March 30, 2010
WOOSTER, Ohio - A $295,961 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will bring two highly valued instruments to The College of Wooster this summer, and enable students and faculty to analyze the chemical and mineral content of rocks and soil, as well as archaeological artifacts.
"These instruments can tell us a lot about how rocks and minerals were formed and how they changed over time," said Meagen Pollock, assistant professor of geology and the principal investigator on the grant. "Previously, we had to send the materials off campus to determine their geochemical content."
The first instrument is an X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (XRF), which measures the chemical content of the material. The second instrument is an X-Ray diffractometer (XRD), which measures the mineral composition of the material.
"These two pieces of equipment will have a significant impact on our geology classes," said
Pollock, who was joined in the grant process by Greg Wiles, associate professor of geology, and Shelley Judge, assistant professor of geology. "The instruments can also be used by scientists in other departments, which should further encourage interdisciplinary research across campus."
Pollock indicated that both instruments are user friendly. "We can teach students the basics in a three-hour lab period," she said, "but there are also ways to adjust the instruments for those doing more complicated research."
In awarding the grant, the National Science Foundation found favor with Wooster's nationally acclaimed Independent Study (I.S.) program, according to Pollock. "The NSF saw the need for such equipment at Wooster," she said. "The reviewers also noted the value of giving students hands-on
experience, rather than having to send samples off-campus."
The compact design, low-power consumption, and maintenance-free operation give both units an exceptional price-to-performance ratio. "These instruments will really benefit our students and faculty," said Pollock, who initiated the grant process last summer, "particularly our seniors working on their I.S. projects."
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
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