Two SLAC Scientists Win Awards for LCLS Work

September 6, 2012

John Galayda, who served as project director for SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source and oversees its follow-up project, LCLS-II, and Daniel Ratner, a beam physicist in the LCLS laser group, were honored with achievement awards during the 34th annual International Free Electron Laser conference, held Aug. 26-31 in Nara, Japan.

Galayda was awarded the 2012 FEL Prize "for his outstanding leadership and outstanding initiative in the LCLS construction and the world's first hard X-ray lasing and operation," said Eisuke J. Minehara of the Wakasa Wan Energy Research Center, who served as chair of the 2012 FEL Prize nomination committee.

According to an online description of the award, the FEL Prize "is given to a person who has contributed significantly to the advancement of the field of free-electron lasers. In addition, it gives the international FEL community the opportunity to recognize one of its members for her or his outstanding achievements.”

Ratner was recognized with the 2012 Young FEL Scientist award "for his fundamental research on beam microbunching and outstanding contributions to the LCLS commissioning, including measurements of FEL gain length and harmonic contents," Minehara said. The award is given each year to a scientist under 35 for an important contribution to FEL science and technology.

Galayda joined SLAC in 2001 after overseeing the construction and operation of the accelerator systems at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, as well as the creation of an FEL there. He also worked for 13 years as an accelerator physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Through his leadership of the LCLS-II project, Galayda helped SLAC prepare for an important U.S. Department of Energy review of that project, known as a Critical Decision 2 review or CD-2, conducted last month.

"It is certainly a thrill of a lifetime for me to be added to the list of FEL prize recipients – people whose careers and accomplishments I have admired," Galayda said. "And I am really pleased to see Daniel get this recognition. He was a real asset to LCLS commissioning as he pursued his thesis research, and it is clear that he is off to a highly productive research career."

Ratner said of his recognition, "I'm honored to receive the award, and especially honored to share the stage with John. He was an essential part of making LCLS the success that it is, and on a personal level he was instrumental in getting me involved with commissioning LCLS, so it was great to see him recognized for his work."

The American Physical Society had also honored Ratner in May with the Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Beam Physics award for his research on microbunching – the ordering of electrons into tiny groupings.

Norbert Holtkamp, who leads the Accelerator Directorate at SLAC, offered congratulations to Galayda and Ratner for their awards, which were also announced during a Sept. 4 LCLS management meeting.

"They join now the distinguished group of people who have been internationally recognized for their contributions to FEL science and the success of the LCLS in particular," Holtkamp said.

"John had a long career all around photons made by accelerators. He is a constructor and operator of accelerator facilities. In his role as the project leader for LCLS and now for LCLS-II he is a cornerstone in what makes SLAC a great laboratory today,” he added. “Daniel is still early in his career and I am sure we can expect many more great things from him to come. Please join me in congratulating both of them for their achievements.”

SLAC's Paul Emma and Dave Dowell received the FEL Prize in 2009 for their technical achievements with the LCLS, including its commissioning that year. Also that year, Galayda accepted a certificate from the IFEL organizing committee that recognized the performance of the entire LCLS team.