By John Howard
This week, many OSA leaders from around the globe will gather in Washington, D.C., for the annual Leadership meeting, in which numerous governance committees and councils meet to discuss their goals for the upcoming year. For the second year in a row, Mother Nature is making travel complicated, with major snowstorm warnings in place throughout much of the United States. (Last year the meeting took place in the wake of one of the largest snowfalls in Washington, D.C., history--the so-called "Snowmageddon.") For those traveling this week, I hope you are able to do so safely, easily and without undue delay.
I myself do not really remember any past board meetings that were disrupted by bad weather, although I recall an OSA meeting in Florida (Orlando?) in the early 1990s, when I was president of OSA, complicated by an earthquake. We had a Tuesday board meeting prior to the OSA meeting, to be supplemented by a Friday or Saturday meeting . And it happened that in between those meetings there was a fairly severe earthquake in southern California. It also disrupted the telephones in Los Angeles, so that West Coast board members were not immediately able to contact their homes. Several of them simply left the meeting to go home. ( It turned out that the damage was not quite as bad as early press coverage would have made one believe; but it was a good scare!)
Perhaps the most remarkable board meeting I remember hearing about was at the time of the first West Coast OSA meeting in 1954. (I did not attend that meeting; back then I was still a graduate student, just finishing my degree, and I was too poverty-stricken to take trips to California. But I had joined OSA about ten years earlier.) That meeting was mostly attended by West Coast members, as East Coasters were not as accustomed to cross-country travel as they are nowadays. In addition, the board meeting preceeding the OSA sessions was complicated by the fact that Arthur Hardy, the OSA secretary, did not like to fly; and Wallace Brode, the editor of JOSA, did not like train travel.
So they compromised, and the East Coast board members assembled at Chicago to board the same train for LA. Wallace Brode flew from Washington to Kansas City, where he caught that same train. And the board meeing then took place on the train. After they reached LA, most of the board then took a special bus ride to visit the new telescope at Mt. Palomar.
Optics History, OSA History