faculty scholars top 
 Optics Dummies

Award-winning physics and optical engineering professor Galen Duree is inspiring others toward careers in optics through his book Optics for Dummies, the latest in the popular series of reference and self-help books. He saw it as an excellent opportunity to promote optics by making it easy to understand.

"I was thinking that we really needed something for kids to explain that optics is more than just eyeglasses and telescopes," Duree says. Wiley Publishing had come to the same conclusion and approached the Rose-Hulman professor to author the book. It can now be found online and in bookstores throughout the country. ■ 

Husband-And-Wife Team Examining Breast Cancer Detectors

   Few cancer survivors are in the position to change the way cancer is diagnosed, but that's what the husbandand- wife faculty team Lorraine Olson and Bob Throne are doing. Olson, professor of mechanical engineering, and Throne, head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, have conducted research and created math models in hopes of developing a new system for the early detection of breast cancer. The research could be key to the development of a device which will mimic manual breast palpations, while enabling doctors to record accurate data about the underlying tissue. The device won't replace mammography, but Olson says the less invasive method could be an affordable and effective tool. ■

Olson
Lorraine Olson and Bob Throne

 
Fred Hann
 
Fred Haan

 

Tornado Expert's Research May Lead to Designing Stronger Public Buildings

   When USA Today needed someone to explain the destructive forces of tornadoes affecting Midwest cities this past summer, they turned to an expert in the field: Fred Haan. The mechanical engineering professor has been studying the effects of extreme winds on structures for more than 15 years. He helped establish a state-of-the-art tornado simulator at Iowa State University, and returns to Ames each summer to conduct further research. Haan's findings may bring national standards on how to build stronger public buildings. Haan has been featured in the Kansas City Star, the Houston Chronicle and Minneapolis Star Tribune, to name just a few. ■

 

  WheelerCoppinger

PLANT SPECIALIST
UNCOVERS NEW BACTERIA AFFECTING WILDFLOWERS

   Peter Coppinger has used his expertise as a plant biotechnology specialist to help discover a new species of bacteria that's infecting and killing the beautiful Midwestern wildflower, Trillium. That he was able to make this discovery with Rose-Hulman sophomore applied biology student Nathan Wheeler was "like hitting the jackpot."

   The duo determined that a new form of phytoplasma, a micro bacteria that affects plants, was turning Trillium's naturally white petals into shades of green.

   However, there were no matches of phytoplasma. Their discovery was confirmed late this summer. Now, the professor and applied biology student are sequencing the bacteria to determine ways to protect other wildflowers. ■