XRM2022 Hosted Virtually by NSRRC

The International Conference on X-ray Microscopy (XRM), initiated in 1980’s, has evolved into one of the biggest and the most important meetings in the field of X-ray Microscopy. At XRM2016, the National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center (NSRRC) proposed to host the XRM2020 and stood out from the competition. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, XRM2020 was cancelled and rescheduled to 2022.

To respond to the ongoing COVID-19 and to make it easy to attend, the XRM2022, held from June 19 to 24, ran in All-VIRTUAL mode. The online platforms used for facilitating this virtual event were Whova, Gather Town, and Webex. Whova was like a portal for not only social networking but also linking to all online oral presentations, which were livestreamed through Webex. Gather Town allowed participants to spend time with their communities just as easy as real life by making virtual interactions in a fully customizable spaces with other colleagues, poster presenters and exhibitors.

There were 328 participants from all over the world – 42% from Europe, 40% from Asia and Oceania, and 18% from America. In total, 99 posters were presented and 105 talks (6 plenary, 30 invited, and 69 contributed) were scheduled. The XRM2022 will publish post-conference proceedings. The next XRM conference will be hosted by MAX IV in 2024.

Read more on the XRM2022 website

SRI 2018 in Taipei

The 13th International Conference on Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation (SRI 2018), attended by more than 850 participants from 25 countries, was hosted by the National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center (NSRRC) between June 10 to 15 at the Taipei International Convention Center. On the 11th, the Conference Chair, Director Shangjr Gwo of NSRRC, opened the conference, followed by a speech given by the vice president of the nation, Dr. Chien-Jen Chen.

The triennial SRI conference is a large and the most significant international forum, organized by the community of worldwide X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) and synchrotron radiation (SR) facilities, to provide opportunities for discussions and collaborations among scientists and engineers around the world involved in development of new concepts, techniques, and instruments related to SR and XFEL research. Subsequent meetings were hosted by countries with the most advanced light source facilities in Europe, America and Asia-Pacific region.

>Read more on the NSRRC website

Image: Vice President Chien-Jen Chen gave a speech in the opening session.

Specialized scientists from all over the world attending XRM2018

More than 300 experts from all over the world are coming to Saskatoon to explore one of the hottest fields in synchrotron science, putting the city on the global scientific map.

“X-ray microscopy is absolutely cutting-edge because both the technology and the applications are developing very rapidly,” says Stephen Urquhart, chair of the XRM2018 conference and a chemistry professor at the University of Saskatchewan. “These microscope techniques are quite powerful for a wide range of areas from scientists studying medicine to scientists studying materials. On the technology side, the developments in light sources also help with the development of more powerful and advanced microscopes.”

Synchrotrons, including the U of S Canadian Light Source, produce light that’s millions of times brighter than the sun. Using the X-ray portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, scientists shine that light on what they are studying and then use specially designed microscopes to study matter at the molecular level. The CLS has five beamlines dedicated to X-ray microscopy.

The X-ray microscopy experts attending XRM2018 will be coming from 24 countries. During the week-long conference, 76 leaders in this field of science will present their research findings. In addition, 200 scientific posters will be on display. “We are doing good things at the Canadian Light Source and by hosting the meeting here we get a chance to highlight the work that we do to people around the globe,” says Urquhart, who adds that the recent shut-down at the CLS due an equipment failure won’t interfere with the conference.

Notes from the NSF INCLUDES Summit

Broadening the participation of underrepresented populations

For the past 20+ years, the National Science Foundation has been funding initiatives aimed at broadening the participation of underrepresented populations though the Broader Impact efforts supported by the various research divisions.

Millions of dollars and countless hours of work have done little to “move the needle” towards the desired outcome of achieving the full participation of diverse individuals in all facets of STEM. According to Dr. Alicia Knoedler who serves on NSF’s Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE), states that the “cumulative, overall impact on underrepresented groups is minimal.”  To address this shortcoming, CEOSE released a list of recommendations to the NSF in their 2011-2012 report to implement a bold new initiative to fund broadening participation through institutional transformation and systems change using clear benchmarks of success, longitudinal data, and significant financial support. NSF Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) is what emerged from this report, along with adoption of a framework to ensure shared accountability to promote participation and excellence.

>Read more on the CHESS website

Image caption: Visual display depicting one brain-storming session held by NSF INCLUDES participants during the Summit held January 8-10th, 2018.