current events\(\def\hfill{\hskip 5em}\def\hfil{\hskip 3em}\def\eqno#1{\hfil {#1}}\)

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ISSN: 1600-5775

Current events

(Received 28 March 2013; accepted 28 March 2013; online 17 April 2013)

1. United States President visits Advanced Photon Source

United States President Barak Obama used the Advanced Photon Source as a backdrop to announce a new plan to use oil and gas royalties to fund alternative energy research. The president's proposal would add USD 200 million a year for ten years (USD 2 billion) to the Department of Energy's office of renewable energy, which represents an approximately 10% increase in the office's overall spending, or 25% of its spending on transportation research. The APS provided a high-tech environment to emphasize the importance of advanced research tools to deliver new energy-efficient technologies. The announcement was made inside the APS experimental hall with the ratchet wall shielding in the background.[link]

[Figure 1]
Figure 1
President Obama addresses an audience on the experimental floor of the Advanced Photon Source.

2. Swiss free-electron laser sets groundbreaking ceremony

A groundbreaking ceremony for the SwissFEL building at Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) is scheduled for 3 July 2013, with participation of representatives from the scientific community, political authorities, the local community as well as academic groups. A consortium of three Swiss companies named `EquiFEL Suisse' was awarded the contract for construction of the SwissFEL building and its technical infrastructure. Signing of the contract took place on 7 February 2013. First works for the building and its technical infrastructure will start in April 2013, with a 2014 delivery of the finished building to the PSI. First beam is scheduled for the end of 2016 with pilot experiments in spring 2017. In August 2010, a test facility was put into operation at the PSI-West zone of the Institute's site, near the existing SLS and SINQ large-scale facilities, in which the first part of the SwissFEL accelerator is gradually being assembled. Here, components are being tested and various technical solutions tried out. As soon as the final buildings are completed, this test facility will become a part of SwissFEL itself. The cost of constructing SwissFEL will be approximately CHF 275 million, the majority of which will be borne by the Swiss federal government.

3. Australian Synchrotron pioneer Steve Wilkins passes

Steve Wilkins, a long-time ambassador for synchrotron radiation in Australia, a co-editor for the Journal of Synchrotron Radiation and a respected X-ray scientist, passed away in Melbourne on 25 March 2013. As described in a tribute on the Australian Light Source home page, `Steve was greatly respected and admired in the synchrotron and broader scientific community and will be much missed. He was the definitive quiet achiever, extremely likeable with a gentle sense of humour that always put people at their ease. His creativity and passion have become part of the DNA of the Australian Synchrotron user community.'

Steve's pioneering support for synchrotron radiation in Australia began in the early 1980s. He was influential on several beamlines now operating at the Australian Synchrotron, including contributions to the imaging and medical beamlines, and support for beamlines still on the drawing boards. He is particularly well known for his contributions to phase-contrast imaging. Steve was not only a prolific scientist, but was very active in organizing scientific conferences, workshops and meetings. On behalf of staff at the Australian Synchrotron, Interim Director Andrew Peele offered condolences to Steve Wilkins' family and is passing on the messages of sympathy that are already flowing in from the worldwide synchrotron community. The Australian Synchrotron will collate personal tributes should people wish to provide them, and will coordinate with Steve's family how best to display these. If you wish to offer a tribute, please send an email to[link]

[Figure 2]
Figure 2
Steve Wilkins, a long time pioneer of synchrotron radiation and a former co-editor of the Journal of Synchrotron Radiation.

4. Pan-American Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation Conference, 19–21 June 2013

The 17th Pan-American Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation Conference will be held on the campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA, on 19–21 June 2013. The NIST site is located near to Washington DC which offers numerous museums and monuments. Abstracts are due on 26 April, and a preliminary program has been posted. The conference is being co-hosted by Cornell University, the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Laboratory and Surf III at NIST. A website provides access to invitation letters, abstract submission registration and other services ( ).[link]

[Figure 3]
Figure 3
SRI2013 conference logo.

5. Last magnet girder installed as NSLS-II strikes gold

The new National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) Ring Building at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, USA, has earned a LEED Gold Certification from the US Green Building Council. The 515000-square-foot NSLS-II project conventional construction is due to be completed in 2013. To simplify the LEED review and rating process, the NSLS-II project was divided into three separate projects, using two different LEED rating systems. `The LEED campus approach was essential in achieving LEED Gold certification on the building. It allowed us to leverage the benefits of the holistic approach to the site design, while streamlining the LEED documentation process,' explained Shannon Roberts, AICP, LEED AP BD+C, PMP, HDR Sustainable Design project manager.

As the LEED award was announced, the final of 150 magnetic girders was installed at the NSLS-II. This milestone toward the turn-on of the facility required approximately one year and involved more than 843 magnets. In addition, the first of 17 hutches contracted for the first beamlines are now beginning to populate the experimental floor. The NSLS-II is scheduled for first operations in 2015.[link]

[Figure 4]
Figure 4
Magnets were supplied by ring magnet vendors based in six countries: Buckley Systems (New Zealand), Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics (Russia), Danfysik (Denmark), Everson Tesla (USA), Institute of High Energy Physics (China) and Tesla Engineering (UK).
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