Director's Update: FY08 Budget
As you have heard, the fiscal year (FY08) federal budget for science is considerably lower than was originally predicted, and at several national laboratories the conse-
quences have been severe.
At the ALS, we received FY08 funding that will require significant belt tightening. Last week, I visited our program managers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES), and they are as concerned as we are by the cutbacks that will need to be taken at facilities and in programs. There is some hope that the FY09 budget, as announced, will increase funding for science, but the funds lost this year cannot be recovered.
We have been exploring a variety of options in response to the situation, and our current plan for dealing with the budget shortfall at the ALS includes the following:
- We will likely shut down the synchrotron for six weeks starting September 1. Of course, we will take the best advantage of this shutdown by working on ALS-related projects.
- To consolidate our efforts, we will cut back on running some bend-magnet beamlines that are not strongly oversubscribed.
- For now, there is a freeze on new hiring.
UEC Corner: Looking Forward to the BES Review and Beyond
The Users' Executive Committee (UEC) is currently preparing for the triennial review of the ALS by the Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Science. The reviewers will meet with the UEC to learn more about ALS users and their needs. We will do our best to provide the reviewers with a representative overview of the ALS user community. Soon, we will start preparation for the 2008 ALS Users' Meeting. This year’s program will be organized by Wayne Stolte (UNLV/ALS) and Phil Heimann (ALS). We are very much looking forward to the meeting, which is the annual highlight of the schedule for the ALS Users' Association. Please feel free to contact us if you have any suggestions regarding the meeting. Later this year, we will solicit your contributions and ask for your help in putting together another excellent selection of workshops.
Topo II: An Enzyme Target for Antibacterial and Cancer Drugs
The veil has finally been lifted on an enzyme that is critical to the process of DNA transcription and replication and is a prime target of antibacterial and anticancer drugs. Researchers at Berkeley Lab and the University of California, Berkeley, have produced the first three-dimensional structural images of a DNA- bound type II topoisomerase (topo II) that is responsible for untangling coiled strands of the chromosome during cell division. Preventing topo II from disentangling a cell's DNA is fatal to the cell, which is why drugs that target topo II serve as agents against bacterial infections and some forms of cancer. This first-ever structural image of topo II should help in the development of future antibacterial and anticancer drugs that are even more effective and carry fewer potential side effects. Read more...
Publication about this research: K.C. Dong and J.M. Berger, "Structural basis for gate-DNA recognition and bending by type IIA topoisomerases," Nature 250, 1201 (2007).
The H2 Double-Slit Experiment: Where Quantum and Classical Physics Meet
For the first time, an international research team carried out a double-slit experiment in H2, the smallest and simplest molecule. Thomas Young's original experiment in 1803 passed light through two slits cut in a solid thin plate. In the groundbreaking experiment performed at ALS Beamlines 4.0.2 and 11.0.1, 0the researchers used photoelectrons instead of light and the nuclei of the hydrogen molecule as the slits. The experiment revealed that only one "observing" electron suffices to induce the emergence of classical properties such as loss of coherence. Read more...
Publication about this research: D. Akoury, K. Kreidi, T. Jahnke, Th. Weber, A. Staudte, M. Schöffler, N. Neumann, J. Titze, L. Ph. H. Schmidt, A. Czasch, O. Jagutzki, R. A. Costa Fraga, R. E. Grisenti, R. Díez Muiño, N. A. Cherepkov, S. K. Semenov, P. Ranitovic, C. L. Cocke, T. Osipov, H. Adaniya, J. C. Thompson, M. H. Prior, A. Belkacem, A. L. Landers, H. Schmidt-Böcking, R. Dörner, "The simplest double slit: Interference and entanglement in double photoionization of H2," Science 318, 949 (2007).
Register Now for the 2008 Beam Instrumentation Workshop
The 2008 Beam Instrumentation Workshop (BIW08) will be held at the Granlibakken Conference Center and Lodge at Lake Tahoe, California, May 4–8, 2008. Sponsored by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the workshop will be dedicated to exploring the physics and engineering challenges of beam diagnostic and measurement techniques for charged particle accelerators. The meeting will feature
- plenary and poster sessions,
- vendor exhibits,
- multiple opportunities for informal discussions and collaborations, and
- presentation of the 2008 Faraday Cup Award, sponsored by Bergoz, Inc., France.
Information about the meeting, including an updated agenda, abstract submission guidelines, lodging and tourism details, and online registration, is available at the BIW08 Web site.
For the user runs between January 23 and February 17, 2008:
Beam reliability*: 84.3%
*Time delivered/time scheduled
**Percent of scheduled beam delivered without interruption
Questions about beam reliability should be sent to
Two separate problems were responsible for most of the beam time lost: (1) failure of a controller card for the new booster bend power supply and repair of same; and (2) failure of a current-reference circuit of the storage ring gradient power supply and repair of same.
Requests for special operations use of the "scrubbing" shift should be sent to Rick Bloemhard (
, x4738) by 1:00 p.m. Friday.