Minutes of the APSUO Steering Committee Meeting

Held on January 29, 1998, at Argonne National Laboratory


C. Abad-Zapatero, R. Alkire, M. Beno, R. Bubeck, S. Dierker, E. Isaacs, D. Keane, D. Moncton (APS Update only), C. Pittroff, G. Shenoy (APS Update and Close Out only), L. Soderholm, G. Srajer, S. Strasser, S. Sutton, and J. Tischler.

Routine Business:

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved, and committee members were reminded that minutes from all past meetings are archived on the APSUO Web page. The action items from the 10/30/97 APSUO Steering Committee Meeting were also reviewed.

APS Update:

David Moncton summarized current machine operating statistics. A total of 3141 hours of operation were logged in FY 1997; 4512 hours are projected for FY 1998. The percentage of down time and the fault-per-day rate both show decreasing trends. FY 1998 year-to-date x-ray availability has been over 92%. Currently 23 beamlines have at least one hutch beyond their first optics enclosure (FOE). Twelve to 14 beamlines are now routinely taking beam; approximately 20 beamlines are currently capable of taking beam.

The benefits of running in top-off mode were briefly reviewed, and D. Moncton told the group that current plans call for test runs in top-off mode this spring. Several tests related to top-off mode have already been conducted, but the APS will need DOE approval to convert the ring to this mode of operation. The group discussed technical aspects of the impact top-off mode may have on experiments.

D. Moncton reviewed the current occupancy status of the APS. Twenty out of 35 available sectors are currently operational, commissioning, or under construction. Three new proposals have been accepted, although no additional MOUs have been signed yet. They are from SRI-CAT (for a fourth sector), Structural Genomics-CAT, and Commercial-CAT; an additional proposal has been received from High Pressure-CAT. If MOUs are signed for all of these proposals, all remaining space in the current laboratory office modules (LOMs) will be filled. Three other proposals are now being prepared (Southeast Region CAT, Imaging CAT, and Northeast Region CAT). These potential additions have made the construction of a seventh LOM (building 436, sectors 21-24) a very high priority. Construction cost has been estimated at $4M. Funds are also needed to purchase front ends and undulators for the new beamlines.

D. Moncton reviewed DOE budget considerations for FY 1999. The new President's budget is expected to be announced the first week in February 1998. In the past, new budgets were based on the previous year's actual budget rather than the previous year's President's budget. As a result of the Birgeneau panel recommendations, the requested FY 1999 budget is expected to be the FY 1998 President's budget plus inflation.

A structural genomics workshop was held at the APS January 24-25, 1998. The study of structural genomics, understanding the link between amino acid sequence and three-dimensional structure to predict protein structure, relies on the use of x-rays to determine protein structures. If the fundamental folding units or motifs in protein structures could be catalogued, it would greatly simplify the process of protein structure elucidation. D. Moncton stated that the development of an APS beamline dedicated to protein structure determination would be an opportunity to actively contribute to this field of science.

Executive Session:

Ninth Users Meeting for the APS: Steve Dierker reviewed the workshop topics suggested at the last meeting, and emphasized that this meeting will focus on User science. He noted that the workshop on molecular environmental science has been changed to a full-day session. Lynda Soderholm spoke about growth in interest in the field and cited the need for people in the molecular environmental science field to interact with CATs, creating an opportunity for the APS to potentially involve another segment of the scientific population in synchrotron research. The proposed workshop schedule was reviewed in the draft registration flyer. Organizers for the workshops were discussed.



Suggested Organizer(s)
( = confirmed)

Molecular Environmental Science

Lynda Soderholm
Steve Sutton

Introduction to the APS

Sunil Sinha

Macromolecular Crystallography
(**possible name change to Structural and Functional Biology suggested)

Cele Abad-Zapatero
Grant Bunker
Andy Howard


Wenbing Yun
Peter Eng
Steve Heald

The steering committee agreed that the scientific talks should be centered on research that has been or could be done at the APS, with a focus on results obtained. Although it is too early to solicit speakers, a number of topics were suggested for consideration.

