Ferrum College Unveils New Scanning Electron Microscope.
New microscope brings Ferrum’s School of Natural Sciences and Math to the forefront
of education and research.
Ferrum, Va. (September 6, 2012) – When Ferrum College students return to classes this fall, some will see the world
through a different lens – thanks to a brand new $150,000 scanning electron microscope
recently installed in Garber Hall, the College’s home to math and science.
“The microscope is state of the art,” said Jason Powell, dean of the School of Natural
Sciences and Mathematics. “The leading edge technologies incorporated in this piece
of equipment will allow faculty to show students microscopic worlds that simply weren’t
feasible before at Ferrum. We can now prepare and examine specimens in minutes that
once took days or even weeks.”
Purchased with funds from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization
Commission (TIC,) the electron microscope will be used primarily in the areas of materials
characterization, cellular and molecular biology, plant disease, microbial ecology
and microbiology, but will also be used by students in agronomy and other subjects
who would benefit from a microscopic view of their work. Faculty members received
training on the microscope in August and are already using it. The device allows
students to see three dimensional magnifications up to 1,000,000x, which is 10,000
times more than a conventional optical microscope, and analyze for chemical composition.
The new microscope is part of an extensive Garber Hall renovation project largely
funded by the $375,636 TIC grant as well as a second $383,612 grant from the Margaret
A. Cargill Foundation. Building improvements include the construction of a new classroom
and two new laboratory spaces, and renovation of the microbiology laboratory, all
of which crews hope to have ready for use by the end of October.
In addition to the microscope, other new technology purchases include a gas chromatograph
mass spectrometer, liquid chromatograph mass spectrometer, CHN combustion autoanalyzer,
and flow injection analyzer (purchased with an additional $25,000 grant from Appalachian
Power because of its use in the Water Quality Monitoring Program,) all of which enable
Ferrum students under faculty supervision access to state-of-the-art technologies
related to their fields of study.
“The Garber Hall building improvements and new technology allow Ferrum College to
continue providing our students with the best possible education in a small liberal
arts environment where students work closely with their professors,” said Powell.
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