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CSE students assist with Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Every day I pick up a copy of the Minnesota Daily, the University of Minnesota's student-run newspaper. I like reading the Daily to find out about events in the Twin Cities and happening on campus. It's always a good read, and this past year was named the "Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper" in the country

Today, I opened up the Daily to find an interesting article about a team of College of Science and Engineering students and faculty.

This spring, Professor Jian Sheng and a team of College of Science and Engineering students applied for a National Science Foundation grant to study flow fields around coral regions. They began developing a submersible high speed camera. In April, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico required them to change their plans.

The CSE team is now planning on using their camera to determine if microorganisms are eating oil droplets. If they can discover which microorganisms eat oil, scientists would be able to use them instead of chemical dispersants.

Yan Ming Tan, an aerospace engineering student in his fourth year said, "BP claims there is no more oil on the surface, so definitely there are some microorganisms that eat them. We just don't know which microorganisms."

 

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Read the MN Daily article to learn more about the team's unique camera!

This story goes to show that you can never be sure where your research will lead you. One innovation can be used in many different ways to further discovery in every field. This team was driven enough to change the focus of their project and their discoveries could change the way the world handles oil spills. Amazing!


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