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UW-RF Receives NSF Grants

By Justine Benzen
UW-River Falls University Communications

MAY 5, 2006--The University of Wisconsin-River Falls physics department has received prestigious National Science Foundation grants to help fund new equipment for students to experience hands-on learning on state-of-the art equipment.

The physics department received two grants from the National Science Foundation –for $37,000 and $85,000. The UW-River Falls Foundations also contributed $54,000 and $28,000 NSF grants, respectively.

Matthew Vonk, professor of physics, said it took four months for the entire process--to write and apply for the grant. The odds aren’t in his favor; he says that only one out of every seven people who apply typically get a grant approved.

Vonk’s grant goals are to purchase state-of-the art equipment that will give students computer recorded measurements and provide students with hands-on experience working with robotics. Vonk's grant takes effect July 1 and runs for two years.

Jim Madsen, professor of physics, and Glenn Spiczak, professor of physics, received a grant to improve the astro physics course.

"These grants will allow students to measure things in a precise way," says Spiczak.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science.

NSF also funds equipment that is needed by scientists and engineers but is often too expensive for any one group or researcher to afford. Examples of such major research equipment include giant optical and radio telescopes, Antarctic research sites, high-end computer facilities and ultra-high-speed connections, ships for ocean research, sensitive detectors of very subtle physical phenomena, and gravitational wave observatories.

Another essential element in NSF's mission is support for science and engineering education, from pre-K through graduate school and beyond. NSF-funded research is integrated with education to help ensure adequate numbers of skilled people available to work in new and emerging scientific, engineering and technological fields, as well as to ensure capable teachers to educate the next generation.

For more information, contact Madsen at 715-425-3235.


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:07:23 Central Daylight Time

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