What was and will be, 2018/2019 edition

CC0-licensed image from: https://pixabay.com/en/sailing-sailboat-boat-travel-2542901/
CC0-licensed image from: https://pixabay.com/en/sailing-sailboat-boat-travel-2542901/

Welcome to the last day of 2018, for some already crossing over into 2019. Let’s take a look at what has and has not been achieved this time around, and what may be happening in the coming year…

CC0-licensed image from: https://pixabay.com/en/sailing-sailboat-boat-travel-2542901/
CC0-licensed image from: https://pixabay.com/en/sailing-sailboat-boat-travel-2542901/

This year, I’ve managed on average only one post per month, but I do hope they’ve been well-received. Stress at work has been disabling, and I (still) need to figure out how to deal with it. Fortunately, there is a lot of help from colleagues in our group, and halfway through the year our new postdoc arrived who’s quickly adapted himself into a capable instrument scientist for the MAUS, taking care of it and its users while having fun, and because of whom we now have a stream of co-authored publications in the pipeline (proposals for the MAUS, as always, are very welcome). Needless to say this has freed up bits of time for me to work on other projects. So what’ve I been up to myself?

Looking at the list of what was planned in 2018, here’s what’s achieved, and what will be done about them next year:

  • Funding search: Two funding sources were applied for, one COST Action, and one VW Stiftung. Unfortunately, both didn’t work, bringing my success rate for external funding to something like 0/12. I’ll try again for both, with an updated COST action proposal, and a completely new VW stiftung proposal (they don’t accept modifications).
  • The “Secret project” is still mostly secret, and has been changing over the years, but we’ll start coming out soon.
  • ISO activities: Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to become more active in ISO last year, but we’ll redouble our efforts in 2019.
  • Software: We’ve started working a lot again on software, in particular now that Ingo Breßler has started a permanent position in our group. In particular, there’s an effort underway to completely update the McSAS core, and perhaps integrate it in the SasView UI, using Paul Kienzle’s extensive SasModels library. We’ll have to see how this goes.
  • Data corrections have been going forward as well, with almost all now available in DAWN. Next year we will try to evaluate them all for a range of instruments
  • The MAUS: yes, this one’s been a success story that we’re continuing to develop and extend. In particular, we’re working hard on new and interesting sample stages to study the alignment of materials. We’re also hard at work at improving the performance of the machine itself through small upgrades in software as well as hardware, as much as our budget allows!
  • USAXS: Our new USAXS platform has performed very well at the Diamond tests, and the publication is nearly ready for submission. The instrument itself is now being modified so it fits more easily in the MAUS.

So what other things are planned in 2019? Besides the managerial tasks, one exciting development is the very recent installation of a new “laser nano-factory” in our building, of which I have extensively tweeted two weeks ago. This instrument will help us to create and understand the creation of interesting functional structures, but we have a long way to go before we get to that stage. More about that after it has been realigned, and after we have been trained to use it. This machine, like the MAUS, is also designed to open doorways and be extremely useful in a wide range of collaborative projects!

Here’s hoping that 2019 becomes the year of interesting research and collaborations. May 2019 be a good year for you all, with time for healthy interest and excitement all around!

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