A $470,000 federal grant obtained by Youngstown State University for materials research, along with trades of unneeded equipment, could result in enough money for two state-of-the-art diffractometers.
“It’s like buying a vehicle,” said Allen D. Hunter, a YSU chemistry professor and principal investigator for the grant. “You have to negotiate what you want. There are complicated purchasing rules. We may trade. We have leftover equipment we don’t need.”
The university has two X-ray diffractometers, which allow students to see the structure of molecules at an atomic level, Hunter said.
The new diffractometer or two of them will be 700 times faster with better performance than the two currently at the university, he said.
“We’ll do the routine stuff on the ones we have and use the new [meters] for the most challenging problems,” he said.
The equipment should arrive by February or March, he said.
YSU officials along with U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, spoke Tuesday at Ward Beecher Hall about the National Science Foundation grant.
“These investments pay very large dividends,” said Martin Abraham, dean of YSU’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) College. “It allows our students to get high-quality jobs, often in our own community. That allows businesses to grow. That creates more jobs and more opportunities for our graduates.”
Ryan said the grant helps “build a distinguished research university right here in Youngstown. Many people have said this is a foolish attempt many, many years ago for us to even go down this road, to even think that somehow we were going to be able to compete with some of the giants in the country” in STEM research.
But that’s what happened, he said.
“As much as I like the liberal arts, it’s the science, technology, engineering and math that drives the economy,” Ryan said.