Light Speed: By Harnessing Light Instead of Electricity to Send Information, Larry Dalton Promises to Change the Way We Work and Live. By Scott Holter.

Sidebar: Research Lights Up the Classroom

Larry Dalton joined the UW chemistry department only four years ago-the length of an academic career for a nose-to-the-grindstone undergraduate-and each year he has seen a greater physical and philosophical impact on the school from his work with the Center for Materials and Devices for Information Technology Research.

The recent $18 million award from the National Science Foundation, and the sheer volume of research and researchers that comes with it, has created dramatic new demands for space. In the interim, the center will remain in Dalton's home building, the Bagley Center, where substantial modernizing of labs has already moved forward.

But Dalton sees even greater impact from the grant on the student body at UW. In addition to funding educational outreach for elementary and high school students and teachers (which could pay off on the UW student body down the road), the award has increased the number of undergraduate inquiries and enhanced graduate student recruitment.

The grant also has created greater opportunities for minority students to participate in this trend-setting research. Specific money is earmarked for students from historically black colleges and universities, women's colleges and underrepresented groups, such as Hispanics, to study in the UW program and at affiliated universities.

Dalton says that these schools include Norfolk (Va.) State University, Spelman College , California State University-Los Angeles, California State University-Dominguez Hills, the University of Texas-El Paso and several others.

"It's gratifying to know that some of this money will pay for a lot of kids to go to school that otherwise might not have the money to do so," says Dalton. "We really have a great opportunity here, to discover and share our findings with people who someday are going to make a difference with what we learn." —Scott Holter

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