Working a couple of weeks at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

From April 1st to 13th, I’ve been at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Oxfordshire, England, to work together with the instrument responsible at the SXD instrument. We’ve been working on my data analysis, but the main thing we did was do extra measurements on two different laboratory X-ray diffractometers on small shavings of the same LSCO+O crystal that we had on SXD. These data will help me get an even better overview of my superstructures, since the X-ray instruments can measure for higher \(q\) than what we’ve previously been able to.

The two diffractometers were at ISIS (an Oxford Instruments Gemini diffractometer) and the Harwell Research Complex (an Oxford Instruments SuperNova diffractometer), right on the RAL campus, so it was super convenient. We got so much new data – on several different small pieces of the crystal – and at least some of them have really nice resolution. I can definitely use this further!

The Gemini instrument

The Gemini instrument

I stayed at a cute lille Bed & Breakfast in East Hendred, a short ten minute bus drive from campus. The two cozy pubs provided some awesome meals for my dinners, and I felt super welcome there – I’ll be staying there every time I go to ISIS from now on. The guest house at campus is really, really not worth it compared to this place (it was basically the same price, for a way better room, and way better opportunities for dinner)!

Beautiful London

On the first day, on my way to Oxfordshire, I took a little detour and spent a few hours in London. It’s the first time I’ve been in the city, and I spent my time walking around, mostly along the Thames – visiting the typical tourist spots like Elizabeth Tower, Trafalgar Square, the Tower Bridge, the Gherkin, and the Millenium Bridge at St. Paul’s Cathedral. I had a great time, and I’ll definitely return one day to have a look at some of the less visited places!

A little side trip to Oxford

I spent one of my days working at the Bed & Breakfast in the morning, and then taking a short trip to Oxford in the afternoon. I visited some of the old colleges and had coffee and pecan pie at one of the (if not the) oldest coffee shops in Europe – Queen’s Lane Coffee House. I used one of those hop-on-hop-off tourist bus things, and they drove us around and explained how things used to work in the old days of the city. It was really interesting!

I stopped at the botanical gardens and had an ice cream while enjoying the beautiful Spring flowers. I also went to see the beautiful Renaissance dining hall at the Christ Church college, where they filmed the Harry Potter Hogwarts dining hall scenes: despite the long line and too many people, it was kind of fun to see.

Weekend trip to bird-of-prey park and Stonehenge

On Sunday, April 7th, the local contact took me on a trip to a bird-of-prey park and Stonehenge, just to get out and do something, instead of sitting at the Bed & Breakfast working all weekend. It was super cool – and I’m really glad he suggested it!

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