#WorkingTogether – Meet Alexander Rack

23 Nov 2020

“During my PhD and first years as a post-doc, I worked at facilities similar to SESAME, building experimental stations and upgrading beamlines. After more than 17 years in this field, I have gained a wide experience of working in light sources with the hard X-ray micro-tomography techniques that we plan to implement at BEATS. I know how to optimise the beamline parameters, and I know what kind of research is possible with the constraints of the source. My choice to work in the field of synchrotrons has had a great positive impact in my life, and I hope I can help others to benefit in the same way. My role in the project is to consult with the team and provide support to the beamline scientist, Gianluca Iori, for the design of the new beamline. For me, science is a lot more than publications, and science should not be constrained by borders. I love the international spirit and the high level of motivation of all the BEATS partners with whom I am involved. SESAME is a beautiful facility and I feel a personal attachment to it – the hall layout is the same as at the German light source, ANKA, where I worked in the past. SESAME is built on the dedication and the belief of the people in the project, this is very important. Working on BEATS has reinforced my belief that the success of a beamline is not due to the technical parameters or to having the most expensive equipment; the success of a beamline is dependent on the user community you can gather around it.”

All photos: ESRF/BEATS Kirstin Colvin

Alexander Rack studied physics at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany, and obtained a PhD from the Department of Materials Research of Processing using the BESSY-II light source. He first used synchrotron beamtime in 2002 and has since specialised in hard X-ray imaging (radiography and tomography) with a recent focus on ultra-high speed image acquisition. He joined the ESRF in 2008. Today he is Scientist in Charge of the micro-tomography beamline ID19 and Deputy Head of the Structure of Materials group.