It was the year that was (2014 edition).

Recap time! As the years before, 2014 has been a good year for LaN and me. As you know, this year I moved from a twice monthly post to a mostly weekly post, making this the 56th post this year (if my count is correct). Let’s take a look at some of them.

Bikes in Tokyo

Attention grabbers:

Records were broken this year by a few posts in succession. Here is the top three:

  • The third most-read article concerns the vast amount of papers that resulted from measurement artifacts. A critical view was published recently after a prolonged battle, one we hope may prevent more time and money being wasted chasing ghosts.
  • Just edging out that post is the article announcing the new Live Fourier Transform program. This code has been very successful in presentations to explain some of the concepts behind scattering.
  • Coming in in first place, partly due to Twitter mentions by Stephen Curry and others, is the exploration of the Dark Side of Science. This seemed to resonate with many people, although it is not quite on topic for LaN. Fear not, articles like that one will be the exception.

Guest posts:

We had three well-read guest posts this year (and aiming for more next year*). In order of appearance:

  • Grégory Stoclet talked about his use of SAXS to study crazing phenomena in polymers.
  • Jan Ilavsky introduced his Ultra-SAXS machine and his SAXS software efforts, and highlighted that it is now very user-friendly! As an occasional instrument builder, I know how tough it can be to get to that stage.
  • Marcus Gallagher-Jones talked about his work on coherent diffraction imaging, for which he used a SAXS-like set-up at the SACLA X-ray laser.

Personal Favourites:

My own favourites of the year (though the choice is hard) involve quick studies with surprising conclusions.

  • In third place, I have enjoyed looking at dense systems, and finding out that even with a rather crude approximation we can still fit dense systems (if you do not mind some spurious features). This post highlighted that you a perfect fit can be obtained for this data for a range of volume fractions, but that the shape of the distribution is dependent on the volume fraction chosen.
  • In second place, a decent shot at background subtraction mathematics revealed that even when you want to do proper background subtraction for samples in capillaries, you can end up with a straightforward background subtraction equation! It is a good textbook exercise too, for those looking for educational material.
  • In first place, I am very happy to have discovered that a 10-minute measurement on a Kratky or line-collimated instrument does not give you better results than a 10-minute measurement on a pinhole-collimated instrument. The benefits of the high intensity of the line-collimated system is counterbalanced by the error magnification induced by the desmearing method.

Publishing and Perishing:

There have been some blog posts highlighting every publication that has come out this year. Some of which have a longer road ahead (submitted, not accepted), and a few others that were published in their final form.

The finalized ones are (in order of appearance): TEM & SAXS on MgZn, Martin’s Molecules, and Anti-stripy Nanoparticles. The not-so-finalized ones are: More TEM & SAXS, and the remake of McSAS. Lastly, there is the living “Everything SAXS”-book.

And many, many more:

Looking back at the year, there have been a great many posts that I (and hopefully you too) liked. Maintaining the site is taking up a bit of time every week, but the feedback has been very good and positive. The YouTube channel attracts a steady stream of views as well, hopefully adding another dimension to the topic.

These posts have not been possible without the discussions and collaborations with many colleagues. My sincere thanks to all those setting off wonderful e-mail discussions, all those letting me talk at their institutes, and all those doing amazing and fascinating research that makes a small scatterer’s life so exciting.

Next week, I hope to talk about what is in store for the coming year. Until then, there is but one more post I wish to highlight, which is one of the posts that started me thinking about the essence of science: Lessons from history.

*) Let me know if you are interested!

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  1. Everything SAXS – book growth | Looking At Nothing - A SA(X)S Weblog

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