MONACA, Pa. — Last summer, Penn State Beaver reopened the renovated Michael Baker Engineering and Sciences Building, complete with modern, gleaming chemistry labs.
Unfortunately, the spectrophotometers — devices used to measure the wavelength of light absorbed by a chemical — in those labs may be old as the campus itself.
That is, more than 50 years.
So Associate Professor of Chemistry Michael Hay applied for a grant from the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh, which promotes science education by providing instrumentation and supplies through its College Equipment Grants Program.
Hay received $6,000 through the program to help purchase 12 Flinn Scientific Spectrometers, updated versions of those currently in use in the labs. The remaining $4,188 needed to buy the equipment will be provided by academic affairs.
In addition to being more modern equipment, the Flinn spectrometers will also require students to take a more hands-on approach to the process. While other spectrometers automatically read and record data, the Flinn devices force students to manually adjust the instrument and then display their own findings.
“This is the type of pedagogical approach that we would want our students to experience as they learn the beginning concepts of spectroscopy,” Hay said.
Hay will receive the award at a May 24 banquet at Duquesne University.