Newsletter of the European Low Gravity Research Association
Number 1, June 2000

Prof. Dr. Joachim Richter
RWTH Aachen, Institut für Physikalische Chemie
Templergraben 59, 52 056 Aachen, Germany

Elgra - Registered in Munich, 22 November 1979, under the number 9702


Dear member,

dear colleague,

this is the first issue of Elgra - Newsletter. You will receive - and I hope - enjoy it twice a year in the future. Elgra - Newsletter informs you about activities of our association, forthcoming conferences on Physical and Life Sciences in Space, publications with abstracts of our members - which you will send us for the next issue, important contacts etc.

Among others this issue contains actual lists of our supporting, full, and associate members together with their coordinates. If you find any mistake please contact us and visit our new web site .

Joachim Richter


President's Page

Dear ELGRA member,

It is a great pleasure for me to present you the first issue of our Elgra Newsletter. It is not the intention of the Management Committee to replace Elgra News, which in the last years has been converted into the abstract book of our Biennial Meetings. Elgra Newsletter shall be a rapid means of communication with our members and is also the only information on our activities for members not connected to the electronic network. To make Elgra Newsletter successful we also need your involvement. I therefore ask you, to let us know your impression, your wishes on the content of the future Newsletters, but also to send us some short contributions or whatever you would like to communicate to our members.

Together with the Elgra Newsletter you will also get the Newsletter from ASGSB. In it you will find all information on our joint meeting in Montreal. I hope that many of you will have the possibility to participate. The meetings of ASGSB are always very interesting, both from the scientific as well as from the social aspect. You will meet many persons from universities, agencies and industries mostly working in the field of gravitational and space biology and physiology. The topics of the 2 symposia and the workshop were selected so that they may also be of interest to non-biologists.

In this Elgra Newsletter you find a report on the activity of ELGRA since July 1st 1999, the date the new Management Committee is in duty. Since then, the members of the committee met twice; but most of the work was performed at home and by exchange of many e-mails. Due to the strong engagement of all members of the Management Committee we were able to set up in short time our renewed web site and to prepare the first Newsletter. Very soon we will also have an information leaflet and the folder. I would like to take the opportunity to thank the committee members for their work they have done so far. It is a real pleasure to work with them.

The enforced engagement of the Management Committee has been recognized by ESA. This is very important as ESA is financially supporting ELGRA since 20 years.

In April the Management Committee had a half-day discussion with Marc Heppener, head of the ISS utilisation and microgravity promotion division, and Paul Clancy, microgravity programme planning coordination. It was concluded that ELGRA - representing the user community - would be involved in the definition of a research programme that will be presented to the next Ministerial Conference in 2001. A positive outcome of this conference is vital for the continuation of our space research. ESA will no more accept a reduction of the proposed budget as it was the case in the last conference in 1999.

On the other hand the ESA representatives noticed that ELGRA should undertake a strong effort to get more members in order to really represent a wide range of users. To do so, ESA provided us with a list of e-mail addresses of 250 persons involved in Life and Physical Sciences in space. A few weeks ago all these colleagues have been invited by e-mail to become a member of our association. So far I got 4 applications - only! I therefore ask all of you to become active and invite your colleagues to join ELGRA. You will find the application form in this Newsletter or on our web sit.

Once more, I would like to encourage you again to get in touch with me or any other member of the Management Committee. Let us know your ideas and suggestions.

Please write me an e-mail ( or a fax ( +41 1 445 1271).


Marianne Cogoli
(President of ELGRA)



The new Management Committee (MC) was elected during the General Assembly at the Biennial ELGRA Meeting held in Rome on February 28 – March 3, 1999:

Dr. Marianne Cogoli, ELGRA President
Prof. Joachim Richter, ELGRA Vice-President
Prof. Antonio Viviani, ELGRA Vice-President
Prof. Felice Strollo, ELGRA General Secretary
PD Dr. Hendrik Kuhlmann, ELGRA Treasurer
Dr. Gilbert Gasset
Dr. Thodoris Karapantsios
Dr. Libero Liggieri
Dr. Hans-Jürg Marthy
G. Perbal and H.J. Dittus were elected as auditors.

