APS User News
Issue 71, August 18, 2011

CONTENTS

1. DIRECTOR'S CORNER

USER MATTERS
2. How to Wow! "Secrets" for a Successful Proposal
3. Sweet Dreams Mean Safer Work
4. XSD's Linda Young Elected DAMOP Vice Chair
5. Successful 2011 APS/IIT Summer XAFS School

BRIEFLY NOTED
-- John Quintana Appointed Argonne's Deputy COO
-- 2011 X-Ray Spectroscopy of Magnetic Solids Workshop Set for October 22-23
-- Workshops on Hard X-ray Instrumentation at the SwissFEL
-- Next GUP Deadline is October 28, 2011

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DIRECTOR’S CORNER
During the last week of July, we had the annual review of APS organized by our contractor UChicago Argonne LLC focusing on operations, strategy, and coordination between the APS Upgrade and operations. I'd like to thank all of the staff and users who participated in making this a success. The review committee was impressed by the quality and quantity of the science and the quality and reliability of the APS accelerator and x-ray beams. They advised us to maintain a strong dialogue with our user community as we go through the planning and execution of the Upgrade. The guidance of the committee will be very useful as we move forward, and this review has gotten us ahead of the curve in preparing for the triennial DOE review of APS operations that is scheduled for September 12-15, 2011.

We are now entering a very important phase in planning for the APS Upgrade, in which we optimize the "roadmap" for the future APS (e.g., the locations and designs of the new and upgraded beamlines)-- both those that are funded by the Upgrade project and those we anticipate being funded by other sources. The next step will include meetings with representatives of all beamlines, user groups, and other stakeholders to understand the pros and cons of various potential options. With both Derrick Mancini (APS-U Project Director) and me having backgrounds as users and beamline developers, we understand that listening to the needs and concerns from the experimental floor and partner organizations is critically important, and we want to reassure the community that APS will develop this plan in a way in which everyone has a place at the table and an open channel for their concerns and ideas. The APS Upgrade team is looking forward to working with you to turn the exciting concepts for the Upgrade and beyond into reality.

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2. How to Wow! "Secrets" for a Successful Proposal
What makes certain proposals stand out from the crowd in the review process?

Beam time at the APS is made available to users from around the world through the web-based General User Program (GUP). Proposals from general users are submitted, reviewed, and allocated time via the on-line system three times annually prior to each APS run cycle (typically in March, July, and October).

General user proposals are handled in a two-step process: The Proposal Review Panel (or PRP) peer reviews and scores each proposal using a five-point scale (http://centraldocs.aps.anl.gov/participation.html#table1). The Beam Time Allocation Committee uses the scores and the feasibility of each proposal to allocate shifts of beam time and assign the beamlines.

Here are some things that you can do to when using the GUP system to get your proposal off to a great start in the review process:

Have a plan: A good proposal will result when your work is based on interesting science backed by a good, strong experimental plan. You can show your solid planning by choosing a good team of co-researchers that brings relevant experience to your experiment. Spell out the importance and relevance of your proposed work. Make sure your proposal has a focus and is not trying to do too much. Talk to the beamline scientists before submitting your proposal--they are a great resource!

Demonstrate high probability for a successful experiment: Make sure that your experiment objective is reasonable and that you have both a clearly defined experimental method and an appropriate analytical method. Choose the instrument/beamline best suited for your work. Make sure your estimated beam time needs are reasonable.

Back up your proposal with demonstrated performance: Include previous data and any preliminary results in your proposal. Cite relevant publications.

General tips:

  1. Have your proposal reviewed by a colleague(s) to ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and on topic—do not clutter your proposal with information that is not directly relevant to your specific goal.
  2. Write a competitive proposal: invest the time to prepare your proposal package. Do not assume that the reviewers will be familiar with your work.
  3. Choose a good title for your proposal: A clear, to-the-point title is better than flashy and/or vague.
  4. Answer all the questions on the form completely and thoroughly.
  5. Identify all the experimenters that are playing a role in your work, both those that will be coming to the APS and those that won’t. If you are collaborating with an instrument scientist, include them on the team as well.
  6. Be sure to include your abstract in the on-line beam time request form. If you attach any supporting materials to support your proposal, make sure they are on topic and current.
  7. Request a reasonable number of shifts for your experiment—be sure the complexity of your work matches the time you are seeking. If your experiment requires a lot of advance set up and this preparation could be done during a shutdown day, spell this out in your proposal.

Project status is very sparingly granted to proposals and requires a very strong proposal package. Does your proposal rise to level of requiring project status? More about project status for proposals can be found here.

The starting point for the proposal submission process can be found at http://www.aps.anl.gov/Users/apply_for_beamtime.html. Many thanks to Pete R. Jemian for sharing his presentation “How to Apply for and Get* Beam Time (* No guarantees, of course)” from his March 2010 Small-angle Scattering Short Course.

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3. Safety Snippets: Sweet Dreams Mean Safer Work
This is the first installment of our recurring column on safety-related topics. You can find this and future articles in the right-hand navigation bar under "Safety Snippets." As we kick off the Safety Snippets column, we wanted to share this important Safety Message recently sent to all employees of Argonne National Laboratory by Bill Brinkman, Director of the Department of Energy's Office of Science:

"Argonne National Laboratory has a rich history of delivering transformational research across the globe. But the lab’s ability to sustain its scientific contributions is directly linked to its ability to conduct its research and supporting operations safely. Accordingly, I am quite disappointed with the number of recent injuries at the laboratory. I spoke this week with your Director and the Argonne Site Office about the lab’s current safety record and the necessity to identify causes, show improvement, and thereby demonstrate accountability.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility, and one that must be felt personally. Industry’s safety leaders commit to the belief that all accidents are preventable and that a realistic goal is one of zero injuries. I strongly encourage each of you to plan your work carefully, consider and mitigate hazards thoughtfully, and strictly conduct your work in accordance with documented laboratory practices.

