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X-ray Beams Shut Down in Protest

Protesting a government decision to fund a new foreign synchrotron, French scientists are refusing to fire up two major x-ray sources.

Last month, science minister Claude Allègre decided that France would help build the DIAMOND synchrotron in the United Kingdom, rather than a competing French device called SOLEIL (Science, 6 August, p. 819). Now, scientists at LURE, an x-ray laboratory in Orsay near Paris, are condemning that decision. Yesterday, they voted to refuse to collaborate with DIAMOND's planners, and announced that they will idle the aging SUPER-ACCO and DCI x-ray sources for at least a week in a bid to pressure the government to open negotiations on building a new synchrotron in France.

French officials haven't yet responded to the shutdown, which could affect the work of 1800 materials scientists, chemists, and other users. In the meantime, LURE director Robert Comès is promising that his protesters will meet again next week "to discuss the situation."