Awards $2.5 Million For Multidisciplinary Project On Laser Research
4, 1999 -- A new University of Virginia multidisciplinary
graduate research and education program that will investigate laser
interactions with matter has been awarded a five-year, $2.5 million
grant from the National Science Foundation's Integrative Graduate
Education and Research Training Program.
grant will allow several U.Va. science and engineering departments
to create a collaborative laser research and education program with
Norfolk State University, the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator
Facility (JLAB) Free Electron Laser Laboratory in Newport News,
Va., and with the Laser Processing Consortium, an industrial group
affiliated with JLAB.
technology is the light fantastic for studies of matter in several
disciplines, and we are designing a program that will cross the
disciplinary lines and allow interactions with other institutions
and industry," says Ian Harrison, principal investigator for the
project and U.Va. associate professor of chemistry.
U.Va. Departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Engineering
Physics, Materials Science, and Physics are working together to
develop the graduate training and research project. The goal is
to develop graduate students with the state-of-the-art technical
skills and cross-disciplinary knowledge needed to succeed in the
fast-changing fields of science and technology.
of the built-in objectives of our project is to improve research
opportunities for minority science and engineering students through
our collaboration with Norfolk State," says Harrison. "NSU has a
strong materials science program at the master's degree level, but
no Ph.D. program. We hope to recruit some of their best students
into U.Va.'s doctoral programs. We already expect to have two NSU
graduates come to U.Va. in January."
NSF created IGERT grants to encourage graduate education and research
training programs to nurture well-rounded scientists and engineers
with strong interdisciplinary competence. Now in their second year,
these grants are intended to produce scientists and engineers who
are well-prepared for a broad spectrum of emerging career opportunities
in industry, government and academe.
students will pursue wide-ranging, problem-oriented research projects
involving several research mentors, engage in industrial internships
and workshops, and acquire novel research experiences at national
and international laboratories.
at the Newport News lab using high-energy lasers allows scientists
to create and observe chemical and physical changes in matter and
to modify the structure of materials. Knowledge gained from studies
of laser interaction with matter can often lead to practical uses,
such as improved materials and microelectronics processing, corrective
eye surgery, and advanced tests and diagnostics for medicine and
students in our program will use the ultra-fast lasers available
at U.Va. and Norfolk State in conjunction with the high-power Free
Electron Laser at JLAB -- the most powerful in the world -- to conduct
unique fundamental studies of atomic, molecular, and materials modification,"
will present their research findings twice a year at symposia with
the Laser Processing Consortium. An industrial summer internship
at JLAB for second-year graduate students will provide hands-on
exposure to industrial science. Academic training will be enhanced
by new team-taught courses on lasers and materials and a series
of seminars on laser science and engineering.
also will establish a regional 'Minority Graduate Education and
Jobs in Science' recruitment weekend at JLAB to attract minority
students to our joint project with NSU and for recruitment opportunities
with other graduate schools and industry," Harrison says.
grant from NSF will help us to continually improve science and technology
research and education at U.Va., which is a key priority at the
University," he adds. Harrison is a member of the Science and Technology
Planning Commission at U.Va., which is charged with seeking ways
to advance the University in these areas.
more information, contact Ian Harrison at (804) 924-3639, or at
more details about the laser project, visit the program web site
at http://www.virginia.edu/IGERT/SELIM or for an abstract of the
project visit http://www.nsf.gov/verity/srchawdf.htm. Ian Harrison's
award number is 9972790. For more details about IGERT see http://www.nsf.gov/igert/.
Fariss Samarrai, (804) 924-3778.