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New York State Congressman Paul Tonko took a tour of CHESS on Tuesday, November 1st, meeting with staff, users and local companies that will be impacted by CHESS-U, the upgrade that will optimize the accelerator for x-ray production.

Congressman Tonko represents New York’s 20th Congressional District, and as a member of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, Paul serves on the Subcommittee on Research and Technology, which has jurisdiction over non-defense federal scientific research and development. This alignment, and Tonko’s work toward STEM Education, and engineering education in schools makes him a perfect guest for the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source, a National Science Foundation funded laboratory.

CHESS Director, Joel Brock, and Ritchie Patterson, the Director of the Cornell Laboratory for Accelerator Based Sciences and Education (CLASSE) presented the history, and future of CHESS, highlighting the impact of synchrotron science in New York State, the country, and worldwide. As a former mechanical engineer, Tonko seemed quite interested in the ability of our high energy x-rays to empower industry to create lighter and stronger alloys for various components.

Tonko also offered a clear message that is needed while speaking with funding agencies and people in the political realm: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. How does CHESS impact the economy? Where are our graduate and post docs headed when they leave? How long does it take for a research experiment to make it available at the industrial level? How many jobs?

Following the presentation, Representative Tonko met with many people, from Jim Shanks of CESR to Sonal Dey, a CHESS user from SUNY Poly, which just happens to be in Tonko's district. The congressman continued on, engaging with Matt Miller of CHESS and Alex Deyhim from ADC, a local company that will be positively impacted by CHESS-U.

Getting the nudge from his aide, Tonko realized that he needed to leave for his next appointment, but not before heading over to L0E for a view of the CBETA project, a new type of particle accelerator being developed with Brookhaven National Lab.

After the dust had settled, there was that familiar sense of amazement that usually accompanies an event like this. Yes, from the occasion itself, but mostly from the people that quietly make amazing things happen at Wilson Lab.



Submitted by: Rick Ryan, CHESS, Cornell University