The physics department at Coe College in Cedar Rapids has received more than one million dollars in grant funding just this year. The most recent award from the National Science Foundation will go toward glass research. Physics professor, Steve Feller, says the latest award of $620,000 goes to a niche research area on new ways to make glass.
Feller says the key to get a large sum of funding for a small college is to build a respected program. “It’s takes time to build a program. I think most importantly you have to think carefully about what you are going to do with students. We are not exactly; we’re quite different than the usual say graduate school model of research,” according to Feller. He’s now in his 35th year of teaching at Coe.
Feller, says the huge amount of grants coming to Coe is bringing positive attention to the school’s entire science department. “The sciences in general are undergoing a renaissance at Coe. That over 50 students are in the building in the summertime — it sort of feeds on itself — it sort of builds a gestalt,” Feller says. The science building on campus recently underwent a 14 million dollar renovation with four-point-seven million of that coming from federal grants.