UH PROJECT EXPLOITS VACUUM OF SPACE

by Edward Duffin

News Reporter

UH Space Vacuum Epitaxy Center Program Director Alex Ignatiev hopes today's scheduled launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery will lead to an innovative production method for high-performance semiconductors.

The first shuttle mission of 1994 is also a first for UH – the first National Aeronautics and Space Administration payload to be developed in Texas.

The $13.5 million Wake Shield Facility, a 12-foot diameter, 9,000-pound satellite – developed at UH by the SVEC, Space Industries International of League City, a company formed by retired NASA engineers and other commercial enterprises – is carried into orbit in the payload bay of the shuttle. The experiment fills one-quarter of the payload bay.

The Wake Shield creates an "ultra-vacuum" in the wake formed behind the shield as it orbits the earth at 18,000 mph.

"This is the first effort to exploit the vacuum of space. Instead of protecting against it, we want to ... use it productively," said Ignatiev.

The area behind the Wake Shield is virtually free of tiny molecular particles that could contaminate the production of the high-speed low-power devices such as computer chips.

They could be used to allow the production of small, lap-top supercomputers, video telephones and other electronic devices yet to be imagined.

Former UH Physics professor and current astronaut Ronald Sega has likened the process to "looking at a speed boat and visualizing the water behind it. The faster you go, the less the water fills in behind it."

Even the very best vacuums created on Earth are contaminated with unwanted atoms that inevitably become incorporated into the circuitry, slowing the operation of the device.

Advanced computer modeling suggests the vacuum created by the Wake Shield could produce a vacuum 10,000 times cleaner than the best vacuums created in laboratory vacuums on earth.

Once the vacuum is created, Ignatiev and his team begin the process known as epitaxy. Epitaxy is the precise atom-by-atom, layer-by-layer production of thin, semiconducting films. The process will be directed from a control station on earth.

Each layer measures 100,000 times <I>smaller<P> than the diameter of a human hair. A semiconductive wafer is composed of about 90,000 layers.

The team plans to produce about seven wafers during this mission, which will then be examined when the shuttle returns to Earth.

Three additional missions making use of the Wake Shield Facility are planned.

Each mission improves the Wake Shield's ability to produce the wafers. At the conclusion of the final Wake Shield Facility mission, the satellite may have the capacity to produce 200 chips per mission.

"It's exciting to have the opportunity to be part of a NASA project. This really says something about the vision of this university and our goals for the community," said UH President James Pickering.

An eight-day shuttle flight typically costs about $413 million, but NASA has waived all costs to UH because the university is a commercial center for space development.

The shuttle team consists of Cmdr. Charles Bolden, Pilot Ken Reightler, Flight Engineer and former UH physics professor Ronald Sega, Mission Specialist Jan Davis, Mission Specialist Franklin Chang-Diaz and Mission Specialist Sergei Konstantinovich Kirkalev.

Kirkalev is the first Russian cosmonaut to participate in a NASA shuttle mission. He spent 15 months orbiting the earth in the Russian Space Station Mir. He also participated in a mission during the collapse of the former Soviet Union.

 

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FRATERNITY FORUM SPREADS THE WORD ON SPRING RUSH

by Amanda Swaty

Contributing Writer

For the average student passing PGH Wednesday, the enormous letters and huge tent on the grass might have seemed oddly out of place.

This wasn't a traveling circus, but rather the Interfraternity Council's Fraternity Forum, an opportunity for interested parties to approach fraternities for information pertaining to the Spring Rush events.

The turnout was less than tremendous, but this is not uncommon.

Jason Alkire, a junior marketing major and Pi Kappa Alpha member, said, "Most of the people who rush fraternities usually know members already with us."

Tau Kappa Epsilon member Jason Greenwald, a junior political science major, agreed. "It's not necessarily the parties who come out, but rather the people who maintain that interest."

It is those people that the fraternities are striving to recruit. While each fraternity has individual characteristics, the general profile is, according to Sigma Phi Epsilon member Richard Rodriguez, "a person with leadership skills and an outgoing personality. We need someone who will not become apathetic toward the fraternity."

Fraternity members are also quick to note that their academic requirements parallel those set by the university and fraternities often require proctored study halls of those wishing to become members. In addition to academics, Delta Upsilon member Dominique Gerard "concentrates on pledges with integrity and strength of character."

