June 2-5, 1998
Richard L. Dowden and Craig J. Rodger
of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine, V.40,
N 4, August 1998, pp. 61-64)
June 2-5, 1998, the VII
International Conference on Mathematical Methods
in Electromagnethic Theory (MMET*98) was held
at Kharkov State University, Ukraine. The meeting
attracted several hundred participants from as
far afield as New Zealand. Of the 272 papers presented
at MMET*98, 235 were from the former USSR (FSU),
including a significant number with western co-authors.
The official and working language of the meeting
was English, and the majority of the presentations
were of a very high standard.
"Going Global" was easily observed
as MMET*98 participants from 22 countries
participated in a photo in front of
the Kharkov State University (KSU).
Some Western participants,
travelling to meetings in the Former USSR, might
be concerned with difficulties associated with
immigration and customs. Compared with arriving
in the USA or New Zealand (or almost anywhere
else!), the entry formalities for Ukraine were
trivial. An entry visa was required for most Westerns,
but this was extremely easy to obtain with your
letter of invitation from the conference (provided
when you registered). When you arrive in the Ukraine
(Kiev, in our case), you don't have to fill in
any forms at if you are carrying less than US$1,000
(which is much more than you need anyway). You
just sail through with your passport. Even for
a Kiwi entering Australian, or an Australian entering
New Zealand, more than that is involved. Currency
exchange in either direction is available near
wherever you are likely to be. The exchange rate
is realistic and floating, so there is no black
market. prices are very low, and nowhere did we
feel "ripped off."
"Oh! This is a point!" Oleg Tretyakov
(KSU) explains to Paul Smith (University
of Dundee) the details of the evolutionary-basis
approach in time domain electromagnetics,
developed by him
The conference organizers
also made sure that all the Western visitors were
met at the airport: we chose to take the overnight
train from Kiev to Kharkov (an experience in itself),
and were accompanied by an English-speaking scientist
from Kiev. It is quite easy to learn to transliterate
Cyrillic, which reveals that many important words,
like "restoran" for dining-in ("PECTOPAH" in Cyrillic),
and "striptiz" for entertainment, are recognizable
to English speakers. Londoners will find that
all of the railway stations in Ukraine
(Russia, too) are called 'Vauxhall."
The student paper award is handed
to Fatih Dikmen (Gebze Institute of
Technology) by the MMET*98 Technical
Program Committee co- Chairman Alexander
Both plenary and technical
sessions were scheduled, with the sessions consisting
of 45-minute invited papers from international
experts in their fields. The generous time allowed
for the individual plenary papers lead to presentations
that were extremely informative to individuals
outside the specialized fields, as well as providing
a comfortable working environment. Many of the
presentations stimulated wide-ranging questions.
Technical-session presentations were 20 minutes
A special feature of MMET*98
was the submission of three or four-page conference
papers, in place of abstracts. The speed at which
the Organizing Committee got things done was amazing.
Despite the short deadline of only two months,
the conference proceedings (two volumes, adding
up to 935 pages of A4 paper) were available at
registration the day before the conference began.
Photographs taken during the formal session, and
the social functions, were available to purchase
the next day. At the closing ceremony, on Friday
afternoon, prizes were presented for the best
student papers. Each prize was (in addition to
a bottle of champagne) a certificate inscribed
with the recipient's name and other details, such
as the title and co-authors of the paper that
earned the prize. The judging and the inscribing
of the certificates must have been done during
the Friday lunch break, since the prize-winning
papers included some presented on Friday morning.
