A Clarkson Mosaic - page 404

URP Program.
Through the Undergraduate Research Participation Program (URP), the
National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored undergraduate research on campus. Clarkson
was selected by the NSF as one of the colleges in the country to receive such funding for
students in both ChE and Physics programs. Eleven Clarkson and nine students from other
northeastern colleges attended. This program gave these students an excellent opportunity to
gain valuable experience by working in a research atmosphere, while helping solve
environmental, health, and energy-related problems confronting American society. This
program also was supported by grants from Union Carbide and NASA.
Some of the chemical engineering projects included a study of the ultraviolet light from
the sun forming aerosols from pollutants, the study of coal as a liquid and gaseous fuel, and the
study of a newly developed treatment for drug overdose victims by filtering their blood. The
physics program included assessing the use of copper sulfide material as solar cells. Chemical
engineering professor Marc Donohue and physics professor Curt Moyer directed these students.
During the fiscal year 1977-78, Clarkson received the largest total for research
grants and contracts in Clarkson's history: $2,300,000. Below are some of the varied projects
being investigated by Clarkson faculty.
• Pouring oil on troubled water was something that civil engineering professor Hung
Tao Shen was trying to prevent. Selected by the Engineering Foundation and the ASCE,
Shen studied the phenomena of the interaction among waves, currents, tides, and
massive offshore structures such as oil towers as a combined force; previous studies had
been made only of the effects of individual phenomena.
• Charcoal as an antidote for toxic substances was a remedy known to the ancient
Babylonians. Only recently has modern medicine discovered this unpretentious remedy.
One of the drawbacks to administering it orally, the only effective method for some
types of poison, has been its unpleasant taste. Professor David Cooney of the chemical
engineering department devised a method of combining the charcoal with sodium
saccharin, a substance 500 times sweeter than sugar. Two-thirds of the saccharin was
absorbed by the charcoal, but the substance still was sweet and easily swallowed.
• "Keep your powder dry" once was a main concern for fighting men. Today's Air Force
must keep dry the electrical systems of their jet aircraft. Research toward that end by
physics professor Alvin Czanderna and Dr. Rich Vasofsky, post-doctoral research
associate, was sponsored by the US Air Force. Failure of integrated circuit chips in
hermetically sealed ceramic packages such as those used in electrical systems was
attributed to excess water vapor accumulation. These two researchers worked to
discover where the water was coming from, and then to measure the amount of water
vapor taken up and emitted from the ceramic material by using an ultramicrobalance
and residual gas analyzer. Their goal was to develop basic information on the
interaction of water vapor with technological surfaces as well as to provide information
that may permit the fabrication of dry packages.
Clarkson's Golden Knight basketball team scored its first winning season in 16
years. Coach Brian Chafin's quintet finished the season with 14 wins and 13 losses, the first
time a Clarkson basketball team had won that many games since the 1942-43 season, and the
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