Our intrepid trio avant the bridge over the Bosporous Strait-a gateway between Europe and Asia.


One of the "perks" of being an officer of the EMC Society is the occasional opportunity offered us to travel to some pretty interesting places around the world to participate in technical meetings or liase with members of other professional organizations, or to represent the Society in some other official capacity. Attending the 2003 IEEE International Symposium on EMC in Istanbul, Turkey on 11-16 May was no exception. This had to be one of the most interesting, exciting and memorable events for us-the self-proclaimed Three EMCketeers (em' ske-t_rs').

Our apologies to Alexander Dumas (1802-1870). Any similarity between the characters in this article and Dumas' tale of the Three Musketeers, which relates the adventures of actually four fictional swashbuckling heroes who lived during the reign of the French Kings Louis XIII and Louis XIV, is coincidental at best. No, we are not swashbucklers nor were we heroes, but we did have an interesting adventure in a foreign land-at least we thought so!

Indeed, the Society was well represented in Istanbul. In addition to us, there were five other EMC Society Board members present: Mark Montrose, Jose Perini, Nigel Carter, Shuichi Nitta and of course, Elya Joffe. There were many other EMC chapter and committee chairs in attendance, as well as an excellent cross section of Society members from all over the globe. Dick Ford was also present and ably handled the photography and videography. Kudos to Elya, our esteemed Symposium Chairman, for putting on one of the finest technical and social events ever! Our thanks also go to the Symposium Committee and ORTRA, Ltd. for their tireless efforts to assure a successful symposium and for helping us convert the decimal places during the currency exchanges (1.5 million Turkish lira = $1 US!). So buying anything over $67 US translated into a billion (lira) purchase. There's nothing like that "rich" feeling!

We will not steal Elya's thunder about the success of the Symposium nor will we go into any details, statistics, or demographic breakdowns. We leave that to him. In brief, over 400 people attended the Symposium. Suffice it to say that a number of excellent technical sessions and workshops were held all nicely balanced by a unique social program.

Admittedly, our purpose was to represent the EMC Society as well as support the Symposium's technical and membership activities. We also partook in all of the social events and visited the many famous sites and historic venues that Istanbul has to offer. Istanbul-one city, two continents-is indeed a main crossroad of the world, literally bridging Europe and Asia.

Allow us to share some of our collective personal experiences with you vis a vis a diary of the 'lighter sides' of our adventure.

Front view of the famous Orient Express train station.

All for One and One for All

Naturally, we were a bit apprehensive about traveling to Istanbul what with a war just beginning to wind down, the relatively recent outbreak of SARS, US State Department travel warnings in effect, and Mother's Day celebrations abounding at the threshold of our journey. We couldn't forget our moms or our better halves could we? FTD flower delivery to the rescue!

The three of us decided in advance to travel together in the spirit of FSS (friendship, security and support). It was all for one and one for all-but we had to leave our swords at the airport due to airline security. Except for our rapier-like wit and cunning, we were weaponless.

Our journey began in Newark, NJ on May 10 (what better port of departure to begin an exotic journey?). Everything seemed fairly routine.

John asks, "How much for the flying carpet?"

D'Artagnan Arrives in Paris (Sort of)
As Dumas' Three Musketeers story goes, d'Artagnan arrives in Paris determined to join the elite guardsmen of Louis XIII. He immediately becomes involved in duels with three of the most valiant members of the Musketeers named Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and thereafter becomes their friend. Together they share many heroic adventures against a background of court intrigue invoking the powerful Cardinal Richelieu.

It's interesting how life imitates art. In Newark, we were joined by Mark Montrose who accompanied us on our journey. But, we did not engage in any public duels and the court intrigue was relatively subdued up to this point.

When the Rubber Meets the Road
Sunday, 11 May. After logging nearly ten hours of flight time over land and sea with a layover in Frankfort, Germany we finally arrived at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport. Mind you, we had little restful sleep while en route. The hotel bed sounded like the best game in town at this point, but duty called and a firm bed was a far away mirage at best. Within an hour or so after touchdown, we were once again rapidly on the move by shuttle along the surface streets of Istanbul heading to the host hotel of the Symposium, the Istanbul Hilton to launch the Standards Open House. We literally had barely a minute left before things switched into high gear. What timing?! In fact, the concierge met us as we entered the hotel lobby and took Don, who chaired the Open House, by the hand and led him to the meeting room so as not to waste any time. Mid-way through the "whisking" Don asked politely that he be able to let his feet touch the floor so that he could move on his own! We thought that it being a Sunday, the turnout would be relatively light and we could conduct Open House "Unplugged." Man, were we wrong! Upon our arrival, a standing room only crowd met us. Still no duels or intrigue, but the adrenaline began to flow and it was Open House "Plugged" the rest of the way (surely you would not want your VPs to be "unplugged"?).