The MC started its activities on July 1, 1999

The new President directed the efforts of the whole MC to a more pronounced visibility of ELGRA first for its members, second for other colleagues working in the field of Life and Physical Sciences in Space and third to the agencies (ESA, national agencies) as well as to the scientific world not yet interested in this type of research. A future goal of ELGRA shall also be its involvement in student education.

To do so, already on August 17, she sent an e-mail message to the members in order to let them feel involved in the life of their association. Unfortunately, only 70% of all members were actually reached, although an effort was undertaken to update the membership list and to get as many e-mail addresses as possible.

Some dead members were deleted from the membership list while those who did not pay the fee for several years were invited to do so. It was decided to delete them from the list in case they would not react to the next invoice accompanied by a special letter. Members from the Eastern country will for the moment be exempted from this rule. Since many years they have not been able to pay but may probably be in a better position now. Therefore it was decided to send out a letter to check their actual existence and active interest into our activities, let them stay in ELGRA at no-cost for the next year and then define a new strategy based upon real needs.

At the first meeting of the MC, on November 19, it was decided that as a first item to improve the visibility of ELGRA, the web page should be renewed. In April this web site could be presented to our members. In this site we published also the ELGRA resolution on the ISS. Mr. Günther Seibert distributed this resolution to the persons involved in the last Ministerial Conference.

The MC also decided to be actively involved in the common efforts for a positive outcome of the next Ministerial Conference in 2001 and, in preparation for it, to keep tightly in touch with ESA representatives in order to be updated on the general political evolution of the whole picture. This will be done through the President’s direct participation in the Microgravity Advisory Committee (MAC) and through frequent contacts between the ELGRA MC and ESA representatives. In fact, in April, the MC was involved in a half-day discussion with 2 representatives of ESA.

In order to save printing costs, the MC decided to limit ELGRA News to the Biennial Meeting abstract books, and to send out an information leaflet, the ELGRA Newsletter. At the same time, the web site will be the vehicle for rapid information in this ever-changing world and will hopefully help in reaching in the future more and more new people and especially young students and curious scientists. The benefit of ELGRA through co-operation with the Journal "Microgravity Science and Technology" was discussed. It was decided to continue the dialogue with its editors in the following months to try and reach a good compromise eventually providing ELGRA members with a more widely spread scientific vector.

To start ELGRA’s involvement in student education we would like to organize a student contest at our next Biennial ELGRA Meeting. Students preparing the best posters or oral presentations will get an award. By raising the competition among young people, this would increase the interest for ESA and ELGRA activities. Another strong commitment of ELGRA is the organization of a summer school in gravitational biology ideally connected to the Biennial ELGRA Meeting. Due to many time constraints encountered at the moment this idea will be postponed to 2002.

At present, members of the MC are preparing an information leaflet that will be distributed at conferences etc. Furthermore we prepare a folder that shall be used either to hold more elaborate information to be distributed to interested industries, or as folder at our ELGRA meetings.

It was considered that three supporting members (DASA, Carlo Gavazzi Space and SSC - Swedish Space Corporation) were too few and so the decision was taken to invite European industries, active in the field, to become a supporting member, despite recognizing that fundraising had become more and more of a job during the past few years all over the world. The idea behind was that tax-reduction might be utilized as a possible solution to the problem. So far only one more industry, HTS joined ELGRA.

Thanks to individual informal talks and to the public presentations given by two of the MC representatives at the last ASGSB (American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology) and ISGP (International Society for Gravitational Physiology) meetings, ELGRA was also able to establish a good liaison with the two above mentioned space-related international associations, which are active in the fields of biology and physiology, respectively. In fact, in October 2000 we will have a joint meeting with ASGSB and the Canadian Space Agency (duration 3 days). There will be 2 Symposia (contamination of the space station, psychological aspects of long-term confinement) and one workshop (simulation of low gravity conditions) where ELGRA members can be active. ELGRA will provide financial support to one invited speaker. With the help of these contacts, European research in life sciences in space will be more tightly linked to the USA, Russian, Japanese and Chinese environment, thus increasing the visibility of ELGRA at the international level.

Moreover, during the last year, one of the MC members managed to foster the establishment of a strong Italian community in the field of biomedicine and engineering, joining many different groups from various Italian Universities into few integrated teams working at single projects which have been then presented to ESA in response to specific AO’s.

