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More than 400 attend American Conference on Neutron Scattering

 

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason was the featured speaker at Tuesday night’s banquet during the American Conference on Neutron Scattering. The dinner was held at the Southern Depot in Knoxville. Credit: Genevieve Martin/ORNLOak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason was the featured speaker at Tuesday night’s banquet during the American Conference on Neutron Scattering. The dinner was held at the Southern Depot in Knoxville. Credit: Genevieve Martin/ORNL (hi-res image)

The American Conference on Neutron Scattering returned to Knoxville this week, 12 years after its inaugural meeting there in 2002. Coordinated by the Neutron Scattering Society of America and hosted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the four-day conference drew 440 attendees and featured oral and poster presentations from the world’s leading experts in neutron science.

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero welcomed the conference June 2 with remarks during the plenary session. Rogero likened neutron scattering to her own field of urban planning: Just as the researchers use neutrons to see inside materials and find cracks, weaknesses and places for improvement, city planners use their residents to identify the same features to build better cities. She encouraged visitors to take advantage of the revived Market Square area and other downtown restaurants and shops.

ORNL Director Thom Mason was the featured ACNS 2014 banquet speaker Tuesday evening. He presented a talk entitled “Neutron Scattering: Past, Present and Future,” providing  an overview of neutron scattering from the Manhattan Project to today; discussing ORNL’s two neutron scattering facilities – the High Flux Isotope Reactor and Spallation Neutron Source; and considering the benefits of a Second Target Station at SNS to meet future scientific challenges.

Daily, the conference program featured plenary, invited and contributed talks and poster sessions covering topics in soft condensed matter, hard condensed matter, biology, chemistry, energy and engineering applications and neutron physics, illustrating the great diversity of science enabled by neutron scattering. Highlights included presentation of the Clifford G. Shull Prize to Dr. Sunil Sinha for his theoretical and experimental contributions in the field of neutron science, as well as presentation of the Sustained Research Prize to Dr. Jeffrey Lynn for profound contributions to the “understanding of the interplay of magnetism and superconductivity.”

The strong attendance at the meeting reflects the importance of neutron scattering for a wide variety of research areas, said Julie Borchers, a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and conference chair. “The vibrant atmosphere here is reminiscent of the inaugural ACNS in 2002,” she said.

“There has been quite a bit of expansion of user programs in a variety of emerging research areas – from battery materials to biomembranes,” Borchers said. “Our Outstanding Student Research award lecture by Kate Ross (of NIST and Johns Hopkins), for example, featured truly cutting-edge research on quantum magnetism. It’s exciting to see the growth in these and other exciting areas in the neutron science community.”

The meeting concluded Thursday with a tour of ORNL focusing on the neutron user facilities that draw researchers from around the world to Oak Ridge: the High Flux Isotope Reactor and the Spallation Neutron Source.

ACNS 2014 was coordinated by Borchers, Neutron Scattering Society of America President Stephan Rosenkranz, Programming Co-Chairs Patrick Woodward and Michael Kent, and ORNL local coordinators Jaime Fernandez-Baca, Laura Morris-Edwards and Al Ekkebus. Overall conference organization was supported by the Materials Research Society.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for DOE's Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit http://science.energy.gov/.

 -  Katie Bethea,  865-576-8039 ,  June 05, 2014
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