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CAMP December Newsletter: Page 3

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Clarkson University Civil & Environmental Engineering Professor Poojitha Yapa (left) received the Director’s Award from the U.S. Geological Survey of the Department of the Interior for exemplary service to the nation during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and fire. Here, Yapa is congratulated by Civil & Environmental Engineering Chair Professor Stefan J. Grimberg (center) and Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering Dean Professor Goodarz Ahmadi (right). 

Clarkson University’s Professor Poojitha Yapa Receives Award for Exemplary Service to the Nation 

Clarkson University Civil & Environmental Engineering Professor Poojitha Yapa has been honored by the United States government for his work during last year’s Deepwater Horizon crisis. He recently received the Director’s Award from the U.S. Geological Survey of the Department of the Interior for "exemplary service to the nation" during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and fire.

During the Deepwater incident, USGS Director Marcia K. McNutt served as chair of the National Incident Command Flow Rate Technical Group. In a letter commending Yapa, McNutt, said, "Under difficult circumstances, you and the other team members set your personal and professional lives aside to tackle these challenges. Your answers and insights helped guide important decisions and made a very real and positive difference during the response to this unprecedented oil spill event. The nation was privileged to have a cadre of such dedicated government, academic and independent scientists to call upon during this disaster."

A computer model developed by Yapa was used to predict the flow of oil and natural gas released into the Gulf of Mexico. He advised officials based on his insight into the problem and simulations using his Comprehensive Deepwater Oil and Gas (CDOG) blowout model to predict where the natural gas and oil released by the explosion might end up.

Professor Yapa and Clarkson University are heavily involved in deepwater related work, particularly with gas and hydrates in deepwater. Yapa is recognized worldwide as a major expert on modeling oil and gas released in deepwater.

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Clarkson University Professor Igor Sokolov Synthesizes the Brightest Fluorescent Nanoparticles

Dr sokolov

Professor Igor Sokolov


Clarkson University Physics Professor Igor Sokolov and his team have discovered a method of making the brightest ever synthesized fluorescent silica nanoparticles. These nanoparticles have potential applications in medicine, biology, materials science, forensic studies, and in various other areas.

The scientists reported on this first successful approach to synthesizing ultrabright fluorescent mesoporous silica nanoparticles last fall. Their work is described in the leading interdisciplinary scientific journal Small. The abstract and full article are available at
doi/10.1002/smll.201001337/abstract .

Fluorescent materials are already used in many applications. However, having much brighter labeling particles will allow for finer detection of environmental pollutants, signals in biosensors, identification of diseased cells, and even the detection of explosives.

In fluorescence, an initial ignition light energizes molecules, and then the molecules reemit the light with a different color. This phenomenon can be used in many different applications because it is easily detectable, using optical filters to remove the ignition light, leaving only the particles’ light visible.

"The particles should have a significant impact in the biomedical area," says Sokolov. "For example, you can create particles of different colors, which can be made to stick to particular biological molecules inside cells. Then you can see and trace those molecules easily with existing fluorescent microscopes. This fluorescent labeling helps to identify diseased cells and may show what is causing the disease. The particles are more stable against photo-beaching than typical fluorescent dye. This means that one can trace the particles for a very long time."

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