APS User News-at-a-Glance
Issue 19: February 6, 2003

Contents:

1. Message from Murray
2. Science Highlight: X-ray Videos Deliver a Breath of Fresh Air for Insect Physiology
3. New APS Scientific Advisory Committee Completes First Meeting
4. Introducing X-ray Operations and Research: "The CAT Formerly Known as SRI"
5. BESSRC Operations Group Joins APS Staff
6. Twelfth User Meeting for the APS
7. Heightened Security Implemented at Argonne

 

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1. Message from Murray
(Contact: Murray Gibson, jmgibson@aps.anl.gov)

Happy New Year! Many very positive things are going on at APS as we enter 2003. We have just achieved our highest ever reliability in a run--over 99%. The Science Advisory Committee (SAC) had its first ever meeting. SRI-CAT changed its name and mission to X-ray Operations and Research (XOR), and the staff of BESSRC-CAT has joined XOR. And we have started the first centralized general user program at APS. All these things improve the scientific impact and accessibility of the Advanced Photon Source. More details on many of these are given below.

During the SAC meeting, there was considerable discussion about the "endgame" at APS, that is, the fact that only four sectors remain uncommitted. We have three letters of intent and one scientific proposal accepted for these sectors. Of course, this isn't a true "endgame" because we still have many strategies to permit continuous innovation, including canted undulators, which double the utilization of sectors, and renewal and upgrades of existing sectors. Nonetheless, it is critical that the APS make the best choices in assigning our unused sectors, to maximize capabilities for users. The SAC would like to stimulate more proposals for these last sectors, so that they can make recommendations in an appropriate context, and you will soon hear more about our plans in this regard.

2. X-ray Videos Deliver a Breath of Fresh Air for Insect Physiology
(Contact: Wah-Keat Lee, wklee@aps.anl.gov)

A surprising new insect breathing mechanism similar to lung ventilation in vertebrates has been discovered by scientists at The Field Museum in Chicago and the APS. The mechanism was revealed by high-resolution x-ray videos of living insects obtained using 15- to 25-keV synchrotron x-rays from the APS. This research, which marks a novel application of synchrotron x-rays, was published in the Friday, January 24, 2003, issue of Science.

The high brightness and small size of the x-ray source allow for real-time, phase-enhanced imaging. This imaging technique makes use of edge enhancement, which enables clear delineation of a living insect's anatomy and permits direct observation of changes in the volume of the insect tracheal system.

Zoologist Mark Westneat of The Field Museum, physicist Wah-Keat Lee of the APS, and their collaborators recorded x-ray videos of the anterior thorax and head regions of a variety of insects. Many species exhibited rapid cycles of tracheal compression and expansion. The images revealed a previously unknown mechanism of respiration in insects analogous to the inflation and deflation of vertebrate lungs.

Further development of the x-ray imaging technique used in this study could potentially improve understanding of the physiology of mammals, fish, and insects and, by extension, clarify corresponding functions in human physiology.

More details, including video clips and references, are available at the APS home page, http://www.aps.anl.gov, under the heading APS News, or directly at http://www.aps.anl.gov/aps/news/20030127a.html.

3. New APS Scientific Advisory Committee Completes First Meeting
Contributed by Michael Rowe, Scientific Advisory Committee Chair
(Contact: Michael Rowe, rowe@nist.gov)

The newly constituted Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), which incorporates and supersedes the Program Evaluation Board, met for the first time at the APS on January 21-23. The SAC, which reports to the Director of the APS, has a number of specific responsibilities, but our overarching goal is to help ensure that the APS produces the best possible science and meets its full potential. The membership of the Committee has been chosen to provide a broad perspective across the many types of science done at the APS and includes members with long x-ray experience as well as scientists with no experience at synchrotron sources. Much of this first meeting was taken up with establishing the policies and procedures that will govern future activities, but the most important results were the first SAC reviews of Sector Review Panel (SRP) reports, in this case for CMC-, DND- and MU-CATs. These reviews are an essential part of the process of scientific review of the APS. The SRPs met in November and spent one day reviewing each CAT. The reviews included scientific presentations, discussions, and comments on the advance material provided by each CAT. In each case, the chair of the SRP was a SAC member, who reported the results to the full SAC. We appreciate that preparing for and conducting these reviews is a burden for all involved, and we welcome your suggestions for improvements to the process. While the SAC was satisfied that they were getting the relevant facts, we did identify some improvements to the process for the next set of reviews. We thank everyone involved for their cooperation in this process.

Another important item on the agenda was development of mechanisms to implement the concept of partnership proposals, which are intended to provide a new, unified mechanism to encourage participation by the community in the future of the APS. These partnerships will include not only new CAT proposals but also smaller cooperative ventures, such as the development of special "turn-key" end stations dedicated to easy access for user experiments. We are optimistic that this will provide an important avenue for you to participate in the ongoing development of new science opportunities.

The recent past has been a time of high stress for the APS, as change has come at a high pace. However, one thing has not changed and will not change--an absolute dedication to making the APS a vehicle to enable the best possible science. The SAC is impressed by what you have accomplished so far, and we hope to be a constructive force for progress in the future. We are always receptive to your comments and insights, and, as chair, I will be happy to hear from you as we go forward, by email at rowe@nist.gov or through the APS User Office (strasser@aps.anl.gov).

