Coe receives $420,000 NSF grant to fund student research in physics

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
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2009-07-08 08:50:14 - General

Coe College has received a $420,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to be used for student/faculty research on the science of glass over the next four years. With one of the leading undergraduate science programs in the country, the college has now received the prestigious multi-year NSF research grants continuously since 1986. Since 2005, Coe has garnered over $1 million in funding from NSF to support scientific research and equipment.

The proposal that received the award was entitled "RUI: Undergraduate Research in Glass Science at Coe College; A National Model of Excellence." The award is effective from August 2009 through July 2013. According to physics professors Steve Feller and Mario Affatigato, the grant will be used to fund continued glass research at Coe. The Coe physics department is known worldwide for its groundbreaking glass research.

Specifically, the grant will support Coe student/faculty research in glass both on campus and in laboratories around the world. Coe students will travel to Canada, England, Italy and Brazil in the next few years to conduct research and present their findings at international conferences as a result of the funding provided by the grant.

"Needless to say, we are very pleased by the continued NSF support for our glass research at Coe," said B.D. Silliman Professor of Physics Steve Feller. "The grant represents a continued endorsement of our work by NSF, and will provide extraordinary research opportunities for more than 10 Coe students each year."

The funding is the latest in a series of external grants received by Coe's science programs over the past two decades, with more than $2 million going to the physics program alone. Approximately one in six grant applications receives funding, demonstrating the highly competitive nature of the NSF grant process.

Commenting on the Coe grant proposal, one of the anonymous NSF reviewers of the proposal offered the following comments in his/her summary statement:

"This well-written proposal describes a substantial number of experiments to be performed over the next four years that fit into a logical progression from past work. It is obvious that the PIs (principal investigators, Professors Feller and Affatigato) are committed to the education and professional advancement of undergraduate students. In addition to work being done on-site, the PIs acknowledge that ‘a considerable amount of this research will be done with collaborators around the world.' All in all, it is an excellent proposal with strong potential for achieving broader impacts and for contributing important information and ideas to the field of materials science."

Coe is currently one of four small colleges in the U.S. to host a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site, also supported by the NSF, which provides opportunities for students from Coe and other colleges across the country to conduct research in chemistry and physics.