Minutes of the APSUO Steering Committee Meeting

Held on January 13, 2000, at Argonne National Laboratory


C. Abad-Zapatero, R. Alkire, M. Antonio, P. Eng, P. Fenter, J. Galayda (APS Update and Close Out only), S. Heald, E. Isaacs, D. Keane, D. Mills (APS Update and Close Out only), C. Pittroff, W. Schildkamp, G. Shenoy, G. Srajer, S. Strasser, J. Tischler (ex officio), and P. Zschack

Routine Business:

Eric Isaacs acted as substitute chair in Steve Dierker's absence. Minutes of the October 28, 1999, meeting were approved, and the action items were reviewed. Gopal Shenoy suggested that committee consider options for recognizing the recent deaths of Jerry Cohen and Paul Sigler and their contributions to the APS in some manner during the upcoming 10th Users Meeting. The topic was added to the Executive Session agenda.

APS Update and Reports:

APS Update: John Galayda reported that run 99-5 had good availability (approximately 94%). The mean time to beam failure for run 99-5 was more than 20 hours (the goal is 50 hours). He presented graphs showing the systems that contribute to downtime and faults from FY 1999 to present. Great improvement has been made in the performance of the rf systems. One area being focused on for improvement is network systems; these systems received concentrated attention during the last shutdown. Galayda anticipates that better network performance will be seen in the upcoming run.

Two 24-hour top-up tests (each starting at 8:00 a.m.) are scheduled to start on Monday, February 28 and Monday, March 13. During the SOM period of run 2000-2 (end of June, early July), one week of top-up operation is also scheduled. During the one-week of top-up operation, a two-minute injection interval will be used. A comprehensive plan for the one week of operation will be developed after data from the two test runs (February 28 and March 13) are analyzed.

Galayda told the group that data collected during the December 1999 run showed clear improvement in the control of the slower orbit distortion attributed to the thick septum. Graphs of horizontal data without feed forward, with feed forward (before correction), and with feed forward (after correction) were presented and discussed.

Tests involving x-ray beam position monitors (XBPMs) will resume in April at sector 34. Planning will begin to implement XBPMs around the ring.

The FY 2000 budget is tighter than the FY 1999 budget, although no impact is expected on user operations and support. In response to the budgetary constraints, the APS is exercising restraint in filling positions opened through natural attrition.

Plans for the construction of LOM 436 are progressing well. The APS is optimistic that funding will be available for start of construction in FY 2000 toward the goal of completion in FY 2001.

The initial Integrated Safety Management (ISM) team visit will take place January 19-24. Galayda reviewed the expected slate of activities. After receiving a general overview, the team will return in February for document review and follow-up interviews. Preparations for these reviews are ongoing, and CATs have been urged to ensure that their management plans accurately reflect actual safety and work practices. Copies of the seven guiding principles and five core functions of ISM were included in the copy of Galayda's overheads.

Role of the Argonne Division of Educational Programs: Susan Strasser introduced Harold Myron, director of the Division of Educational Programs (DEP) to the group. Myron gave the group a brief overview of DEP's activities and goals at the Laboratory, including a diverse array of community and academic involvements. He then reviewed DEP's past and present activities with the APS, highlighting the very successful two-week National School on Neutron and X-ray Scattering (August 1999) and summer 2000 undergraduate research opportunities with the APS CATs sponsored by the State of Illinois HECA (Higher Education Cooperation Act). He noted that a project book is available on line at http://www.dep.anl.gov/catalog/catalog.htm.

The proposed plan for the APS Graduate Research Fellowship includes the following four basic parts: (1) fundraising for stipend funds (federal, state, and corporate sponsors), (2) recruitment of students (WWW, announcements, and meetings), (3) selection of candidates via committee, and (4) quality assurance follow-up with the students, faculty, and APS mentors. The program includes a $1500/month stipend (for a 12 month appointment) and a $5000/year university reimbursement. Each participant would also be reimbursed for one round trip to either his or her home or university. Eligible applicants should preferably have completed their coursework and be conducting thesis research.

The potential commitment for each fellowship is three years with annual renewal. Myron estimated that the bottom-line funding needed to support a student is $28K per year (which includes approximately 15% overhead costs in support of DEP's administration of the program). Students will have tax liability for the stipend funds, and tax is withheld from money processed through ANL. While working on site, students are eligible only for workman's compensation. The group discussed various scenarios related to fundraising.

Executive Session:

Recognition for Sigler and Cohen and Tenth Users Meeting planning: Many potential methods for recognizing the contributions made to the APS synchrotron community by Paul Sigler and Jerry Cohen were discussed. The group selected designating two of the User Science Session talks to topics related to the work of Sigler and Cohen and incorporating memorial retrospectives of their accomplishments and significance to research. Possible speakers were identified for both Sigler (Andrzej Joachimiak, Jack Johnson, or Ed Westbrook) and Cohen (Lyle Schwartz, Ismail Noyan, or Haydn Chen). Additionally, page(s) and photos will be incorporated into the program book in their memory.

Susan Strasser reminded the group that workshop abstracts and outlines are due the week of January 24th. She noted that she will send out an e-mail to remind all workshop organizers of this deadline.

Strasser reviewed the current status of User Meeting planning. Buses for the banquet will leave at approximately 5:00 p.m. to take into account I-55 construction and traffic (anticipated arrival time at the Adler is 6:00 p.m.). An hour-and-a-half reception is planned with two showings of the sky show (tickets will be distributed). It is anticipated that dinner will begin at approximately 7:30 p.m. and that buses back to the Laboratory will leave around 10:00 p.m. She described the layout of the banquet venue and the various displays that attendees will be able to enjoy.

