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Washington and Lee to acquire mass spectrometer

Monday - 8/26/2013, 4:30am  ET

LEXINGTON, Va. (AP) -- Washington and Lee University has received a National Science Foundation grant to acquire a mass spectrometer that will be shared with Virginia Military Institute.

Washington and Lee biology professor Bill Hamilton says the spectrometer can detect stable isotopes that tend to occur in very low amounts in carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. It also will allow for the analysis of different types of organic matter samples, such as soil, plant tissue and hair.

Hamilton expects the instrument will be incorporated into biology and geology undergraduate classes and research programs as well as its archaeology program and community service efforts in water analysis.

Washington and Lee says it expects to accept samples from other schools and become a regional hub in the future for isotope analysis.

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