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SSRL Headlines Vol. 3, No. 3  September, 2002

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Contents of This Issue:

  1. Synchrotron Lab Director Hodgson Wins E. O. Lawrence Award
  2. Science Highlight -SSRL Capabilities Enable Ultra-High 1.16 Resolution of the Structure of Nitrogenase MoFe-Protein
  3. 29th Annual SSRL Users' Meeting
  4. Workshops Held in Conjunction with Users' Meeting
  5. Vote for Your 2002-03 SSRLUO Executive Committee
  6. SLAC 40th Anniversary Celebration
  7. Upcoming Events at SSRL and Elsewhere
  8. User Research Administration Announcements



1. Synchrotron Lab Director Hodgson Wins E. O. Lawrence Award
    (contact: Neil Calder, neil.calder@slac.stanford.edu)

Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham named the seven winners of the E.O. Lawrence Award. The award, bestowed by the U.S. Government and presented by the U.S. Secretary of Energy, recognizes exceptional and relatively recent contributions to the development, use or control of nuclear energy - broadly defined to include the science and technology of particle, nuclear, atomic and molecular interactions. In announcing the award Secretary Abraham said "We are all enriched by the contributions these researchers have made ranging from understanding the genetic code to measuring the expansion of the universe itself."

The winners are: C. Jeffrey Brinker, Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; Claire M. Fraser, The Institute for Genomic Research; Bruce T. Goodwin, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Keith O. Hodgson, Stanford University and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center; Saul Perlmutter, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Benjamin D. Santer, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Paul J. Turinsky, North Carolina State University.

Hodgson's award recognizes his seminal contributions to the development of new methods that use synchrotron x-rays for investigating structure and function, especially in chemical and biological systems. His pioneering protein crystallography studies using synchrotron radiation opened the door for today's widespread use of synchrotron radiation in chemistry and biology. He was one of the first to use synchrotron radiation for multiple wavelength anomalous dispersion phasing (today called MAD phasing) which has become a primary means of solving protein structures and which enables the high- throughput approaches critical to studies of structural genomics. He also played a seminal role in the development of the extended x-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) technique for the study of metalloproteins, such as nitrogenase, an important bacterial enzyme needed to convert nitrogen to ammonia.

Jonathan Dorfan, director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, which is home to SSRL, called Hodgson, "an inspiring choice -- Keith epitomizes the innovative and pioneering qualities shown by Lawrence himself." Said Stanford Provost John Etchemendy, "Keith Hodgson is an enormously gifted scientist. He has distinguished himself through his own discoveries, as well as through the work of scientists whose research he has made possible. Under his leadership, SSRL has become one of the leading facilities for analyzing the structure of biologically important proteins. His work is likely to have consequences we can only now imagine."

The E. O. Lawrence Award, established in 1959, consists of a gold medal, citation and $25,000. The award honors the late Dr. Ernest Orlando Lawrence, Nobel Prize winner, pioneer in atomic energy research, innovator of the cyclotron particle accelerator. The awards will be presented to Hodgson and the six other winners at a ceremony to be held in late October in Washington, D.C.

Press Release


2.  Science Highlight - SSRL Capabilities Enable Ultra-High 1.16 Resolution of the Structure of Nitrogenase MoFe-Protein
    (contacts: Oliver Einsle, einsle@caltech.edu, Doug Rees, dcrees@caltech.edu)

Ultra-high resolution x-ray crystallographic data at a resolution of 1.16 have been collected at SSRL. The Douglas Rees research group of the California Institute of Technology used the new state-of-the-art Quantum-315 CCD detector on SSRL Beam Line 9-2 to collect data at a wavelength of 0.998 from crystals of the nitrogenase MoFe-Protein.

The high-resolution analysis (Science 2002, 297, 1696-1700) revealed a previously unrecognizable ligand coordinated to six iron atoms in the FeMo-cofactor catalytic site of nitrogenase, consistent with a light element such as nitrogen.

This revelation has significance in that bacteria produce about half of the world's bio-nitrogen available for agriculture, the rest being produced chemically at extreme temperature and pressure and consuming about 1% of the world's total annual energy supply. In contrast, nitrogenase MoFe-Protein, found in bacteria, is an extremely efficient enzyme that catalyzes the production of ammonia from dinitrogen. The presence of a nitrogen atom in the cofactor would have important implications for the mechanism of dinitrogen reduction, which may help chemists design a more efficient method for producing ammonia from atmospheric nitrogen. Ultimately, this could lead to saving global resources and increasing agricultural productivity.