Strasser told the group that the new DOE conference regulations are very strict in delineating allowable and nonallowable costs. The budget is still being worked on, but Strasser indicated that it still may be possible to subsidize some of the meal and banquet costs out of vendor fees. To augment the pool of funds, vendors may be offered opportunities to sponsor various meeting-related events and activities in exchange for recognition on signage and in the program book. She estimated that lunches, which cost $12 per person through the Argonne Guest House, may be made available for $5-7 per ticket. Banquet tickets were estimated to be $45 each.

APSUO Nominating Committee report: Paul Zschack presented the proposed APSUO SC ballot containing 11 names. Six new members will be elected at the business meeting in May. Zschack discussed the development of the ballot, noting that the nominating committee tried to balance scientific discipline, geographic location, CAT affiliation, and gender, etc. A group discussion led to one change in the proposed slate. The nominating committee will determine how to contact the proposed nominees.

Steering Committee election process: Zschack presented the concept of electronic voting (by e-mail) for new APSUO steering committee members to promote broader participation and reduce local bias in voting. An electronic ballot and biographies would be e-mailed to all registered users. Open voting would be permitted for two weeks prior to the business meeting and voting would close the morning of the meeting. A petition process would need to be developed to handle write-in nominees. The nominating committee will prepare a formal proposal for electronic voting to present at the next steering committee meeting.

APS Graduate Research Fellowship program: The most recent draft of the fellowship's overview and a set of draft application forms were included in the meeting packet. The committee was asked to review the documents and give feedback. Strasser reviewed the changes made to the overview since the last meeting, noting that the dollar amounts for the stipend and university reimbursement have been changed pursuant to input from DEP. Additionally, the document should be reworded to indicated that it is "suggested" that applicant coursework be completed prior to the start of a fellowship. She also pointed out to the committee that the draft applications request a starting semester for the fellowships, which will enable a rolling application process. Decisions about awarding fellowships will be made twice per year (review and submission deadline dates will be added to the overview and application forms). The admissions committee should contain a scientific panel and at least one APSUO SC member. Applications not chosen during the selection periods will have to be resubmitted for later consideration.

The group discussed fellowship fund raising at length. It was generally agreed that industrial, DOE, and other federal agency funds should be sought. Denny Mills will determine if a field work proposal (FWP) is necessary. Strasser will contact David Williams of HECA/XCITE and the National Institutes of Health, Isaacs will talk to Lucent and the National Science Foundation (NSF), and Cele Abad-Zapatero will contact Abbott Laboratories to investigate potential funding. Steady, year-to-year industrial funding may be difficult to count on. The group also agreed that industry funds must come from diverse fields (e.g., not all funding from telecommunication companies). The status of funding will be reviewed at the March APSUO meeting.

Distribution of APSUO SC meeting minutes: The SSRL users' organization posts meeting minutes on their Web site for general viewing by their user community. Meeting minutes for the APSUO SC are posted on the Web but are password protected. The group discussed options for sharing information about activities and current topics in the APSUO with the user community. The group liked the idea of making the APSUO Web site more user interactive by posting meeting agendas and making the names of the people associated with the topics into e-mail links. Additionally, Connie Pittroff will begin to ghost write brief letters from the chair for inclusion (after approval from the chair) in future issues of CAT Communicator.

Appointment of a new representative to the II Plan Review Group: A second person is needed in the II Plan Review Group to be the representative when the other representative's II plan is being reviewed. Strasser reviewed the origin of the II review committee for the group. Dean Chapman has volunteered to be the second representative.

Close Out:

Eric Isaacs reviewed topics discussed during the Executive Session and outlined the action items.

Next Meeting:

The next meeting of the APSUO Steering Committee will be held Thursday, March 16, 2000.

Action Items:

  1. Provide abstracts and outlines for 10UM workshops to S. Strasser. (All organizers for 10UM workshops)
  2. Send an e-mail to all 10UM workshop organizers reminding them about the deadline for workshop abstracts and outlines. (S. Strasser)
  3. Prepare a proposal for a new electronic voting format for APSUO Steering Committee elections. (10UM APSUO Nominating Committee)
  4. Read the revised draft of the APS Graduate Research Fellowship program summary and provide feedback to S. Strasser. (All APSUO SC members)
  5. Determine if an FWP is needed to pursue DOE funds for the APS Graduate Research Fellowship program. (D. Mills)
  6. Talk to David Williams about potential funding support for the APS Graduate Research Fellowship program from HECA/XCITE. (S. Strasser)
  7. Contact Lucent regarding potential funding support for the APS Graduate Research Fellowship program. (E. Isaacs)
  8. Contact Abbott Labs regarding potential funding support for the APS Graduate Research Fellowship program. (C. Abad-Zapatero)
  9. Contact the NIH regarding potential funding support for the APS Graduate Research Fellowship program. (S. Strasser)
  10. Contact the NSF regarding potential funding support for the APS Graduate Research Fellowship program. (E. Isaacs)
  11. Post future APSUO SC meeting agendas on the APSUO Web page with the name(s) of the speaker(s) for each topic posted as e-mail links. (S. Strasser)
  12. Prepare a brief article about recent topics discussed by the APSUO SC for review by the APSUO SC chair and inclusion in the next addition of CAT Communicator. (C. Pittroff)