Minutes of SHUG Executive Committee Meeting of January 18, 2001
The Executive Committee convened by conference call at 10:00 AM EDT on January 18, 2001. Of the 11 committee members 8 were present. The members in attendance were:
- Meigan Aronson
- Dave Belanger
- Paul Butler
- Robert McQueeney
- Costas Stassis
- John Tranquada
- David Vaknin
- Andrey Zheludev
The first item of discussion, not on the original agenda, was the announcement the previous day that SNS director Dave Moncton would resign from the SNS effective March 1. A number of concerns were aired ranging from questions regarding the reason for Moncton’s departure, to why the SHUG E.C. was not directly informed (only a few members of the committee with ties to ORNL had heard of the announcement) much less given an early heads up that something of this magnitude was about to occur. Of most concern was the question of succession: what type of person might be chosen (an administrator with experience building large projects or someone with a technical background and an understanding of the scientific contributions of neutron scattering) and what should SHUG’s role be. Several on the committee expressed their concern over the derth of qualified people (particularly if one eliminates those unlikely to take the job). Further it was noted that a number of top management positions are being vacated at DOE neutron facilities around the country(Dave Moncton at SNS, Bruce Brown at Argone, and Roger Pynn and Joyce Roberts at Los Alamos). After much discussion it was clear that very little information was yet available and it was resolved that:
- Dave would call Dave Moncton and Thom Mason to get some answers to our questions and would then email the committee with a brief report.
- Dave would draft a letter to Bill Madia, ORNL Lab director, expressing our concerns and indicating the importance of looking for someone with a strong scientific background to lead this project to completion. Dave would circulate the draft to the committee for comment before officially transmitting it.
Next, Dave asked Meigan to share her concerns with the group over the proposed increase in the number of IDT’s in the wake of the new cost pressures in the SNS project discussed at last meeting, and by Moncton and Mason when they spoke to the group in December. IDT’s are effectively CAT like instruments which would have serious repercussions for the user community. The time available to users of course could be dramatically reduced. Furthermore, the APS experience shows that such instruments can often be designed too flexibly so that a substantial amount of beam time gets wasted at each experiment essentially “building” the instrument. There are also questions of how the choice and designs may or may not be carefully overseen to guarantee a proper mix of available instruments and integration into the overall facility. User support and who is responsible for providing it could also be an issue for whatever time is made available to the user community. There was general agreement that this was an issue SHUG should follow very closely.
The rest of the agenda was dealt with relatively rapidly. First the issue of location of the NSSA/SHUG meeting was discussed in view of the fact that the SNS central lab and office building which was initially planned as the venue will most certainly not be ready at that time. Given also the receding schedule on the HFIR side the question was raised as to whether the meeting should be held in DC again. After some discussion it was agreed that the conference should be held in Knoxville or Oak Ridge anyway.
Next Dave asked for volunteers to work on coordinating the NSSA/SHUG meeting and offered himself since he will be stepping down from the chairmanship in the fall of this year and therefore have more time to devote to it. Dave is also on the NSSA committee. Rob McQueeney volunteered as well. Nobody else offering to help, Dave suggested he didn’t really know how many would be needed but that two might be sufficient. Paul Butler then suggested that if necessary he’d be willing to work on it as well since he is located in Oak Ridge/knoxville.
Dave then asked if there were any reports from the special committees. Rob McQueeney, Chair of the SNS special committee indicated he was working on contacting Al Ekkebus, SNS user program manager though the two had not yet successfully connected. Costas Stassis, chair of the HFIR special committee, indicated difficulty in obtaining any response from HFIR. A suggestion was made that perhaps the special committees, particularly the HFIR special committee, should convene. Costas indicated he believed that was necessary, but that he did not think HFIR would pay for our trip to ORNL for such and indicated he did not believe in starting conference call meetings until such an onsite meeting at occured.
Next, Paul indicated that he had failed in meeting his self appointed deadlines for getting the web pages ready for approval and the straw man user procedures. He apologized and told the committee that he’d work on them in the next few weeks*
Finally Dave mentioned that we need to begin planning for the Fall elections.
There being no further business the meeting was adjourned.
*After the meeting Paul met with Al Ekkebus for other reasons and discovered that Al had almost completed a draft of user procedures which he wanted to circulate to the SHUG E.C. soon. Paul informed Dave by email that he planned to hold off work on his “straw man” at least until the SNS draft showed up unless there was some serious objection. Dave agreed.