Skip to: main navigation | content

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

SSRLUO Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

Meeting Notes: March 18, 2005 12 noon - 4 pm

SSRLUO Home | Committee Members | Meeting Schedule | Meeting Minutes | SSRLUO Activism

Previous SSRLUO Minutes

Attendees:   Juana Acrivos, Joy Andrews, Alex Bell, Ben Bostick, Michael Brzustowicz, Lisa Downward, Lisa Dunn, Britt Hedman, Keith Hodgson, Cathy Knotts, Richard Lee, Piero Pianetta, Bill Schlotter, Clyde Smith, Tim Stemmler, Glenn Waychunas


SSRL Director's Update

SSRL Director Keith Hodgson discussed integrated safety management system (ISMS) at SSRL and recent activities to review and strengthen safety awareness at SSRL and SLAC. A task force that included two SSRLUOEC representatives was convened in November to comprehensively review the SSRL user safety program, to ensure that it continues to be an effective mechanism to control hazards, provide a safe environment for users and to meet ISMS goals. A few enhancements were identified and implemented. Users are encouraged to continue to focus on safety, to provide suggestions and feedback, and to review the safety page on the SSRL website which includes the restart validation documentation, area hazard analyses, safety guidelines, emergency preparedness plans, area contacts, and other important information related to safety at SSRL.

Keith discussed the FY2006 President's budget, which shows a 7% ($2.3 M) decrease for SSRL (targeting capital equipment and BL upgrade program). The SSRL Directorate considered multiple ways of dealing with this budget shortfall, and they concluded that a reduction in staffing was the most prudent and principal course of action. This budget reduction will impact operations and resources; this may mean with fewer resources for staff and spare equipment, there may be less maintenance or accelerator physics, reduced reliability of equipment, fewer user operating hours, fewer experiment changeovers; equipment set up and checkouts between experiments may take longer to complete. At least one existing beam line will be closed (BL2-2) and the schedule for one new beam line may also be affected (new soft X-ray BL13 may be delayed). The good news is that the FY2006 President's budget fully funds LCLS construction.

Keith summarized future plans for SSRL and SLAC, which include completion of the SPEAR3 beam line upgrade project in FY2006. He also stressed the importance of building and supporting new forefront beam lines and instrumentation, and developing unique science opportunities. By 2009, Keith noted that in the current planning, SSRL will be responsible for both operation of the SPEAR3 and the LCLS science program (as currently envisioned, the linac/undulator will be operated by an 'Accelerator Systems Division' or a 'Photon Science Division' at SLAC). In addition, we anticipate that we will see growing synergy in instrumentation and science developments with Stanford University integrated initiatives, such as GLAM-XLAM (materials), the Ultrafast Science Center, and Bio-X (structural biology). The SSRL operational model will continue to engage the outside user community and make new capabilities rapidly available on a general user basis. This model will be extended to encompass operation of the LCLS experimental program.

Update of User Activities, Activism and DC Meetings

SSLRUOEC Chair Glenn Waychunas shared a presentation which he gave to the SSRL Proposal Review Panel meeting in February 2005. He reported that the users executive committee chairpersons and vice chairs of the four DOE light source were working together to plan a trip to Washington DC on April 8th to meet with representatives from Congress, DOE, Office of Science & Technology and members of their staffs. It was noted that previous user meetings with government officials had tremendous impact in raising awareness about basic science programs within the DOE, and that correspondence and well organized meetings should be continued. Glenn and Ben Bostick (past SSRLUOEC Chair) recommended that users write letters to their representatives in Congress over the next few weeks and that users try to meet with their local representatives to encourage support for basic sciences and for science facilities. A convenient link to addresses and sample letters can be found on the American Physical Society website: Ben Bostick will also work on updating this information on the user activism website at Dartmouth College:

