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SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

SSRLUO Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

Meeting Notes: May 23, 2001

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Previous SSRLUO Minutes

Attendees: Paul Foster (Chair), Patrick Allen, Lipika Basumallick, Corwin Booth, Bruce Clemens, Cathy Knotts (SSRL Liaison), Marilyn Olmstead, John Peters, Robert Scott


2:30 Welcome/Update on SSRLUO EC Activities (Paul Foster) 
§ Presentation to SLUO, Februray 2 
§ DOE Program Review, April 4 
§ Meetings with Congressional Staffers in DC, May 7-8 
§ SLAC Scientific Policy Committee Meeting, May 11
3:00 SSRL Update (Keith Hodgson) 
§ SPEAR3 Status
3:30 User Research Administration (Cathy Knotts) 
§ SSRLUOEC Membership/Nominations for 2002 members 
§ Lytle Award Nomination Process
4:00 Oct. 18-19 Users Meeting and Workshops (Corwin Booth)
4:30 Other Business

Update on SSRLUO-EC Activities

  • Paul Foster, SSRLUO-EC Chair, called the meeting to order around 2:45. Paul described the many activities that the SSRLUO-EC had been involved with over the last several months. In April, user representatives met in a focus session with the DOE program reviewers to share their views. Some questions from the reviewers included: Are SSRL staff and administration concerned with user needs? Do SSRL and the SSRLUO-EC effectively serve all users? Users shared many positive experiences at SSRL, and one user was quoted as stating that SSRL "rocks".
  • In addition to several recent presentations, Paul has been working with the other synchrotron user committee chairs and lobbyists to generate support of increased funding for physical sciences in general and synchrotron light sources specifically. This involved meetings in Washington DC in early May with Senate and Congressional staffers. Requests also went out to users to participate in a letter writing campaign to their representative(s) and also to encourage their representative(s) to add their name to the bipartisan support of the DOE Office of Science that is circulating around Congress. EC supported the multiplex idea that more people should be encouraged to spread out to as many congressional representatives as possible. Several suggestions were made as to how to raise money to send more users to DC to meet with representatives. Although no decision was reached, some suggestions were to establish user organization dues or a PRT surcharge. Other suggestions were encouraged. ACTION: If they have not already done so, users are encouraged to show their support through these mechanisms, especially industrial users who are asked to get their management to support this effort as well. Even this far into the funding process, it is not too late to show support for increased budgets.
  • At the SLAC Scientific Policy Committee Meeting in May, Paul presented examples of SSRLUO-EC activities and results of user surveys. One advisor questioned how to increase survey results and how to address user comments. A suggestion was made to schedule some meetings with advance notice to users to encourage more general user participation in open sessions. ACTION: The SSRLUO-EC decided to hold meetings approximately every four months in February, early June, and October and to announce that meeting are open to all users, except closed sessions.
SSRL Update
  • Keith Hodgson joined the meeting from approximately 3:30-4:00 and gave a presentation on SSRL which included SPEAR3 plans and preparations. Corwin Booth raised the question of how scheduling would be handled immediately after SPEAR3 (Sept. 2003), including commissioning time and how rapidly SSRL expected to bring the system back up to 500 mA operations. Keith described the plan to pump down and begin injection in mid November 2003 with the goal of reaching 200 mA by the end of December. At this point, Keith anticipated bringing users back in Jan. 2004, with an estimated 1-2 month period before the run would be stabilized. The EC asked Keith to give some thought to creating a general policy for users during the shutdown, perhaps working with other facilities to get beam time elsewhere and/or supplying staff or other resources to help bring SSRL users up at other facilities. Bob Scott questioned which beam lines can support the higher current and how priorities would be set relevant to SPEAR3? He also requested that SSRL seek and include users input into the decision-making process. ACTION: Keith agreed to prepare a more detailed presentation at a future meeting to include discussions of which beam lines are unique to SSRL and which other facilities have similar capabilities and may be approached to help SSRL users. Keith also suggested asking Tom Rabedeau to give a more detailed presentation on beam line development at a future meeting; possibly including a tour or walking discussion around the beam lines.
  • Keith described new initiatives, such as BioX, SPPS, and the west pit beam line enclosure (the last easily expandable build out space which could include 6000 sf of floor space, 2 insertion devices, a bend magnet beam line). Facilities for the nanoscience initiative and beam line are pending successful funding. SSRL anticipates the help of Stanford University and outside funding to support advanced materials research. Bruce Clemens raised concern that the budget for SPEAR3 may provide funds to build out but may be insufficient for operations. Keith described his plan to request an additional 47 FTE's, which requires an additional $7.1 M, to run SPEAR3 effectively. ACTION: Keith stated his plan to share the results/report of DOE program review with the SSRLUO-EC when it is received.

User Research Administration (URA) Update

  • Cathy Knotts gave a presentation on URA activities, including recent staff changes, end-of-run questionnaires, and user survey results. ACTION: SSRLUO-EC members and all users are encouraged to complete and return a survey after each experimental start. Comments and suggestions are confidential and are only shared with SSRLUO-EC Chair and SSRL Management.
  • Cathy asked the EC to start to think about nominating colleagues for the slots which will be open in October, including: 1 each in Materials/Chemistry; Environmental/Geoscicences; Structural Molecular Biology, and Macromolecular Crystallography. ACTION: Cathy will announce via Headlines and will send an email to users requesting their input on nominations. Ballots will be collected later in the summer and through the first break at the Users' Meeting with new members announced at the meeting.
  • Cathy asked the EC to start to think about nominations for the 4th Annual Farrel W. Lytle Award. Past awardees have been: Farrel Lytle, Tom Hostetler, and Roger Prince. The EC decided to review nominations and hold a brief meeting, perhaps by email or conference call, later in the summer in order to determine awardee so that sufficient time would be available to prepare appropriate "roasts" for the honoree. ACTION: Cathy will announce via Headlines and will send an email to users requesting nominations.

Plans for User Meeting

  • Corwin Booth, Co-Chair of the Annual Users Meeting, described tentative plans to bring in numerous speakers and hold workshops at the annual meeting. Corwin announced that the committee had decided not to hold a workshop highlights session and, as much as possible, to incorporate student presentations in each session. A session on new technologies may be driven by abstracts which will be solicited for the final program. Three workshops have been suggested so far: Thin film scattering (Sean Brennan, Bruce Clemens), Science with the Proposed Sub-Picosecond Pulse Source (SPPS) (Jo Stohr), and Microscopy by focussing or imaging of hard and soft x-raysSPPS (Jan Luning). Paul Foster noted that no protein crystallography workshops had been suggested, perhaps due to the summer school planned later in the year and little interest or time among staff or users. A decision was reached to use the SPEAR3 RF cavity as the logo on meeting announcements and programs. The EC discussed increasing the general registration fees to $125 (not changing student fees of $50) to offset costs associated with putting on the meeting; they also recommended trying to keep the dinner costs around $25 per person. ACTION: Corwin will continue to work with co-chair, Ana Gonzalez, SSRL staff, and the EC to plan and coordinate the meeting, with discussions to continue at the next EC meeting in July. Cathy will formally invite Pat Dehmer to the annual meeting. Cathy will coordinate user registration and other meeting logistics.

Other Business

  • Marilyn Olmstead distributed an email about a new program to test protein crystallography samples (small crystals, small molecules) at APS. The program offers auto centering and mounting on crystals sent by users via Federal Express.
  • The EC decided to meet again in July. ACTION: EC members agreed to check their calendars and send dates when they are not available to meet to Cathy by email ( so the date of the next meeting could be set and announced.
  • The meeting concluded at approximately 5:30 pm.

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