'Safety is our full-time job, don't make it a part-time practice.'”

Sweet Dreams Mean Safer Work
Large workloads, busy travel schedules, and non-work activities can lead to people being over tired or sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation or fatigue can have significant effects on manual dexterity, reaction time, and alertness. Fatigue can also impair judgment and reduce the ability to recognize or avoid risks resulting in people putting themselves and their co-workers at risk.

What can you do to minimize your safety risks due to fatigue? Getting enough rest is everyone’s personal responsibility. Know how much sleep you need to perform optimally. During your work shift, try to notice when you lose concentration or start to nod off. If you find your attention wandering, get up and stretch or take a walk or grab a quick snack. Casual chats may help maintain alertness and improve rather than detract from productivity. Since dehydration increases the effect of fatigue, try drinking more water during the day.

To ensure a good night’s sleep, the National Sleep Foundation offers these suggestions:

  • Exercise during the day
  • Establish a regular sleep schedule
  • Relax before bedtime
  • Avoid heavy meals or caffeine before sleep
  • Consume less or avoid alcohol and nicotine
  • Drink fewer fluids that may disrupt sleep, and
  • Be aware that certain drugs or sleep aids can sometimes interfere with natural sleep.

It’s important to recognize that your fatigue can affect more than just you: It can potentially have a catastrophic effect on the safety and well-being of your co-workers, too. People need to get adequate sleep before working. They owe it to themselves and others.

You can find a Safety Notice on this and other timely topics at http://www.aps.anl.gov/Safety_and_Training/Notices/

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4. XSD's Linda Young Elected DAMOP Vice Chair
Linda Young, X-ray Science Division Director and Argonne Distinguished Fellow has been elected Vice Chair of the Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics of the American Physical Society (DAMOP). The four-year term position became official at the 2011 DAMOP Meeting in Atlanta, GA, which was attended by more than 1000 members. You can read more about both Young and DAMOP here.

5. Successful 2011 APS/IIT Summer XAFS School
By all accounts, the week-long 2011 Advanced Photon Source/Illinois Institute of Technology (APS/IIT) XAFS annual summer school (held at the IIT campus in Chicago, IL) was a great success. Attended by a group of 40 graduate students, postdocs, professors, and working scientists from industry and government laboratories, the course covered fundamental and practical aspects of x-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy including sample preparation, experiment, theory, and data analysis. Participants haled from as far away as Germany, Denmark, Belgium, and England.

The participants were able to partake in a day of hands-on experiments at several beamlines at the APS, a guided data analysis laboratory using Athena/iFEFFIT and
other programs , and several lectures presented by several prominent and experienced XAFS researchers. A welcoming reception for the school was hosted by Quercus X-rayTechnologies. Organizer Prof. Grant Bunker (IIT) said “I believe the XAFS community substantially benefits from these (schools), as do the APS and IIT. Feedback from the students certainly confirms that impression.” Despite some challenging weather conditions, participants were also able to enjoy some free time in the evenings to experience the attractions offered by the city of Chicago. Prof. Bunker hopes to continue to improve the school and offer it again at IIT summer of 2012.

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BRIEFLY NOTED

-- John Quintana Appointed Argonne's Deputy COO
Congratulations to John Quintana for being appointed Argonne’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer! John stepped into his new role on Monday, August 1. John joined the APS as an Associate Division Director (ADD) in the APS Operations Division in 2005, and in 2006 took on his most recent role as the ADD of Mechanical and Interlock Systems within the APS Engineering Support Division. The APS wishes John the best of luck in his new position as Argonne’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer.

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-- 2011 X-Ray Spectroscopy of Magnetic Solids Workshop Set for October 22-23
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, CA will host the 2011 X-Ray Spectroscopy of Magnetic Solids Workshop on October 22-23, 2011. http://ssrl.slac.stanford.edu/conferences/xrms/  

The X-ray Spectroscopy of Magnetic Solids (XRMS) meetings have proved as a fruitful forum for informal discussion of recent results and future projects of synchrotron radiation based research on magnetism and magnetic materials. They also serve for the formation of new collaborations. The meeting is organized in sessions dedicated to specific scientific topics and experimental techniques. The absence of parallel sessions allows all the participants to take part in the discussion and to have a comprehensive view of the latest achievements and of the envisioned developments in the field. A poster session will be held to facilitate discussions between participants during the workshop. The 2011 workshop is being arranged at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory as a satellite event to the SSRL/LCLS annual users' conference.

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-- Workshops on Hard X-ray Instrumentation at the SwissFEL
The Paul Scherrer Institute is currently planning the construction of an x-ray free-electron laser, the SwissFEL, near its facilities in Würenlingen, Switzerland. The present design incudes the injector, three accelerating sections, and two beamlines. The SwissFEL photonics group is seeking input from potential users to implement their requirements into the design of the beamline and the experimental stations. Two user workshops are planned on “Hard X-ray Instrumentation at the SwissFEL.” 

Workshop 1, September 12, 2011: Spectroscopic Experiments
Workshop 2, November 21, 2011: Scattering and DiffractionEexperiments

A complete brochure with full information about the workshops can be found here.

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-- Next GUP Deadline is October 28, 2011
The deadline to submit proposals for run cycle 2012-1 is Friday, October 28, 2011. Details and the on-line proposal submission form can be found at http://www.aps.anl.gov/Users/apply_for_beamtime.html.

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