[By the way, Don has written a short article on the Open House in his EMC Standards Activities column in this Newsletter. Take a look at it for more details and a photo of the assembly. But now we continue with our adventure].

Adrenaline is a tricky hormone, especially at our ages! It retreats without warning from the bloodstream once the "fight or flight" stimulus is gone, not that the Open House was formidable by any means. Maintaining the pace immediately after a long trip required some effort though. So sometime between the end of the P1597 Working Group presentation and the first coffee break, a couple of us were in deep search of that elusive second wind within ourselves (code for "were trying to stay awake"). The word sleep was not in our vocabulary, but fortitude was and the Open House turned out to be an unqualified success. A job well done due to all those who participated!

Now realize that the three of us had been on hectic back-to-back trips for our regular jobs prior to the Istanbul trip. The rubber band was slightly overstretched due to the frequent criss-crossing of time zones over the weeks. Things were beginning to take their toll some. But our swords were in their scabbards…at the Newark Airport!

After a much needed albeit brief period of rest following the Standards Open House, the three of us got together to have our first taste of authentic Turkish haute cuisine. It was a nice finish to the day. It was also time for some serious sleep or a strong dose of Turkish coffee, in which indeed, the spoon stood up without external bracing. We opted for the former.

The EMCketeers enjoy a fine repast and libations at Fun Night in Kumkapi.

Opening Day-A Potpourri!
Monday, May 12: Waking up to a sunny day and a breathtaking view from the hotel balcony of the Bosporous-the strait effectively connecting the Mediterranean and Black Seas, gave us our first hint of Istanbul's importance as an inter-continental crossroad over the centuries. Up to this point, we hadn't yet seen Istanbul proper to fully appreciate its beauty and rich history. That would happen as the week progressed.

After regaining our composure overnight, we eagerly sauntered over to the Conference Center of the Istanbul Hilton to attend the Opening Session and experience our first full day of the Symposium. Elya did a wonderful job of arranging for an eclectic Opening Session agenda, including welcome addresses from him, Don Heirman (on behalf of President Todd Hubing), Arie Braunstein who is the Chair of the IEEE Israeli Section, and Guest of Honor Mr. Ali Mufit Gurtuna (the Lord Mayor of Istanbul) who gave opening remarks in Turkish (with translation).

The opening session was rounded out by a stimulating and entertaining talk on the "Past, Present, and Future Challenges of Aircraft EMC" given by Dr. Nigel Carter, as well as a presentation by Prof. Marcello D'Amore on the IEEE Transactions on EMC. The opening session concluded with an awards ceremony moderated by EMCketeer Andy Drozd at which recipients of the Certificate of Acknowledgement, Certificate of Recognition, and Certificate of Appreciation were announced. It was a busy morning indeed, but the day was still young.

From there, we scattered and did our own thing attending the various technical sessions and getting together later for a fantastic buffet lunch at the hotel (which was part of our registration fee for all three days of the symposium-a first we might add!).
That evening, the first official social event took place, the Ice Breaker Cocktail at the Gardens of the Hilton Istanbul Hotel. It was a very enjoyable event and we rekindled old friendships as well as made some new acquaintances. It had turned into a full, but rewarding first day. There was a lot on our agenda the next day. Time to call it a night.

Turkish folk dancers strutting their finest at the Awards Ceremony held at the Cistern of 1001 Columns.

Road Trip aka the "Road to Istanbul"
Tuesday, May 13: Elya Joffe and the Symposium Committee came up with an innovative idea-one that had not been tried before in any of our EMC symposia to the best of our collective memory. Call it road trip (we would call it the "Road to Istanbul", but that sounded too much like a Bing Crosby-Bob Hope-Dorothy Lamour outing and after all, we were the EMCketeers). The idea here was to stop the Symposium for all of Tuesday afternoon and take everyone on a free tour of Istanbul proper. Actually, there were several different tours offered. Your humble EMCketeers opted for the Highlights of Istanbul tour, which turned out to be an excellent choice for first-time visitors to Turkey.

