Summary: The Center for Archaeology, Materials, and Applied Spectroscopy (CAMAS) is a center for research founded in the use of advanced analytical techniques for solving multidisciplinary research questions. Integrating researchers already collaborating from the Departments of Anthropology, Physics, Chemistry, Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biological Sciences, this center is powerful scientific core for the physical science investigation of archaeology, materials, biocomplexity, health and nutrition, ecosystem dynamics, and related areas. CAMAS oversees six laboratories, three of which are already funded and one of which was just awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Major Research Instrumentation grant, with other proposals pending.
Rationale and Justification: Recent initiatives at NSF and elsewhere throughout the research infrastructure of the United States have recognized that multidisciplinary research is critical to solving the world’s most pressing scientific problems. Integrating multiple fields for a more powerful understanding of human impacts on the global environment, long-term environmental change, geologic processes and history, the structure of natural and man-made materials, and investigating how species interact with their ecosystems is critical to modern scientific enquiry. Idaho State University is in a unique position in the Intermountain Region and Northwest to create an interdisciplinary analytical facility to accomplish some of the most critical tasks in multidisciplinary research. This proposal seeks to put ISU in the center of global research initiatives by creating a multidisciplinary center of materials and mass spectrometry that will house mass spectrometers, a visualization lab, an atomic force microscope and a SEM, and other laboratories for the advancement of interdisciplinary research agendas. Integrating multiple disciplines including Anthropology, Geosciences, Ecology, Chemistry, Pharmacy, and Physics, these instruments will provide the core integration for taking Idaho State University into the mainstream of research ranging from ocean ecology and fisheries sustainability to global climate change in the arctic to planetary geosciences, materials analysis and physics. Envisioned as a companion center to the Idaho Accelerator Center (IAC), CAMAS, will provide research and educational opportunities without peer in the Intermountain and Northwest regions. This center will be mandated as an open access facility where broad interdisciplinary questions may be investigated by drawing on the knowledge, theories, and intellectual resources of all scientific disciplines.
CAMAS Research Labs:
Location: The ISU Office of Research has identified the ISU Business and Technology Center as the appropriate location for CAMAS. The facility itself is located on a seismically stable Pleistocene alluvial bench overlooking the campus, and the floor of the proposed equipment laboratory is a solid concrete pad. This is a critical requirement for the major equipment included in the laboratories. The facility square footage is adequate to house all the instruments described in this proposal. Preexisting wet chemistry stations, student work and study areas and management offices round out the available space. The existing layout of the floor plan is well-suited to a microchemical analysis lab, with functional units separated by walls and airtight doorways. There is adequate office space and rooms for the accompanying laboratories. Individual faculty and departmental laboratories in Geology, Biology, Physics, and Chemistry are adequate for supporting the facility. Laboratories in Anthropology are not adequate, and remodeling is necessary for archaeological sample preparation (in negotiation at present).