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Formal Opening of New Sciences Wing is Today

The Physical Sciences Building Phase II at Old Dominion University, which is the recently completed addition to the Oceanography and Physics Building, will formally open with a ceremony, reception and tours beginning at 4 p.m. today.

Guest speakers will be Hugh E. Montgomery, director of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, and Roger McManus, vice president for marine programs for the Conservation International (CI) Foundation, which is based in Arlington, Va.

The 58,000-square-foot wing rises for three stories beside a newly enlarged pond with a footbridge. The original rectangular phase of the now L-shaped building opened in 1998 and has been called the Oceanography and Physics Building because of its tenants. It houses the Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the Department of Physics, as well as the College of Sciences dean's office and other of the college's administrative offices.

Laboratories and other facilities in the new wing, together with faculty contacts, are:

• First floor: Nuclear and Particle Physics Research Facility (Gail Dodge); Marine Aquatics Facility (Wayne Hynes); College of Sciences Major Instrumentation Cluster (COSMIC) Laboratory (Susan Hatcher, manager); Microprobe Laboratory (Dennis Darby).

• Second floor: Atomic Physics Laser Laboratories (Lepsha Vuskovic and Charles Sukenik).

• Third floor: Environmental and Analytical Chemistry Laboratory (Ken Mopper); Evolutionary Ecology Laboratory (Lisa Horth); Molecular Systematics Laboratory and Fish Morphology Laboratory (Kent Carpenter); Biomechanics Laboratory (Ian Bartol); energy research center (Patrick Hatcher); and Benthic Ecology Laboratory (Dan Dauer).

ODU's acting President John R. Broderick, Provost Carol Simpson and Dean Chris Platsoucas of the College of Sciences will host the opening ceremony.

"Anyone interested in the sciences and in the research being conducted at Old Dominion will find these new facilities to be fascinating and attractive," Platsoucas said. "We hope many members of the public, as well as members of the Old Dominion community, come to help us celebrate the opening."

Montgomery, a highly regarded nuclear physicist with an extensive research portfolio and broad international experience, was named director of the Jefferson Lab last year. He had been associate director for research at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory since 2002.

ODU and the Jefferson Lab have a long-standing relationship involving instruction as well as research, which includes work at the lab by approximately three dozen ODU faculty members and graduate students. Last year the federal facility joined with ODU to launch the Center for Accelerator Science, and three of the lab's scientists currently hold ODU faculty appointments in accelerator physics.

In addition to serving as Jefferson Lab director, Montgomery is president of Jefferson Science Associates (JSA), which manages and operates the lab for the DOE. JSA is a joint venture between the Southeastern Universities Research Association and CSC Applied Technologies.

McManus, through his leadership role at Conservation International, helps to oversee the work of the Global Marine Species Assessment (GMSA), which is headquartered at ODU and directed by Carpenter, professor of biological sciences. The GMSA is coordinating assessments of corals, seagrasses and mangroves, as well as of marine fishes and some keystone invertebrates. By 2012, the GMSA plans to complete a comprehensive first-stage assessment of the threat of extinction for 20,000 marine plants and animals.

McManus and Carpenter were spokesmen for a report last year warning that climate change and environmental degradation are threatening a third of the world's reef-building corals with extinction. An article about the warning appeared in Science magazine.

CI, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving global biodiversity, runs the GMSA together with the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In fiscal year 2008, CI invested more than $135 million in conservation work.

This article was posted on: April 21, 2009

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