*TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) President Elmira Mangum, Ph.D., announced that the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Agency (NNSA) has awarded the University two grants totaling $6 million over three years.
The grants will support the Consortium on Materials and Energy Studies (CMES) and Consortium for Research on the Science and Engineering of Signatures (ROSES). The principal investigators for the grants are FAMU Associate Vice President for Research Charles A. Weatherford, Ph.D., and Assistant Dean of the College of Science and Technology Lewis E. Johnson, Ph.D., respectively.
As the lead university on both grants, FAMU will provide leadership for the Consortia’s research efforts, including the investigation, characterization, and improvement of novel energy materials science and engineering. In addition to the faculty and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) majors participating in the Consortia, FAMU will provide leadership to 13 participating historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and four Department of Energy laboratories. These laboratories include: the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the Y-12 National Security Complex.
The Consortia will also serve to provide solutions to the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that have emerged in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations throughout the world, as an unanticipated and deadly threat to U.S. and Allied military forces.
“Although these weapons are typically not technologically advanced, they have become one of the greatest threats to our peaceful forces, both military and civilian. Moreover, the potential biological, chemical or radiological threats that may occur against a military or civilian population are an eminent concern to our nation,” Johnson said.
Johnson explained that the grants will support research that will address these national security issues and is a partnership of academic and national laboratories for developing and expanding the pipeline of individuals trained in radiological, elemental, and isotopic analysis of the signatures that denote energetic materials, nuclear materials, and biochemical toxins and pathogens.
According to Weatherford, other research goals include: facilitating the fabrication of novel materials for energy applications, studying alternative confinement schemes for nuclear fusion, and exploring the dynamics of high-temperature plasmas and their interactions with antimatter and laser fields. The Consortia will utilize a multi-disciplinary approach to achieving the primary research focus of coupling fields to matter.
President Mangum underscored the significance of the grants and research objectives.
“Congratulations to our research team for this remarkable achievement,” Mangum said. “Their work, coupled with the work of our students, fellow HBCUs, and laboratories, will provide invaluable insight and solutions that will not only further our research mission, but will also help support our nation’s security programs. This is another example of FAMU’s resilient impact on the national research community.”