Vanderbilt to Host Research Association Nov. 5-6

The Board of Trustees of the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) will meet on campus Nov. 5-6.

Vanderbilt Chancellor Joe B. Wyatt will speak at a banquet attended by members of the board and other guests. Wyatt is a member and former chair of the Council of Presidents of SURA.

David Ernst, chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Vanderbilt, is a member of the Board of Trustees of SURA and is handling details involved in hosting the conference.

SURA is a nonprofit consortium of 41 universities in the southeastern United States dedicated to fostering excellence in scientific research, strengthening the scientific and technical capabilities of the nation and the Southeast and providing outstanding training opportunities for the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Ernst said much of the discussion at the meeting on the Vanderbilt campus will focus on SURA's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, a $600 million world class physics laboratory is Newport News, Va. The facility is in the final stages of construction of a free electron laser (FEL). Vanderbilt has great interest in the project because of its own pioneering work at the University's FEL.

SURA has continued to take the lead in developing electronic scholarly publications and in facilitating the availability of theses, dissertations and technical reports in digital format. Vanderbilt has just signed on to be a beta test site for the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation project. One of Vanderbilt's former students in nuclear theory has volunteered to put his thesis in digital format for the test.

SURA is also collaborating with SOLINET, the largest association of libraries in the Southeast, to advance the Monticello Electronic Library concept of a fully integrated electronic library for the Southeast.

"SURA also has a major interest in networking and is organizing a proposal called the Southern Cross, which is designed to put the next generation of super high-speed networking into the Southeast," Ernst said. "SURA built the first non-military computer network in the United States, which was called SURAnet." It has since been sold to a private company.