Our #LightSourceSelfies Finale features many of the campaign’s amazing participants pondering on the answer to the question ‘What one word best describes your work?’ We feel this short video says a lot about the wonderful people that choose a light source related career. World changing science is happening at synchrotrons and Free Electron Lasers around the globe and the diversity and collaboration that exists between people from a wide range of disciplines is something that Lightsources.org feel is really worth celebrating. We hope you agree! Thank you for following our campaign and watch this space for new content as we prepare to celebrate 75 Years of Science with Synchrotron Light. #My1stLight will be our next campaign and we’ll once again be asking light source staff and users from the 30 facilities that are part of Lightsources.org to share their stories with us. If you’d like to get involved, please do e-mail us here webmaster
Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow
The theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March, 2022 (IWD 2022) is, “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, recognizing the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all.
To mark the day and the theme, Lightsources.org brings you a special #LightSourceSelfie montage featuring just a few of the dedicated women who feature in our video campaign.
If at first you don’t succeed…….
For our final Monday Montage, we focus on the benefits of perseverance and our ability as humans to dig deep and remain determined even when things are going wrong. Maximilian Obst, one of the FELBE (HZDR) users, and Michele Manfredda, from FERMI at Elettra, give honest and insightful accounts of their light source experimental experiences. Light sources are complex scientific tools. They are challenging to build, optimise and utilise. But by continuing to overcome obstacles and working as a team, great and unexpected results can appear. Often these results are obtained in the middle of the night or towards the end of a very long shift on the beamline. However, the lucky few who observe them realise they are the first people in the world to have gleaned this knowledge. Perseverance pays off!
The machine is alive!
As our #LightSourceSelfies campaign nears completion, we visit Germany and the Radiation Source ELBE, which is the largest and most versatile research instrument of the HZDR. The electron beam of the superconducting linear accelerator delivers different kinds of secondary radiation for various research purposes from materials science up to medicine. Michael Klopf began his light source career in the USA and is now one of ELBE’s Free Electron Laser (FEL) Beamline Scientists. He explains his career path and the highlights of his diverse role. Viewers also get to see where the experiments happen and hear from Maximilian Obst, one of the FELBE users, who gives a fascinating insight into his near-field optics research using SNOM (Scanning Near-field Optical Microscopy). Maximilian explains how FELBE is enabling science that would not be possible with a synchrotron light source.
Everyone remembers their 1st day at a light source
Light sources around the world share a common quality. They all have the ability to deliver a ‘wow factor’ when people first step inside. From young, bright eyed, tech-savvy children; scientists embarking on their first experiments; right through to retired visitors who spent their younger years without telephones or TVs. Synchrotron and X-ray Free Electron Lasers (XFELs) deliver science and technology on a grand scale. In this #LightSourceSelfie, Ida, a Phd Student at the ESRF, and Michael, who undertakes experiments at the European XFEL, both recall their first day. The words they use include exciting, overwhelming, exhilarating, busy and fascinating. Michael remembers feeling slightly in the way but, at a certain point, he started to ask questions. From that first day he learnt to, “Always ask questions. You can’t ask enough questions!”
Women in Science @SLRI
Thailand is home to the Synchrotron Light Research Institute (SLRI) and this week’s #LightSourceSelfie features three of their staff members – Dr Phakkhananan Pakawanit, Beamline Scientist, Dr Prapaiwan Sunwong, Accelerator Physicist, and Supawan Srichan, Engineer. During this enlightening video, they explain their roles, the challenges and what excites them about working at a light source. Dr Sunwong describes a big 7 year project to design and build a new 3.0 Gev synchrotron light source in the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECi). In June 2022, SLRI will host the 13th International Particle Accelerator Conference (IPAC’22) in Bangkok. IPAC is the main international event for the worldwide accelerator community and industry. To find out more, visit www.ipac22.org
Brilliant people support light source experiments
Academic and industrial researchers have access to world class experimental techniques at light sources around the world. Experimental time on the beamlines is extremely precious and in order to get the most out of this ‘beamtime’ scientists need expert advice and support. Today’s #LightSourceSelfie Monday Montage is a tribute to the brilliant scientists, engineers, computer scientists and other support staff who work at light sources and provide external researchers with the assistance they need to ensure their experiments are successful and they come away with useful data that will advance their scientific studies.
Brilliant people working towards a common goal
It’s #LoveYourDataWeek so it’s fitting that this week’s #LightSourceSelfie features a data expert. Mathew Cherukara leads the Computational X-ray Science Group at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago.
Mathew, who is from Kerala in India, works with his colleagues to develop the computational tools, algorithms and machine learning models used to analyse data from the beamlines at the APS. The first time Mathew saw a light source he recalls, “I couldn’t believe that science on this scale was being done every single day”. Mathew also talks about the fact that, after the APS upgrade, the data rates and computational needs will increase 100 to 1,000 times. For Mathew, the best thing about working at a light source is all the brilliant people working towards a common goal. When Mathew isn’t working, he enjoys taking long walks with his dog and we’re treated to a very cute dog moment at the end of the video #LoveYourDog!
