Campus: CSU Sonoma -- January 25, 2002

Keck Grant Will Open Micro-Worlds For Students, Faculty And Hi-Tech Business Research In Micro-Analysis for Sonoma State University

Sonoma State University has received a $400,000 award from the prestigious W.M. Keck Foundation that will open new worlds of research on the molecular and atomic level for students, faculty, area junior colleges and high schools, and the local high tech community.

The funds will be used to equip a micro-analysis facility, to be known as the W.M. Keck Laboratory, that will allow students and faculty to delve into the world of microspace where new levels of detail and complexity in dinosaur fossils, soils, biological cells, parasites or electronic and optical materials can be analyzed.

The award was made specifically for the purchase of sophisticated image-analysis instruments
that will enable hundreds of thousands of degrees of magnification of objects and materials used in the fields of physics, biology, geology, chemistry, anthropology and engineering science.

The Keck monies will be used to purchase a scanning electron microscope and a confocal microscope. Additional resources will be used to purchase an atomic microscope.

"The new micro-analysis laboratory at SSU will be very attractive to the North Bay high-tech and biotechnology industry as well as researchers in the fields of marine biology, conservation biology and other environmentally-related research," said Saeid Rahimi, dean of the School of Science and Technology.

"This lab will help our graduate and undergraduate students become involved in projects with strong applicability to the high tech job market and graduate programs in their fields."

Rahimi also sees opportunities in the future for research projects with faculty from other educational institutions and researchers from private industries as well as increased opportunities for collaborative projects with local high tech industries, junior colleges, Technology High School and area K-12 schools.

Rahimi says the School of Science and Technology will design a course for SSU students to become familiar with the use and applications of these instruments which should be ready for use this fall. Moreover, the school will offer similar workshops and tours for the members of the local industries and the general public.

The 2,430 square foot Keck Laboratory is one of seven new laboratories to be housed in 15,000 sq. ft. of Salazar Hall, which is currently undergoing a $20.102 million renovation. Other laboratories include Photonics, Electronics, Wireless Broadband Communications, Networking, Computer Science, and Lightwave Commnications.

The W. M. Keck Foundation, one of the nation's largest philanthropic organizations, was established in 1954 in Los Angeles by the late William Myron Keck, founder of The Superior Oil Company. The Foundation recognizes the importance of undergraduate instruction and seeks to enrich research and teaching through the support of equipment, fellowships, and basic research projects at the frontiers of science and engineering. Awards are also made to support exceptional undergraduate projects in all of the liberal arts.

SSU president Dr. Ruben Arminana says the university is very honored to receive the award and that it will allow students and faculty a chance to open their imaginations to new avenues of research never possible on campus before. "We are very excited about how this equipment will link the campus with the community to enhance the educational experience at the university."

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