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SSRL Headlines Vol. 1, No. 10  April, 2001


Contents of This Issue:

  1. Science Highlight — Reading the Genome and Creating the Message - A Process Essential to All Life
  2. SSRLUO Update: Notes from the Users' Executive Committee
  3. 28th Annual SSRL Users' Meeting: October 18-19, 2001
  4. SPEAR2 -> SPEAR3: Impact on User Operations Schedule
  5. Statewide Power Problems May Affect SSRL
  6. Technical Update on the SPEAR3 Project: Magnet Shoptalk
  7. Walk, Talk and Clean Wrap-Up
  8. Job Opportunities at SSRL

1.  Science Highlight - Reading the Genome and Creating the Message - A Process Essential All Life
(contacts: Roger Kornberg - kornberg@stanford.edu, Dave Bushnell - bushnell@stanford.edu, Patrick Cramer - cramer@lmb.uni-muenchen.de)

The remarkable story of gaining atomic-level insights into how genes are transcribed into the messenger RNA that directs the ribosome in all protein synthesis continues to evolve. Professor Roger Kornberg and collaborators published two additional new papers in Science last week (released by Science in the form of rapid electronic pre-publications via www.sciencexpress.org to appear in the regular journal in a few weeks time) which describe structures of RNA Polymerase II. These publications are subsequent to the original structural work that was featured on the cover of Science Magazine and published in vol. 288 in April 2000. The new studies using synchrotron data from SSRL reveal the molecular structure in exquisite detail (at a resolution of 2.7 A) and in another structure capture the enzyme in the process of transcribing a fragment of DNA into RNA. Roger will receive this year's Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry for his pioneering work on RNA polymerase and we are very pleased that synchrotron radiation and SSRL have played a small part in his outstanding success.

A more extended story can be found at:

2.  SSRLUO Update: Notes from the Users' Executive Committee
(contact: Paul Foster, SSRLUOEC Chair - pfoster@exelixis.com)

Representatives from the SSRL Users Organization met with reviewers from the DOE during their recent visit to SSRL. During this focus session, users were encouraged to discuss any issues or items of interest. The users present expressed their strong support for the SSRL facility. As a reminder, comments from users regarding recent experiments or experiences are always encouraged. Recommendations for ways to improve productivity are always welcome. One way to accomplish this is for users to complete the End of Run Summary Forms immediately following each experimental start at SSRL. These surveys are confidential and are only distributed to the SSRLUOEC Chair and to SSRL senior management. Alternatively, users should feel free to contact me or any of the others members of the SSRL Users Organization Executive Committee directly. Contact information can be found at:

http://www-ssrl.slac.stanford.edu/users/ssrluo/ssrluoec- FY01.html

3.   28th Annual SSRL Users' Meeting: October 18-19, 2001
(SSRL28 Co-Chairs: Corwin Booth, SSRLUOEC Vice Chair, Ana Gonzalez, SSRL Staff Scientist)

In preparation for the next SSRL Users' Meeting on October 18-19, 2001, we encourage your input into determining which topics might be of interest. Workshops are an integral part of the SSRL Users' Meeting, and they are a great forum for discussing new ideas in a particular field or formulating scientific cases for new projects. They also provide a mechanism for gathering input from scientists from a variety of backgrounds and discipines. Please forward suggestions about topics that could lead to successful and productive workshops to Corwin Booth (chbooth@lbl.gov), Ana Gonzalez (ana@slac.stanford.edu), or Cathy Knotts (knotts@slac.stanford.edu). An indication of the size of the field and/or potential participation would also be helpful.

4.  SPEAR2 -> SPEAR3: Upgrade Schedule Impact on User Operations
(contact: Cathy Knotts - knotts@ssrl.slac.stanford.edu)

Preparations for SPEAR3, a new intermediate energy third generation light source at SSRL, are well underway. SPEAR3 will replace SPEAR2 which has served users well for many years. Long time users may remember that SPEAR began operations in 1972 -- originally for high energy physics. In 1973, the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Project began, which later became the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) in 1977.

