The Advanced Photon Source
a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility

Neutron and X-ray School - Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply to the school?

The target audience is graduate students attending North American universities.

Due to the amount of time required to obtain clearance for site access to Argonne and Oak Ridge National Labs, we can not consider applications from foreign nationals with a citizenship from, a birthplace of, or sponsored or employed by a country that is a “state sponsor of terrorism” (as defined by the U.S. Department of State). These are listed on the U.S. Department of State webpage.

What is the acceptance rate for applicants?

The program is highly over-subscribed. In the most recent years, the acceptance rate has been about 30 percent.

If rejected one year, is it worthwhile to apply again?

Yes. Students who have only just started their Ph.D. program at the time of their first application are encouraged to apply again.

Can I attend the school more than once?

No. It is the intention that students only attend once.

When will the lectures start?

Lectures start on the first Sunday of the School’s week.

What expenses are covered?

Travel, lodging and meals will be covered for graduate students accepted into the program.

If accepted, can I miss part of school (start late or leave early) due to other commitments (beamtime for experiments, etc.)?

No. We expect all accepted participant to attend during the full two weeks.

Does the School cover macromolecular crystallography?

No. The course covers use of x-rays and neutrons for the physical sciences such as physics, chemistry, materials science and some engineering and geoscience areas. Courses such as RapiData or Cold Spring Harbor are more appropriate for biologists interested in learning protein crystallography.

I don't expect to do measurements myself, but I want to learn about them. Is the School for me?

The target audience of the school are graduate students who will use neutron and x-ray techniques and facilities in their graduate research and as such students who are experimentalists receive priority. Students who are only doing computational work, etc. are unlikely to be selected, but may be interested in looking at the speaker's slides. These are placed online after the School completes.

I need to learn only Rietveld analysis (or small-angle scattering, or neutron spectroscopy) for my thesis. Should I apply?

The school presents a broad-brush introduction to the full range of physical science techniques at neutron and x-ray facilities. Students do not get in-depth training in any one technique. Priority is given to students based on the number of different types of measurements they are likely to use in their graduate research. People needing to learn one skill are better suited to a course specializing in that technique. Lecture slides are available online after the School. Alternately, students interested in auditing only some of the lectures may contact the organizers to see if this is possible, as seating is limited. No travel support is available for auditing.

Does the School accept postdocs, young faculty or undergraduates?

Priority is given to is given to students who will use neutron and x-ray facilities in their graduate research. Applicants who are not graduate students may apply and will be considered, but are only occasionally accepted. The lectures may be beneficial for postdocs or theorists wishing to learn more about a broad range of scattering techniques and slides are made online after the School. Those interested in attending only some of the lectures should contact the organizers to see if this is possible, as seating is limited. No travel support is available for auditing.