After a prospective member has met these requirements, IFC fraternities are quick to dazzle them with a seemingly endless number of favorable statistics. For example, Tau Kappa Epsilon has the largest number of chapters while Sigma Phi Epsilon has the largest population of undergraduate members.

Many fraternities also boast an extensive alumni network. With the help of the alumni organizations, graduating students are often given references and connections in their desired fields. Many fraternity members argue this is an advantage they would not otherwise have.

Fraternities are also offer activities which contradict the stereotype of recklessness and irresponsibility. All fraternities sponsor charity functions, where proceeds go to either a specific group or a variety of organizations. Tau Kappa Epsilon member David Harper says, "Quality time spent among quality members will spur social and academic growth."

As many IFC Spring Rush events are ongoing, interested parties can contact either the individual fraternities or the Greek Life office at 743—5183 for more information.

 

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STATE REPRESENTATIVE SPEAKS ABOUT GUNS, FUNDS

by Robert James

News Reporter

State Representative Ron Wilson jumped into the gun control issue Tuesday in a speech to journalism majors.

"Individuals should have the right to carry concealed handguns," said Wilson, D-Dist. 131.

Wilson sponsored a bill during the 73rd Legislature that would permit private citizens to carry concealed handguns except in public institutions, places where alcoholic beverages are served and sporting events.

After passing in both the House and Senate, Gov. Ann Richards vetoed the bill.

"The wrong people have easy access to guns," Wilson said. "Criminals are not concerned about state statutes regarding guns. The people who obey the law do not carry guns, and are at a disadvantage when they encounter criminals who are armed.

"My neighborhood is more dangerous than it used to be. I want to be able to protect myself with a gun if the need arises."

Wilson, first elected to the House in 1976 at the age of 22, sponsored the original lottery bill and the bill making the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday an official state holiday.

Wilson has served as a member of the Committee on Redistricting, the Legislative Council, the Ways and Means Committee and as chairman of the Liquor Regulation Committee.

During this brief press conference, Wilson addressed the problem of decreased university and public school funding.

He said he will help the UH community during its funding battles with the Legislature. "The University of Texas and Texas A&M University have a head start with the Permanent University Fund. We will continue to work with the University of Houston administration to make sure it gets its fair share of funding," he said.

Wilson said the problem of public school funding for grades K through 12 can be solved through the use of vouchers that would give students another option to choose between a public or private school education.

"Public schools need competition. We want to give all individuals the choice of where to send their kids," Wilson said.

He added, "Racial tensions are growing on college campuses across the nation. The low percentage of minority students and faculty is leading to increasing frustration, which in turn causes friction."

Wilson also addressed what he sees as a need for increased awareness to reduce racial tension on college campuses.

"We need to do everything we can to balance the faculty and students at public institutions," he said.

 

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LITTLE SISTER FUNKS UP

by Tom Turner

Daily Cougar Staff

Austin's Little Sister has accomplished what most bands only dream of doing.

The band has completed and will soon release its major-label album, set to hit the street next week. Surprisingly, for its first release, <I>Free Love & Nickel Beer<P>, the group decided to record live at Club DaDa in Dallas, instead of venturing into the studio.

With a good mix of rock, funk and blues, Little Sister has made quite a name in various local communities. The band's popularity has spread by word-of-mouth and by consistent tours through some of the larger cities in the South.

After packing houses in Austin (at the legendary Black Cat Lounge), Dallas (in Deep Ellum) as well as in Atlanta and New Orleans, the band has grown to form a tight groove. Patrice Pike, the lead vocalist, states that this album sounds exactly like the band sounds, without any cover-ups or gimmicks. She goes on to say that "if you don't dig this, you are not going to dig Little Sister."

Well, some may not exactly "dig" this band, but it is hard to say the members don't work well together.

All through the album, the bassist and drummer provide a solid foundation that everything else builds on. Each of the members complements the others with their playing abilities and styles. All flow together to bring Little Sister to where it is today.

After a few plays on the stereo, Little Sister's <I>Free Love & Nickel Beer<P> will begin to grow on you. Who knows, you might find yourself catching on to the groove. This debut album is worth a listen.

Little Sister will have a CD release party at The Fabulous Satellite Lounge at 3616 Washington Ave. on Feb. 12. If Little Sister draws here as well as it does in other cities, it's sure to be a full house and a good show.

 

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TOP RECRUITS GIVE HELTON SOLID FRESHMAN CLASS

by Adam King

Daily Cougar Staff

With the addition of 26 new football recruits on Wednesday's signing day, Houston's problems might finally begin fading into the distance.