Our next ELGRA Biennial Meeting is scheduled for September 26-28, 2001. It will take place in Banyuls sur Mer (France). The main local organizer will be Hans-Jürg Marthy. You will find a short description on this venue on the next page.

The treasurer has sent the application for exemption from taxes for the next three years to Munich, but without answer up to now.


ELGRA Biennial Meeting

ELGRA Biennial Meeting and General Assembly
Banyuls sur mer (F) : September 25 – 28, 2001

Observatoire Océanologique
(Laboratoire Arago)
CNRS / Université P. et M. Curie
66 650 Banyuls sur mer, France

Banyuls and the "Laboratoire Arago"

Banyuls sur mer is a small town of about 5000 inhabitants, located at the Western Mediterranean Sea, in the most southern region of France, the Roussillon (Departement Pyrénées-Orientales). During summertime, numerous tourists enjoy the rocky shore, the sea and the Eastern Pyrenees mountains. Aristide Maillol, a famous sculptor, who was born in Banyuls and worked here. Banyuls can easily be reached by car, train and plane, either travelling through France (via Perpignan, 40 km away) or coming from Spain (e.g. from Barcelona, 200 km away). The "Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls" ( ) is commonly known as "Laboratoire Arago" after the French-Catalonian astronomer François Arago.

The zoologist H. de Lacaze-Duthiers created it in 1882 and today it is one of the three main marine stations of France with a permanent staff of more than 110 persons. The guiding institutions are the "Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris VI" (UMPC) and the "Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique" (CNRS). Due to the diversity of the marine and terrestrial environment, scientific research spans from biological oceanology in a broad sense to cellular, developmental and molecular biology on selected marine models. Every year, about 100 guest scientists from all over the world and more than 800 students of 30 European universities visit the "Laboratoire Arago."

The organisation of symposia and congresses has a long tradition; a new auditorium has recently been inaugurated., makes the A further attraction of the "Laboratoire Arago" is the remarkable public aquarium, presenting the rich fauna of the Mediterranean Sea.

For these good reasons and particularly in view of an interesting scientific program (at present in preparation), we would like to invite you to attend the next biennial meeting of ELGRA, which will be held here from September 25 – 28, 2001.

September is in fact one of the most pleasant months of the year. The crowded tourist season is over, but the weather is still nice and stable, the water temperature is still fine for swimming in the sea and the vintage for producing the famous "Banyuls" wine will just begin. Please mark already now the dates of this ELGRA meeting in Banyuls in your organiser.

A second announcement will be available towards the end of the year on the ELGRA site and will also be published in the ELGRA Newsletter. For questions or suggestions please contact either the organizer of the meeting, Dr. H.-J. Marthy ( or the President of ELGRA, Dr. M. Cogoli-Greuter ( .

Tentative Program

Tuesday, September 25:
Registration / Welcome (from 18:00h onwards)

Wednesday, September 26:
Registration /Scientific Sessions / Posters / General Assembly / Reception

Thursday, September 27:
Scientific Sessions / Posters / Banquet

Friday, September 28:
Scientific Sessions / Closure (late afternoon)


Forthcoming Events

June 5-9, Arcachon (France)
8th International Symposium on Materials in a Space Environment
Phone: +33 5 61 71 09 92
Fax: +33 5 61 71 44 37

June 6-8, Huntsville, Alabama (USA)
Microgravity Materials Science Conference
Phone: +1 256 544 9302

July 16-23, Warsaw (Poland)
33rd COSPAR Scientific Assembly

July 30-August 4, Edinburgh (Scotland)
28th International symposium on Combustion
Phone: +44 131 41 13 10 83
Fax: +44 131 47 02 80 35

August 9-11, Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
5th Microgravity Fluid Physics and Transport Phenomena Conference
Phone: +1 216 433 5396

September 10-15, Sorrento (Italy)
1st International Symposium on Microgravity research and Applications in physical Sciences and Biotechnology
Fax: +31 71 565 5658

October 2-6, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
51° IAF Congress

October 9-12, Bremen (Germany)
Drop Tower days 2000

October 25-28, Montréal (Canada)
Joint Meeting: American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology/ELGRA/Canadian Space Agency

November 5-10, Antalya (Turkey)
International Symposium on Multiphase Flow and Transport Phenomena
Phone: 972 3 502 6501