With SPEAR3, we look forward to being able to deliver greatly enhanced performance and provide new expansion capacity for insertion devices and bend magnet beam lines. By utilizing existing infrastructure and beam lines, SSRL anticipates an extremely cost effective and rapid installation for SPEAR3. In terms of timing, SSRL staff are diligently planning and coordinating the installation to minimize disruption of service to users. For several years prior to the SPEAR3 installation, as much preparatory work as possible will be accomplished in conjuction with SSRL's normal shutdown cycles. For this year, the run will be shortened by only a few weeks to accommodate SPEAR3 preparations. By doing this, SSRL expects to complete the SPEAR3 installation in just six months in 2003. So, mark your calendars for the following important upcoming dates:

The 2001 run year will end on July 3, 2001 at 4 pm. Operations will resume for the 2002 run year on Monday, November 5, 2001 and will continue through July, 2002. SSRL will operate from November, 2002 through March, 2003 and will be shut down from April through November, 2003 to accomplish the SPEAR3 upgrade. Stay tuned for more details and milestones ...

5.  Statewide Power Problems May Affect SSRL User Operations
(contact: Cathy Knotts - knotts@ssrl.slac.stanford.edu)

The power crisis affecting California and the northwestern US may have some implication for SSRL users during the current run. As the weather warms and summer temperatures soar, the state anticipates that demands for power may exceed available sources. SLAC's representatives are in discussions with state officials as to the circumstances under which SLAC would have to reduce power use to the point that accelerator operations would be curtailed. As of now, we do not anticipate that there will be many episodes in which SSRL will be subjected to a brownout before the end of the run. Therefore, we are maintaining our current operating schedule. We have no other details, but as more information becomes available, it will be posted on the SSRL web site at:

http:// www-ssrl.slac.stanford.edu/power-status.html

6.   Technical Update on the SPEAR3 Upgrade: Magnet Shoptalk
(contact: Tom Elioff - telioff@slac.stanford.edu)

A number of SPEAR3 technical milestones have been achieved over the past month:

  • The design and fabrication of SPEAR3 magnets is a collaboratorive effort between SLAC and the Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP) in China. The first shipment of these magnets (9 dipoles and 12 quadrupoles) arrived April 3. The second shipment (3 dipoles, 7 quadrupoles and 6 sextupoles) should arrive at SSRL in early May, after which one shipment is scheduled per month through the end of this year.
  • The prototype magnet support raft for the BM2 section of the standard arc cell arrived April 6. This raft supports 1 dipole, 2 quadrupoles, 1 sextupole, and 2 corrector magnets. Except for correctors, this raft will be assembled with magnets and vacuum chamber within two months. The electron beam welding of the machined vacuum chamber components is in progress.
  • The 1.2 MW klystron for the RF system was successfully tested at the Marconi Applied Technologies factory in England. The tube arrived at SLAC on April 12 and additional tests are underway.
(see magnet photos)

7.  Walk Talk and Clean Wrap-Up
(contact: Ian Evans, SSRL Safety Officer - evans@slac.stanford.edu)

In an ongoing effort to make SSRL a safer and healthier place to work in, the annual Talk, Walk, Clean safety and environmental standown was held on April 20th. During this period, groups of staff were given a two hour time period to either: discuss ES&H issues and generate a couple of significant issues that if left uncorrected may adversely affect the ES&H conditions at SLAC/SSRL, perform a hands-on clean up of pre-designated in/out door areas, or conduct a walk through inspection of pre-designated buildings.

While many groups found the time ideal to clean up areas much in need of attention, some serious issues covering topics such as emergency preparedness, transportation safety on-site and the ability to recycle at SSRL were also raised for further review and resolution.

It was a very successful event, with many thanks going to all the staff who helped ensure that Environmental, Safety and Health remains a focus point here at SSRL.

8.  SSRL Job Opportunities
(contact: Stephanie Carlson - steph@slac.stanford.edu)

SSRL currently has positions available for mechanical, electronic and beam line engineers, technicians and administrative staff. More information is available at the following web site:

http://www- ssrl.slac.stanford.edu/jobs.html

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 Sciences. Additional information about SSRL and its operation and schedules is available from the SSRL WWW site: http://www-ssrl.slac.stanford.edu/

You can subscribe or remove your name from the distribution list by sending a brief email with your request to Lisa Dunn, editor, at lisa@ssrl.slac.stanford.edu.


Last Updated: 25 MAY 2001
Content Owner: L. Dunn
Page Editor: L. Dunn