The 8th biennial VERSIM Workshop
The working group on VLF/ELF Remote Sensing of the Ionosphere and Magnetosphere (VERSIM) is an international group of scientists interested in studying the behaviour of the magnetosphere and ionosphere by means of ELF (300 Hz - 3 kHz) and VLF (3-30 kHz) radio waves, both naturally and artificially generated. The group was set up in 1975 by IAGA (International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy) and URSI (International Union of Radio Science), as described in the working group history. Originally the emphasis was on probing of the magnetosphere by whistlers, but later the scope became somewhat broader. The group aims to promote research in this field by facilitating the exchange of ideas, information and experience between active research workers and other interested scientists. This is done through regular meetings at IAGA and URSI Assemblies, a regular VERSIM community workshop, and via the circulation of a newsletter. The group has also been active in sponsoring scientific symposia at IAGA and URSI Assemblies, in areas relevant to its field of interest, and in coordinating observational campaigns. At present the main subjects of interest include:
There are currently over 100 scientists from about 26 different countries on the VERSIM mailing list.
The Program of the Conference comprised the traditional major topics listed above. Following the successful experience of the 7th VERSIM meeting in Hermanus, radiation-belt themed reports were also accepted.
The conference working language was English.
Participants. The workshop was attended by 42 participants with the following countries of affiliation: Russia – 19 (including 6 from PGI), Finland – 5, Japan – 5, Hungary – 5, Czech Republic – 3, USA – 3, France – 1, UK – 1.
Abstracts and sessions. In total, 64 abstracts were accepted. Of those, 10 were canceled after acceptance for various reasons. Finally, 50 oral and 4 poster reports were presented. Each oral talk was given a 20-min time slot, including invited reports. Posters were also briefly (5 min each) presented during a single time slot.
Thanks to the grants from SCOSTEP/VarSITI, IAGA, and URSI (in the order of receiving the support notifications), a limited amount of funds was available to support participation of scientists with funding difficulties. Preference was given to young participants and invited scientists. In total, 12 participants were supported by waiving their registration fees and partially covering travel and accommodation.
According to IAGA recommendations and usual VERSIM practice, we have organized a competition between the young scientists eligible as candidates for the IAGA Young Scientist Award, “in order to identify outstanding and promising persons whose research, presentation and overall performance at the topical meeting meet high international standards and represent big potential for the future of IAGA.” Six eligible candidates attended the meeting. Their talks were identified to the audience before being presented, and the science committee members were collecting their impressions. After the conference, there was a discussion among the science committee followed by a voting. All reports were rated as very good or excellent. The winner, Dr. Evgenii Shirokov (IAP RAS, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia) was declared during the VERSIM business meeting held on Friday, 23 March 2018, from 14:20 to 15:20 MSK.
Both local, regional, and federal media paid attention to the meeting. An article was published in an Apatity newspaper 2x2 (online version is at http://gazeta2x2.ru/?p=78651). An interview about the conference and its science topics was broadcasted over Murmansk region on 27 March (http://murman.tv/news_radio/60781-dobroe-utro-zapolyare-ot-27-marta.html, from 26m55s to 34m55s). The same commentary was broadcasted over federal Mayak radio (http://murman.tv/news_radio/60837-specialnyy-reportazh-na-mayake-ot-27-marta.html).
A choice of excursions was offered to the participants:
Only two guests decided to restrict themselves to only slope skiing, while many others used the opportunity to attend several excursions one after another. In spite of the tiresome excursion program, everyone was in a good shape by the next morning session.