#LightSourceSelfies brings a face to science  

Much of today’s scientific advances in a wide range of fields including health, climate change, advanced materials, agriculture, and cultural heritage depend on experiments carried out at light source facilities around the world.

Now, scientists and engineers representing 25 large-scale science facilities from across the global light source community have contributed to a new video campaign to share insights and inspire all those with a curiosity for science and careers connected to synchrotrons and Free Electron Lasers (FELs).

#LightSourceSelfies, which launches today on World Science Day for Peace & Development, features scientists and engineers who hold a range of positions at light sources located across Europe, Asia, Australia, North America, and South America. The campaign also includes scientists who use synchrotrons and FELs to carry out experiments that lead to important discoveries in areas such as health, the environment, agriculture, new materials, planetary science, palaeontology, and cultural heritage.

Our #LightSourceSelfies campaign kicks off with 5 scientists reflecting on what is most inspiring and motivating about their work. Light sources are based across the world and in this video you’ll hear from scientists connected to the Advanced Light Source in California, the Canadian Light Source, FLASH at DESY in Germany, the ESRF in France, and ALBA in Spain.

Kudakwashe Jakata is a Post Doc in Materials Science at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France, and is featured in the campaign’s first video. Describing his work in computer tomography, he says, “It is a very challenging environment and that’s what gets me up every day because I know that there will be lots of things to solve and most of the time new things that I’ve not seem before.” Kudakwashe is from South Africa and adds, “I am really looking forward to the African Light Source coming on board at some point. There has already been a lot of work done on it and a lot of people are working behind the scenes to get it going. I’m looking forward to the science that will be done by Africans at African light sources.”  

Kathryn Janzen is based at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) in Saskatchewan and is also featured in the first video for #LightSourceSelfies. She is an Associate Scientist at CLS’s Canadian Macromolecular Crystallography Facility (CMCF) and User Experience Coordinator. Describing her work, Kathryn explains, “The part that is really inspiring is just seeing how these important experiments that are going on at the synchrotron can really help improve things for everyone in our society.”

During this three-month long campaign, which will run on the Lightsources.org website, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter, Kudakwashe and Kathryn will be joined by 27 colleagues from across the light source community. Throughout the summer of 2021, #LightSourceSelfies participants filmed themselves in a variety of locations including synchrotrons, FELs, home laboratories, and outside amongst nature. Countries with light sources who are featured in the campaign include Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the UK, and the US.

Everyone involved gave personal perspectives on a range of questions including:

  • What inspires you to do your job and your research?
  • What is the best thing about using/working at a light source?
  • How would you describe the light source community to those about to enter it?
  • How do you survive night shifts?

Sandra Ribeiro, Chair of Lightsources.org and Communications Advisor at the Canadian Light Source, commented “Synchrotrons and FELs offer amazing training and job opportunities for those interested in a variety of career paths including science, engineering, computer science, technical roles, science communication, procurement, finance, HR, and legal. Our new video campaign showcases people involved in building and running the amazing facilities that deliver the huge amount of science that happens at light sources around the world. #LightSourceSelfies will give viewers a real sense of what it is like to work within the light source community. We are hugely grateful to everyone who filmed selfie videos for us and hope this campaign will raise awareness about the many exciting career opportunities available at light sources around the globe.”

To follow the #LightSourceSelfies video campaign, visit https://lightsources.org/about-2/lightsourceselfies/

To view current vacancies at synchrotrons and FELs within Lightsources.org, visit our careers page