Synchrotrons in Black and White

Recently on social media, a number of synchrotrons have taken part in the Black and White Challenge. The rules are simple, each facility must take a photo every day, in black and white with no people and post it on social media. You are not allowed to explain what is in the photo or why you chose to post it, you must also nominate one more account to take up the challenge every day.

A few weeks ago, MAX IV was nominated by both ESRF and ALBA Synchrotron to take part in the challenge and we accepted. Below are examples from each challenge, along with links to all the photos on Twitter (account not required).

This is a good opportunity to follow our various social media accounts if you haven’t already. We are very active and post exclusive content there that can’t be found anywhere else.

>Read more on the MAX IV Laboratory website

Amazing Aka adventure at the Taiwan Photon Source

NSRRC works hand in hand with the Golden Bell Award winner to successfully blend entertainment with scientific education in an exciting animated film “Aka’s adventure: the secret of light”.

The National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center (NSRRC) successfully hosted the “Taiwan Photon Source 2018 Open House Science Event” – a special film screening of the fine animated movie “Aka’s adventure: the secret of light” on Saturday August 18, 2018. Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基), the winner of the Best Animation Program Golden Bell Award Li-Wei Chiu (邱立偉) and nearly 600 attendees gathered for this special event.

NSRRC is dedicated, not only to the pursuit of cutting edge research, but also to making science more accessible to the general public. This animated film is a first attempt by the NSRRC to reveal the achievements of frontier science using entertainment media. They have demonstrated how the distance between science and the general public can be shortened and brought to a whole new level. The seeds of scientific knowledge can easily be planted in the minds of youngsters.

>Read more on the NSRRC website

Image: A group photo of Science and Technology Minister Chen Liang-gee (陳良基), Director of the NSRRC Gwo-Huei Luo (羅國輝), former Director of the NSRRC Shangjr Gwo (果尚志) and movie director Li-Wei Chiu (邱立偉) from Studio2.

ALBA invites primary school students to experiment with science

Mision ALBA is an educational project beginning next academic year and a maximum of 250 primary school groups of 5th and 6th grade from all over Spain will be able to participate.

One mission, four phases: matter, force, energy and light. ALBA is looking for boys and girls to accept the challenge of dealing with synchrotron science! From now on, their teachers can register their groups at The educational project is launched for the first time during the academic year 2018-2019 and up to 5,000 students can participate, totally free. The contents of the Misión ALBA respond to the demands of the official curriculum for this educational stage, including educational guidelines adapted for each autonomous region.

>Read more on the ALBA Synchrotron website

A day as a young scientist

Physics isn’t everyone’s favourite subject. At the iLab of the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, students experience the material in a different way: with experiments instead of memorising formulas.

Beat Henrich likes to use the Big Bang to explain the benefits of spectrometry to his adolescent guests. We know that everything in our universe is constantly moving apart, he says to the 17 students at the experiment station of the school laboratory iLab, only because we can measure the light of other galaxies. But because not all processes in the universe can be explained by matter that generates or reflects light, Henrich continues, scientists are currently investigating the “dark matter”, the big mystery in the history of the universe’s origins. If you make a discovery there, the head of iLab concludes, you would be candidates for the Nobel Prize.Is there a future Nobel laureate sitting here? Or a future top researcher? Michael Portmann, a physics teacher at the cantonal high school Alpenquai in Lucerne, casts a glance at the students of his two classes with whom he travelled to PSI today. Naturally, it’s too soon to tell, says Portmann, who has taught physics for 15 years and knows of a just handful of his former students who went on to study his subject later. But here it does show who is open to research.

Image: The school laboratory iLab gives young people an insight into the world of research.
Credit: Paul Scherrer Institute/Markus Fischer

Record number of visitors at ALBA Open Day

The ALBA Open Day, held last Saturday 5 May, received 2,321 visitors who could discover how this scientific facility works and what its main applications are.

Despite again this year the rain was present in its seventh celebration, the ALBA Open Day welcomed a record number of visitors: 2,321 people.

From 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., more than 100 volunteers, members of the ALBA staff, showed the facilities to the attendees and explained them the operation and characteristics of the electron accelerators’ complex, aimed at producing synchrotron light for analysing the properties of matter.

