YSU’s research reputation grows ‘diffractometer by diffractometer’

NSF grant

Daryl Mincey, right, chair of Chemistry, chats with U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan in a Moser Hall lab last month after a news conference announcing a $470,000 NSF grant. STEM Dean Martin Abraham and Allen Hunter, professor of Chemistry and the principal investigator of the grant, are also pictured.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan came to campus earlier this fall and brought a check with him.

Ryan announced at a news conference that the National Science Foundation had awarded a $470,000 grant to YSU to purchase two high-end X-ray diffractometers, which allows research of materials on the atomic level.

“One of the wonderful things about this instrumentation coming to YSU, as opposed to what you might see on other campuses, is that we’re going to have the ability for undergraduates to access this diffractometer, to be able to use it, have experience  with it,” YSU President Randy Dunn said.

“At other places, it might just be doctoral students or graduate students who get access to this level of equipment. Here, our undergraduates get a level of exposure that provides a means for them to go into the workforce with the experience that many other students at many other places will not have.”

Allen Hunter, Chemistry professor and principal investigator on the grant, said the diffractometer shines X-rays through samples, allowing researchers to see the atoms of the sample. The research has many applications, from the development of better cleaning agents and stronger ceramics to anti-cancer drugs and better performing catalytic converters.

“Science and engineering research and education are expensive, and without the support of funding agencies such as the NSF, we would not be able to provide the high quality education that our community expects and deserves,” said Martin Abraham, dean of the YSU College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. “The investment in our students by our federal and state agencies is a critical element of success.”

Ryan said the grant continues to enhance YSU’s reputation as a distinguished research university. “As we continue to tap into the talent that we have here, we are starting to see the STEM college really emerge and distinguish itself not only in Ohio but around the country.”

He added: “When you’re talking about designing and building out the new economy, you have to have the equipment, the technology, for not only the research that’s going on, but for the future workforce that is coming up through the pipeline. And that’s what this grant is all about. It’s making sure that students at YSU have top-notch equipment to learn on so they can tap into jobs here or somewhere else … Step by step, block by block, diffractometer by diffractometer, we are building a future for the young men and women who go to school here.”

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