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Birmingham-Southern College receives major NSF awards

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-Birmingham-Southern College is receiving two National Science Foundation awards totaling more than $200,000 to support projects in its chemistry and mathematics programs.

The NSF awarded the college $170,721 for a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer for the chemistry program and $30,000 to create a student-centered computer classroom for the mathematics program.

According to Clyde Stanton, associate professor of chemistry and chair of the Division of Science and Mathematics at BSC, the spectrometer will provide students with additional opportunities to get hands-on experience with advanced instrumentation. The spectrometer will be used in organic, inorganic, physical, and advanced analytical labs.

"This instrument was obtained to enhance the opportunities our students have to work on investigative, problem-based laboratories," said Stanton. "Instead of having a 'cookbook' approach to science, the students will be asked to develop protocols, and measure and interpret their own data. The spectrometer also will be used by students doing independent research projects with science faculty. As students progress in their experience with the instrument, they will continually learn new and advanced techniques."

The NSF award to BSC's mathematics program will support a new classroom to include 21 networked computers, a projector system, and two printers.

Stanton said these visualization and computational tools will complement an interactive learning environment in the mathematics classroom.

"For example, the ability to 'watch' a 3-D surface grow in response to input to an equation is one example of what this technology will bring to the classroom," Stanton explained.

Birmingham-Southern will dedicate its new $25.1 million, 100,000 square-foot Elton B. Stephens Science Center on May 9, and Stanton said that the college expects to see an increase in the number of students involved in the sciences due to these significantly enhanced teaching and research facilities.


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