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Engineering Receives $5-million

Klein and Karen Gilhousen, through the Gilhousen Family Foundation, pledged $5 million to the College of Engineering to establish the Gilhousen Telecommunications Chair and related programs in the college's electrical and computer engineering department. The gift established the first fully-endowed chair in MSU's history and represents the largest gift in the college's history. Among other things, the gift will be used for research development and graduate student support.

$2 Million for Web Training

The National Science Foundation (NSF) gave the Burns Telecommunications Center and MSU's physics department $2 million over a four-year period to develop and electronically deliver professional development short courses for elementary teachers. The National Teacher's Enhancement Network: Elementary (NTEN) project will establish graduate professional development courses for elementary teachers. The courses will be available nationally and internationally through the World Wide Web. The professional development modules will be designed by teams of scientists, instructional technologists and in-service teachers.

MSU in Space

The Feb. 5, 2002 launch of a NASA spacecraft ended 18 months of waiting for a Bozeman scientist involved in a mission to gather the first high-fidelity x-ray movies of powerful bursts from the sun. That was the launch date for the HESSI mission, which stands for High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager. The spacecraft will use special x-ray vision to study solar flares in the atmosphere of the sun. Richard Canfield, a research professor of physics at MSU, is coordinating the ground-based part of the mission. He will act as a clearinghouse for scientists around the world who are participating in the two- to three-year project.

Archaeology Program Begins

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Watercourse at MSU agreed in November 2001 to co-sponsor a program teaching the value of natural treasures and archaeological sites. Project Archaeology will teach teachers, students and other public audiences in all 50 states how archaeology works and its value in conserving national heritage sites. Hands-on activities will help participants solve problems related to resource protection and preservation. The BLM started a National Heritage Education Program about 10 years ago, and Project Archaeology was its cornerstone.

Lighting the Way

Three MSU employees were among those who participated in the 2002 Olympic Torch Relay to Salt Lake City. Gordon McFeters, microbiology professor; Leslie Schmidt, assistant vice president for research; and Jeff Mazer, manager of the FatCat Bakery and central salads each carried the flame about two-tenths of a mile through Gallatin County. The three were nominated by family members, friends and colleagues who wrote a short essay explaining how the nominee embodied the Olympic spirit and inspired others.

Methane Research

MSU received $699,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy for coalbed methane research. Scientists will use the funds to see whether certain plants and agricultural crops can remove harmful salts and other chemicals from water used in the extraction of coalbed methane. The researchers will also conduct field surveys to determine where coalbed methane resources are distributed and how development might affect local and regional groundwater supplies. U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., secured the funds as part of the Interior Appropriations spending bill.

Scientists on Radio

Three MSU-Bozeman scientists were featured in a five-program documentary that aired in January 2002 over National Public Radio. Tim McDermott, a soil microbiologist who studies hot springs in Yellowstone National Park; John Priscu, an ecology professor and internationally known researcher of Antarctic lakes; and Bill Costerton, director of the Center for Biofilm Engineering were among those featured on "DNA Files." Priscu was also an advisor for the series, which won a coveted Peabody Award. The broadcast awards acknowledges excellence in primetime dramas and comedies, news programs, public affairs documentaries and children's programming.

Olympic Research

Deborah King, assistant professor in the Department of Health & Human Development, attended the 2002 Winter Olympics to help coaches and skaters learn how to incorporate quadruple jumps into their routines or better execute them. King and graduate student Brian Higginson of Bozeman set up four cameras around the ice rinks and videotaped the men's and pair's figure skating competition. After the Olympics, King planned to convert the videotape into 3-D computer images, analyze the quadruple jumps and share her findings with coaches and skaters from around the world.

