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CMU professor awarded highly competitive access to beamtime for research

Rick Brewer
Dr. Anthony Chappaz, director of CMU’s STARLAB and professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, was recently awarded access to highly competitive synchrotron machines, which will allow his research team to analyze the molecular properties of critical elements.

Dr. Anthony Chappaz has been awarded close to one million dollars in beamtime from the national government.

Central Michigan University is touting a research coup. Dr. Anthony Chappaz is a world-renowned researcher. He’s been awarded close to one million dollars in beamtime at synchrotron facilities from the national government.

Researchers will use these particle beams to accelerate electrons and investigate chemistry. The beams that Dr. Chappaz was awarded time at are located at four synchrotron facilities in the United States and Europe.

Dr. Anthony Chappaz
Dr. Anthony Chappaz
Dr. Anthony Chappaz stands inside a synchrotron facility, he is investigating chemistry and accelerating electrons.

Dr. Chappaz said there are only about 70 synchrotron facilities in the world, and that time access is highly exclusive. In order to get access to beamtime at the synchrotron facticiltes in the United States, researchers apply through National Institute of Standards and Technology.

It costs roughly 40 thousand dollars for 24 hours of beamtime. Dr. Chappaz and his team of students were given one million dollars in time, which is over 25 days of research.

The time will help Dr. Chappaz, and the PhD students in his program to analyze properties of critical elements such as mercury.

Marcelo, a visiting PhD student from Brazil, is studying the effects of mercury from illegal mining in the Amazon Rainforest. When Marcelo came to CMU six months ago, he came with over 500 soil samples from the Amazon.

Dr. Chappaz said, "this is a researchers dream."

Marcelo wants to work toward a solution to the problem of toxic mercury poisoning. He said he is hoping the beamtime will help him improve the quality of the environment.

Rick Brewer
CMU PhD student Marcelo Prianti gives a tour of the clean room at the STARLAB, located at CMU Research Corporation. Prianti, a native of Brazil, is part of the research team granted beam time access that will allow him to analyze soil samples from the Amazon Rainforest.

Dr. Chappaz said, "by knowing exactly the spaces present, we can develop a strategy to remedy it. Maybe to remove this mercury."

Marcelo’s project ranked number one among 35 at the beam facility in France.

David Weindorf is vice president for research and innovation at Central Michigan University. He said Dr. Chappaz is making a huge impact, not only at CMU, but across the world with his research.

Weindorf said, "Anthony (Dr. Chappaz) has been so successful, because he’s not only won one of these awards, he’s won multiple awards like this...he clearly has tapped into an area of science that people find novel and interesting, and they want to see more work done in those areas."

Weindorf said the beamtime award is an impressive accomplishment that is propelling the research reputation of C-M-U. Weindorf said CMU expects to see more than a dozen papers published over the next two years from the beamtime access.

As for the future, Dr. Chappaz said he wants to make CMU a worldwide hub for metals and research.

He said, "I see that as a chance not only for me, but also for the students here at CMU. And even like for like the whole, Mid-Michigan. I want to try is to like build like a worldwide hub about critical metals here. I want to change that, you know, like, you don't have to be at say like, at Stanford, or like University of Chicago to like now like, make really cool science, meaningful science and to like, connect people, we can do that here too. And this is what I'm working on."

This awarded time will help many current, and future CMU students down the line with research.

Ella Pierzecki is a freshman at Central Michigan University. She is majoring in Broadcast and Cinematic Arts and minoring in Journalism and Political Science. Ella is from Canton, Michigan where she loves to play with her dog. She is a huge baseball fan and loves cheering on the Detroit Tigers. At WCMU, Ella is excited to meet new people and develop her skills in journalism.