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Moravian College Spectrometer Loan Program to Benefit High School Science Students

College provides equipment and training for use in biology, chemistry, and physics experiments

Bethlehem, Pa., September 29, 2005—Moravian College has received a grant from Research Corporation to establish a program to loan eight spectrometers, and has donated nine laptop computers to use with the spectrometers, to local high school science departments. Moravian will implement the loan program as part of its affiliation with the Math & Science Partnership of Greater Philadelphia, a consortium established by a grant from the National Science Foundation two years ago.

The goal of the Research Corporation grant is to provide high school science teachers and their students with state-of-the-art light detection for biology, chemistry, and physics experiments, and to train teachers in the use of the equipment in the classroom. The spectrometers, manufactured by Ocean Optics, use the same CCD technology that makes digital cameras possible. Their size and price make it possible to transport multiple setups to local high schools where they can be used for a week before return to the College.

During this academic year three Moravian science professors will serve as the facilitators of the loan program: Carl Salter, associate professor of chemistry, Kelly Krieble, assistant professor of physics, and Chris Jones, assistant professor of biology. Moravian College will coordinate the use of, and private maintenance for the equipment and software for the laptops, and assist in instruction at local high schools.

The program will provide schools with the opportunity for conducting special experiments using advance techniques that enhance or extend standard investigations. These advance spectrometers will also be available to individual high school students involved in science fair projects. “Most of what we know about the physical universe comes from studying the interaction of light with matter – the area of science called spectroscopy,” says Salter, “Spectroscopy is an important scientific tool, and these instruments will allow high school science students to apply modern spectroscopy in their physics, chemistry, and biology classes.”

The Math and Science Partnership of Greater Philadelphia consists of 13 colleges and universities, 46 public school districts, and several other non-profit organizations (like the DaVinci Science Center). It was established by a grant of more than $12 million from the National Science Foundation in 2003. Its mission is to improve student access and performance in higher math and science classes, raise the quality, quantity, and diversity of teachers, and to research how to best achieve its goals. It accomplishes its aims in part by fostering environments in which secondary math and science teachers can work with college and university faculty. MSPGP is headquartered at LaSalle University in Philadelphia under principal investigator and project director Joseph Merlino. Moravian College’s representatives on the consortium are Frank Kuserk, professor of biology and Sandra Fluck, professor of education.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its foundations to 1742, it is recognized as America’s sixth oldest college. Visit the website at www.moravian.edu.