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IUCr 1993 Triennial Report - Commission on Neutron Diffraction

Many of the Commission's activities are continuing ones, and often informal, involving communication of information, encouraging exchanges, involvement of members in organizing meetings etc. It was particularly pleasing to see publication in 1992 of Volume C of the new International Tables, which includes a wealth of pertinent information for neutron scatterers. Many of our colleagues contributed, but the efforts of B. T. M. Willis are particularly noted here. As another example, members of our Commission and of that on Powder Diffraction have helped to organize IAEA Training Courses in China and Grenoble. These courses promote the use of neutrons, e.g. for materials development and characterization, particularly in countries new to neutron beam research. They bring together scientists needing to use neutron beams and experienced lecturers for both in-depth course work and hands-on experience in running experiments. Typical techniques are powder diffraction, small-angle neutron scattering, and radiography. The IAEA will propose further courses where required.

The recently established IUCr Newsletter promises to be one of the main channels for crystallographers to exchange information about meetings, international cooperation, IUCr and Commission activities, and projects of an explicitly scientific nature. Many of these goals are shared with the Commission, which will make full use of the new Newsletter. Also, the Commission will continue to promote Neutron News, edited by G. Lander (with J. Axe and Commission member Y. Endoh), in every possible way. Since 1990, it has been a powerful means of communication among all neutron scatterers - not only diffractionists - and this wide readership is a source of strength to the neutron diffraction community. This role will remain, and it will be enhanced further by the recent inclusion within Neutron News of the new Journal of Neutron Research. The dynamism of Neutron News was earlier shown once again, with publication in Vol. 3, No. 3 (1992) of not only the Koester, Rauch and Seymann table of experimental values of neutron scattering lengths as a handy wall chart, but also of the latest V. F. Sears rationalized values of neutron scattering lengths and cross sections. The Commission on Neutron Diffraction thanks the Neutron News editors, staff and sponsors and those submitting contributions for their efforts. Again, we urge scientists to see that their library buys a copy, to ensure its continued existence. The Commission's own neutron newsletter was voluntarily discontinued when Neutron News started, and the Commission Chairman regularly writes a Chairman's contribution for Neutron News.

The next edition of the World Directory of Crystallographers is in preparation - the last dates from 1990 - and for the first time it will be prepared from a database maintained at the IUCr office in Chester. It is already possible to obtain by e-mail from Chester a template file for preparing your own entry - for submission to your national Sub-editor - and a list of national Sub-editors! It is important to note that the Directory is open to anybody working in crystallography and related topics. See the IUCr Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 1 and Acta Cryst. (1993), A49, 222-225 for details. All those using neutron diffraction, even occasionally, are urged to see that they are entered into the database, as this will help the Commission to fulfil its role. Eventually, the IUCr database should replace other less well maintained databases as the primary source for address lists for special interest groups, conference organizers, seekers of technical information etc.

As the mandate of the present Commission nears its end, its attention turns increasingly to the Beijing Congress and General Assembly, 21-29 August 1993. The previous scientifically very successful IUCr Congress was at Bordeaux, France, in 1990. With two parallel Main Lectures, some six parallel Microsymposia and daily poster sessions, the Beijing Congress will be a source of scientific stimulation and international contacts for all participants, as well as providing an overview of the state of the science of diffraction

The Commission proposed a number of Microsymposia for the Beijing Congress, as well as a list of suggested Plenary Lecturers. We thank those inside and outside the Commission who helped us in the preliminary stages by contacting potential contributors. The severe selection from the very large number of propositions meant that not all of our suggestions were accepted, but it was pleasing to see that the subjects chosen emphasized the comple- mentarity of neutron scattering with other techniques. Thus there will be Main Lectures by R. K. Thomas on reflectometry and by W. I. F. David on fullerenes, and Microsymposia on magnetic scattering, on X-ray and neutron powder diffraction, and on thin-film structures. There will also be an Open Commission Meeting of the Commission on Neutron Diffraction devoted to the complementarity of neutron sources. And, of course, many of the other sessions will have contributions involving neutrons: area detectors, superconducting materials etc. Overall, these contributions will again demonstrate the leading role played by neutron scatterers in important areas of physics, chemistry, biology, materials science, instrumentation, computing... while at the same time emphasizing that neutrons should be used chiefly where their special features give unique information.

Before and after the main Congress, there will be five IUCr-sponsored Satellite Meetings at various sites in China, including one on neutron scattering. The Satellite Meetings complement the main IUCr Congress, and provide an opportunity for in-depth discussions. The Neutron Scattering Satellite Meeting (NSS-93) will be held at Beidaihe, about 300km to the east of Beijing, 17-19 August 1993. Commission members are part of the International Programme Committee, and open access and balance in setting up the programme are guaranteed. Following on from the highly successful meeting at Alpe d'Huez after the Bordeaux Congress, the broad theme is the complementarity of reactor and spallation neutron scattering techniques with other techniques, especially diffraction with synchrotron and laboratory X-ray sources. As well as considering the state of development of neutron sources and instrumentation, there will be adequate time to review neutron experiments with applications in materials and engineering science, physics, and chemistry of small and large molecules. Although some areas of neutron scattering are feasible only at the highest flux sources, a surprisingly large range of science can be carried out at low- or medium-flux reactors by taking advantage of new technology and by good design. Discussion of such science is an integral part of the Satellite Meeting, as it is hoped that many participants will come from countries where neutron scattering is in its early youth. The special session on reflectometry at Beidaihe should enable neutron and X-ray specialists of this technique to demonstrate the progress made in the last three years, both in the number of instruments available and in new results obtained. Again this session is designed to complement those at the Beijing Congress.

Every three years the membership of IUCr Commissions is modified, at the time of the IUCr Congress and General Assembly. This is also an appropriate time, for anyone who wishes to do so, to suggest new directions or new projects or simply to offer constructive remarks about the work of the Commission. This can be done through any Commission member. Finally, if agreed formally by the Beijing IUCr General Assembly, our Commission will in future be called the Commission on Neutron Scattering, to emphasize the fact that neutron diffraction flourishes by contact with scientists working with neutrons in related areas such as small-angle scattering, reflectometry, interferometry, optics, magnetism and dynamics.

7 April 1993                                S. A. MASON, Chairman

See 16th General Assembly decision concerning change of name of this commission.

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