Research projects address terrorism from many angles

Princeton NJ -- Asked by the Office of Research and Project Administration for information about research that could help prevent or respond to terrorism, Princeton faculty members reported a wide range of projects. Here is a partial list of the responses.

Chemical engineering

Lynn Russell has projects to study the behavior of inhaled aerosol particles and is planning research into the efficiency with which agents such as anthrax are deposited into sensitive lung areas.

Sandra Troian has filed a patent application for a device that can serve as a noxious agent detector.


Kevin Lehman recently submitted a patent for a device that detects trace amounts of gas, which has the potential to be developed into a sensor for chemical warfare agents.

Computer science

Andrew Appel, Edward Felten and David Walker conduct research in computer security, which includes prevention of disruptive attacks on the Internet.

Ecology and evolutionary biology

Andrew Dobson studies the movement of infectious diseases through populations, including the spread of diseases that are entirely new to a population.

Electrical engineering

Wayne Wolf is developing a multi-camera video system that detects the presence of human beings and identifies their activities. The system may be useful for surveillance in airplanes or airports.

Mechanical and aerospace engineering

Robert Stengel is a co-principal investigator of the University Program for Air Transportation Research, which is a collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ohio University and conducts research related to aircraft safety.

Center for Photonics and Optoelectronic Materials

James Sturm and Robert Austin are researching ways to use ultra-small devices to do early screening, detection and characterization of pathogenic organisms.

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Researchers at the lab are developing three technologies that may address terrorism: "micro-aviation" vehicles -- the size of a bird or model airplane -- that could be used for military surveillance; a portable radiation detector that can distinguish different types of nuclear material from each other and could be installed in places such as tollbooths; and a laser beam system for scanning air and detecting the presence of biological spores.

Woodrow Wilson School

Frank von Hippel co-directs the Program in Science and Global Security, which investigates the safety of nuclear materials. He recently published an article on "Recommendations on Preventing Nuclear Terrorism" in the FAS Public Interest Report, the journal of the Federation of American Scientists

Jeffrey Herbst is organizing a conference to be held in late September 2002 on the implications of Sept. 11.

April 8, 2002
Vol. 91, No. 22
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Page one
Faculty research projects take on new meaning after Sept. 11
Nuclear threat remains long after the Cold War

Time is optimal for publication of comprehensive encyclopedia
Research projects address terrorism from many angles
Two develop interdisciplinary course as Behrman fellows
Two juniors win 2002 Truman Scholarship 

Sportlight, retiring

By the numbers
Nassau Notes
Calendar of events

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