From Left: Technicians Rick Conrey and Laureen Wagoner, with professors Nathan Goodale and David Bailey.

The Hamilton Analytical Lab (HAL), now in its second year of operation, was recently awarded a five-year, $300,000 contract to provide analytical support for United States Geological Survey (USGS) Volcano Hazards scientists. The USGS is tasked with the evaluation of eruption hazards for all volcanoes in the United States and cooperates with other countries when technical assistance is requested.

HAL operates an automated X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer that measures elemental concentrations of 44 chemical elements in a variety of geological materials and is directed by Professor of Geosciences David Bailey and Associate Professor of Anthropology Nathan Goodale. It is staffed by XRF Laboratory Technician Laureen Wagoner and XRF Senior Laboratory Technician Rick Conrey.

Next June, Hamilton will host an intensive two-week-long training course in X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, team-taught by an international group of experts. The highly regarded class has been affiliated with Western University in Ontario, Canada, since 1990; this is the first time it will be held in the U.S.

The short course is designed to teach the fundamental physics underpinning the XRF method, the function of spectrometer components, and practical details of instrument setup, data acquisition, and sample preparation. Attendees will be housed on-campus allowing interaction with HAL faculty and staff.

The program is expected to attract an international cadre of 15 to 20 industrial scientists and academics and will be held at Hamilton College on an annual basis in the future.

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