New Light Source Web site Launched
By Matthew Early Wright
Lightsources.org home page
The international light source community launched
the first Web site dedicated exclusively to advanced light sources last
month. Lightsources.org, a hub of news releases and educational
materials, will serve the media, the general public and the scientific
The site was developed by the Light
Source Communicators Group, whose members represent synchrotron and free
electron laser (FEL) facilities in Europe, North America, Australia and
Lightsources.org was conceived as a public
information portal to raise the visibility of light source research
worldwide, much as Interactions.org has served the same purpose for the
high energy physics community.
One goal of the site
is to give light source labs credit for breakthrough research. News
about important research often focuses on the scientific user’s home
institution. The connection to the light source lab itself can get
diluted or completely lost in the process. The site will also provide
access to advances in light source research and development.
Herman Winick (SSRL) believes the site will serve an important role in
supporting light sources in the far-flung corners of the world. Nascent
projects such as SESAME in Jordan, CANDLE in Armenia and an as-yet
unnamed project in South Africa in particular will benefit greatly from
access to the information Lightsources.org has to offer, he says.
“We’re very interested in how the existing
synchrotron community can work with projects in areas with little
experience in particle acceleration and synchrotron radiation,” Winick
added. “These places need a resource like Lightsources.org.”
Synchrotron and FEL facilities around the world regularly make
significant contributions to science, technology and medicine. They
provide a source of x-ray, UV and vacuum UV radiation millions of times
brighter than other sources available. Synchrotron radiation is also an
important source of high-quality infrared light.
Such bright light makes it possible to determine detailed atomic
arrangements; for example, detailed three dimensional structures of
proteins and viruses can be determined using x-ray diffraction. This can
lead to a better understanding of how a protein functions, or how a drug
can be designed to block virus replication.
sources can also collect detailed information about the electronic and
magnetic properties of synthetic materials, such as semiconductors and
polymers. In this way, light sources play a vital role in fields as
disparate as biomedicine, physics, engineering, pharmaceutical design
and environmental chemistry.
“Advanced light sources
have caused a revolution,” Winick said. “Researchers can take data in
minutes that they previously needed months or years to get.”
The launch of the site was announced in February at the AAAS meeting,
which is typically well attended by journalists. Since Lightsources.org
heavily targets the media, Winick commended Neil Calder (COM) and others
for scheduling the launch during this event.
already received positive feedback from many people,” Winick said. “The
site is a major asset to the synchrotron and FEL community.”
For more information, see: