National Science Foundation Awards Grant to Covenant
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a grant of $178,935 to Covenant College for the construction of a laboratory dedicated to researching thin film growth and characterization under the direction of Dr. Phill Broussard, associate professor of physics.
As he explains it, Broussard and his students "will be growing metallic films 100-1000 atoms thick and studying the modifications of their electrical and magnetic properties as a function of temperature.... We can study the properties of thin films from room temperature down to eight degrees above absolute zero."
Broussard's goals in constructing the lab, however, are broader than research."The overall purpose of the project," he says, "is to show our physics students how research is carried out in their field.... My vision is that students will connect what they learn in the classroom with studies in the actual world while carrying out an independent study project."
Broussard has been a member of Covenant's faculty since 2000 and also serves as director of the dual-degree engineering program. He specializes in thin film condensed matter studies.
This grant is the largest ever awarded to Covenant College by the NSF for scientific research. Broussard expects the grant to open up more doors for research opportunities in the future. It will also, as he points out, "allow us to attract students who are interested in carrying out research at the undergraduate level.
"For my students," says Broussard, "this is the opportunity to investigate one small area of God's creation and begin to see if their calling is to continue in that study."