Our tour took us to the Historic Peninsula where Constantinople was originally founded on the Seven Hills, the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque and St. Sophia, which are two major monuments of the Islamic and Christian worlds, both marvels of Byzantium and Ottoman architecture. We ended up at the Grand Bazaar, which is a labyrinth of 4,000 shops originally built by the order of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, after the conquest of Istanbul in 1453. We also visited a carpet store as part of the tour where we were taught the fine art of single and double-knot weaving techniques, but not rugby??. We were treated to warm cider, or apple tea, as the Turkish call it.

At this point, we were relatively well adjusted (for perhaps the first time in our adult lives) to the new time zone, that is. Upon our return from the afternoon tour though, we were whisked away once again to participate in Fun Night at the charming alleys of Kumkapi-a restaurant row of sorts that offers live music, dancing, and (many, many) street vendors. Bartering with the street vendors is a must! They wouldn't have it any other way. The seafood and entertainment were great and fun was had by all, but this all can be a bit overwhelming for first-time visitors especially with the fish head served and staring at us-a symbolic theme reminiscent of the Sopranos

Nonetheless, this was a day in which science, culture, religion, history, and fine food blended together into a near-perfect concoction so to speak, as far as we were concerned.

Where's Don?
Wednesday, 14 May: The Symposium continued without a hitch. We were gearing up for our next evening social event-the Awards Ceremony and Dinner at the historical Binbirdirek Cistern (the "Cistern of 1001 Columns," but who's counting?). This was a highlight moment in more than one respect. Let's explain.

First, many forms of drink were in abundance as is usually the case at a celebratory event like this. As one would expect, rest rooms become a popular gathering place. Michael Greenspan was the evening's Master of Ceremonies and was in charge of moderating the social program that night. He did a fine job as MC and made us all feel welcome and comfortable. A short time after the main course, our professional MC ascended the podium to make some additional remarks and then (unexpectedly) called on Don Heirman to address the audience. Dead silence for about 30 seconds was followed by a mild din in the background. Don was nowhere to be found. Seconds turned into minutes.

Where's Don? That was the question of the moment. It turned out that our illustrious leader was inspecting the rest room right near the 1,000th column or was it the 999th? No matter. After a long pause and no Don, our MC began to ad-lib a few jokes while we were waiting for Don to reappear. Did Don lose his way among the columns? Meanwhile, our MC reminisced about a similar classic situation of a few years ago involving American actress Christine Lahti and her rendezvous in the ladies room at the Academy Awards ceremony as she was being called to step up and receive her award. Being "indisposed" at the time, she eventually made her way to the podium and the rest is history. Don was in good company we thought. MC Greenspan tactfully handled the situation in Don's absence. By the way, Michael's wife is a famous soap opera actress in Israel-an interesting tidbit of trivia. There were no jealous wives and wondering husbands as far as we could tell; but, we digress! Back to our story.

Yes, Don's dignity was a bit challenged here. Nature called and his timing couldn't have been worse, but it was all in the spirit of the moment. A lesser man might have grabbed coat and hat as it were, and left quietly under these seemingly embarrassing circumstances. Besides, Don didn't have a coat or a hat that night.

In his defense though, Don didn't expect to be called on to give any formal remarks and by the time he became indisposed, he was out of earshot of the loudspeakers. When he reappeared, Don was immediately whisked up to the podium still unbeknownst to him what was going on. But not to fear. Never one to be caught with his pants down, he made an impeccable, unabashed recovery and gave a respectful welcome on our behalf. He made the best of an awkward situation using his characteristic dry humor and wit.

Let us not neglect to mention that amidst all the frivolity, the Awards Ceremony went on as planned, conducted with professionalism and panache. Several major awards were given out that evening including the Richard R. Stoddard Award for Outstanding Performance, the Lawrence G. Cumming Award for Outstanding Service, the Best Symposium Paper and the Best Student Paper among other awards. The banquet was capped by Turkish folk dancers putting on quite a show. It was certainly an evening to remember!

Our driver Ali gives us a tour of his "old neighborhood" in Istanbul.

Acts of the EMCketeers
Thursday, May 15: So far it sounds like we did nothing but socialize and attend an endless number of soirées. On the contrary, we were busy conducting or participating in many of the technical sessions, attending workshops and open forums, giving papers and demonstrations as well as staffing the EMC Society membership booth on a daily basis (well except for Tuesday afternoon-you got us there!). In fact, we recruited about 10 new members.

