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Jun 2, 2009

Allen Boyd Visits FAMU’s Center for Plasma Science and Technology

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Congressman Allen Boyd toured Florida A&M University's Center for Plasma Science and Technology in Innovation Park to talk to FAMU researchers to learn more about the federally funded and defense related research that FAMU is conducting. FAMU President James H. Ammons and Larry Robinson, FAMU's vice president for Research, accompanied Boyd.

During the tour, Congressman Boyd visited the modern fluid physics and the laser remote sensory laboratories. He also had the opportunity to learn more about FAMU research for the U.S. Army and FAMU's Spheromak Turbulent Plasma Experiment.

FAMU researchers are developing stronger lightweight materials that may be used by the U.S. Army in its development of future combat systems. These materials could cost less to produce, manufacture quicker and maximize soldier protection. Researchers are also working to develop a new generation of laser and sensor technologies that can be used on the battlefield to determine potential threats from long-range distances.

Researchers at CePaST also discussed that our national security is in jeopardy unless we develop new energy sources. The planet is at risk of CO2 suffocation unless we discover clean energy alternatives, which is the focus of a new research project at FAMU.

FAMU faculty and students are now positioned to lead with innovations into a 22nd century of worry free electricity. A spheromak uses magnets to squeeze plasma and produce fusion much like the more expensive and government utilized tokamaks. Fusion leaves no carbon footprints behind and is a pollution-free source of energy.

"FAMU is now funded at $1 million to design and begin a vigorous pursuit of a fusion facility," said FAMU Physics Professor Joseph Johnson, Ph.D.

According to Johnson, FAMU would need an additional funding of $5 million for the second year (2010), and $5 million for the third year (2011). FAMU will collaborate with West Virginia University and Auburn University on this project. This research will provide new career and research opportunities for students, along with models for the development of expanded job opportunities throughout the nation.

According to Congressman Boyd, the Congressional earmarks are different now.

"The money is not there the way it used to be," said Boyd.

President Ammons thanked Congressman Boyd for his support.

"We are very appreciative for Congressman Boyd's relentless support for Florida A&M University," said Ammons. "We will continue to do our part to secure more grant opportunities for FAMU to make sure FAMU remains a leader in research."

Delonia Wiggins, a Florida A&M University Ph.D. physics candidate, (left) and Joseph Johnson, Ph.D., a distinguished professor of science and engineering and physics, (far right) gives a demonstration for Congressman Allen Boyd in the modern fluid physics lab during his tour of the FAMU Center for Plasma Science and Technology in Innovation Park.