Committee J. He will now serve his term with the newly elected chair, Justin Jonas from South Africa. With such a team at the helm, we may look forward to a similarly inspiring program for the next URSI GASS, to be held in Beijing in 2014.