Welcome to the new Users’ Executive Committee members for 2021! The ALS Users’ Executive Committee (UEC) is responsible for conveying the concerns and interests of users to ALS management. Each member serves on the UEC for three years, with the exception of the student member, who serves for two years.
Many thanks to the UEC members who are rotating off: Fanny Rodolakis, Emma Anquillare, Ashley Head, and Jay Nix
Meet the newly elected representatives:
Rourav Basak, UC San Diego (student representative)
Being a condensed matter experimentalist, since my Masters, I had been associated with Advanced Light Source. During my first beamtime at RiXS endstation at beamline 8, I loved working with beamline scientists who shared our enthusiasm and despair of finding excitations. Later I have participated in the User meetings of ALS (2019,2020) where I participated in ALS 101 tutorial series in 2019, and a couple of workshops in 2020. They were fantastic. Now I am working on developing novel experimental methods as well as planning experiments with currently practiced cutting-edge experimental methods for hard condensed matter, especially antiferromagnetism as part of my ongoing PhD training. I have experiences of multiple beamtimes in the Advanced Light Source and Advanced Photon Source.
As a part of UEC I would like to address broad issues such as user convenience and accessibility during an experiment, and extremely specific issues such as easing out the learning curve for experimental techniques (eg more annual online and method specific tutorial/workshop series as follow-up on ALS 101) to facilitate collaboration among diverse fields. From a graduate student perspective, I feel having a stackoverflow type of website under the ALS website for each topical interest cross-linked with beamlines and the beamline staffs will be of extreme benefit. Most importantly with the ALS-U right around the corner, I would like to organise topical workshops during the annual user meeting directed along the transformative opportunities ALS-U is going to offer to the users. I will personally be interested in the track of coherence in light and matter. I would love to volunteer to gauge user expectations, connect them to beamline scientists and finally design workshops which will help the community to push the scientific limit to the extent it is possible.
Eric Meshot, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
My interests in joining the UEC are informed by a spirit of service and the opportunity to give back to my synchrotron community. We are in a critical moment ahead of the anticipated ALS-U, which is expected to drive substantial changes within the facility and many beamlines. It will be important to engage the existing community that has helped make the ALS a premier light source for soft and tender X-ray science while also encouraging the next wave of young scientists to capitalize on the exciting upgrades. Tackling the most challenging and vital scientific questions for society requires the most innovative thinking, which is not born out of isolated groups, so I would be dedicated to fostering the inclusion of a diverse pool of users.
I am a staff scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and have been an active user at the ALS since 2014 – with experience at CHESS, APS, NSLS-I/II, LCLS and other user facilities such as the Molecular Foundry. My team primarily uses the suite of ALS scattering beamlines, covering the spectrum of soft, tender, and hard X-rays (126.96.36.199, 5.3.1, 7.3.3, 12.2.2) to interrogate nanostructured materials and interfaces spanning diverse length scales. We have also happily discovered the power of soft X-ray microscopy (5.3.2) as a complementary spatiochemical probe. My broad experience both across user facilities and within the ALS different beamlines has given me a great understanding and reverence for how the user model can boost the impact of one’s research.
Inna Vishik, UC Davis
I am an assistant professor at UC Davis, and my group studies emergent electronic phenomena in quantum materials using a wide variety of spectroscopic tools. Experiments at the ALS have been a key part of my research since my PhD, spanning several beamlines (7.0.2, 4.0.3, 10.0.1, 9.3.1). Interacting with the staff scientists, postdocs, students, and other users who make up this research community is one of the great joys of being an ALS user, and enhancing these interactions for everyone is my motivation to serve on the UEC.
The past year has brought many changes to how we perform and disseminate synchrotron research. As a member of the UEC, I would facilitate improvements to virtual engagement, which is likely to continue to some degree beyond Covid. The success of the 2020 ALS user meeting showed that this event can translate virtually. Going forward, a hybrid online/in-person user meeting can include the global user community while also allowing in-person interaction for those who prefer it. As a member of the UEC, I would organize more activities serving students, postdocs, and other early career researchers. One of my plans is a beamtime proposal writing workshop, involving both a panel discussion with beamline scientists and reviewers and some components where the audience participates in reading, editing, or writing short portions of proposals.
The tutorials offered as part of the user meeting have been incredibly useful for my new graduate students, and a larger audience in a hybrid meeting would allow for more and smaller tutorials. In particular, senior graduate students and postdocs could give a short tutorial on a specialized technique they have used/developed. I would also work to enhance communication between researchers and beamline scientists for planning and execution of remote experiments. Looking ahead to the dark period when ALS will be shut down for the ALS-U upgrade, this infrastructure of virtual engagement will allow to maintain connections and knowledge transfer among the community. Finally, we all look forward to resuming valuable in-person interaction at the ALS when it is safe, and as a long-time bay area resident, I would curate a list of local resources and attractions from our visitors from afar who have extra time before or after their beamtime.