Members in attendance were:
W.G. Clark, R. Goodrich, M.J. Naughton, H.Stormer and S. Tozer.
Members absent were:
D.Awshalom, J. Brooks, P. Chaikin, , N. Dalal, C. Perry, R. Vold and E. Zuiderweg.
Item 1) The December 1996 Shutdown of Users' Operation
The Users' Committee vehemently objects to the December 1996 shutdown of the resistive high-field users operation, resulting from an apparent lack of funds to pay for the associated electrical power bill. The Users' Committee is distressed that the required funds were not made available to continue users operation throughout the year. The requested expenditure to deflect such a considerable curtailment of user access (~$100K) is insignificant on the scale of NHFML's $17M+ annual budget. Furthermore, the shutdown totally suspends any return on the countries' multi-million dollar investment in NHFML's high-field magnets; a scarce resource that is booked out for months in advance. Operation of a users' facility ranks at the top of NSF's mandates given to the NHFML. Under no circumstances should users operation be compromised. Regarding future years, the committee demands that sufficient funds be allocated to guarantee full support for users' operations, according to its top priority status. Since the NHFML's DC facilities are presently being exploited to only about 50% of their maximum capacity (considering the possibility of 24h, 7 days/week operation) this may require further reallocation of funds. NHMFL's total running hours will depend on the results of the reviewing process that is to be implemented. Under no circumstances should the expense for electrical power compromise the prospect for new and exciting scientific discoveries.
Item 2) Regarding the expenditure of funds earmarked for equipment in support of user operations, we first commend the NHMFL for seeking advice from the various committees such as the Users'. With such equipment funds limited to the $3 million from the State of Florida, it is imperative that the users have input into what is being considered for purchase. To this end we would ask that that the Users' Committee be allowed to comment directly on those items being considered with regard to necessity and even specifications that would make the equipment as versatile as possible for the users.
Item 3) Condensed Matter physics Using NMR in Resistive Magnets
The activity of applying wide line NMR to condensed matter physics in resistive magnets has been a very productive feature of the NHMFL program. We recommend that this activity be nurtured and that steps be taken to insure its continuity. In the short run, it is important to replace Alex Kleinhammes, who recently has resigned, with a person who can provide the same level of technical support for this activity. In the longer run, it also is important to plan for a position to replace the leadership provided by W. G. Moulton when he decides to retire.
Item 4) LANL floor plan
In the days immediately following this Users' Committee meeting, a flurry of faxes, emails and phone calls among committee members and NHMFL staff has led to a convergence of ideas regarding the layout of the new building for the Pulsed Field Facility at Los Alamos. The latest recommendation is reproduced below. The items of greatest import are:
- all magnets on a single mezzanine platform: the 100T, 60T, and all short-pulse magnets.
- all user-related functions at the east end of the building, incl. offices and sample prep.
- optics lab at lowest level, below 60T and one of the four short-pulse cells.
Item 5) Proposal Review Committee
We recommend that the new proposal review committee be structured and operated in a way that makes efficient use of time of its members and that of investigators. One structure that we think would be effective is a primary review panel of 3 or 4 scientists whose expertise would cover the main technical areas of the NHMFL program. Each of these primary panel members would preside over a sub-panel of 3 or 4 persons chosen on the basis of their understanding of the different scientific or engineering measurement techniques within the technical area. Proposals should be graded at the sub-panel level on a scale of 0 - 10 with a mean value of 5. Proposals that are supported under a peer reviewed grant from a Federal agency should receive an additional 5 points over the evaluation by the sub-committee. The sub-panel evaluations then would be combined into an overall ranking by the primary review panel. The subcommittee evaluations could be done by mail with discussion by conference call, and the primary panel should meet in person or by video conference.
Other Item Notes:
An NHMFL-User web site should be created where, among other items, all Users' Committee reports should be displayed. The users should know what the committee requests on their behalf.
A motion was made to require members of the Users' Committee who become employees of the NHMFL to resign their committee membership.
We continue to wonder about the appropriateness of the continuation of the NHFML's two most costly magnet development programs: the 900MHz NMR magnet and the 45T hybrid magnet. Commercial 900MHz systems are expected to be on the market one year prior to the anticipated completion date of the NHMFL project. Given NHMFL's 40MW power supply, 45T DC operation can most likely be achieved with exclusively resistive magnets not requiring sensitive low temperature equipment.
The Users' Committee is pleased that the 29-30 T "specialty" magnet with field modulation and gradient inserts is now in the schedule for design and construction at Tallahassee. We look forward to the availability of this system by the end of 1997.
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