More information regarding this research can be found on the SSRL Home Page and clicking image titled "Current Highlight".

Previous SSRL science highlights can be found at:
http://www- ssrl.slac.stanford.edu/research/highlights_archive/


3.  29th Annual SSRL Users' Meeting
     (contact: Cathy Knotts, knotts@ssrl.slac.stanford.edu)

The 29th Annual SSRL Users' Meeting and workshops will be held at SLAC on October 7-9, 2002 (see workshop descriptions in section 3. below). This meeting provides a forum for the presentation and discussion of research activities from SSRL users and the general synchrotron community. User research from SPEAR2 as well as discussions of new capabilities with SPEAR3 will be shared through invited talks and poster presentations.

September 23 was the deadline for poster abstracts to be included in the printed program materials. Late posters will be accepted on a space available basis for the poster session.

September 30 is the last day to take advantage of the early registration fee.

Links to the registration and abstract submittal pages can be found on the Users' Meeting Home Page.


4.  Workshops held in Conjunction with Annual Users' Meeting
    (contact: Cathy Knotts, knotts@ssrl.slac.stanford.edu)

Four concurrent workshops covering a wide range of topics are being held the afternoon of Tuesday, October 8 and all day Wednesday, October 9, in conjunction with SSRL's Users' Meeting.

X-ray Imaging and Spectro-microscopy: the Present and the Future
      Organized by: John Miao & Keith Hodgson

This workshop is to provide a forum to discuss the scientific applications of a variety of imaging and spectro-microscopic techniques, including angle resolved photoemission spectroscopy, photoemission microscopy, coherent diffraction imaging, x-ray microscopy, micro- tomography, holographic imaging, and x-ray micro-probe. The goal is to identify the important scientific problems which can be solved using these techniques, and predict the future scientific directions for these techniques with better instrumentation and x-ray sources (such as the 3rd generation synchrotron radiation and the future x-ray FELs). See workshop agenda

Experimental Opportunities with LCLS
       Organized by: John Galayda & Jerry Hastings

The LCLS Project is in its initial phase with a construction start scheduled for FY 2006. The DOE is planning to provide specific funding for construction of experiments after Critical Decision 3 (start of LCLS construction) has been taken, expected in mid 2005 calendar year. However, DOE will, starting in FY2003, review and fund proposals for research needed to design an LCLS experiment. The purpose of this Planning Workshop is to provide prospective LCLS researchers with the information necessary to start the experiment planning process. It will also mark the beginning of a dialog between future LCLS experimenters and the Project Team that will shape the development of the LCLS from conceptual design to running facility.

This workshop will afford the opportunity for interested scientists to form working groups that will nucleate the proposal process for the LCLS experimental program. Details of the DOE vision for this process will be presented as well as the LCLS Project status and outlook. Presentations by interested team leaders for various scientific disciplines are expected with sufficient time provided for initial meetings of the various groups. New ideas are especially welcome for the use of the unique XFEL beam that LCLS will provide. See: Details of the LCLS parameters and the conceptual design report. See workshop agenda

Opportunities in Catalysis Research Using Synchrotron Radiation
       Organized by: Anders Nilsson

Chemical catalysis is one of the research areas of enormous importance for the industrial society. The fundamental understanding of many catalytic processes is still emerging and there seems to be a new opportunity with the recent development in experimental and theoretical methods. This workshop intends to bring researchers from different disciplines together to discuss how x-rays can be used to address some of the fundamental questions in catalysis. See workshop agenda

X-ray Absorption Near-edge Spectra in Analysis of Mixtures
      Organized by: Ingrid Pickering & Graham George

X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy is a sensitive probe of local atomic environment, oxidation state and electronic structure. No special sample preparation is required and the incident x-rays probe a given element regardless of its physical form (solid, liquid or gaseous). Because of this, x-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy can be a powerful method for analysis of chemical form in complex samples and has already found a wide range of applications.

The initial sessions of the workshop will give an introductory overview of the use of near-edge spectroscopy in analysis of mixtures. Both direct edge-fitting and principal component analysis will be discussed. Examples of applications will be drawn from a variety of disciplines, including environmental and biological. Afternoon sessions will give the opportunity for tutored hands-on analysis using the program EXAFSPAK, either on in-house PCs or on personal laptops. See workshop agenda


5.  Vote for Your 2002-03 SSRLUO Executive Committee
    (contact: Cathy Knotts, knotts@ssrl.slac.stanford.edu)

The SSRLUO-EC is a voluntary organization which serves as an advisory panel to communicate user needs or concerns to SSRL management and to the SLAC Scientific Policy Committee. More broadly, the SSRLUO-EC helps advocate the role synchrotron facilities play in the scientific enterprise to our funding agencies. All members serve a two-year term, with the exception of the person elected Chair who serves a three-year term, and are elected by the SSRL user community by majority vote. Newly elected members will begin their term immediately following SSRL's annual Users' Meeting, October 7-8. The scientists who have graciously accepted nominations to appear on the ballot this year represent a wealth of expertise in their respective fields and are experienced SSRL users. Deciding amongst these nominees may not be easy, but we are counting on you. Please Vote!

The ballot is available in several formats including:

Portable Document Format (pdf)
Rich Text File (rtf)
Microsoft Word Document (doc)


6.  SLAC 40th Annniversary Celebration
    (contact: Herman Winick, winick@ssrl.slac.stanford.edu)

SLAC Director Jonathan Dorfan has invited staff and users to come together on the afternoon of October 2 and celebrate SLAC's 40th Anniversary by taking stock of what has been achieved over the last four decades. Our user community, both in high energy physics and synchrotron radiation research, is an integral part of the laboratory and are invited to join staff members and other guests from all over the world at this special celebration.

There is much to celebrate. From the start, this laboratory developed a style of work based on innovation, insight, determination and professionalism which has reserved SLAC an undisputed place amongst the world's premier science research facilities. For example, in 1968, even before SPEAR was built to facilitate High Energy Physics experiments, Stanford Prof. William Spicer wrote a letter to SLAC Director Pief Panofsky and Prof. Ed Garwin inquiring whether or not "there might be long-term interest in using the cyclotron radiation from the SLAC storage ring for solid state studies". Apparently there was, parasitic operation of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Project (SSRP) began in 1973-4 marking the first use of synchrotron radiation from a multi-GeV electron storage ring made available in a user facility for studying the structure of matter.

The 40th anniversary event, planned as a celebration rather than a scientific meeting, begins at 1:00 p.m. and will be held in a huge tent on The Green with room for a thousand people. Jonathan Dorfan will join several speakers, including Raymond Orbach, Director of the Department of Energy Office of Science, Pief Panofsky, Burton Richter, and Bob Birgeneau to recall some of the great moments in SLAC's past, present activities and a vision for the future. These talks will touch on the humorous as well as technically serious obstacles that have been surmounted en route to various laboratory successes while celebrating the crucial role played by the Laboratory staff. The afternoon will finish with a reception on The Green at 4:30 p.m.

See the SLAC 40th Anniversary page for more information.


7.  Upcoming Events at SSRL and Elsewhere

8.   User Research Administration Announcements
       (contacts: Cathy Knotts, knotts@ssrl.slac.stanford.edu
        Lisa Dunn, lisa@ssrl.slac.stanford.edu)

The beam time schedule will be mailed out and posted to the web shortly at: http://www-ssrl.slac.stanford.edu/schedules/

A call for X-ray/VUV beam time requests for the second scheduling period (January 28 - March 31, 2003) will be made in early November. The FY2003 SPEAR Operating Schedule which outlines shutdown periods and dates set aside for maintenance and accelerator physics is available on our website at:
http://www- ssrl.slac.stanford.edu/schedules/2003_RunSched.pdf


SSRL Headlines is published electronically monthly to inform SSRL users, sponsors and other interested people about happenings at SSRL. SSRL is a national synchrotron user facility operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Additional support for the structural biology program is provided by the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research, the NIH National Center for Research Resources and the NIH Institute for General Medical S ciences. Additional information about SSRL and its operation and schedules is available from the SSRL WWW site: http://www-ssrl.slac.stanford.edu/


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Last Updated: 24 SEP 2002
Content Owner: L. Dunn
Page Editor: L. Dunn