The event followed a free itinerary where visitors were able to see the devices where the electrons pass through or those used for manipulating the synchrotron light, to participate in fun demonstrations to know more about concepts like vacuum or pressure, microscopy or spectroscopy. New this year, the ALBA Open Day hosted an exhibition to highlight the role of women in science as well as an art exhibition on pinhole photography and solarigraphy, images taken with cans and that collect the trajectory of Sun, respectively. The area devoted to the youngest was also very crowded with experiments and activities for them. Besides, three conferences were given about particle accelerators (Caterina Biscari, director of ALBA), how synchrotron light is generated (Pep Campmany, researcher responsible of the insertion devices section) and why a synchrotron facility is a useful tool (Miguel Ángel García Aranda, scientific director).

>Read more on the ALBA Synchrotron website


Sunshine, science and seed bombs at European XFEL’s first open day in Schenefeld

More than 2500 visitors to event in Schenefeld

On Saturday, under sunny spring skies, more than 2500 visitors attended European XFEL’s first Open Day on the campus in Schenefeld. Guests of all ages enjoyed a diverse and varied program of activities, talks, exhibitions and tours, giving an insight into the work, staff and community of the new research centre.

Schleswig Holsteins Minister for Science Karin Prien, Schenefeld Mayor Christiane Küchenhof and European XFEL Managing Director Prof. Robert Feidenhans’l officially opened the event just after midday. “It’s great to see so much interest in our facility!” said Feidenhans’l. “We are very proud to be able to present our facility. More than 150 staff members of European XFEL, as well as our campus partners have worked really hard in preparation for this premiere. Seeing so much enthusiasm for science among people of all age groups is an additional boost for our work during the next few weeks and months. I thank all staff member and campus partners for their support that has made this day possible.” Later Hamburg’s second mayor and science minister Katharina Fegebank also visited the event and greeting the visitors.

>Read more on the European XFEL website

Image: Left to right: Schenefeld Mayor Christiane Küchenhof, European XFEL Administrative Director Nicole Elleuche, Schleswig-Holstein Science Minister Karin Prien, and European XFEL Managing Director Prof. Robert Feidenhans’l during the visit to the tunnel.
European XFEL


Inspiring the next generation by supporting the Year of Engineering

Diamond has pledged its support for the Government’s Year of Engineering 2018.

It is a national campaign to increase awareness and understanding of what engineers do among youngsters aged 7-16, their parents and teachers to tackle the engineering skills gap. Launched in response to an estimated shortfall of 20,000 engineering graduates a year and reports that the skills shortage is having a significant impact on productivity and growth, the Year of Engineering seeks to galvanise industry, policy makers, parents and teachers in a national push to inspire the next generation of engineers.

Diamond will be supporting the campaign by hosting a series of careers and open days throughout the year. These will be designed to inspire interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and to highlight the various roles and career paths available at the synchrotron. Every year, 3,000 members of the general public as well as 3,000 school students visit the facility and this year Diamond will be opening its doors to even more.

Diamond, which last year celebrated its 10th anniversary, will be hosting a careers day on Wednesday 21 February. On the day, delegates will be welcomed to the facility to learn about the engineers and engineering opportunities at Diamond. Delegates will be given the opportunity to tour Diamond’s unique facility and have a meet-and-greet session with experts covering mechanical, electrical and software engineering. Register your interest here.


>Read more on the Diamond Light Source website


Promoting gender equality in Science and Technology

More than 150 high school students from Barcelona have visited the ALBA Synchrotron

The event aimed at fighting against stereotypes and prejudices linked to research environments. The event, which had the support of the Barcelona City Council, has been open by the first Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, Mr. Gerardo Pisarello.

The near future will demand more professionals with skills in science and technology. However, women in STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) only represent 15% of all the university undergraduates, according to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport for the period 2015-2016.

With the aim of stimulating scientific vocations, guaranteeing gender equality and opportunities and avoiding clichés that separate women from scientific and technological environments, the ALBA Synchrotron has launched the STEM Preparades project. It consisted of a series of workshops where women scientists and engineers from ALBA came to the classrooms, complemented by a visit where students had the opportunity to know in first-hand the job and workspace of the ALBA staff, as well as doing hands-on activities related to synchrotron light

>Read more on the ALBA website