The International Union of Radio Science, universally referred to as URSI (Union Radio Scientifique Internationale), was created in 1919 during the Constitutive Assembly of the International Research Council (now ISC). URSI’s origins go back even further, to the earlier International Commission on Scientific Radiotelegraphy. This had been active during the period 1913-1914, when the only existing type of radio communication was radiotelegraphy.
The original objective of URSI in 1919 (to encourage scientific studies of radiotelegraphy, especially those which require international cooperation) has been broadened considerably over the past 70 years. Its object is now described in Article 1 of the Statutes, namely:
Article 1. Radio science encompasses the knowledge and study of all aspects of electromagnetic fields and waves. The International Union of Radio Science (Union Radio Scientifique Internationale), a non-governmental and non-profit organization under the International Council for Science, is responsible for stimulating and coordinating, on an international basis, studies, research, applications, scientific exchange, and communication in the fields of radio science. Included within the objectives are the following:
- to encourage and promote international activity in radio science and its applications, for the benefit of humanity;
- to encourage the adoption of common methods of measurement, and the intercomparison and standardisation of the measuring instruments used in scientific work;
- to stimulate and coordinate studies of:
- the scientific aspects of telecommunications using electromagnetic waves, guided and unguided;
- the generation, emission, radiation, propagation, reception, and detection of fields and waves, and the processing of the signals embedded in them;
- to represent radio science to the general public, and to public and private organizations.
At present, 45 Member Committees adhere to URSI. In 1993, it established a Network of Correspondents which at present has some 2,100 adherents.
URSI’s quarterly magazine The Radio Science Bulletin can be downloaded free of charge from our homepage.
URSI has close contacts with other NGOs and also with IGOs, in particular with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). In 1990, URSI founded a Scientific Committee on Telecommunications, the objectives of which are to facilitate cooperation between the Commissions of URSI and the ITU for the study of scientific aspects of telecommunications problems.
URSI supports IUCAF, the Steering Committee on Frequency Allocation for Radio Astronomy and Space Science (of which it is a parent Union); and ISES, the International Space Environment Service which provides information relevant to disciplines related to the Sun-Earth environment.