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$6.9M Grant to Fund Research, New Science Center
Georgetown University has received a $6.9 million economic stimulus grant from the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) to support the creation of the Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology, a special research entity to be housed in the university's new science center.

The award marks the biggest award the university has received to date through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The stimulus grant, for "shovel ready" projects will assist the university in facilitating the science center's construction, which had been delayed due to the current economic climate.

The 155,000-square-foot science facility, expected to open in fall 2012, will support the chemistry, physics and biology departments and house all of the research wet labs and teaching labs that are currently located in the Reiss Science Building and White-Gravenor Hall, which both provides state-of-the-art facilities in the short term and opens opportunities for renovating existing space for longer term growth in the sciences.

Georgetown Provost James O'Donnell, says the university had the fortune to be in the right place with the project at the right time in receiving the NIST grant.

"Providing appropriate facilities to support the research and teaching of our scientists is central to the university's ambitions to sustain our progress and advance our standing as a leading institution of our nearly unique kind: Catholic and Jesuit in inspiration and commitment, student-centered in our commitment to a particular scale of community and culture of teaching and learning and research-ambitious in a commitment to challenge ourselves and serve the global community to the utmost of our ability," says O'Donnell. "The receipt of this grant and moving forward on construction of a new science center are important steps in our long-term efforts to enhance science research and teaching space at Georgetown."

The research institute will explore the emerging, interdisciplinary field of soft matter research which deals with materials that are neither traditional liquids nor solids, including liquid crystals, gels, colloids, polymers, foams, granular matter and many biological materials. It increasingly is important in new products and technologies and brings with it new challenges for measurement, characterization and synthesis.

Several faculty members in physics and chemistry already are working in soft matter science, including Jeff Urbach, professor of physics; Daniel Blair, assistant professor of physics; Richard Weiss, professor of chemistry; Steven Metallo, associate professor of chemistry; Edward Van Keuren, physics chair and associate professor; and Tim Barbari, dean of the graduate school, associate provost for research and professor of physics.

The university will use this grant as part of the financial plan to cover construction and continues work to develop plans to support ongoing operating costs once it opens.

-- Rachel Pugh

(January 8, 2010)
"The receipt of this grant and moving forward on construction of a new science center are important steps in our long-term efforts to enhance science research and teaching space at Georgetown." -- Provost James O'Donnell

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