sealPurdue Story Ideas

July 8, 2002

JOURNALISTS: Here are story ideas and a list of selected Purdue events during the next two weeks.

Purdue briefs Congress on new detector

A team of Purdue University researchers will travel to Capitol Hill this week to demonstrate a new portable instrument designed to detect chemical warfare agents.

The Purdue researchers will demonstrate the detector Wednesday (7/10) during the 8th annual Department of Defense Day on the Hill, in the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building. The meeting, sponsored by the Association of American Universities and the Coalition for National Security Research, highlights recent advances in new sensing technologies needed for homeland security. Purdue will be one of 10 universities presenting prototypes of new sensing technologies. The demonstrations will begin 4:30 p.m.

Graham Cooks, a professor of chemistry, leads the group of researchers developing the detector – a hand-held, suitcase-size mass spectrometer. The project is part of ongoing work within the Purdue Center for Sensing Science and Technology. Yeong Kim, director of the center and a professor of physics, will participate in the demonstration.

Mass spectrometry is a technique for identifying chemical and biological agents in the air. The instrument, a miniature ion trap mass spectrometer, has been studied and improved in Cooks' lab for more than 15 years. Mass spectrometry identifies a substance by its molecular weight and by monitoring how a molecule changes as it is ionized, or subjected to collisions so that atoms are lost. Electric fields "trap" the ions inside a vacuum container.

The miniature ion trap allows the detector to use less electricity and run on batteries.

CONTACTS: Yeong Kim, (765) 494-3042,; Teresa Felgenhauer, administrative assistant, (765) 496-2281,; Emil Venere, Purdue News Service, (765) 494-4709,

Summer Start preps new Purdue students

Journalists can find out what it's like for incoming first-year Purdue students and what the university is doing to prepare and keep them pursuing their dreams and degrees.

Running from June 5 to Aug. 3, Purdue Summer Start is a residential summer school program designed to orient students to college life before their first year on campus.

It is part of the Lilly Endowment Retention Initiatives project dedicated to preparing incoming undergraduate students for their college experience and in retaining them.

In 1997 the Lilly Endowment awarded Purdue $5 million to enhance the university's retention efforts and to meet a goal of increasing Purdue's six-year baccalaureate completion rate by 5 percent at each campus.

Journalists can talk to students and program advisers listed below to arrange interviews and photo opportunities of various activities that enhance retention. In addition to offering students six to nine hours of course credit, Purdue Summer Start also introduces students to areas and services that will help them in their pursuit of a degree. Students have opportunities to interact with faculty and staff and take part in out-of-class social activities, which also can provide photo opportunities.

Research findings indicate that minority students participating in Summer Start have higher initial retention rates than comparable students who do not participate in the program.

Of the 42 students participating in this summer's program there are 28 males and 14 females; 28 Caucasian and 14 non-Caucasian students; 20 students from out of state, 19 from Indiana and three from other countries.

For further information, the following individuals are available to speak with journalists about the summer experience and the long-term benefits to the state's educational and economic advancement.

Contact: Andrew K. Koch, (765) 496-3618,; Alicia N. Deckard, Purdue Summer Start Supervisor, (765) 496-3754,; Ashley Brawner, Summer Start student, (765) 495-3565;Susan Campbell, Summer Start student, (765) 495-3565 and Jonathan Vernon, Summer Start student, (765) 495-3572. Related Web sites:

Purdue professor leads efforts to resolve the Yugoslav controversies

In an attempt to dispel the myths that divide the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, an international "Scholars Initiative" will meet July 7-9 at the United Nation headquarters in Sarajevo, Bosnia, to examine the evidence behind the great controversies of the past decade.

Funded by the United States Institute for Peace, the Soros Foundation and the Citizen's Pact for Southeastern Europe, the project has brought together more than 100 leading authorities from 18 countries. Charles Ingrao, professor of history at Purdue University, has been invited to lead the initiative.

Ingrao can talk to journalists about the issues surrounding the Bosnian and Kosovo conflicts. He has authored three books on Central European history and is a regular consultant for national and international media, including the Voice of America and The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.

CONTACT: Charles Ingrao (765) 463-9658, (765) 494-8383 or (765) 494-4122.

For more information visit the web site.

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

* To the Purdue News and Photos Page