But, Thursday morning was our last chance to take in the remaining sites and round out what was to become a very memorable experience. To that end, we took a three-hour tour that brought us across the bridge over the Bosporous Strait to Asia. In a symbolic show of support, we gazed towards and outstretched our arms in the direction of both sides of Istanbul (the Asian side and the European side, both still in Region 8 of the IEEE). It was a real "stretch" to be in two places-or we mean continents-at one time. But that we did as we wandered back into Europe. Was anybody watching us and what might they be thinking? Probably not as we still kept our rapiers out of site.

Our expert tour guide and driver (Ali) afterwards took us to several other local venues including an Islamic museum and (surprise!) another carpet store, which as you know is a trademark of the Turkish market. The adventure continued with our guide showing us where he was born in a part of the city that has seen little change in hundreds of years.

Along our ride we also passed by our "CEM Turkish Central". The photo insert shows the seriousness of the new CEM standards development effort on the Asian side of Istanbul.

Magic Carpet Ride
The second carpet store tour of the week gave us an even more insightful glimpse into the world of carpet making and how to properly select carpets of quality. We saw many rugs of varying quality and price. "Don't pull the rug out from under me" and "flying carpet" became catch phrases of the moment until our gracious hosts told us that flying carpets were a myth and then showed us that a properly made rug is impervious to extra strong (Turkish) coffee and fire. He proceeded to demonstrate the latter by taking a cigarette lighter to one of the silk-on-silk rugs and showing that no damage resulted from the flame. This was an impressive demonstration. It gave new meaning to the phrase "rug burn" and "baby light my fire??". We were convinced! Did this material come from the planet Krypton? What would they do next? Spill acid? Pour stronger coffee? Humor aside, our gracious hosts did a superb job at explaining the carpet making industry. They are truly experts at their trade and friendly people to boot as one of us made a purchase with his liras or should we say plastic converted into liras (with six decimal places or more for the amount). It was an educational and a much appreciated cultural experience.

Looking down one of the main platforms of the Orient Express station.

Welcome to Istanbul 007
The last portion of our morning tour took us to some ancient and we mean ancient wooden structures and dwellings from the early ages dating back to the days of Constantine the Great. The structures still stand and have withstood earthquakes over the centuries-a testament to the skillful engineering construction and architectural design of the original builders.

We then paid a visit to the Orient Express train depot and immediately recognized the platform where many cinematic greats were filmed including the classic James Bond adventure "From Russia With Love." Hey, that's where Agent 007 eluded the enemy agents who were in hot pursuit trying to steal back the Lektor decoding machine! Romantics of the modern age we are.

After our private tour, we returned to the Conference Center and fulfilled our remaining duties and obligations. We made our final rounds at the technical sessions and the membership booth that afternoon. In the end, Don presented a session on the Latest Updates in EMC Emission Measurement Standardization, which means that he was on duty at the very beginning and end of a hectic week as this session was the last of the symposium.

But, we had one more social event to attend that evening-the Farewell Dinner at the Esma Sultan Mansion, which overlooks the Bosporous Strait. When we arrived, we found the atmosphere, mood, and cuisine to be outstanding. We were even serenaded with excellent music including an accordion, guitar, and violin. The accordion reminded John of his days when he was really on top of his music as an accordionist.

But in any case by now we weren't very tired anymore until the morning after…

The Turkish take their computational electromagnetics (CEM) seriously a la carte!

The Morning After
Friday, May 16: It was time to wrap it up and radiate some of that compatibility back to the West, our point of origin. The trip back was routine save for the early flight departure time of 6:00 AM (yawn), which required us to rise even earlier to make it in plenty of time for airport check in. Our trip wended its way via a 5-hour plus layover in Frankfurt, but who could count the hours at that point? The journey was once again upon us. It dawned on us that we were on the hook for more travel the following week(s). Duty calls once again. The weary never rest and those who rest are never weary, or something like that.

The theme of the 2003 IEEE International Symposium on EMC in Istanbul, Turkey was "Radiating Compatibility from the East." The subthemes included Where East Meets West, Bridge Over the Bosporous, and Same City, Two Continents or should we say, the end of the Three EMCketeers adventure! The Symposium more than lived up to these themes and to our own expectations. Our original apprehension about traveling to Istanbul was unfounded and quickly dispelled in a mere several days. We met many old friends and made some new ones. Thanks Elya and staff for all the hard work to make it an enjoyable experience!!

Until next time, and as Don says, "Keep the faith." Tally ho!

Your humble servants and swordsmen-The Three EMCketeers! EMC



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