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Education and Outreach Programs

FAQs: National School on Neutron & X-ray Scattering

Frequently asked questions

Who can apply to the school?

Only graduate students attending North American universities are accepted.

Due to the amount of time required to obtain clearance for site access to Argonne and Oak Ridge National Labs, we cannot consider applications from foreign nationals with a citizenship from, a birthplace of, or sponsorship or employment by a country that is a state sponsor of terrorism” (as defined by the U. S. Department of State). These are listed on the U. S. Department of State webpage.

What is the acceptance rate for applicants?

The program is highly over-subscribed. In the most recent years, the acceptance rate has been about 30 percent.

If rejected one year, is it worthwhile to apply again?

Yes. Repeated application is recognized by reviewers as a sign of greater motivation. Students who have only just started their Ph.D. program at the time of their first application are encouraged to apply again.

Can I attend the school more than once?

No. It is the intention that students only attend once.

When will the lectures start?

Lectures start on the first Sunday of the School’s week.

What expenses are covered?

Travel, lodging, and meals will be covered for graduate students accepted into the program.

If accepted, can I miss part of the School (start late or leave early) due to other commitments (beamtime for experiments, etc.)?

No. Accepted participants are expected to attend during the full two weeks. If a successful applicant discovers they will not be able to attend for the entire two weeks, they are expected to notify the School immediately so that an alternate applicant can take their place.

Does the School cover macromolecular crystallography?

No. The course covers use of x-rays and neutrons for the physical sciences such as physics, chemistry, materials science, and some engineering and geoscience areas. Courses such as RapiData or Cold Spring Harbor are more appropriate for biologists interested in learning protein crystallography.

I don’t expect to do measurements myself, but I want to learn about them. Is the School for me?

No. The target audience of the school is graduate students who will use neutron and x-ray techniques and facilities in their graduate research, and as such only students who are experimentalists are typically accepted. Students who are only doing computational work, etc. are unlikely to be selected, but they may be interested in looking at the speaker’s slides; these are placed online after the School completes.

I need to learn only Rietveld analysis (or small-angle scattering, or neutron spectroscopy) for my thesis. Should I apply?

No. The school presents a broad-brush introduction to the full range of physical science techniques at neutron and x-ray facilities. Students do not get in-depth training in any one technique. Priority is given to students based on the number of different types of measurements they are likely to use in their graduate research. People needing to learn one skill are better suited to a course specializing in that technique. Lecture slides are available online after the School. Usually, there is very little extra seating for students wishing to audit a single lecture; auditing all lectures is not possible. If interested in auditing a single lecture, contact the organizers to see if seating is possible. No travel support is available for auditing.

Does the School accept postdocs, young faculty, or undergraduates?

No. The School targets students who will use neutron and x-ray facilities in their graduate research. Applicants who are not graduate students may apply and will be considered, but none have been accepted in recent years. We recognize that the lectures may be beneficial for postdocs or theorists wishing to learn more about a broad range of scattering techniques, so lectures from previous years are available on-line; slides from the current year are posted shortly before or after the School. Usually, there is very little extra seating for non-attendees wishing to audit a single lecture; auditing all lectures is not possible. If interested in auditing a single lecture, contact the organizers to see if seating is possible. No travel support is available for auditing.