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(Photo - Aina Cohen)Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) Staff Scientist Aina Cohen recently accepted the role of president-elect for the Pittsburgh Diffraction Society (PDS). Her first task in this role will be organizing the 66th annual Pittsburgh Diffraction Conference (PDC), which will take place October 30 – November 1, 2008. The conference will be preceded by a workshop sponsored by the Hauptman Woodward Institute (HWI), the University of Pittsburgh and SSRL.

The workshop, titled Crystallography Made Easy through Automation, will demonstrate how crystallographic techniques may be simplified by using automated facilities at SSRL and HWI. The conference itself will cover topics relevant to researchers in chemistry, physics and structural biology including diffraction phasing, protein structure refinement, synchrotron data collection and combined methods for structural biology and chemistry research.

"It's definitely an honor to be presiding over such a great conference," Cohen said. "The conference will expose people to the nuts and bolts of crystallography, so they have the opportunity to learn about their own field, but also to explore other fascinating areas of X-ray diffraction."

Curious minds, both young and old, are encouraged to attend the conference, which is the oldest diffraction-related conference in North America.

Over the years, the PDS has built a reputation for encouraging and supporting young scientists. Each year, PDS gives the Sidhu award to outstanding early-career scientists within six years of receiving their PhD. SLAC Photon Science Director Keith Hodgson received the Sidhu award in 1978. In addition, PDS also confers the George Jeffrey award, which funds students' trips to the triennial Congress of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr) and the Chung Soo Yoo award, given to the best student poster presenter at the annual PDC.

The submission deadline for abstracts to the poster competition will be open until October 1st. For more information on the PDS, its conference and awards, please visit the society's website.

Matt Cunningham, SLAC Today, May 23, 2008

Above image: Aina Cohen at SSRL.