SSRL USERS’ ORGANIZATION
Chris Kim, SSRLUOEC Chair, welcomed the meeting participants and began the meeting. Notes follow.
SSRL User Administration Discussion: Some users asked whether they could request multiple beam time allocations on different beam lines under the same proposal during a scheduling period; it was confirmed that these types of requests for shorter, more frequent allocations of beam time are allowed and would be scheduled as long as there was time available on the requested beam line. However, users need to submit separate requests for each allocation so that the equipment set up and safety issues are addressed for each experiment (even if these do not change). As much as possible, users with similar set ups are scheduled back-to-back to minimize the number of equipment changeovers and most efficiently utilize available beam time and staff resources.
SSRL User Survey:: Chris Kim summarized the results of the user survey conducted in January (results were also shared with the SSRL Scientific Advisory Committee at their February meeting). We received 370 unique responses to the comprehensive survey which queried users on a wide variety of categories related to their SSRL user experience. In general, a high degree of satisfaction was expressed by users with nearly all of the resources available to aid them in their research. Specifically, they emphasized the strong support for the excellent SSRL beam line staff, whose dedication to user support was noted many times throughout the survey and led one user to refer to them as the "jewels of SSRL". The SSRL-UOEC recommended that the survey be repeated annually. Chris will formally summarize the results in a letter to Jo Stohr
SLAC Director Search:: Persis Drell joined the meeting to summarize the broad-based search underway for someone to lead SLAC when Director Jonathan Dorfan steps down later this year. On behalf of the search committee, she requested SSRL user input during the information phase of the search process. Specifically, the committee seeks user input to identify the opportunities and challenges facing the lab in the next decade as well as the attributes of the next director. Users suggested that several characteristics would be important for the SLAC Director, including: strong management skills, political savvy, good communication skills, public relations minded, and experience with managing change. The SSRL Users Organization Executive Committee (SSRL-UOEC), in conjunction with the SLAC Director Search Committee, developed and distributed a brief web based survey for the SSRL user community to assist in identifying issues, characteristics and names of potential candidates.
User Advocacy: Joy Andrews gave a summary of recent Synchrotron and Neutron Users Group (SNUG) activities which included a meeting in conjunction with the San Francisco Materials Research Society meeting on April 10th. User representatives have made several trips to DC during this year (January, March), and another trip was recommended in June to meet with new members of Congress to raise awareness about synchrotron and neutron facilities, what these machines do, examples of research made possible by the facilities, why the research is important to national competitiveness, why the FY07 continuing resolution was a problem, and why FY08 funding is needed. Joy mentioned that slides of user research highlights and a one-page summary were being updated, and she invited users to review/edit existing slides and to suggest other examples to feature (particularly those involving industrial applications). She also suggested that the facilities compile more information on industrial users and the types of applications they are working on at the various facilities as this was a frequently asked question during advocacy discussions. Chris Kim and Joy Andrews mentioned that user advocacy will be one of the topics discussed at the National Users Facility Organization (NUFO) meeting which will be hosted by ALS at LBNL in June 2007.
Annual Users' Meeting: Robert Szilagyi (SSRLUOEC Vice Chair; Montana State University) and Hiro Ogasawara (SSRL) are organizing the program for the annual users' meeting which will be a joint SSRL and LCLS meeting. Robert gave an update on planned activities, including several workshops.
Accelerator Development Update: Bob Hettel and James Safranek joined the meeting and gave an update on lower emittance optics (lower emittance=brighter beam). The SSRL Accelerator Physics group used recent machine physics time to test injection and stored current operations of the SPEAR3 accelerator in a low emittance mode. Tests of this new magnetic lattice, which lowers the SPEAR3 emittance from 15nm rad to 9.75nm rad, proved highly successful. Consequently, initial low emittance user operations will commence in early May. In this mode of operations the electron beam horizontal size shrinks approximately 20%, resulting in a commensurate reduction in the horizontal spot size on most focused end stations. To preserve the stored electron beam lifetime, the ring vertical coupling is increased somewhat. This results in slightly larger electron beam vertical size, but the increase is sufficiently small that the effect on focused beam vertical size is not observable. Regarding 500mA operations or top-off injection, further preliminary tests have been put on hold pending additional readiness reviews and safety approvals which are needed in order to proceed. SSRL is working with other facilities to share their experiences, including the ALS who is going through a similar validation process.
Undergraduate Research Initiatives: Several SSRLUOEC members represent undergraduate universities, and they are very interested in exploring mechanisms to stimulate and facilitate undergraduate research. It was suggested that the SSRLUOEC send a letter to the SSRL Director to explore opportunities related undergraduate research. Another suggestion was to consider ways to promote/incorporate undergraduate research in the proposal process and to discuss this with the SSRL Proposal Review Panel at a future meeting.
Housing Issues: John Faulkner and Kristi Nelson (firstname.lastname@example.org, 650-926-5193) from the Stanford Guest House participated in the meeting to discuss utilization, changes in room configuration and rates. The Guest House utilization statistics follow: 30% SLAC, 22% Stanford, 11% Medical Center, 37% vacant. Bunk bed rooms have been the least utilized and will be replaced with a standard bed in May (an additional rollaway bed can also be requested for queen size rooms). SSRL/SLAC users receive a discount on rooms over the rack rate ($75/105 single/queen vs. $89/119). Payment is needed to hold rooms (including group blocks). Users should identify their affiliation with SSRL in case a block of rooms are being held when the rest of the Guest House is sold out (this is likely during major Stanford events such as graduation week in June). Bikes are available for loan to registered guests. Users who have any questions or problems can contact Kristi Nelson directly.
Next meeting:: Chris suggested scheduling the next SSRLUOEC meeting be held by conference call on June 8th.