Dick Taylor Story
I enjoyed Herman Winick's comments about interactions with Dick Taylor. I remember that period vividly, particularly that meeting, or a similar one on the same subject, when I was chairman of the SSRL Users Organization.
Dick had been sent as a representative of SLAC management to discuss SPEAR reliability with the Users Organization representatives. He made two memorable comments. The first was that synchrotrons were inherently unreliable due to their technical complexity, and that secondly, as a result, they were not suitable for use by users who had to fly across the country on a specific schedule. He recommended that the users should be limited to Stanford faculty who could respond on short notice and be flexible about beam interruptions.
These comments stuck with me as we considered what the goals for the third generation facilities should be. High on the list was reliability, and when I became director of the Advanced Photon Source project, I was determined to prove that synchrotrons could be highly reliable. As you know APS has run for 20-plus years with 99+% reliability. While there were many reasons in terms of scientific effectiveness for my motivation to build a reliable machine, I do have to give Dick Taylor credit for making it a personal challenge!