Cancer Funds

Three-quarters of a million dollars set aside in a Butte woman's will for cancer research was given May 30, 2001 to an MSU faculty member. Suzanne Christopher, an associate professor in the health and human development department, received $768,000 from the American Cancer Society for a program aimed at preventing cervical cancer on the Crow Indian Reservation. Christopher's project, called Messengers for Health, will create a network of female community leaders on the Crow Reservation to educate other women about the disease and encourage routine screening. Native American women have the highest rate of cervical cancer among all minority populations. One reason is a lack of routine Pap smears that can detect precancerous changes years before invasive cancer develops.

Fish Collection

An 18th-century leather-bound edition of the British classic, "The Complete Angler," is a signature piece in the new Trout and Salmonid Collection at the MSU Renne Library. Donated by Allan Roush of Bozeman, the book is one of more than 11,000 pieces in the collection. Other items range from a 17th-century ichthyology of fish written in Latin to cookbooks with titles like "Trout on a Stick." Children's stories, master's theses, agency reports, how-to angling books, literature, diaries and periodicals are among the titles. So are scientific studies, environmental impact statements and a 1554 edition of "The History of Aquatic Animals," published in Rome.

Water Studies

A unique study in the tributaries of Yellowstone Lake and 12 other studies in eight western states were funded with $700,000 from the National Partnership for the Management of Wild and Native Coldwater Fisheries. The partnership, created in 1995, is administered by the Montana Water Center based at MSU-Bozeman. Center director Gretchen Rupp said the purpose of the partnership is to devise and test methods for controlling whirling disease in nature. Besides varying temperatures among lake tributaries, the Yellowstone study offers scientists the chance to study whirling disease in a population of native fish. Previous studies focused primarily on rainbow trout, which were introduced to this region about 100 years ago. Another whirling disease project in this round of studies was an ongoing MSU study of the Missouri River between Holter Dam and Cascade, Mont. Scientists want to know whether trout populations from healthy tributaries can keep the overall fish numbers from collapsing in the main stem.

Groomed Roads and Bison

Bison do not routinely travel along the groomed trails in Yellowstone National Park, according to a study by former MSU graduate student Dan Bjornlie. Contradicting popular theory, Bjornlie documented heavy travel over the Mary Mountain Trail linking the Hayden Valley to the Firehole area. Many animals in the study spent their summers in the Hayden Valley and their winters in the Firehole area. Bjornlie said the bison definitely use the groomed roads, but the roads are part of a much larger travel network that includes off-road travel. Bjornlie found showed no evidence that the animals use groomed roads for traveling long distances. The project was instigated by the mass exodus and shooting of bison during the 1996-97 winter, said project advisor Bob Garrott.

Commercial Potential

Eight projects involving MSU scientists were among the latest round of projects funded by the Montana Board of Research and Commercialization. The MSU projects deal with specialty mushroom farming, wheats that crowd out wild oats and other weeds, portable toilets, lasers, high-value and value-added crops and using coal-bed methane waste water for forage crops. Created in 2000, the board awards grants to colleges and universities, small businesses and non-profit research labs using interest from the state's coal trust. The board also provides state matching funds for federal research grants in the Montana University System.

Tamometer Test

A new device called a tamometer can quickly show whether a stream is infected with whirling disease. Invented by a group of scientists in Bozeman, the tamometer provides a simple, inexpensive way to gauge the degree of infection in a stream. Scientists say it already cuts down drastically the time needed to determine TAM densities and could render caged-fish studies obsolete. Whirling disease is spread by parasites whose infectious spores are called TAMS.

Foreword | Bioterrorism Research | Drought, Fire and Weeds | Call of the Wild
Lights! Camera! Bacteria! | Art Takes Flight | Big Crowd, Big Mike Turn Out | MSU-Tribal College Dana Longcope | Paranoia to White Jazz
To Slamdance and Beyond! | Campus Sees Boom in E-Journals
TechLink Drums Up Success for Innovation
"Powerful Triumvirate" Explores Foundation of the Universe
Undaunted Stewardship Encourages Visitors, Preserves Resources
Student-Built Satellite to Fly on Converted Missile
Research Notes | Faculty and Student Awards
A Summary of Research Expenditures for Fiscal Year 2002