2012 Award Winners

Please join us in congratulating the following winners.

 


ACA 2012 Buerger Award to John Spence

The M.J. Buerger award was created in 1983, in honor of Martin J. Buerger, Institute Professor Emeritus of M.I.T. and Univ. Professor Emeritus of the Univ. of Connecticut, a mineralogist who made major contributions to many areas of crystallography. The award was created to recognize mature scientists who have made contributions of exceptional distinction in areas of interest to the ACA.

 

John Spence (Arizona State Univ.) has been selected as the 2012 Buerger recipient for theoretical and experimental contributions to diffraction physics, using both X-ray and electron methods. The award presentation and lecture is scheduled for Sunday, July 29. 

 

MORE John is a Regents' Professor at Arizona State Univ. at Tempe, where his research group studies condensed matter, biophysics and diffraction physics based on the use of electron and x-ray beams for imaging, spectroscopy and diffraction. State-of-the art equipment is used to do lithography at the angstrom level. The optical and superconducting properties of the resulting patterned arrays of "Nano-rings" are being investigated. The group's quantitative convergent beam (QCBED) research allows for direct imaging of the chemical bonds in solids. Theoretical work continues on the inversion problem of multiple scattering, and experimental research is supported on the use of coherent sub-nanometer electron probes for the study of dislocation core structures and on electron channeling effects on x-ray production (ALCHEMI). His latest research is devoted to biological applications of femtosecond x-ray diffraction at Flash (in Hamburg) and at the Linac Coherent Light Source at Stanford where they use x-ray pulses so brief that they terminate before atoms move (in order to avoid damage), to determine the structure of membrane proteins and viruses which are difficult to crystallize.

 

ACA 2012 Warren Award to Paul Fenter

Established in 1970 by students and friends of Professor B.E. Warren on the occasion of his retirement from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the award recognizes an important recent contribution to the physics of solids or liquids using X-ray, neutron, or electron diffraction techniques.


Paul Fenter (Argonne National Lab) has been selected for "developing novel in situ  X-ray reflectivity and microscopy methods to image structures and processes at complex solid-liquid interfaces. This was enabled by two general technical advances: molecular-scale imaging of interfacial structures through the recovery and use of phase information normally lost in scattering measurements; and, the full field imaging of lateral interfacial heterogeneity and including elementary topography (i.e., sub-nm high steps) and interfacial reactions using X-ray microscopy". The award presentation is scheduled for Monday, July 30.

 

Paul is a pioneer of x-ray methodology for understanding the structure of interfaces, particularly those involving liquids or soft matter. His relentless and creative pursuit of the mechanisms underlying otherwise routine scattering methods has led to substantial breakthroughs. X-ray reflectivity and microscopy methods to image structures and processes at complex solid-liquid interfaces. This was enabled by two general technical advances: molecular-scale imaging of interfacial structures through the recovery and use of phase information normally lost in scattering measurements; and, the full field imaging of lateral interfacial heterogeneity and including elementary topography (i.e., sub-nm high steps) and interfacial reactions using X-ray microscopy". The award presentation is scheduled forHis primary contribution has been in developing the method of x-ray reflectivity for studying surface structure. On the experimental side, he has pioneered the use of area detectors, like CCD's, which allow significant enhancements in data collection efficiency and accuracy. He has pushed the use of resonance methods to obtain chemical sensitivity to the point of being able to obtain element-specific density maps of interfaces with very few prior assumptions.More recently, the reflectivity work has been extended to crystal truncation rods (CTR) which involve the crystal lattice as well as the interface under study.Another recent breakthrough is his invention of the XRIM method of imaging structure at a buried interface such as mineral water. This uses the reflectivity or CTR information to produce real-space images by applying a Fresnel Zone Plate as a lens to magnify the sample. While several crystallographers were busy attempting to interpret the coherent diffraction from interfaces, Paul Fenter was the sole originator of the idea to combine the diffracted beams together again to form an image.

 


ACA 2012 Supper Instrumentation Award to Ron Hamlin

The Supper Award was created to recognize scientists who have made exceptional contributions to crystallographic instrumentation. Charles Supper emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1925, bringing an ability to fabricate almost anything mechanical. While at M.I.T. he collaborated with Martin Buerger in the development of the precession camera. By 1941, he recognized the need for a company to manufacture and supply high quality, easy-to-use, and reasonably priced instruments for the X-ray crystallographer and he founded the Charles Supper Company. Mr. Supper's innovative designs and methods led to the commercial availability of the Buerger precession cameras, the Weissenberg camera, Debye-Scherrer powder cameras, goniometer heads, and devices to fabricate crystal and protein models, film measuring instruments and other useful diffraction accessories.

 

Ron Hamlin (Area Detector Systems) will receive the award on Wednesday, August 1. Ron will be honored as a leader in the stages of all the modern generations of major area x-ray detectors.

 

Ron earned his PhD in Physics from UC San Diego where his early work with Nguyen-Huu Xuong (2004 Supper Award winner) led to the development of a highly successful multi-wire area detector. Then in 1983 Hamlin (together with Xuong and Chris Neilson) formed Area Detector Systems Corporation (ADSC) to sell the detector. When image plates were developed, ADSC teamed with MAR to make them readily available in the US. When Sol Gruner's group (CHESS) demonstrated the potential of the phosphor-coupled CCD detectors (1991-1993) Ron immediately recognized their potential. He worked closely with Gruner's group along with Walter Phillips' group at Brandeis to develop a highly successful line of CCD detectors that can now be found at synchrotron sites all over the world.

 

 

ACA 2012 Margaret C. Etter Early Career Award to Emmanuel Skordalakes

Emmauel Skordalakes (The Wistar Insitute) has been selected as the 2012 Etter Early Career Award. Telomerase is a specialized RNA-dependent DNA polymerase that extends the ends of chromosomes to promote genome stability and is commonly over-expressed in human cancers and other age-associated disorders. A molecular understanding of telomerase function has been significantly hampered by the difficulty to determine its high-resolution structure. Dr. Skordalakes succeeded to determine the high-resolution crystals structure of the full-length protein component of telomerase (TERT) as well as its complex bound to an RNADNA hybrid. Together with associated biochemical experiments, these studies have provided significant and novel insights into telomerase function, regulation and telomere replication. These studies also provide the first molecular framework for the design of telomerase inhibitors for therapy of cancer and other age-associated disorders.


 

Wood Writing Award to Daniel Nocera

In 1997, the ACA established the Wood Science Writing Award to honor Elizabeth A. Wood, President of the ACA in 1957 and author of science books for lay readers. The purpose of the award is to recognize and honor the authors of outstanding publications that bring science to the attention of the general public. Successful nominees need not be crystallographers or scientists and 'publications' is not limited to written work but could include such things as artistic efforts or museum displays. Dr. Nocera could not attend the 2011 meeting so he will accept the award in Boston.