Minutes of the APSUO Steering Committee Meeting

Held on July 11, 1996, at Argonne National Laboratory


Attendees: S. Barr, M. Beno, S. Dierker, D. Moncton (for Project Update, one Executive Session topic, and Close-Out only), R. Pindak, J. Quintana, G. Shenoy (for Project Update and Close-Out only), L. Sorensen, E. Stefanski (for Project Update only), M. Sutton, and S. Sutton.

Routine Business:

Chair Mark Sutton called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. Minutes of the previous meeting were approved and two items were added to the Executive Session agenda: the Independent Investigator "clock" policy, and User access to the APS stockroom. Action items from the previous meeting were reviewed; following a brief discussion, the dates for the Eighth Users Meeting were set to be April 23-24, 1997, with workshops to precede the meeting on April 22. (Note: Because of conflicts with the Argonne Board of Governors meeting in Washington, DC, the Eighth Users Meeting and Workshop dates are now April 15-17, 1997.)

Project Update:

David Moncton began by thanking the APSUO and Steering Committee members for their role in the APS dedication. The day went extremely well; Secretary of Energy O'Leary was very impressed with what she saw, and APSUO gift will be very much appreciated. He then announced that Dean Eastman will become the new Director of Argonne National Laboratory on July 15. Eastman is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and, most recently, was Vice President of IBM. Moncton then turned to the Status of the APS. Since the dedication, the APS has had several rounds of reasonable operation with beam. The operations schedule is steadily improving with respect to reliability. Availability has been approximately 80%, and 100 mA operation is becoming routine. The short-term goal is 90% reliability over 24 hours. During the next shut-down, the switchover to positrons will occur; the belief is that this switchover will not compromise the reliability achieved so far. The last few rounds have been with secondary electrons. At present, 12 vacuum chambers, 10 undulators, and 24 front ends have been installed in the ring, with 13 beamlines approved for commissioning. Progress is being made with the User Residence Facility; construction is nearly complete, and the contract for an operator is ready for award. Present plans call for the URF to open officially in January 1997. Discussion is still taking place with respect to financial issues such as rate structure, revenue vs. expenses, use of "profits," etc.

The FY 1997 budget was the next topic. Moncton reported that the national outlook for R&D funding is grim, not only for FY 1997 but for the out years as well. The Department of Energy (DOE) projects major cuts, in line with the federal objective of a balanced budget in 2002. Unfortunately, the scientific community appears to be apparently "accepting the inevitable." For the APS, the FY 1997 president's budget is $13.9M below request, with further cuts expected through Congressional and DOE action. For the outyears (FY 1998 and beyond), the DOE Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (BESAC) commissioned a one-day review of APS Operating Costs by a seven-member committee headed by Derek Lowenstein. The report from this committee (Appendix A) recommended a steady-state operating budget well below that presented by the APS as reasonable. ($79-83M vs. $99.6). Consequently, if the subcommittee's recommendations are accepted, the APS will not be able to operate at a level to meet projected User needs and expectations.

Moncton answered several questions from the Steering Committee as to the probable impacts of the Subcommittee-recommended budgets, indicating that the APS had just received the report and has not yet done a full analysis. However, he indicated that one probable outcome would be a major decrease in accelerator-related R&D and a possible consequent decrease in reliability.

Executive Session:

BESAC Report: Following vigorous discussion, the Steering Committee decided that it was imperative for a letter to be sent to BESAC on behalf of APS Users expressing strong concern about the recommendations in the report. The Committee then discussed the content, form, and appropriate recipient for the letter. It was decided that the letter should be addressed to the Chair of BESAC and that Mark Sutton would create a first draft and circulate it among Steering Committee members as soon as possible. Additionally, the Steering Committee agreed to send a letter to the overall APS User Community.

Compton Prize: The Steering Committee discussed whether a Compton Prize should be awarded at the Eighth Users Meeting (April 1997) or if it would be better to skip a meeting. It was decided that the Prize should be awarded during the next Users Meeting. Susan Barr will furnish the Steering Committee with a copy of the previous Call for Nominations, which will be reviewed and finalized at the next Steering Committee meeting. Mark Sutton agreed to ask members of the current APS Program Evaluation Board (PEB) to serve as the Selection Committee.

Eighth User Meeting: Mark Sutton described a possible User Meeting schedule, indicating that Jon Tischler, as User Meeting Chair, will prepare a preliminary listing of workshops for review by the Steering Committee. Steering Committee members are asked to provide input to Jon prior to the next Steering Committee meeting.

Library Committee Report: Steve Sutton distributed an APS Library journal list to Steering Committee members and asked for input on journals to add or delete.

Independent Investigator "Clock" Policy: Copies of the APS Independent Investigator "clock" policy were distributed to the Steering Committee members for information.

User Residence Facility: Joanne Day presented a brief update on the User Residence Facility, indicating the facility has 240 beds, 142 "standard" rooms, 30 doubles, and 16 quads (four bedrooms, two baths, a living area, and a kitchenette). Electronic data links connect each room to the APS experiment hall floor and to the lab/office modules. Terminals are not provided in the rooms; Users must bring their own.

APS Operating Cost Information: At the request of the Steering Committee, Moncton rejoined the group to give a brief summary of the Operating Cost information presented to the BESAC Subcommittee. (Copies of his viewgraphs appear as Appendix B.)

User Residence Facility Tour:

Following Moncton's presentation, Joanne Day conducted a tour of the User Residence Facility.

Follow-up Action Items:

1. Write a letter to the Chair of BESAC on behalf of APS Users expressing strong concerns about the recommendations in the BESAC Subcommittee report (Mark Sutton and Steering Committee members).

2. Send a letter to APS Users describing the BESAC Subcommittee report and APSUO Steering Committee actions (M. Sutton).

3. Prepare a draft Call for Nominations for the APS Compton Prize for review at the next APSUO Steering Committee meeting (Barr).

4. Request PEB members to serve as the APS Compton Prize Selection Committee (M. Sutton).

5. Prepare a preliminary listing of workshop topics for review by the Steering Committee prior to the next Steering Committee meeting (Tischler). Provide input to Tischler on workshop topics (Steering Committee members).

6. Provide feedback to Steve Sutton on the APS Library journal listing (Steering Committee members).

Close Out:

M. Sutton reported briefly on Executive Session discussions, indicating that the Steering Committee plans to send a letter to the Chair of BESAC with copies of Lowenstein (BESAC Subcommittee Chair) and Martha Krebs (Director of the Office of Energy Research).

Next Meeting:

The next meeting of the APSUO Steering Committee will be held on Thursday, November 14, 1996, in Bldg. 401 (APS Central Laboratory/Office Bldg.), Room A5000, Argonne National Laboratory.