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Chi-Chang Kao Named Associate Laboratory Director for SSRL

SSRL Director Chi-Chang Kao. (Photo courtesy Brookhaven National Laboratory.)

A warm welcome to SLAC's newest associate laboratory director, Chi-Chang Kao, who arrives for his first official day of work at the laboratory today. As director of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, Kao will manage the day-to-day operations of the SSRL user facility and program, and provide the leadership and vision for the future of the SSRL science and user program. Kao will also have an appointment on SLAC's faculty as a professor of photon science.

"We've not only recruited an outstanding individual in management and leadership, but also a person who really excels in X-ray science and techniques," said Keith Hodgson, associate laboratory director for photon science. "[In his previous post] as chairperson of Brookhaven National Laboratory's National Synchrotron Light Source, Chi-Chang demonstrated that he can undertake his new role very effectively. He's also an extremely accomplished physicist in the area of X-ray physics and scattering. Both of these elements—strong leadership skills and scientific research expertise—will serve him well at SLAC."

In his five years as chairperson of NSLS, Kao undertook major upgrades to the light source's scientific programs and experimental facilities, while also developing potential science programs for NSLS-II, a new light source currently under construction at Brookhaven. His research focuses on X-ray physics, superconductivity, magnetic materials for computer storage devices, and the properties of materials under high temperature and high pressure.

"The unique combination of SSRL and [the Linac Coherent Light Source] makes SLAC the most exciting place for photon science in the world," Kao said. "SSRL has a long and impressive history of leading the development of synchrotron science since the advent of synchrotron radiation, and the SSRL staff members are talented and dedicated. I am excited to join SLAC at this important juncture of its history and hope to contribute to and build on the outstanding tradition of SSRL."

Kao earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 1980 from National Taiwan University and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Cornell University in 1988. He joined Brookhaven shortly after, working his way from NSLS postdoctoral research assistant to chair. Kao also served as an adjunct professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Stony Brook University. He was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society in 2006, and named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science earlier this year for his many contributions to resonant elastic and inelastic X-ray scattering techniques and their application to materials physics, and his leadership at the NSLS.

"Chi-Chang has the mandate and the challenge to lead SSRL into the future, helping make SLAC the world's leading photon science laboratory by the end of this decade," said SLAC Director Persis Drell, " and I have no doubt he is up to the task. We are very pleased to welcome him to SLAC."

—Kelen Tuttle
SLAC Today, August 23, 2010