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SWT professors receive Welch Foundation grant

Date of release: 05/09/00

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS — Economics and chemistry are not often combined in the same sentence, but the economics of chemistry has provided two Southwest Texas State University professors the opportunity for scientific research. Michael Blanda, associate professor of chemistry, and Carlos Gutierrez, associate professor of physics, have each received $135,000 from the Welch Foundation to perform research in their respective fields, relative to the study of chemistry.

Blanda described his project as a project designed to use modern, economical techniques to discover new catalyst compounds, which are compounds that speed up chemical reactions.

Gutierrez’s research will focus on reducing the cost of producing oxide thin film material, which is a material used in various “leading edge” applications including microelectronic, magnetic and fiber-optic network integrated devices. Current production processes are expensive due to the high cost of thermal processing techniques. However, his research will focus on altering the manufacturing in such a way as to reduce the cost of processing.

The Houston-based Welch foundation, which was created to provide financial and support assistance to chemistry researchers and scientists, provided 182 scientists new and renewal grants of at least $135,000 distributed over a three-year time span to support full-time, tenured or tenure-track faculty members who serve as principal investigators.

For more information on either SWT research project, please contact Lisa Zapata Cruz at (512) 245-2180.