There it is, our lovely $207 million Australian Synchrotron. If you think that's a little expensive just remember what the Federal Government is spending on advertising its grotty policies that no-one wants. The synchrotron is right next door to Monash University in Clayton where some of our best researchers are working when they're not wasting time by flying all over the world to other countries to use their synchrotrons.
This is a 3-giga-electronvolt (medium energy) light source and is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. It has the capacity for more than 30 beamlines. Nine have been proposed and five have already been installed ready to go in July 2007. They will be used for high-throughput protein crystallography, powder defraction, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, soft X-ray spectroscopy and infrared spectroscopy. All of these are used in forensic science, drug design, radiation therapy and IVF studies.
Daniel Hausermann, a Swiss physicist was recruited to design one of the beamlines. The 150- metre-long medical imaging beamline will help to deliver more precise and effective radiation therapies and detect cancers near the single cell stage. At the moment a smear test for cervical cancer already contains numerous cells. To image and diagnose a single cancer cell would mean less invasive treatments.
The Australian Government has promised $50 million over the facility's first five years of operation. That's $50 million over five years and it's only promised not granted. For the scientists and researchers using the synchrotron, fighting for every grant dollar will still take up to much time better spent on their work.