(A photo of the Committee and brief biographical information on its members are available on the APS web site, in the User Info section under the Committees heading, or directly at http://www.aps.anl.gov/user/committees/sac/home.html.)

4. Introducing X-ray Operations and Research: "The CAT Formerly Known as SRI"
(Contact: Dennis Mills, dmm@aps.anl.gov)

APS sectors 1 through 4 have a new organizational identity: effective January 1, 2003 the Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation (SRI) CAT was dissolved and reconstituted as a new organization within the APS Experimental Facilities Division (XFD), by the name of X-ray Operations and Research, or XOR.

The leadership of beamline operations at the former SRI sectors will initially remain unchanged. Dean Haeffner, Ian McNulty, Ercan Alp, and George Srajer will continue to manage Sectors 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively, as group leaders within XOR. The Director of XFD, Efim Gluskin, is currently organizing a search committee to provide guidance in the selection of an associate division director to head the XOR portion of XFD.

The role of the new organization reflects a natural evolution from the original goals of SRI: the development of instrumentation and techniques, nucleation and growth of new user communities, and stimulation of scientific productivity. As a part of the transition, the amount of beam time available to general users on sectors 1 through 4 has increased, from 25% previously, to 50% in FY03 and 80% time in FY04. The new structure also puts in place a flexible mechanism by which the APS can fulfill its new role of providing operational support to beamlines funded by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) in DOE. Three APS employees are already working in this capacity: Dohn Arms and Dan Walko, supporting MHATT-CAT, and Mike Pape, supporting PNC-CAT.

In addition, XOR will be the organizational home of employees hired though the APS to provide operational support to CATs. At present, these include Bill McHargue (supporting MU-CAT) and Diego Casa, Thomas Gog, and Ivan Kuzmenko (supporting CMC-CAT). Dennis Mills is currently the Acting Group Leader for these staff members. Similarly, as of January 1, 2003, XOR is also home to the operations group of the Basic Energy Sciences Synchrotron Radiation Center (BESSRC) CAT (see next story). Plans are in place to hire several more staff members to support BES-funded CATs.

5. BESSRC Operations Group Joins APS Staff
(Contact: Mark Beno, beno@anl.gov)

In parallel with the transition of SRI-CAT to the X-ray Operations and Research organization within the APS (see previous story), the Basic Energy Sciences Synchrotron Radiation Center (BESSRC) CAT operations group has joined the Experimental Facilities Division of the Advanced Photon Source, effective January 1, 2003. The partner members of BESSRC are affiliated with the Materials Science and Chemistry divisions and Geoscience group at Argonne and with the Physics Department at Northern Illinois University.

The organizational change is part of DOE's strategy to have the APS facility take greater responsibility for the operation of CATs that are in the Basic Energy Sciences (BES) area of interest. The transition of BESSRC operations is accompanied by an appropriate increase in the APS operating budget. To ensure the continued success of user science, the APS and BESSRC are cooperatively developing a plan to ensure a smooth transition of BESSRC's mode of operation over the next few years. "In the future, we must sustain and build on the excellent partnerships with BESSRC users," APS Director Murray Gibson said.

Mark Beno is now a group leader in the X-ray Operations and Research area of the Experimental Facilities Division. The members of his group, now also APS staff members, are Klaus Attenkofer, Jeanne Cowan, Mark Engbretson, Chuck Kurtz, Guy Jennings, Sönke Seifert, and Jennifer Linton. "These people are all well-known in the APS user community." Gibson said. "From the APS point of view, it is wonderful to have the highly experienced BESSRC staff in our organization to help us as we develop our new approach to BES sector operations."

6. Twelfth User Meeting for the APS
(Contact: Susan Strasser, strasser@aps.anl.gov)

Have you marked your calendar for the Twelfth User Meeting for the APS? If not, do it now--the dates are April 29 to May 1. Or better yet, register now to make sure you reserve your spot! An overall meeting schedule, workshop descriptions, information on submitting posters, and an on-line registration form are now available at the user meeting web site (http://www.aps.anl.gov/conferences/12um/). Meeting highlights include talks about exciting science (have you heard yet about "bug breath"?), an update on what's happening in science policy in Washington, six outstanding workshops, posters (with prizes for students), the Compton Award lecture, great food, and even a fiesta (complete with music). And we're even providing special registration rates for students. For further information, contact Steve Durbin, APS User Organization Vice-Chair and Scientific Program Coordinator (durbin@physics.purdue.edu) or Susan Strasser, APS User Administration Manager and User Meeting Coordinator (strasser@aps.anl.gov).

7. Heightened Security Implemented at Argonne

As of February 6, 2003, Argonne National Laboratory has implemented a higher lever of security precautions for persons entering the site. When you visit the APS, please allow time for possible delays at the entrance gates.

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The APS User News-at-a-Glance is a periodic electronic news bulletin for APS users. If you've received this issue by direct e-mail, you are already subscribed and need to do nothing further to receive future bulletins. If you prefer not to receive these messages, you can unsubscribe by replying to this e-mail and placing the word "unsubscribe" in the subject line of your e-mail reply.

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