Many languages make up one voice for the brightest science
#LightSourceSelfies was made possible thanks to the help of our contributors from synchrotrons and free electron lasers around the global lightsources.org community. We come together as one voice for the brightest science but with many different languages spoken. Today’s Monday Montage celebrates the wonderfully rich, international culture that exists within science. Greetings from the light sources family around the world!
World changing science with precious photons
he 3.4 km long European XFEL generates extremely intense X-ray flashes used by researchers from all over the world. The flashes are produced in underground tunnels and they enable scientists to conduct a wide range of experiments including mapping atomic details of viruses, filming chemical reactions, and studying processes in the interior of planets.
Michael Schneider is a physicist at the Max Born Institute in Berlin. He uses synchrotrons and free electron lasers, such as the European XFEL, to study magnetism and magnetic materials. Michael’s fascinating #LightSourceSelfie takes you inside the European XFEL where he recalls the fact that it was large scale facilities themselves that first attracted him to his area of fundamental research. The work is bringing us closer to a new generation of computing devices that work more like the neurons in our brains that the transistors that we currently have in our computers. Michael captures the dedication of his colleagues and the facility teams, along with the type of work that you can get involved with at large scale facilities. He also gives a brilliant overview of the stages involved in conducting research at a light source. Michael is clearly very passionate about his science, but also finds time for some great hobbies too!
An abundance of talents within the light source community
Our #LightSourceSelfies campaign has uncovered a wealth of talents among staff and users at light source facilities around the world. From skating to sculpting and painting to perennials, this Monday Montage illustrates the many hobbies and interests that those in our community enjoy in their spare time. With contributions from the ESRF, SESAME, LCLS and the European XFEL, this montage highlights the variety of activities that help people maintain a healthy work/life balance.
From conservator to researcher at the world’s brightest synchrotron
Light sources around the world are playing an increasingly important role in helping to uncover the past and protect historical objects for generations to come. Ida Fazlić is currently a PhD student at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France. Her research is focusing on the use of metal catalysts that are used to speed up the drying reactions of historical and industrial paints. Ida’s project will provide valuable information to collaborator Rijksmuseum on the use or misuse of dryers throughout history and up to the current day. Also there effect on the stability and aesthetic of the painted objects.
Ida was attracted to this area of work through her valuable experience of working as a conservator and restorer at the national gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This work led her to question the chemical and physical processes that caused the degradation of the painted layers that she was seeing on a daily basis. Ida decided to study the crucial and very important role of science and technology in conservation of cultural heritage objects. For Ida, the best thing about working at a light source is that, “You have endless opportunities of going as far in your research as you want to go and in any direction that you want to go because at any moment you have the world’s most powerful material investigation techniques at hand.”
Science’s great strength is the universal language
Forrest Hyler is a PhD student at the University of California Davis and regular user of the Stanford Synchrotron Lightsource (SSRL). Forrest’s research involves exploring the structural and electronic properties of materials that are used as catalysts for carbon dioxide reduction in the lab. In his #LightSourceSelfie, Forrest describes his work as all encompassing as it involves studying materials related to a broad range of applications such as batteries, catalysis and the storage of radioactive materials. Forrest’s journey has involved a large range of scientists and he says, “The greatest part about science is that it’s kind of that universal language. You get to interact with people around the globe working together for a common goal to push science beyond the boundaries that we’ve ever been at before.”
Spare time hobbies and interests
Finding ways to relax and recharge your batteries is really important and helps you maintain perspective, particularly during very busy periods at work. Participants in #LightSourceSelfies told us what they like to do in their spare time. This montage, with contributors from the Australian Synchrotron, CHESS, SESAME and the APS, shows the variety of interests that people within the light source community have. If you are looking for a new way to relax and unwind, you might find an idea that appeals to you in this #LightSourceSelfie!
Time to fly! One scientist’s story of being inspired and inspiring others
Shiva Shirani is from Iran and is currently completing a PhD at the University of Malaga. Shiva’s research area is Synchrotron X-ray imaging applied to cementitious material with the goal to decrease our CO2 footprint and protect the planet. Many participants in our #LightSourceSelfies campaign have talked about the need to overcome setbacks and failure. There will always be challenges but success will come. Shiva’s research ideas led to her being granted an OPEN SESAME Fellowship to become a young scientific visitor at ID19 tomography beamline at the ESRF. But prior to this, there were setbacks. Shiva’s story, which she tells with honestly and passion, charts these setbacks and how she eventually found people who believed in her ideas. People who helped Shiva find her “two wings to fly”.
One of these people was the late Claudio Ferrero, one of Shiva’s supervisors at the ESRF. Claudio recognised the unique way that Shiva shares her passion for science with the world via Twitter and Instagram and encouraged her to continue this inspirational science communication. In the early stages of planning the #LightSourceSelfies campaign, Lightsources.org and SESAME recognised this too! We were delighted when Shiva agreed to participate in our campaign and we are very grateful to the ESRF who subsequently helped Shiva with the filming.
Here we present Shiva Shirani’s #LightSourceSelfie!
More to life than light
The #LightSourceSelfies video campaign highlights the dedication and enthusiasm that is felt by those working in this field. To maintain a sense of physical and mental wellbeing, it is also important to make time for non-work related things like family, hobbies and interests. This montage, with contributors from the ESRF, ALS, MAX IV and Diamond, gives a flavour of the wide range of activities that those in the light source community enjoy when they are not working.