Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
AN ENVIRONMENTAL GEOSCIENCE UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH PROGRAM AT HOPE COLLEGE
Recent major research instrumentation funding at Hope College has allowed the development of several interdisciplinary research projects centered upon instrumental techniques. The primary instrument has been a particle accelerator located in the Physics and Engineering Department. The ion beam analysis techniques of Particle-Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) and Rutherford Backscattering (RBS) have been used in many interdisciplinary undergraduate research projects. Recent examples include the environmental studies of the sediment in several local watersheds for anthropogenic metals and the analysis of trace elements in zircons looking for large-ion lithophile depletion. A new accelerator has just been installed with a nuclear microprobe capable of 10-micron diameter beams. This facility will allow many more research projects to develop, such as the provenance studies of individual sand grains from Lake Michigan sand dunes via trace metal analysis and studying the taphonomy of dinosaur bones from a Wyoming site via rare-earth element analysis.
While this is an example of one instrument creating geoscience research opportunities for a wide variety of faculty and students, other instruments have also be recently obtained and used to develop interdisciplinary research opportunities. An inductively-coupled-plasma (ICP) has been used in analysis of surface waters and sediments from local watersheds Lake Michigan. Using sophisticated research instrumentation at undergraduate institutions to unite faculty research interests and to generate better educational opportunities for students will be posed as a model that could be duplicated at other institutions