Last year was an eventful one for MAX IV with the number of beamlines that opened to users increasing from 3 to 8. Scientific and technical highlights from 2019 are nicely summarized in our annual compendium.
2020 was even more eventful with 3 additional beamlines opening to users by year-end for a total of eleven, three more entering commissioning, another major review - and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like user facilities worldwide, the MAX IV user community and staff alike experienced unprecedented challenges to carrying out long-planned science programs due to pandemic-related travel limitations, communication obstacles, production delays, and sadly, illness. Nevertheless, we are very fortunate to have been able to continue to operate MAX IV.
Together we have adapted to the evolving situation by finding new ways to conduct science safely through virtual collaboration and by increasing support for remote access and mail-in samples.
You can read about this year's review of MAX IV by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) here. In its report, the review committee commended MAX IV on its progress since the previous review and made several recommendations for advancing the laboratory's performance and a long-range strategy. Of note is that MAX IV is well on the way to completing its 16 funded beamlines and opening these to the user community.
Also of note is the large uptick this year in the number and quality of scientific publications resulting from work at MAX IV. But all this pales in the context of the unimaginable tragedy and global impact of the pandemic. As the year comes to a close, I hope that each of us takes a few moments to extend a bit of extra kindness to family, friends and colleagues this holiday season. It is likely we will face more challenges in 2021. Yet it is certain we will meet these challenges and come out stronger by overcoming them together. I wish everyone good health, a warm (but not too warm!) holiday, and a
very happy new year.
Ian McNulty, Director MAX IV Laboratory