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The SSRL Structural Molecular Biology (SMB)
Summer School 2001 - Making the Most of Your Synchrotron Trip


Stanford-Berkeley 2001 SR Summer School: A Successful Start to the First in a Series

The first Stanford-Berkeley summer school on synchrotron radiation and its applications was held July 8-14. The program was designed to introduce prospective users to the fundamental properties of synchrotron radiation and the understanding and use of several SR techniques including spectroscopy, scattering and microscopy in various scientific applications. Selected on the basis of their academic record and written description of how the use of SR could impact their planned research projects, the 36 students (representing 14 different nationalities) came from a diverse range of scientific fields including atomic and molecular physics, condensed matter physics, surface science, polymer chemistry, environmental science and biophysics.

The school was held at UC Berkeley and was sponsored by SSRL, ALS, LBNL and the UCB Division of Continuing Education in Engineering. The program was coordinated by Anders Nilsson at SSRL and David Attwood at LBNL. Lectures were given by David Attwood (LBNL), Anders Nilsson, Jo Stöhr and Sean Brennan (SSRL), Eli Rotenberg (ALS), Steve Kevan (Univ. of Oregon), Gordon Brown (Stanford Univ.) and Harald Ade (North Carolina State Univ.). The program also included afternoon visits to both SSRL and ALS, giving the students opportunities to interact with the professional staff and graduate students at both facilities. These visits included lectures on storage rings, beam line design and the free electron laser project, capped off by tours of the experimental facilities. The closing session featured a stimulating discussion between the students and lecturers. Students were encouraged to ask questions rarely addressed in such a forum, e.g. - "What is important for my future career?" and "How do I design a good experiment?"

It was rewarding to see all the positive interactions between the lecturers and the students - and among the students themselves. They learned a lot from each other and generated friendships that may last for a long time. Next year the joint school is planned to take place at Stanford. We hope that this will become an annual event in the future.