WKU opens Nondestructive Analysis Center with ceremony

Cameron Koch

WKU celebrated the opening of its new NOVA Center on Tuesday afternoon with a ribbon cutting ceremony and guest speakers featuring Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., and General Motors Corvette Plant manager Dave Tatman.

The Nondestructive Analysis (NOVA) Center is located at the Center for Research and Development on Nashville Road and features a Large Chamber Scanning Electron Microscope (LC-SEM). WKU is now the only university in the country to possess a LC-SEM, which allows researchers to analyze large samples with microscopic precision without breaking down or destroying the sample itself.

The NOVA Center was made possible through a collaboration of federal, state and university funding.

During the event, multiple speakers emphasized how investing in WKU and in research technology benefits the Bowling Green community as a whole.

Gordon Baylis, vice president for Research, spoke at the event and detailed the Center for Research and Development’s purpose.

“What I love about this center is it exemplifies what WKU is all about,” Baylis said. “The high performance computing center, the advanced materials laboratory — all these facilities have a research aspect to them and an applied aspect to them which is of use to the business community around here.”

Tatman also said he believes the technology and research at the center helped the community as a whole.

“One of the key success factors for any global manufacturing enterprise is the rate at which we can turn technology into business results,” Tatman said. “I speak on behalf of my industrial partners throughout the community where we have benefited in real and tangible ways by the work done by WKU in general and certainly from the work done here at the NOVA Center.”

Guthrie discussed the vision of those in the community that made the NOVA center possible.

“I was thinking back when people like (President) Gary Ransdell and Jody Richards were trying to figure out, ‘Wow what am I going to do with this old mall?’” Guthrie said. “Gary hates when this is referred to as the old mall. “

That old mall is now the Center for Research and Development.

“It just shows when people in communities get together they can make things happen,” Guthrie said.

Edward Kintzel, director of the NOVA Center and a physics and astronomy professor at WKU, was excited about the new technology and the future of the center and WKU.

“There is no peer facility that’s like this,” Kintzel said. “I just want that to let that sink in. Not only here do we have the greatest educational tools to provide our young people, but we now have the best research tools to provide our young people.”