Minutes of the APSUO Steering Committee Meeting

Held on June 18, 1998, at Argonne National Laboratory


R. Alkire, M. Beno, R. Bubeck, S. Dierker, P. Eng, D. Keane, D. Moncton (APS Update and Close Out 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. The action items from the 4/30/98 APSUO Steering Committee Meeting were also reviewed. Notable results from the action items include the decision that no alcohol will be permitted on the experiment hall floor for the CAT Open House activities during the Ninth User Meeting.

APS Update:

David Moncton informed the group that President Clinton has nominated U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson to be the new Secretary of Energy. Federico Peña is stepping down at the end of June. An interim secretary will probably be needed while Richardson awaits Senate approval.

Moncton also announced that Frank Fradin, Associate Laboratory Director for Physical Research, will become Argonne's Interim Laboratory Director on July 1, 1998. The search committee has been identified and will be announced at the end of June. The committee has eight members, including three Argonne laboratory representatives and three members from the Board of Governors.

Moncton distributed a press release from the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility announcing that first light had been delivered from their free-electron laser (FEL).

APS operations statistics were presented for the first three quarters of FY 1998. The APS switched to a rate of 5000 hours of User beam per year at mid fiscal year. Availability has been at slightly over 94% for the first four weeks of the current run.

The House and Senate finished marking up the Energy and Water bill and Basic Energy Sciences received full support for funding at the President's budget level. The bill will go to the conference committee. A new addition to the BES budget is the request on solar energy research from California congressman Jeffords. Moncton hopes that the Jeffords Amendment will not reduce the APS budget for FY 1999. Moncton discussed the importance of translating the recommendations of the Birgeneau panel report into actual budget dollars. This summer is an important time for the synchrotron community to express to the DOE its support for the Birgeneau recommendations and the funding necessary to carry them out in the FY 2000 budget and beyond.

Top-up plans discussed at the last Steering Committee meeting included a first round of tests during the May-June run period and a one-week run in top-up mode in September. Since the safety documentation for top-up is still awaiting DOE approval, the first tests will shift to the August time frame, and the one-week run will shift to later in the fall. The APS still plans to switch to running with electrons during the December-January shutdown. The new linac gun, borrowed from Brookhaven National Laboratory, will be used for FEL studies during the December-January shutdown. Original plans for first-beam transport into the low-energy undulator test line booster area during the May-June run will also shift slightly ahead in order to get all equipment installed.

Gopal Shenoy reviewed the proposal for an APS Doctoral Fellowship program. He stated that this program could be an important avenue for increasing the flow of graduate students into synchrotron-based research. Shenoy met with current APS graduate students to discuss the pros and cons of working at a synchrotron facility. The students indicated that having something to add to their curriculum vitae could be an inducement for prospective graduate students to select an area of research that involves synchrotron radiation. The APSUO is being asked to sponsor the program, which would be funded by the CATs and/or their member institutions. Various scenarios of how the program might function were discussed. The group was asked to review the draft document included in the meeting packets and be prepared to decide on sponsorship at the next Steering Committee meeting.

APS participation in the American Physical Society meeting was discussed. A large (8' x 15') poster on the topic of The Last 100 Years of X-rays, presenting a timeline highlighting 3-5 events per decade and including text and photographs, is being prepared. The display will be accompanied by historical x-ray equipment, a kiosk with monitors and a continuously running video, and possibly computers for access to the WWW. Posters must be organized by August 1998. The Division of Particles and Beams has expressed interest in co-sponsoring a display highlighting the science accomplished as the result of advances in accelerators. Moncton said that an accelerator display focused on the history of the development of accelerators would be very interesting.

Executive Session:

Ninth Users Meeting for the APS: Programs and workshops: General workshop information (workshop abstract, workshop title, speaker names, and talk titles) must be received in the User Office no later than July 15 (preferably by the end of June) in order to ensure sufficient lead time for printing the registration booklets. Steve Dierker will follow up with workshop organizers to check progress on developing workshop content and speakers.

Ninth Users Meeting for the APS: Logistics, etc.: Space for workshops won't be assigned until all meeting registrations have been received and tabulated. Potential locations for workshops include E1100, E1200, A1100, the auditorium, various APS conference rooms, LOM 438, and the Argonne Guest House. To minimize foot traffic problems in LOM 438, only one workshop would be scheduled in that area. Start, end, and coffee break times for the workshops will be set, and organizers will be advised of the times to facilitate scheduling of speakers. Concern was expressed that the Microbeams: Techniques and Applications workshop and the Microscale and Molecular Environmental Science workshop would have overlapping attendees interested in participating in both workshops. It was determined that the organizers of the two workshops can meet to synchronize talk times, if desired.

