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Diamond's 10th Anniversary

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Today, Diamond Light Source marks 10 years since Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, officially opened the facility.

The Royal Party toured the synchrotron machine – an incredible feat of science and engineering measuring over half a kilometre in circumference and covering an area over three times the footprint of Buckingham Palace. During the visit, they were shown how the powerful light is produced and exploited, along with the range of science to which Diamond has already started to contribute.

The Queen and The Duke paused by the Diamond model while Gerd Materlik, former Chief Executive (left), and Sir David Cooksey, Chairman (right) explained how the machine works.

The mood then was definitely one of celebration as The Queen and The Duke met many of the staff, scientists, engineers and technicians from Diamond who have helped create this world class scientific facility in the Oxfordshire countryside in just five short years. As Professor Gerd Materlik, former CEO of Diamond, said at the time: "We feel extremely honoured by the Royal visit, which not only marks our official opening, but also pays tribute to all those involved with the design, construction and now operation of Diamond. From the very beginning, we have placed great emphasis on the importance of community collaboration. Early in 2007, we welcomed our first academic users from universities across the UK and in July an open day, attended by over 4,000 people, allowed us to share with the local community in Oxfordshire the wide range of science that has started here: from research into the structure of medicine to the mapping of chemical composition of meteorites".

For the past 10 years Diamond has exceeded expectations with 2017 marking 6 000 peer reviewed journal articles, academic and industrial user visits now exceeding 9 000 a year and a whopping 60 000 visitors ranging from undergraduates & graduates, secondary school students, to members of the public.

Prof Andrew Harrison, current CEO at Diamond concludes: “With these achievements in mind, all I can say is that I humbled and proud to be at the head of such a great project dedication of our current and former staff, contractors and user community from academia and industry. Let us not forget we here as the result of the vision of the UK Government and the Wellcome Trust had to invest together 15 years ago. We are all looking forward to an even brighter future!”