|Dickinson College earth science students visited the|
Test Stonewall, which NIST scientists use to
study the effects of
weathering on stone building
materials, April 15, 2014.
That's what a group of Dickinson College earth science
students and their professor thought after visiting the Gaithersburg, Md.,
campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology on Tuesday, April
15. Jennifer Marshall, homeland security manager in the NIST Office of Special
Programs, invited the group to explore science career options. Marshall, a
geology graduate of Dickinson College, arranged for the students to speak with
several NIST scientists whose work involves chemical analysis of rock and
The students, accompanied by Benjamin Edwards, Dickinson associate
professor of earth sciences, spent about five hours Tuesday, April 15, visiting NIST labs,
meeting NIST scientists and learning how the chemistry of rocks and minerals is
relevant to real-world challenges.
Their lab visits included question and answer
- Paul Stutzman,
who specializes in measuring microstructural properties of cement and concrete,
and whose work is critically important to the building industry;
Verkouteren, who works on measurement methods for explosive materials and
narcotics and has done work on asbestos analysis, techniques that are necessary
in public safety and health;
- Robert Vocke, whose work on
measuring pure silicon could help redefine the international standard for the
Mark Tyra, who
works on measurement standards for nuclear forensics – the analysis of
radioactive bomb components to accurately identify their source and ultimately
those responsible for radiological terror plots;
Jerome LaRosa and Svetlana Nour,
who are making measurements of radiation in Japanese and Korean rice, work that
will help assess the impact of the 2011 Fukushima, Japan, nuclear disaster; and
who also works on measurement standards for nuclear forensics, particularly on
measurements of radiation in debris from a nuclear explosion.
|Dickinson College earth science students visited|
the NIST Robotic Test Facility, April 15, 2014.
After touring laboratory facilities, the group saw the NIST Test Stonewall
, which NIST
scientists use to study the effects of weathering on stone building materials.
The wall contains more than 2300 samples of stone from 47 U.S. states and 16
The students also stopped by the NIST Robotics Test Facility
to see a test underway. The facility allows manufacturers and users of
emergency-response and industrial robots to evaluate their performance on a
variety of tasks and obstacles.
"The traditional path for geology majors is a career as a professor
in academia or as a geologist for an energy company," says Marshall, "In
reality, there are many other options including in federal laboratories such as
NIST. This visit was an opportunity for them to think more broadly about career
options and to make them aware of how federal science laboratories perform
vital public service."