Two User science sessions (Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning) are planned for the meeting. Four speakers will be needed per session (eight speakers total). The names of the speakers will be included in the program book (not the registration packet). General topic areas for the science talks were identified at the January 1998 meeting. The group was asked to suggest names of possible science session speakers to Dierker.

Susan Strasser reported that the banquet (including transportation to the event) has been arranged. Shuttle transportation between the APS and the Argonne Guest House has also been arranged. Eleven vendors have signed up to participate in the meeting to date. Poster session location and refreshments have been arranged. Blocks of rooms have been reserved at the Argonne Guest House and one satellite hotel.

In the graduate student poster competition, one award (plaque and cash award) will be given to the winning poster based on quality of research and poster presentation. The amount of the monetary award will be determined when meeting income is firmer. It was decided that one of the competition criteria will be that at least some portion of the research highlighted in the poster be conducted at the APS. Basic information about the award and qualifying criteria will be included in the registration booklet. George Srajer volunteered to chair the judges' panel. The group was asked to give suggestions for judges to Srajer.

Five nomination packages have been received so far for the Compton prize. All but one of the packages has included multiple-name nominations. Past multiple-party winners each received the full $2000 cash award. This may not be possible for future awards depending on the number of people named in the winning nomination and the number of vendors participating in the meeting (funds for the award come from vendor registration fees).

1998 APSUO Nominating Committee: Five Steering Committee members will be leaving as of the October election. Six new members will be elected at the APSUO business meeting. Fourteen names have been offered for consideration in the APSUO Steering Committee slate of nominees. Srajer stated that he felt it was important during this election to bring members to the Steering Committee whose research is biologically focused. This would help balance the scientific representation on the committee. Srajer and Isaacs will finalize a slate of 12 nominees, confirm their willingness to serve, and provide biographies to Strasser for the meeting packet.

APSUO By-laws review: Strasser presented the draft revision of the by-laws to the group for review. It was decided to strike the paragraph under III, part D relating to directors of other synchrotrons being invited to serve as non-voting ex-officio committee members.

APSUO Web site: Linda Carlson investigated several options for Web page services. The group was presented with the two best options. It is anticipated (based on recent synchrotron community use of the WWW) that a large service package will not be necessary. The most important consideration will be restrictions on sending mass e-mails. Jon Tischler will select one of the options.

Independent Investigator (II) issues: Denis Keane, the APS II Review Committee representative on the APSUO, requested that this topic be added to the executive session. A recent proposal review raised the question of how to define an II. "CAT-X" is a multi-institution entity including institutional members who are not identified as CAT members. These people, as non-CAT members, could be considered to be IIs. The concern is that a large potential exists for "seeding" II time slots with people who are very closely affiliated with the CAT. The consensus of the group was that the definition of an II should be kept less stringent. The PEB will be carefully evaluating each CAT's approach to the II program as part of its overall CAT evaluation. This topic will be watched as the II program develops at the APS.

Close Out:

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

Next Meeting:

The next meeting of the APSUO Steering Committee will be August 20, 1998.

Action Items:

  1. Review the draft APS Doctoral Fellowship Program document (all Steering Committee members).
  2. Contact workshop organizers to assess progress in identifying speakers (S. Dierker).
  3. Determine start, end, and coffee break times for the 9UM workshops and inform workshop organizers (S. Strasser and S. Dierker).
  4. Suggest names for possible User science session speakers to S. Dierker (all Steering Committee members).
  5. Organize a group to serve as judges for the APSUO graduate student poster competition (G. Srajer).
  6. Suggest names of possible judges to G. Srajer for the APSUO graduate student poster competition (all Steering Committee members).
  7. Confirm willingness to serve if elected for nominees to the APSUO Steering Committee (G. Srajer and E. Isaacs).
  8. Finalize the list of APSUO Steering Committee nominees to 12 (G. Srajer and E. Isaacs).
  9. Provide biographies for the list of 12 APSUO Steering Committee nominees to S. Strasser (G. Srajer).
  10. Finalize the draft of the APSUO by-laws for presentation to the membership (S. Strasser).
  11. Select an option for Web-page service for the APSUO (J. Tischler).