In the period of the late-1980s, before the construction of multi-GeV third-generation storage rings with their intense insertion-device sources, the perceived number one problem for X-ray instrumentation was proper cooling of the first optical element in the beamline. This article, first given as an acceptance speech for the Compton Award ceremony at the Advanced Photon Source, presents a somewhat historical and anecdotal overview of how cryogenically cooled monochromator optics have been developed to provide a monochromator cooling solution adequate for today's power levels. A series of workshops and international collaborations were the key components for the progress and final success of this development.
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