The 1996/1997 Highlights present an overview of the ESRF activity from August 1996 to July 1997. Besides showing new progress in the X-ray source and beamline instruments, this report covers the most impressive experiments carried out at the ESRF during this period.

The quality of the X-ray source has once again considerably improved: probably the most remarkable result, as far as the machine is concerned, is the achievement of an emittance of 1.6 x 10-9 m.rad (horizontally) and 1.6 x 10-11 m.rad (vertically) at 4 GeV. We are planning some specific experiments to exploit this extremely low emittance.

As for science, you will discover in the following pages all the variety and novelty of the experiments performed at the ESRF. If we had to pick one single example amongst all these exciting results, we would maybe choose the determination of the crystal structure of the nucleosome core particle with a 2.8 Å resolution, by the group of Timothy Richmond from Zürich. However, since a lot of experimental data have not yet been fully analysed and, in some cases, scientists refuse to give even a preliminary version of their work before it has been published in a scientific journal, the Highlights are not absolutely complete. These results will be published later.

If you are an Internet fan, you are invited to take a cyber-look at these Highlights on the Web on The Newsletter and the 95/96 Annual Report (including the experimental reports from the users) are also available at this address. 

Concerning the future, we will have 13 countries (instead of 12) at the ESRF at the beginning of 1998, as Portugal will join us as an associate member. Discussions are underway with several other countries to reach similar agreements.

As planned, by the end of 1998, 30 public beamlines will be operational at the ESRF, as well as 9 Collaborating Research Group (CRG) beamlines.

We would like to thank the ESRF staff, our collaborators and our users, who all give the impetus necessary to develop new science, new concepts and new instruments.

Y. Petroff, C. Kunz, P.F. Lindley, J-M. Filhol and D. Cornuéjols
(October 1997)