On top of all this, the members of the Organizing
Committee were always ready to leap in and help
participants in any way they could. these young
people provided a great example as to how cheerful,
helpful, and focused work could produce an excellent
"Ionospherics" are holding Richard
Dowden (University of Otago, Dunedin),
Alexander Mazmanishvili, and Alexey
Galuza (Kharkov Polytechnical University).
even at the barbeque party
The technical sessions at
MMET*98 covered a wide range of areas: Inverse
and Synthesis Problems, Gratings and Frequency
Selective Surfaces, Electromagnetic Theory, Ionospheric
Electromagnetics, Time-Domain Electromagnetics,
Waveguide Circuits, Signal Processing, Scattering
and Radar Cross Section, Antennas and Arrays,
Computational Techniques, Complex Media, Analytical
Regularizations, Open Waveguides, Eigenvalue Problems,
Random Media and Rough Surfaces and Fibre-Optics
and Lasers. Several of these sessions appeared
for the first time at an MMET meeting, due to
demand from participants.
The conference banquet dance.
MMET*98 provided an excellent
opportunity to meet researches from the FSU. Of
particular importance was the provision for student
travel awards, to encourage bright upcoming scientists
to attend. The scientific part of MMET*98 ended
at the closing ceremony, on Friday afternoon.
In addition to the prizes mentioned above, there
were prizes for the FSU and "Western" participants
who had traveled the longest distances to attend.
The FSU prize went to a researcher who had come
six days by train from Ulan-Ude in east Siberia.
The "Western" prize went to a sough-easterner
from New Zealand.
A short rest is taken by Kazuo Tanaka
(Gifu University) as he enjoys dance
The Social Program was also
special. In particular, the conference banquet
was a traditional Ukrainian affair: traditional
food, drink, and dancing (shy people like us were
surprised and delighted to be invited to dance
by very attractive female students!). Popular
with all conference participants, the banquet
was unlike the traditional staid affairs one often
finds. The welcoming party at the end of the first
day offered an excellent "ice-breaker". There
were also tours of Kharkov city, and the surrounding
countryside. On one evening, there was a presentation
of the Decameron tales, partly by narration, partly
by masked mime, partly by puppets. The day after
the conference, the organizers ran a relaxing
barbecue (actually shashliks-a much better way
of charcoal grilling) in a park near the city.
There were even horses provided for the daring
Talking about the waves was a favorite
topic at MMET*98 except for the banquet,
as in this photo of Dennis Nyquist (Michigan
State University, East Lansing)
We would like to thank
the Organizing Committee of MMET*98 for creating
such an excellent meeting. The quality of the
science, the contacts, and the social life were
extremely high. We hope you can get a better
feel for what we experienced from the photographs
included here. We can recommend the next MMET
(in 2000) to all researches without hesitation.
Talking about the waves was a favorite
topic at MMET*98 except for the banquet,
as in this photo of Craig Rodger (British
Antarctic Survey, Cambridge). and Sergei
Shipilov, Evgeniy Ovcharenko (both Tomsk
State University), and S. Ivanov (Lavochkin
Aerospace Co., Moscow).
A Europe versus Asia football game
at the barbecue party was as exciting
as the forthcoming World Cup. In the
front line: Sergei Sukhinin (Institute
of Hydrodynamics RAS, Novosibirsk),
Eldar Veliev, (IRE NAS, Kharkov), Igor
Meglinsky (Saratov State University),
and Konstantin Virnik (KSU).
"Who will write for the AP Magazine?"
is discussed by two Associate Editors:
Richard Dowden and Fred Gardiol.
Craig Rodger (BAS, Cambridge) and
Natalia Bliznyuk (IRE NASU, Kharkov).
Internationalization in action at
the post-conference barbecue party:
(l-r) K. Virnil (KSU), R, Zentner (Zagreb
University), K. Yemelyanov (KSU), M.
Gilman (Institute of Problems of Mechanics
RAS, Moscow), F. Dikmen (Gebze Institute
of Technology), V. Podlozny (KSU), N.
Engheta (University of Pennsylvania,
Philadelphia), M. Lenoir, and K. Ramdani
(both ENSTA, Paris)
Horseback riding was not a planned
activity at MMET*98, but Rado looks
like a trained horseman.
Distant Horizons from the top of
Holy Hill cliff: (l-r):