Biography - Susan K. Byram

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Susan K. Byram has been integral to many of the developments that have shaped modern x-ray diffractometers. She has always been an overachiever earning undergraduate degrees in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry from the University of Toronto and, upon graduating, being recognized by the Chemical Institute of Canada as top chemistry graduate in Canada.

While an undergraduate, Sue was drawn to crystallography because of its capability to give definitive information about materials. This fascination led to her earning a Master of Science degree, also at the University of Toronto, which emphasized x-ray crystallography. Her natural affinity was for the software side of crystallographic research. Sue’s career really began when she took a position at Syntex doing software development. (Ask her about getting this job.) She was reporting to Bob Sparks and together they automated single crystal diffractometers and wrote the first commercial, minicomputer-based structure solution and refinement suite called XTL.

After several years at Syntex, she became a co-founder (with Bob Sparks and others) and Operations Manager of a company that provided advanced software and automation for powder diffraction systems. This company was acquired by Nicolet and Sue became Product Manager for Powder Diffraction and then Product and Applications Manager for X-Ray Diffraction at Nicolet. Subsequently she was Product and Applications Manager of Single Crystal Diffraction at Siemens Analytical X-ray Systems, Inc. and then at Bruker AXS.

In 2001 she became Business Manager of Crystallographic Systems. This position put her in control of Bruker’s crystallography sales force in the USA and Canada. She also coordinated global sales activities and managed the crystallographic application laboratories and Application Scientists for activities such as demonstrations, new product testing and application courses. Throughout her career she has continued to aid all the crystallographers she encounters.

Besides all the worthwhile scientific work she has done, Sue is known for her deep interest in helping members of the crystallographic community. She is a great resource since she knows so many in the community and what they are doing. She is always – and to everyone – a welcoming presence at ACA meetings. She is known for even greeting new participants at ACA meetings who work for competitor companies. She has been a stalwart at ACA meetings since 1970 and has been an invaluable support for the ACA throughout this time. She has both presented her work and volunteered her time, most recently as Treasurer of the ACA. She taught for ten years at ACA Summer Schools.

Sue truly embodies the spirit of an ACA Fellow: great science and insight, exceptional service to the ACA and passionate outreach to the scientific community.