President’s Blog, September 2013

Posted on September 27, 2013
John Challis

As the incoming President of the ISB this is my first blog so, to quote Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790),

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

I think I have this covered as I will spend most of this blog describing some of the activities of the ISB, which I hope you will see is worth writing about.  First I must express my thanks to the membership for entrusting me with the honor of leading the society as President.  I have been fortunate to serve on the Executive Council of the ISB under a number of Presidents including: Sandra Olney, Mary Rodgers, Brian Davis, Walter Herzog, Julie Steele, and Ton van den Bogert.  I was always impressed with their commitment to the society and industry in promoting the mission of the ISB.  These are hard acts to follow, but I will work hard on your behalf to maintain and enhance the objectives of the ISB.

Stepping down from the Executive Council after a 14-year tenure is Julie Steele.  Julie has served on the Council since 1999, and as well as being a President also served as the Secretary-General.  She has impacted the society in many ways, working tirelessly and enthusiastically on our behalf.  One important task she undertook when President was the updating and revising the codes; these codes guide how the ISB goes about its various activities.  In her time as Past-President she developed a new scheme which will impact many members of the ISB, the introduction of an ISB Fellows program.  At the next Congress we will be appointing our first batch of Fellows.  The purpose of awarding Fellowships of the ISB is to recognize distinguished achievement in biomechanics and to encourage continuing service and leadership to the society.  The expectation is that applicants will only accept a Fellowship if they are willing to remain active within the ISB upon receipt of their Fellowship.  There will be various criteria required to be appointed as a Fellow of the ISB, they include: full membership of ISB for at least 10 consecutive years, attendance at least three of the five preceding ISB Congresses and presentation of work at some of these, record of publication in international peer-reviewed journals, and demonstration of high standards of service to the ISB.  I have asked Julie to usher in the first class of Fellows, specific details will be circulated next year in time for nominations to be considered for the 2015 Congress.

It was only a few weeks ago that many of us were attending the XIV Congress in Natal, Brazil.  As I mentioned at the closing ceremony, our Brazilian hosts gave all delegates a warm and friendly welcome.  As usual the ISB Congress was rewarding on both academic and social levels.  Marco Vaz and his team are to be congratulated on organizing our Congress which had some distinct Brazilian flavor while preserving the traditions of an ISB Congress.  The amount of time and effort that goes into hosting our Congress is highlighted by the amount of planning already undertaken for the XV Congress to be held in Glasgow.  The Glasgow team (Philip Rowe, Andrew Murphy, and Philip Riches) have many of the elements already in place for the Congress (e.g., venues, accommodation), and only this week I was sent some details of the abstract submission process.  The XV Congress promises to be another great ISB event and I encourage you to plan to attend.  For international visitors Glasgow is highly accessible by air, and has a lot of cultural attractions.  Make a note of the dates of the Congress: Opening Ceremony on Sunday July 12th and the last Congress day Thursday July 16th 2015.

At every Congress there is a new Executive Council appointed.  I am delighted to welcome both the new and returning members to the council.  I would encourage you to contact them if you need help.  Let me introduce the various board members and outline what they will be doing over the next two years.  Our informatics officer, David Lloyd, maintains our main portal for ISB and biomechanics related information – our web-site.  David is about to undertake a major revamp of the web-site.  As a society we have a number of technical groups (3-D Analysis of Human Movement, Technical Group on Computer Simulation, Footwear Biomechanics Group, and the International Shoulder Group), a working group (Hand and Wrist Biomechanics International), and a seed group (Motor Control), liaison with these groups is the responsibility of Geneviève Dumas.  In addition to our own technical groups we also have a number of affiliated societies, typically national biomechanics organizations, these groups are looked after by Antonio Veloso.  At each Congress we have series of tutorials; these fall under the remit of Scott McLean (Education Officer).  Over the next two years Scott will be coordinating our next set of tutorials, but also working on ISB joint kinetics guidelines and standards.

The ISB has various has various sources of funding, and these are now administered by Alberto Leardini.  At each Congress there are a variety of awards and the hard work of selecting the winners is coordinated by Catherine Disselhorst-Klug.  Our students have a representative, Kelsey Collins, and you can see what is happening for students on the ISB students Facebook page.  As a society we have various sponsors from industry, and liaison with these groups is provided by Marco Vaz.  We have various initiatives to encourage and support biomechanics in economically developing countries and these efforts are spearheaded by Bart Koopman who is ably assisted by Andrea Hemerich.  Finally to develop a greater ISB presence in Asia we have a council member working on fostering these connections, Yu Liu.

Over the next two years I will be guided by our Past-President, Ton van den Bogert, and our President-Elect Andy Cresswell.  Andy will be coordinating bids for the hosting our 2017 Congress, more details are elsewhere in this issue of ISB Now.  The glue which holds the various activities of the society together is provided by our secretary general, Toni Arndt, and our long serving treasurer Graeme Wood.

I have actually left one person off the list, the publication officer, Ed Chadwick.  Ed has recently taken over this role and I am sure he does not mind me highlighting to you that he will be always happy to receive copy for ISB Now.  The newsletter of the society has a long tradition and has had many interesting items published in it.  I remember, for example, a thought provoking commentary on scaling, a test to see if you were more a biological biomechanist or an engineering biomechanist, and a series on statistical analysis.  If there is something you want to share please let Ed know, I am sure he will be delighted.  Remember ISB Now is a means of communication between all members of the society – so make a contribution and communicate.

The International Society of Biomechanics was officially formed at the 4th International Seminar on Biomechanics, which was held at Penn State University in 1973 in the Kern Building.  As I sit in my office the Kern Building is only 100m away, and wonder what the conference attendees would make of our society.  I suspect they would be proud of what they started, recognize the quality and scope of the work our members now perform, and be impressed at the number of nations now engaged in biomechanics.  Of course this is not the time to relax, the society can still do more to help develop biomechanics, and I hope over the next two years along with the Executive Council and the members of the ISB that we can continue to expand our influence.



John Challis, Penn State University


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