RU research: A brave new world

Everyone, to a certain extent, is fundamentally interested in science. From Newton’s apple to Tesla’s cats to Edison’s 2,000 failed lightbulbs, there is a basic human fascination with experimentation and discovery. We all want to know more about how and why the world works the way it does.

Just look at the popularity of “The Big Bang Theory,” or Bill Nye’s “Dancing With The Stars” performance — people wanted to watch their favorite childhood science teacher, not his cha-cha moves. No matter how good (or bad) our grades were in biology, chemistry and physics, we still want to know what’s going on in the laboratories of the world.

In fact, you don’t even have to venture outside of lovely Radford University to find out about exciting new developments in healthcare, technology and the rest of the scientific spectrum.

Just this summer, the College of Science and Technology’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship sponsored 13 collaborative projects between RU students and faculty. Topics ranged from physiological changes in Kenyan sparrows to lessening the severe side effects of chemotherapy drugs to improving literacy skills in elementary school students.

RU has even gotten national recognition for some of its recent scientific successes. A team of chemistry and geology students took first place in a national competition sponsored by the EPA for their water purification project.

The Highlander contingent beat out competitors from around the country, including two teams from Cornell University, to win a $90,000 grant that will enable further development of the project.

With all the intriguing work being done in our literal backyard, it only seems logical to take a closer look at what’s actually coming out of Curie and Reed Halls. To that end, Whim’s science, tech and health section will begin profiling some of these undergraduate projects and the students and faculty members who are producing them.

In addition, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Development is sponsoring an all-day research exhibition and forum in the Bonnie Hulbert Student Center on Oct. 24. Students and professors involved in research will be running poster presentations and answering questions.

Later this semester, the office will be putting out a call for research proposals — so if you’re pondering a project of your own, now may be your chance to experiment with fame.