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Published on January 25, 2002
© 2002- The Press Democrat


Sonoma State University has received a prestigious $400,000 award from a Los Angeles foundation to equip a new technology research lab with microanalysis microscopes.

The new laboratory will be named after William M. Keck, who established the W.M. Keck Foundation, when the lab opens at the end of this summer as a centerpiece of SSU's science instruction.

``It will be the focus of our new engineering science complex,'' said Saeid Rahimi, dean of the School of Science and Technology, which includes a new graduate program in technology.

The Keck Laboratory will be housed in Salazar Hall, the former library building that is undergoing a $20.1 million renovation to house labs and classrooms for undergraduate and graduate science programs and the Cotati-Rohnert Park Technology High School.

The Keck award will be used to purchase an electronic scanning microscope and as seed money to attract donations to purchase an atomic-force microscope.

``I have been working on this grant for three years,'' Rahimi said. ``It is a highly selective type of an award, and SSU is proud to be among the group of big-name universities as recipients. It was a big, big thing.''

SSU President Ruben Arminana said getting a Keck Foundation award ``puts us in the company of people who do teaching and research in the sciences, with very prestigious universities around the country and in California.''

With the microscopes, SSU students in many academic disciplines will be able to analyze to the atomic level such things as semiconductor materials as well as artifacts found in archaeological digs and animal, rock and plant tissue.

The lab also will have an auger spectrometer, donated by Optical Coating Laboratory Inc., to analyze thin films used in various high-tech industries.

The 2,430-square-foot Keck Laboratory will be one of seven new labs taking up a total of 15,000 square feet in Salazar Hall. The others will be for photonics, electronics, wireless broadband communications, networking, computer science and lightwave communications.

Rahimi said special courses will be created to teach students and faculty to use the equipment, and the laboratory will be opened to students from high schools and Santa Rosa Junior College as an introduction to science.

The W.M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by William Keck, founder of Superior Oil Company.

You can reach Staff Writer Bob Norberg at 521-5206 or e-mail Keywords: EDUCATION FINANCE

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