Dear SMB member:

Meetings, both the 2001 meeting and future meetings, are an important topic. Plans are well under way for the 2001 meeting, which is jointly organized by SMB and the Japan Association of Mathematical Biology (JAMB), to be held in Hilo, Hawaii, July 16-19, 2001. The web page contains more details. I want to express my deep appreciation to Alex Mogilner, who has taken on the important task of organizing the meeting. The preliminary program looks very exciting, so be sure to make plans to attend. Early and careful planning should help hold down travel costs.

One major event at the meeting will be the awarding of the second Okubo prize - which is particularly timely since this is a joint meeting with JAMB. This prize goes to a senior researcher (the first prize went to a younger researcher) and the call for nominations is given in more detail in this issue. Do help by nominating appropriate candidates.

At the last board meeting, we decided to form a committee to regularize the process of deciding meeting organizers and sites. After consultation with board members, we now have a committee, and Mark Lewis (our President-Elect) and I have agreed that the committee should be chaired by the President, with the President-Elect or Past President also serving, to ensure continuity. We would like to extend the planning timeline so organizers have more time to plan coordination with other societies, obtain support, and make better plans. Therefore, as also mentioned elsewhere in this issue, we are calling for proposals to hold the SMB meeting for 2002 (proposals will be considered beginning Feb. 1) and for 2003 (proposals will be considered beginning March 1). Please do consider proposing to hold the meeting - this is both a rewarding experience and important service to the community.

In my last letter I mentioned the NSF dear colleague letter on Quantitative Environmental Biology - if you wish to see this letter, search for document 00149 at the NSF web site. Support for mathematical sciences is planned to be the next big thrust at NSF, and this is support that will go to mathematical work supported throughout the Foundation, so mathematical biology is certainly a candidate for increased support. We can make use of this support, but we can also help to assure that this direction is recognized by our actions as well - emphasizing the importance of quantitative research in biology.

There are also several major developments with our journal. First, as you may be aware, Academic Press has been purchased by Elsevier, but we have been assured that this will not affect our journal. Second, steps are under way to have more of the back issues available on line. This will increase the value of your (and others) subscriptions and memberships - so do try to encourage others to join, and make sure your library subscribes.

Yours sincerely,

Alan Hastings
President, Society for Mathematical Biology