Minutes of SHUG Executive Committee Meeting of December 19, 2002
The Executive Committee convened by conference call at 2:30 PM EDT on December 19, 2002. 7 members were present. The members in attendance were:
- Dave Belanger
- Paul Butler
- Takeshi Egami
- Scott Misture
- John Tranquada
- David Vaknin
- Angus Wilkinson
The first item on the agenda was the Results of the election. A total of
218 people voted with 207 of those also voting for the postdoc/graduate
student position. 40 votes were registered within an hour of the original
email going out the afternoon of Nov 26. Another 100 or so votes were
registered during the ensuing 2 weeks of holidays and MRS meetings.
The remaining 80 or so votes came in during the last 3 days of voting.
A reminder email was sent out Monday the 16 only to those who had not
voted. The SNS mailing list has a little over 1000 names. Of 60 bounces
a little over 1/3 were spelling errors which were able to be corrected.
The final Results for the 4 regular positions are:
Christina Hoffmann SNS 123 votes or 56%
Paul Sokol Penn. State 122 votes or 56%
Joanna Kruger Uni NC 109 votes or 50%
Nancy Ross VA Tech 109 votes or 50%
For PostDoc/Grad Student the winner is:
Zema Chowdhuri NIST/UMd 113 votes or 56%
Two sets of comments were received. Two people complained about the lack of soft matter/polymer representation, while two others complained about the fact that they were not allowed to vote for fewer than 4 regular candidates (though they were able to not vote for the PostDoc position). All were responded to and thanked for their comments and participation. The soft matter people were encouraged to actively participate in next year’s nomination process. Paul Butler suggested that the issue of not being able to vote for less than the required number be dealt with next year by adding an intermediate screen if a person “casts” their ballot without voting for the required number OR without voting for the postdoc position. This screen would warn them of the omission, the fact that they will not be able to come back later and “fix” the omission and encourage them to read the bios and vote even if they do not personally know a candidate. They would then have the option to go back, exit without voting, or going ahead and finalizing their incomplete vote. This seemed reasonable to the committee.
Paul next suggested that for announcing the results we not send a mass email out but simply place the results on the website. Also he suggested he would craft a letter to the candidates thanking all of them for participation and announcing the “winners.” It was suggested that an emphasis be placed on thanking those who did not win for their participation and making this a truly meaningful election. A draft will be circulated to the committee before it goes out.
John Tranquada suggested that we should capture the list of names of those who voted since it represents a subset of the SNS list which has clearly demonstrated an active interest. This lead to a discussion of the fact that at some point we need to define an “active member” and also a discussion of whether capturing the list of voters would violate any privacy issues. It was generally agreed that at some point defining a subset of the SNS list as actual SHUG members would be appropriate, but that that time was not now. Differences remain as to when would be an appropriate time. The idea of requiring membership renewal was thought to be appropriate (eventually) and even perhaps using the election web page as a forum for doing so, much as Los Alamos does, but no consensus was reached on the idea of implementing such during the next election round. In the end it was agreed that Paul would talk to Judy about ensuring that the current list remain available while discussions continue as to how, if, or when to use it.
Next John asked Angus to lead off a discussion on Fast Access. Angus pointed out that there are essentially two different types of “fast access” that can be discussed. In one case a really hot topic drives the need for rapid access to beam time. Provisions for this type of access are already made in the SNS white paper and the joint SNS/HFIR user program document. The second type of “fast access” or “short turnaround” time addresses a need for people with very short duration experiments (say 10 min to a few hours of beam time). Powder diffraction is envisaged as the place where this would be used the most, but a few other instruments might also benefit. The reasoning for this is that it is unreasonable to go through all the paperwork and then wait for six months to get 10 min worth of data. Also in this mode the neutron scattering measurement would be one of many tools in a much larger program and often the data are needed before proceeding to the next step. Stopping an experimental program 6 months for 10 minutes of data is prohibitive. Finally, the thought is that this would open up neutron scattering to a whole new set of users. The need for a non PhD level scientific technician for this kind of operation was discussed as was the fact that there exists working models at other facilities such as IPNS. It was suggested that Angus contact Bryan Chakoumakos as well as instrument scientists at facilities currently providing a similar service and prepare a proposal indicating how this might work on the powder machine at HFIR. It was suggested that this proposal should also include names of groups/people who would be potential users of such a system and if at all possible identify some who would not otherwise consider neutrons. Since the powder machine should be coming on line in 6 months or so and HFIR is supposed to be a “test bed” for user program ideas, it seems reasonable to suggest that HFIR should test this idea if a well conceived proposal can be presented. Angus agreed to proceed with that.
Finally as member of the first proposal committee, John Tranquada gave a brief overview of the first round of proposals. He indicated that 43 proposals were received with an oversubscription factor of 2. Overall things went quite well given this is the first time HFIR has operated in this fashion. However, as expected, John noted that the system would need many refinements and that he would be sending his suggestions to Greg Smith shortly. In particular John thinks that the high percentage of beam time being allocated through the proposal system (he noted that the 75% being driven by SNS is higher than most instruments at NIST for example) places a particularly heavy burden on the program.
The meeting adjourned at 3:25PM EDT