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2013 Director's New Year Address Print

Looking Forward and Celebrating 20 Years in 2013


falocneWe recently sat down with ALS Director Roger Falcone to talk about what 2013 has in store for the ALS. An immediate answer is - a celebration - as the ALS marks its 20th year of operation. We’ll spend some time this year looking back at what we’ve accomplished over the past couple of decades and forward to how we’ll continue to contribute to the future of scientific research.

The next few months at the ALS will be both busy and exciting as we prepare for our annual shutdown in February and for a DOE budget review in March, says Falcone. The shutdown will bring some long-anticipated upgrades and implementations to our facility and the budget review will give the ALS an opportunity to revisit, fine-tune, and prioritize our strategic plan. We continue to improve our accelerator so that we maintain our leadership as one of the brightest soft x-ray synchrotrons in the world — a valuable enabling resource for thousands of users.

“Our strategic plan captures our best ideas about how we will work with users to stay at the forefront of science,” says Falcone. “The roadmap for how we do that will be informed by where the DOE and other agencies are focusing resources.”

One of the DOE’s major focus areas in 2013 will continue to be sustainable energy, says Falcone. The ALS has continually played a role in this arena by partnering with scientists involved in major sustainable energy efforts, including JCAP, an ongoing effort in artificial photosynthesis, and JCSER, a new energy storage initiative.

“We’ve always done world-leading research, and that has put us in a position to contribute directly to these grand-challenge missions that the DOE has taken on,” says Falcone. That also means we need to continue our basic research mission to be prepared for the grand challenges in the future.

New ALS instrumentation plans in 2013 such as our AMBER beamline proposal will build upon existing ALS capabilities for supporting energy research.

Partnerships and collaborations with other divisions at the Lab will also inform our focus and strategy, says Falcone. With Omar Yaghi as the new director of the Molecular Foundry, we are looking more closely at how we can expand our small-molecule crystallography capabilities to provide the best research capabilities for new functional materials including metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), which would also align well with the DOE’s interest in mesoscale research.