Timeline

Synchrotron light

1873James Clerk Maxwell publishes his theory of electromagnetism.
1895Wilhelm Röntgen discovers X-rays, for which he wins the inaugural Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.
1897Sir Joseph Larmor shows mathematically that radiation is emitted by accelerated charged particles.
1898Alfred-Marie Liénard realises particles moving in a circle will produce this radiation as a result of centripetal acceleration. Years later, this work was built on by George Adolphus Schott, the British mathematician, who published his classical work on electromagnetic radiation.
1912Max von Laue obtains the first X-ray diffraction pattern of a crystal.
1914Sir William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg in London and Manchester, respectively, extend the use of X-ray diffraction as a technique for determining crystal structure, for which they shared a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1915.
1946First synchrotron operates in Woolwich, UK.
1947First observation of synchrotron light.
1949American physicist Julian Schwinger documents the full theory of a relativistic electron on a circular path producing radiation.
1953Structure of DNA solved using X-rays.
1956First experiments using synchrotron light take place at Cornell, US.
1959Max Perutz at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge uses X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of haemoglobin,
for which he wins the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1962.
1964The DESY synchrotron in Germany begins operation for both high-energy physics and synchrotron-light experiments.
1966First experiments in the UK at Glasgow synchrotron.
1977First demonstration of free-electron-laser (FEL) principle at Stanford, US.
1981The Synchrotron Radiation Source (SRS) starts operating in Daresbury, UK. It is the first dedicated X-ray producing synchrotron source.
1994The first third-generation synchrotron source, the ESRF in Grenoble, France, goes into operation.
1997Sir John Walker wins the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the structure of Bovine F1 ATP synthase, based on research using the SRS.
2000The SASE principle for an FEL is successfully demonstrated at DESY.
2005 FLASH, the first FEL in the soft X-ray range, goes into operation at DESY.
2007The Diamond Light Source starts operation as a next-generation user facility in the UK.
2008The SRS closes after 28 years of operation and 2 million hours of user beamtime. The Diamond Light Source takes over as the UK national facility.
2009The Linac Coherent Light Source, the first hard X-ray XFEL, goes into operation in the US. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas A Steitz and Ada E Yonath are awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for revealing the structure of the ribosome, for which they used synchrotron light.