MSU MATTERS: New high-tech machine to help MSU students with research

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WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)— Geoscience grad student Jared Steger is one of a number of Midwestern State University students getting hands-on experience with a new high-tech machine, a Scanning Electron Microscope.

“We’ll be able to get a lot more accurate readings with this kind of machine and I think it will help a lot of people with really tedious research,” Steger said.

“It has an Energy Dispersive Spectrometer attached to it,” Kimbell School of Geosciences Chairperson Jonathan Price said.

Price said this costly equipment is a big improvement compared to what the department used in the past.

“A lot of the things that we want to look at in nature are too small to see even under a good Optical Microscope this gets us in the realm so we can start looking at really tiny things and we can also characterize the compositions at the same time,” Price said.

Steger agreed and said being able to detect the difference in elemental changes as well as how rocks differ from place to place is intriguing.

“It’s interesting to see what kind of minerals go into these rocks because it can make it look completely different on a little bit of a composition change,” Price said.

Price said having the Scanning Electron Microscope helps in making students competitive.

“Looking forward to graduate school, graduate work or in the job market because they have seen this stuff, they know how to operate it. The technical skills that come with it are important but the ability to visualize what’s happening on this scale is super important,” Price said.

Both Steger and Price said it’s thanks to the generosity of those who support the department that this is possible for tomorrow’s scientists.

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