On the 2nd of October 2019, the Executive Council of IUPAP received a letter from President Kennedy Reed resigning the presidency because of a family illness. As a result, Michel Spiro, previously the President Designate, is now the President of IUPAP.
The council and commission chairs met in London after the letter was received and passed the following resolution.
IUPAP receives with regret the resignation of President Kennedy Reed. In accepting this resignation, IUPAP records its appreciation of his 17 fruitful years of service for IUPAP, first in C13, then representing IUPAP in ICSU and culminating in his term as President Designate and President. We wish him well in his future, and will find ways in which IUPAP can be a part of that.
Noting that our Statutes say “if the President is unable to serve the President Designate shall assume the Presidency”, we welcome Prof Michel Spiro as the President of IUPAP.
Kennedy Reed became the President of our Union at the close of our 2017 General Assembly, planning to be our President for three years, until the close of our 2020 General Assembly. We are sad that his personal circumstances have forced him to shorten that term, depriving us of his expertise.
He was elected as IUPAP President Designate in 2015 and has been the IUPAP President for the last two years. His work as President was made difficult by his own illness and then the family illness which brought him to the point that he needed to resign. Through this he continued to work as hard as he could for IUPAP. In particular he devoted much energy to establishing the working group on physics and industry.
His service in the Presidential line was just the final phase of his work for IUPAP. In all he served IUPAP for seventeen years. He started his work with IUPAP as a member of C13 in 2002, and was the Chair of C13 in 2008-2011. He attracted the first ICSU grant with IUPAP received. He was then elected as the IUPAP nominee to the ICSU Executive Board, and in that capacity served on the ICSU committee for their Regional Office for Africa.
He received his PhD from the University of Nebraska in 1976 in theoretical atomic physics and has made distinguished contributions to our understanding of electron-atom and atom-atom collisions, particularly those relevant to high energy and high density plasmas. He retired two years ago from the Atomic Theory Group at the Lawrence Livermore Lab, where he was working on physics of interest to the laser fusion program.
He has been recognised for his work with, and co-founding of, the National Physical Science Consortium which provides fellowships for women and minority PhD graduates, particularly by receiving the 2009 Presidential Award for excellence in Science, Physics and Mathematics mentoring. He also received the 2003 John Wheatly award from the American Physical Society for the promotion of physics research education in Africa.
It is a blow to IUPAP that we losing an enthusiastic promoter of physics and mentor of physicists in this way, and are grateful for the long and fruitful service he has given to us. We wish him strength in the difficult time ahead. He has made an important difference to our Union. In thanks to him we should all work to support and improve IUPAP.