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Australian Synchrotron Bounces Back

The Australian Synchrotron near Melbourne is back in full operation now that staff scientists have ended a winter-long slowdown; they were protesting alleged management blunders. Scientists returned to 24-hour duties at the end of March, saying that the governing board has taken steps to improve a culture that they claimed was focused too much on paperwork. In a move that met with staff approval, management today announced the appointment of two high-profile Australian scientists as new board members. They are Max Lu, foundation director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials at the University of Queensland, and Keith Nugent, research director at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Coherent X-ray Science based at the University of Melbourne.

"There's still a lot of bridge-building to be done" between the staff and the board, says Ted Baker, an x-ray crystallographer at the University of Auckland and head of the synchrotron's international Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). He took over last December when the former chair and four other SAC members quit. In May, the new 10-member SAC will meet to check the health of the institution and possibly review plans for the synchrotron's 29 undeveloped beam lines.

*This item has been corrected. It originally stated that in May, SAC members plan to recruit backers for the synchrotron's undeveloped beam lines.