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SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

SSRLUO Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

Meeting Notes: February 13, 2006 11 am - 4 pm

Committee Members | Meeting Schedule | Meeting Minutes | SSRLUO Activism

Previous SSRLUO Minutes


SSRLUOEC Chair Joy Andrews began the meeting by asking everyone to introduce themselves. Attendees included: Joy Andrews, Linda Brinen, Lisa Downward, Ian Evans, Zsu Zsa Hamburger, Britt Hedman, Bob Hettel, Chris Kim, Cathy Knotts, Aaron Lindenberg, Piero Pianetta, Stephane Richard, Bill Schlotter, Robert Scott, Abner Souffer, Jo Stöhr, Glenn Waychunas.

Safety Update

Ian Evans gave a presentation on safety, including suggestions for both work and home. In reply to a question about the machine shop at SSRL, users were discouraged from using this shop without specific authorization. They can, however, contact SSRL staff or the Duty Operator to find out if someone can help them to get parts machined. Users are encouraged to stay informed and follow policies as they relate to safety and to ask if they have any questions.

SSRL Director's Update

SSRL Director Jo Stöhr introduced the SSRL Deputy Directors Britt Hedman and Piero Pianetta. He emphasized the need to continue to focus on safety in all activities. Jo reviewed the status of the various beam lines and focus areas for SSRL (areas where SSRL is or can establish a center of excellence to conduct forefront science to attract and retain key scientists and faculty, such as ultrafast science). He mentioned that we have the opportunity to explore different fill patterns and timing experiments. Jo and Piero also encouraged users to provide input into user needs and desires for future capabilities, for example, would users desire better detectors for materials scattering/diffraction beam lines like BL2-1 and 7-2? There are many scientific opportunities but in order to pursue these, a strong scientific case would be needed.

Top-Off Injection

Bob Hettel summarized the status of SPEAR, including recent events related to approval for 500mA operations (expected shortly for the ring, approval for beam line operations at 500mA will require additional radiation protection review). As planning for top off injection continues, Bob is interested in working with users to identify issues related to various types of experiments, tolerable modes, and degree of interruption.

PRP Encourages User Feedback

At their February 6th meeting, the PRP indicated their desire to have more interaction with users. Prior to the SSRLUOEC meeting, a list of questions from the PRP was circulated to encourage feedback and discussion:

  • What are your issues and how can the PRP help?
  • Any questions about the PRP review process? Is it working well?
  • Would a proposal writing workshop be helpful to you?
  • Any issues particular to young scientists? female scientists?
  • Any suggestions for attracting more users?
  • Any suggestions for helping new users get acquainted with the facility and/or started with their experiments?
Robert Scott, PRP member and SSRL user, participated in this meeting to facilitate user feedback on these topics and any other issues important to users. Several suggestions were made including, surveying spokespersons to determine if they want to raise any issues (perhaps incorporating this question as part of a new proposal submission or user meeting registration process); arranging a focus session with users and PRP members; arranging a proposal writing workshop at the next Users' Meeting; and designating resources to update mailing list capabilities in the user database (contact specific groups of users by technique, discipline, geographic designation, etc.). Specific recommendations were made to encourage the PRP to give more consideration in determining a proposal's rating to the efficient use of past beam time (comparing previous shifts allocated to publications, etc.), and users request that the PRP include a paragraph along with ratings so that they better understand any issues related to their proposal and why a specific rating was given. A recommendation was made to consider a more formal program of peer mentoring where staff scientists and other experienced investigators would help new investigators (perhaps initially as part of a collaboration) in writing proposals, experimental set up, collecting and analyzing data, etc., in order to help new users get the most out of their beam time. A similar suggestion was made to more widely disseminate PRP contact information and to post the best/highest rated proposals (spokesperson name, institution, title of proposal) on the website in order to assist new users in contacting experienced users for advice. Another suggestion was made to expand the list of peer reviewers (concern that using the same reviewers created "an old boy network" where new investigators may not be rated as highly as more well known and established investigators).

Update of User Activities and Activism

SSLRUOEC Chair Joy Andrews gave a presentation on the many recent activities related to user activism, including the formation of a joint Synchrotron and Neutron Users Group (SNUG) and an advocacy committee comprised of user representatives. Joy also shared news about budgets and new initiatives related to science, technology innovation, and the President's American Competitiveness Initiative. In preparation for meetings in Washington in April, Lisa Downward is compiling a briefing document of research highlights from the various facilities, statistics to demonstrate the need to support basic sciences and why user facilities are important. Joy also shared excerpts from the last briefing document prepared by Glenn Waychunas for the trip to DC in April 2005.

33rd Annual SSRL Users' Meeting

Chris Kim (Chapman University) and Aaron Lindenberg (SSRL) will co-chair the next Annual SSRL Users' Meeting on October 12-13, 2006. They have already begun to outline the program and begin work on details for the meeting. They encourage user suggestions on topics for sessions and workshops, speakers, etc. Possible topics might include: microfocusing (STXM, TXM); young investigators; ultrafast science; industrial applications; applications for art/archeology; biology (nanotechnology, SAXS, spectroscopy, cyro EM); and perhaps talks related to the science featured as an SSRL scientific highlight within the last year. There was also discussion about having workshops on: introduction to SSRL for new users (aimed at students), proposal writing (aimed at new investigators), crystallography, and MEIS. There was a discussion about the potential for joint workshops with ALS on microfocusing. A suggestion was made to try to incorporate hands-on sample preparation, data collection (with a sample data set), and data analysis (e.g., how should data be processed? what is usable data?); users would need to bring their own laptop computer.

SSRL Workshop on Synchrotron X-ray Scattering Techniques (SR-XRS) in Materials and Environmental Sciences: Theory and Application

On May 16-17, 2006, SSRL will host an SR-XRS workshop on techniques which offer the ability to probe nano- and atomic-scale structures and order/disorder relationships that critically govern the properties of advanced technological and environmental materials. The high collimation, intensity, and tunability of SR allow the investigation of a wide range of materials, including thin films and interfaces, nanoparticles, amorphous materials, solutions, hydrated and disordered bacteriogenic minerals and highly crystalline materials. Good planning and a working knowledge of beam lines, in addition to technique, are keys to conducting successful SR-XRS measurements. This workshop will provide a practical users' guide to planning and conducting scattering measurements and will emphasize topics that can best be obtained only through on-the-experiment training. Space is limited; register at:

SLUO Update

Abner Souffer, Chair of the SLAC Users' Organization (SLUO), participated in this meeting to encourage SSRL users to think about ways to increase interactions between SLAC and SSRL users. There have been some recent meetings related to user activism. It was suggested that SSRL scientists might consider giving a talk to SLUO users about the types of experiments conducted at SSRL.

Outreach, Communications, User Administration

Cathy Knotts gave a presentation and reminded users about several upcoming events and deadlines:

The next SSRLUOEC meeting will be arranged on Monday, April 17, 2006, 10 am - 3 pm, in the SSRL Building 137 3rd floor conference room.

The meeting adjourned around 4:00 pm.

Cathy Knotts
SSRL Liaison to SSRL Users' Organization Executive Committee

2575 Sand Hill Road, MS: 99, Menlo Park, California, 94025, USA Tel: 650-926-4000 | Fax: 650-926-4100