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IUCr 1994 Report - Commission on Neutron Scattering

The major event of 1994 was the award of the Nobel Prize for Physics to Professors B. N. Brockhouse, FRS, and C. Shull for their pioneering work on neutron diffraction and neutron inelastic scattering. At the informal Meeting of the Commission at Sendai (Japan), messages of congratulation were sent. The occasion was especially joyful as the news came during the course of the Meeting. With the change of name of the Commission on Neutron Diffraction agreed at the General Assembly of the International Union at its Meeting in Beijing, August 1993, the Commission now embraces both of the subject areas recognized in the awards.

The Commission, while still holding neutron diffraction from both single crystals and powders at the core of its work, has initiated and become involved with projects likely to be of long-term value to both structural and dynamical studies. A series of consultations by e-mail and by the Chairman in Europe and USA (June 1994) and in Japan, Europe and USA (November 1994) indicated that the Commission might be able to facilitate two projects: International Standards for Neutron Inelastic Scattering Cross Sections (NISC) and Internationally Agreed Exchange Format for Neutron and Synchrotron Data. These projects are at a very early stage but cooperation has been agreed for the first, which will involve the exchange of a standard sample of PrAl3 initially between eight major neutron scattering centres. This system has a well defined crystal-field excitation at about 4.3 meV whose cross section is precisely calculable and for which there is very little dispersion. Intercalibration of instruments between countries and the increase in accuracy of measurement that could follow and the growing power of pulsed neutron sources are all good reasons for starting this project now. It could allow neutron inelastic intensities to become of routine use. Members of the Commission and a number of leading scientists in several countries have suggested additional test samples and volunteered their help in carrying out this programme.

The Commission has offered to facilitate the work of the second programme, which was started by members of the European Network for Neutron Instrumentation (ENNI) and reported at the ISIS (Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, England) International Science Advisory Committee in December 1994. A Workshop on Neutron Scattering Software (SoftNEss) was organized by Dr Ray Osborn (Argonne National Laboratory) in October 1994 with the data exchange format as the main topic. A proposal for a world-wide neutron scattering data format was agreed and will be prepared by Przemek Klosowski, Jon Tischler and Mark Konnecke for 1995. Dr Osborne has agreed to keep the Commission informed.

In connection with these projects, the Commission may wish to appoint consultants and should be grateful for the agreement of the Executive Committee at the appropriate time.

The Commission held an informal Meeting at the ICNS Meeting in Sendai, Japan, in November 1994. Present at Sendai were: Endoh, Kulda, Lebech, Mason, Ye, White; absent: Prince, Powell, Forsyth, Albinati. In addition, Professor Keith McEwan (UK) was invited as a key person for item 4 of the agenda, which covered (1) Satellite Meeting for the Seattle Congress in 1996, (2) Main Programme for the Seattle Congress in 1996, possible Plenary Lecturers, (3) Regional International Meeting and Workshop (Asia/Pacific) in 1997, (4) Absolute Inelastic Cross Section Project, (5) any other business.

As concerns the Satellite Meeting, it was agreed that Ted Prince would design the programme in the first instance but he was asked to iterate this with the Commission through John White. It was agreed that, like the Beijing Congress, a mix of crystallography and other neutron scattering was desirable. It was agreed that Dr Prince, through the Commission, should seek money for student participation in the Satellite Meeting.

The impact of siting the Neutron Scattering Satellite at NIST in 1996 at the venue for the next ICNS Meeting was also discussed. There had been bids to Professor Endoh already from NIST, Oak Ridge, Zürich, Munich and Jülich.

The Commission will continue its work on the development of training courses with the IAEA, particularly intending to bring the latest developments in neutron scattering such as structure and dynamics in biology, in polymeric systems and catalytic materials to the attention of a wider audience and to cooperate with those countries where new neutron beam installations are being prepared.

The Commission again recognizes the important work of Neutron News in bringing the latest scientific and other news to the whole community and again recognizes the work of Gerry Lander (with John Axe and Yasuo Endoh) in keeping this journal as a focus of interest.

It is a pleasure for the Chairman to thank all members of the Commission for their contributions to the Commission's work.

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Updated 14th February 1997

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