University of Saskatchewan

September 18, 2014   


May 30, 1999

An international search has begun for a permanent scientific director to lead the Canadian Light Source (CLS) synchrotron project at the University of Saskatchewan.

U of S physicist Dennis Skopik has been appointed Acting Director of the CLS project, effective immediately. Skopik, a driving force behind the planning of the $173.5-million national science facility, will leave in September to accept a position as Deputy Associate Director of Physics at the Jefferson Laboratory in Virginia.

"I have always maintained -- and indeed the last review committee also made this point -- that the CLS should be headed by a person who is a user of synchrotron light," said Skopik, director of the Saskatchewan Accelerator Laboratory which will be incorporated in the new CLS facility.

"The science done at the CLS is not my kind of research and I wanted to get back to subatomic physics. Jefferson Laboratory is the world's premier facility for the science that I am most interested in, so the move is a natural career choice.

"Also, the best time for me to turn over the reins is at the beginning of the project so someone who has an interest in the science to be done can mold the character of the facility."

Starting in September, Michael Bancroft, a Canadian leader in synchrotron light research, will become Interim Director of the CLS project while the international search is underway. Skopik will work with Bancroft during the construction period but will gradually phase out his involvement.

"I have agreed to be available over the course of construction for technical advice but the project is in very good hands and my role will gradually diminish," Skopik said.

Bancroft, president of the Canadian Institute for Synchrotron Radiation that represents the more than 200 synchrotron users across Canada, will be seconded for two years from the University of Western Ontario where he is currently Professor of Chemistry.

U of S President George Ivany said the University is "tremendously grateful for the guidance and leadership" Skopik has provided the CLS project from conception to the point of construction.

"We owe him an enormous debt of gratitude, but it has been fully understood that Dennis would return to his prime area of interest and expertise in subatomic physics once the CLS project moved into the implementation phase," he said.

"While we are very sorry Dennis is leaving us, we congratulate him and offer our very best wishes on his appointment to the prestigious Jefferson Laboratory in Virginia.

"Dr. Michael Bancroft, the Canadian authority on synchronous light research, will assume responsibility for the next phase of the CLS project, with Dr. Skopik assisting in the transition. The project leadership is unfolding completely as intended."

The $173.5-million CLS project, slated to begin operations in late 2003, will be the biggest scientific project ever built in Canada.

A brilliant light source that allows matter to be "seen" at the atomic scale, the CLS will provide researchers across Canada with unprecedented opportunities for state-of-the-art investigations in materials science, medicine, biology, chemistry, physics, and the environmental sciences.

Designed and owned by the U of S and endorsed by 18 other universities, the CLS will be funded from both public and private sources. Information about the CLS is available at the U of S Research web site at:

For more information, contact:

Dr. Dennis Skopik
Acting Director
Saskatchewan Accelerator Laboratory
(306) 966-6054

Kathryn Warden
Research Communications Officer
Office of the Vice-President Research
(306) 966-2506

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