  • high-pressure applications
  • imaging
  • free-electron laser research
  • high-energy, very hard x-ray work (Jochen Schneider)
  • agricultural science
  • neutron diffraction/image plates
  • XAFS/x-ray microscopy
  • general industrial applications for synchrotron radiation
  • magnetic scattering/magnetic diffraction
  • coherent scattering
  • small-angle scattering
  • atomic physics

Poster sessions have been planned for Tuesday, October 13, 1998. Possible locations for the poster sessions were discussed. The most popular option was holding the sessions on the experiment hall floor as was done for the 8th Users meeting. Susan Strasser will investigate what section(s) of the experiment hall floor might be available in October.

The banquet location (The Mid-America Club) and the inclusion of the banquet cost in the meeting registration fee were briefly discussed. It was suggested that some entertainment might be considered for the banquet, possibly a jazz or blues ensemble.

Changes in the layout of the registration flyer were suggested. The suggested "Dear Colleague" letter will be replaced with a photograph of the APS and a brief description of planned meeting events. The workshop titles will be incorporated under the dates on which they will be held, and the poster session, APS tour, and vendor exhibit time slots will also be added.

Compton Award planning: A copy of the draft letter soliciting nominations for the award was provided to the group in the meeting packet. The group was asked to provide any final feedback on the letter before it is printed on stationery and sent out March 15, 1998. It was decided that the photograph of last year's recipients be removed from the letter, and that the table listing past awardees be moved to beneath the description of the award.

1998 Nominating Committee: Eric Isaacs volunteered to be the committee chair, and George Srajer volunteered to assist in developing a slate of nominees. Suggestions for 12 nominees need to be solicited.

APSUO by-laws review: S. Strasser noted that the by-laws have not been reviewed since 1991. She asked the group to review the copy included in the meeting packets and see if there are any concerns. Any proposed changes will have to be voted on at the 9th Users meeting, so any proposed modifications will have to be finalized before October 14, 1998.

Appointment of a new APSUO representative to the APS Independent Investigator (II) Review Panel: A letter was distributed to the steering committee from John Quintana to Jon Tischler announcing J. Quintana's appointment to Director of DND-CAT. J. Quintana asked the APSUO to consider this potential conflict of interest and to determine if he should step down as the APSUO's representative on the II Review Panel. It was determined that he should be released as the APSUO's representative on the II Review Panel. Denis Keane was nominated and accepted as the replacement.

Additional discussion: It was determined that Stephen Sutton will remain on the Library Committee. Randy Alkire asked about the lag between the time a User badge is issued and the time it is activated for the Cardkey ® system. The lag is due to the requirement that sector-specific orientation be completed before a card is activated. S. Strasser will investigate changing the policy so that cards may be activated as soon as they are issued.

Close Out:

D. Moncton, S. Dierker, G. Shenoy, S. Strasser, and J. Tischler attended the session. J. Tischler reviewed the topics discussed during the Executive Session.

Next Meeting:

The next meeting of the APSUO Steering Committee will be April 30, 1998.

Action Items:

  1. Provide a copy of article "Funding Picture Brightens for DOE's Four Synchrotrons" in December 1997 issue of R&D magazine to all Steering Committee members (S. Strasser).
  2. Provide S. Dierker with a list of attendees and an agenda from the structural genomics workshop held January 24-25, 1998 (S. Strasser).
  3. Contact Grant Bunker to inquire about his participation in the macro- molecular crystallography workshop (S. Dierker).
  4. Request that space on the experiment hall floor be identified in which the poster sessions for the 9th Users meeting can be held (S. Strasser).
  5. Incorporate suggested changes in the layout of the meeting registration flyer (S. Strasser).
  6. Remove the photograph from the letter requesting nominations for the Compton Award and move the table listing the awardees to beneath the description of the award (C. Pittroff).
  7. Determine if Cardkey® badges can be activated when they are issued and institute appropriate changes in the orientation procedure (S. Strasser).
  8. Investigate why the Cardkey® reader near the observation deck is not activated (S. Strasser).
  9. Investigate the possibility of establishing APS computer accounts for independent investigators and collaborators (S. Strasser).