Plans for the 32nd Annual SSRL Users' Meeting, October 17-18, 2005

The Co-Chairs for the next users' meeting, Joy Andrews (Univ. California East Bay) and Clyde Smith (SSRL), encourage users to provide suggestions for session topics, speakers, or in-depth workshops. Joy reported that the Young Investigators' Session was well received at prior meetings, and they plan to continue to have this session. It was suggested that the recipient of the first W.E. Spicer Young Investigator Award (Peter Armitage) be invited to give a presentation at the next meeting and that this tradition continue for subsequent years. Other suggested topics for this meeting included small angle scattering, inelastic scattering, macromolecular crystallography, environmental sciences, nanotechnology, ultrafast science to encourage users to think about experiments that can be done with the LCLS and experiments that may utilize the new BL13. Britt Hedman reported that a small angle scattering workshop is being organized. The possibility of a nanotechnology workshop was also suggested.


Cathy Knotts reported that the Farrel Lytle Award and the W.E. Spicer Young Investigator Award would be announced shortly and nominations would be due in early August. Users are encouraged to begin to think about candidates that they would like to nominate. Although nominations are accepted in any format, in the past it was noted that thorough packages including curriculum vitae, publication lists, and/or letters of support make a much stronger case for the candidate being considered.

The award selection committee includes two members of the SSRLUOEC (Linda Brinen and Lisa Downward). Lisa Downward requested that the newest graduate student on the SSRLUOEC replace her, and Bill Schlotter agreed to serve on the award selection committee.

In July 2004, Juana Acrivos suggested that the SSRLUOEC consider recognizing the contributions of Mel Klein, an SSRL user and mentor who passed away a few years ago. She noted that she was interested in making a donation to such an award, and suggested that many of Mel's other colleagues might be interested in donating towards this proposed award as well. The idea was discussed further at this meeting, and a subcommittee (consisting of Juana Acrivos, Mike Brzustowicz, Lisa Downward, and Bill Schlotter) was formed to develop a proposal to be presented to SSRL management. Since Mel's greatest interest was in students, the subcommittee proposes to establish a 'Melvin P. Klein Professional Development Award' to be given to an undergraduate/graduate student who will be presenting work done at SSRL during the next academic year. The committee suggests that the award be announced in the summer, with the application deadline set before the annual users' meeting in October so that the awardee could be announced at the annual meeting. The application package should include a letter of recommendation from the Principal Investigator or Proposal Spokesperson as well as an abstract (<200 words) written by the student describing the experiment and details on the scientific meeting where their research is to be presented. A small committee (including the SSRLUOEC graduate student representatives) would review the applications and serve as the award selection committee. The student selected would be notified and the expenses associated with their presentation at this meeting (registration fees, AV fees, travel expenses) would be reimbursed up to $1,000 from the award fund which would need to be established. This proposal was forwarded to management, and the administrative and logistic details are being investigated.

User Research Administration Update

Cathy Knotts gave a presentation that included an update on user safety issues; communications and user outreach; managing foreign visits and assignments; and user operations. A consortium of lightsource communications collaborated and sponsored a joint website which was launched in February, The SLAC Public Lecture Series (Tuesday evening, every other month in Panofsky Auditorium) continues to be very popular - drawing capacity crowds for most presentations. The next public lecture will be given by Clyde Smith (SSRL) on Smarter Drugs: How Protein Crystallography Revolutionizes Drug Design, Tuesday, April 26th 7:30 pm. On Tuesday, June 28th at 7:30 pm, Philip Bucksbaum will give a presentation on LCLS/Ultrafast Science.

The X-ray/VUV schedule for the next scheduling period (May-July 2005) has been finalized and posted to the web. MC beam time requests for the next scheduling period (June-July 2005) are due in mid April. A call for new proposals is being distributed to everyone on the SSRL mailing list (X-ray/VUV due May 1, 2005; MC due July 1, 2005; proposals submitted by these dates will be eligible for beam time beginning ~November 28, 2005).

User feedback is essential to maintaining and continuing to improve user operations. Users are encouraged to complete an end of run summary form after each experiment on each beam line.

The next SSRLUOEC meeting will be arranged for June/July 2005.

The meeting adjourned around 3:30 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