Rhodes Physicists Receive Grants to Fund their Work with Students

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Publication Date: 9/29/2009

Three members of the Physics Department faculty have received grants to support their work. Professors Brent Hoffmeister and Ann Viano are recipients of a $200,000 subcontract that is part of a larger grant collaboration funded by the National Institute of Health. The grant is titled “Enhancing Bone Quality Assessment Using Quantitative Ultrasound.”

Professor Deseree Meyer is the recipient of a $95,000 subcontract as part of a larger grant collaboration funded by the Department of Energy’s Stewardship Science Academic Alliances Program.

Viano explains, “Our grant from the NIH will fund research involving ultrasonic studies of bone. The motivation is to develop techniques that use ultrasound (high frequency sound waves) to detect changes in bone caused by osteoporosis.  Osteoporosis is a degenerative bone disease that often is associated with advancing age and menopause.   As osteoporosis progresses, the bones become thinner, more porous and increasingly susceptible to fracture.  The ultrasonic techniques that we are developing may improve early detection of osteoporosis and lead to more effective treatment of the disease.”

Meyer explains, “I will work in collaboration with physicists at the University of Richmond, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) to carry out measurements relevant to the maintenance of the nation’s nuclear stockpile. I will travel to LBNL with Rhodes students to conduct experiments to measure cross sections, or the likelihood of interactions between particles, on actinide nuclei. Undergraduate students will have the opportunity to be involved in physics research with top scientists at national laboratories. It’s a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with national laboratories and to give students first-hand experience in experimental nuclear physics.”