The center is an interdisciplinary effort by the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the College of Science and Mathematics to use experimental and theoretical approaches for the study and design of a new generation of nanoscale materials (microscopic materials used in sensitive scientific equipment).
"This grant is a recognition of our past excellence in materials science and engineering," said Larry Caretto, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. "With this grant, we will be able to do a higher level of research and provide true collaboration between experimental work in engineering and theoretical work in physics."
Edward Carroll, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, agreed, saying the grant provides a great opportunity for faculty in the two colleges to complement and increase the caliber of each other's work.
Professor Nicholas Kioussis of the Physics and Astronomy Department will direct the new center. Professors Ruqian Wu and Behzad Bavarian will lead the participating faculty from, respectively, the College of Science and Mathematics and the College of Engineering and Computer Science.
In addition to research, the center's faculty will develop an interdisciplinary materials science curriculum for undergraduates. Promising undergraduate students also will have the opportunity to work alongside professors as they develop models for nanoscale materials and then test their theories.
"Students engaged in theoretical research will more immediately understand the links to experimental research-and vice versa-within the same research center," Carroll and Caretto said in a letter accompanying the grant application.
Materials science is a burgeoning field with broadly diverse applications and with strong theoretical and experimental components. Materials researchers in academic, industrial and government laboratories across the nation are increasingly working in teams of people with varying backgrounds, including theoreticians, experimentalists, physicists, chemists, mathematicians and other scientists.
Caretto and Carroll said graduates schooled in materials science are highly competitive in today's job market.
The W.M. Keck Foundation is one of the nation's largest philanthropic organizations. Established in 1954 by the late William Myron Keck, founder of The Superior Oil Company, the foundation's grant making is focused primarily on the areas of medical research, science and engineering.
The foundation also maintains a program for liberal arts colleges and a Southern California Grant Program that provides support in the areas of civic and community services, health care and hospitals, pre-collegiate education and the arts.
@csun | March 26, 2001 issue
Public Relations | University Advancement
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