RapiData Returns to the NSLS

RapiData participants share their enthusiasm.

Since 1999, students from around the world have gathered at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) every spring for RapiData, a week-long crash course designed to introduce participants to the best and latest equipment and techniques for macromolecular x-ray crystallography. RapiData allows students to meet and learn from the leading developers of software in the crystallography field, and then to use NSLS beamlines to collect data and solve molecular structures from their own research. This year, 50 students (and about 40 teachers, half of whom come from outside BNL) will attend the course, which will be held April 19-24.

"Many of the nearly 500 RapiData alumni have become research directors, and they often send their own students to the course," said Brookhaven's Bob Sweet who created RapiData and is helping to organize the program for its 11th year.

"It's not an introductory course," he said. "Professors find it gives a certain polish to the students' knowledge. Some groups have sent four or five students over the years. A sign of RapiData's impact is how eager the teachers are to return each year."

The course is offered by BNL's Biology and NSLS departments, in cooperation with the new Joint Photon-Science Institute, and reflects an educational component of the PXRR (Macromolecular Crystallography Research Resource), funded jointly by the National Center for Research Resources - a branch of the National Institutes of Health - and the U.S. Department of Energy's Office for Biological & Environmental Research.

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