The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


283 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-8037; fax (319) 335-8034

Release: Immediate

EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: There will be a presentation ceremony at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26, at Clear Creek Amana High School in Tiffin. Media are invited to attend. If you would like to speak with Paul Rogers, you may call him at (319) 335-7883 (W); (319) 645-2220 (H).

UI medical researcher's contest win will benefit high school science classes

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Little did Paul Rogers know that when he entered a contest sponsored by a Rochester, N.Y., manufacturer of scientific instruments, five Iowa high schools would come out the winners.

Rogers, a senior research assistant in the department of biochemistry in the University of Iowa College of Medicine, sent his entry to Spectronic Instruments, Inc., which was trying to locate the oldest working models of their equipment that are still being used. While Rogers' entry wasn't the oldest, his name was selected by the company in a national grand prize drawing. The prize: $8,000 worth of scientific instruments.

"When I heard that I had won, I started to think about what to do with the prize. We didn't need any more lab equipment, so I thought there might be a way I could use the prize to help some high schools encourage science education," says Rogers, who serves on the school board of the Clear Creek Amana schools.

After discussing the proposal with other members of the biochemistry department, Rogers decided to donate an instrument called a spectrophotometer to Clear Creek Amana High School in Tiffin, Mid-Prairie High School in Wellman, Greenfield High School, Tipton High School, and Iowa Valley High School in Marengo. Rogers graduated from Greenfield High School. The others are in the same conference in eastern Iowa and approximately the same size as Clear Creek Amana.

According to Clear Creek Amana Principal Tom McDonald, the donation of the instruments will give students a unique educational experience.

"This will give our students an educational opportunity normally reserved for college students," he says. "We appreciate Paul's generosity and concern for science education."

Spectrophotometers are scientific instruments used in colleges for teaching and research, and in industry. They use different wavelengths of light to measure the concentration of chemicals in solutions.

"These instruments can be used in chemistry and environmental science classes," Rogers says. "I hope they will help students get excited about science."

According to Dr. Lesley DeLong, product manager for Spectronic Instruments, it is important for students to get hands-on experience with scientific instruments early on.

"These are tools that are used in college courses and, later on, in real life," DeLong says. "Spectrophotometers are commonly used in quality control in the chemical industry, in food processing, in water analysis, in water processing and as a basic instrument in biomedical research."

Rogers will present the instruments to the principals and science teachers from the high schools at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26, at Clear Creek Amana High School in Tiffin. Following the presentation, DeLong will give a demonstration of the instruments to the science teachers from the five high schools.

The company will also provide the schools with educational support materials to help them integrate the use of the instruments into their science curriculums.