This class little resembles recruiting classes of the past when junior college players dominated UH's commitment list for a quick fix. Now, head coach Kim Helton is planning for the future as 20 of the 26 signees are high school freshmen.

It is a solid class with 16 on offense, 10 on defense and several highly-sought players on both sides.

First, the offense, and the most pressing need was at the quarterback spot where depth was a problem.

Starter Jimmy Klingler decided to forego his senior year to enter the NFL draft and third-teamer Chandler Evans transferred to a Division III school.

That left Chuck Clements and Clay Helton, coach Helton's son, as the only available quarterbacks on the roster. Helton is recovering from major shoulder surgery that will keep him from actively participating in spring drills.

Enter Larry Oliver and Brad Woodard to add depth.

The 6-4, 215-pound Oliver is a Houston Post and Houston Chronicle Top 100 prospect who passed for 1,178 yards, directing his DeSoto team to a 10-0 record during the 1993 regular season. Woodard (6-2, 215) is a junior college transfer from Butler County (Kan.) Community College who passed for 2,088 yards and 22 TDs in 11 games and was Oklahoma offensive player of the year as a high school senior.

"You've got enough quarterbacks on the field with Clay, Chuck and these quarterbacks to make it through a season," Helton said.

Helton is driving for offensive dominance in signing running backs Ryan Burton (6-1, 185) of Richardson Berkner, Sammy Laury (6-2, 180, Dodge City CC), Jay McGuire (5-11, 192, Silsbee) and Jermaine Williams (6-1, 202, Butler CC). Fullback Bryant Henderson (5-11, 210, Northeast Oklahoma A&M) was also recruited.

Charles Johnson (6-3, 245) of Tuscaloosa, Ala., "is the South's premier blocking tight end" according to Blue Chips Illustrated and joins Kacy Jones, (6-3, 215, Paris), Oscar Portales (6-3, 260, San Antonio Jay) and Chris Herold (6-2, 230, Butler CC) on the roster.

Converted quarterbacks Jason deGroot (5-11, 175, Santa Fe) and Bubba Ray Meche (6-1, 190, Northbrook) will be tried at wide receiver.

To protect the quarterbacks, Helton recruited some solid offensive linemen in Dallas Kimball's Kevin Carter (6-4, 260), Ben Fricke (6-2, 260) of Austin Anderson, Justin Hall (6-5, 280) of Palestine Westwood and Houston Post Top 100 lineman Raymond James (6-4, 290) of Port Arthur Jefferson.

"We would have liked to have been heavier (had more linemen)," Helton said. "Some of the kids were swayed by negative recruiting by counterparts in the Southwest Conference."

Helton pointed to two schools in the SWC which he says are carrying out a negative recruiting campaign against UH, using Houston's low athletic graduation rates published in a USA Today article last year and the fact that UH is near a poor neighborhood, to discourage recruits from coming here.

"We went out and sold the University of Houston the best we could and in the most honorable fashion we could," he said. "And I'd like for everybody else to compete with us in the same manner.

"Until they do compete with us in that manner, I'll go to (SWC commissioner Steve Hatchell) and say our little peace and he'll respond to it accordingly.

"This football team and our academic emphasis competes with anybody."

Seven of Helton's recruits are top students in their class.

C.E. King linebacker Keon Banks (5-11, 200) carries a 3.2 GPA and, along with Lamar product Mike Parker (6-3, 215), could continue the position's dominance on the field.

Both carry 4.6 speed in the 40 and are considered two of the top 10 linebackers in the state. Add Sharpstown's Eric Woloson (6-2, 205, 4.45 speed) and Fort Worth Haltom's Chad Shaw (6-2, 225) and you have a dominating second line.

But stopping the run with the front line will be key after the defense gave up 218.5 yards per game on the ground last season.

Defensive linemen Jason Becker (6-4, 260) of Butler CC, Garland's Rusty Foster (6-3, 235), and ends Leonta Rheams (6-3, 250, Tyler Lee) and Louis Hampton (6-4, 230, Killeen) should bolster a line that had no starters over 6-foot tall.

"I was really impressed with coach Helton's philosophy and what he's going to do," said a newly enrolled Becker.

Dallas Roosevelt defensive back DeKeithron Callicoattee (6-3, 190) was the only back signing. Meche could also move to back.

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