I am delighted to serve as interim ALS division director in the wake of Roger Falcone’s departure. I want first to thank Roger for his 11 years of wonderful leadership as ALS director. He has left the facility in a very strong position, with an excellent record of innovation and productivity, an exceptional scientific, accelerator, and operations staff, the world’s best user community, and a very bright future indeed. It has been great serving as Roger’s science deputy for the last five years. I look forward to communicating with him regularly and seeing him on the ALS floor as a user!
For three decades, being involved with the ALS was a “shadow” career for me. I graduated from former Berkeley Lab Director David Shirley’s research group in 1980. My service to the ALS started in 1983 and continued through the tenure of all five former ALS directors. I have chaired the Users’ Executive Committee twice and the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), and have attended and organized many ALS workshops. I helped plant some important seeds to support user/facility collaboration, including Approved Programs, discretionary beam time for beamline scientists, and the ALS Doctoral Fellowship program. With Eli Rotenberg, I was one of the first ALS users in 1993, and I have published at least a few papers from work at the ALS every year since. My research activity evolved to coherent soft x-ray scattering, which is now the focus of a collaboration with beamline scientist Sujoy Roy. A highlight of my career was to lead development of the science case for the ALS Upgrade (ALS-U). I serve on SACs around the world and am always thrilled to see instruments and techniques now deployed at other facilities that were invented and perfected at the ALS. It has been exhilarating to see the ALS develop into a powerhouse facility that has attracted an exceptional staff and user community.
The new challenge to staff and users is to maintain and expand that leadership through a time of significant change. With both Roger and ALS Operations Deputy Michael Banda recently stepping down, we are rebuilding much of the management team. We have also pursued a very aggressive beamline construction schedule over the last several years, and in the near future about one quarter of ALS beamlines will be new or significantly upgraded and ready for innovative user science. These projects include the MAESTRO, COSMIC, AMBER, QERLIN, and GEMINI undulator beamlines as well as several other endstation projects and bend-magnet beamline upgrades. The pace of beamline construction and upgrading will slow over the next few years, but the ALS still plans to renovate several older beamlines and to construct new endstations. Finally, you probably know that the old buildings to the north and east of the ALS are slowly being demolished. We are participating in an ongoing process to redevelop that valuable real estate. This has the potential to have a major impact on the ALS, benefitting our local and worldwide network of users.
Of course, the most significant change on our horizon is the ALS-U project. This planned upgrade of our accelerator will transform the facility into the world’s leading fourth-generation soft x-ray synchrotron, allowing the ALS to flourish for decades to come. This project has been heavily discussed in recent user meetings, workshops, ongoing online user forums, advisory committee meetings, and reviews. The process of prioritizing new capabilities will come to a head in the next several months, and your participation in that process, either directly or through interacting with ALS staff or providing input via our web site, is crucial to our future.
You will find that my management style is open and inclusive. I look forward to working with staff and users on all ALS and ALS-U activities.