Welcome: Spring 2012

Jim Barker (left) and Gerald Sonnenfeld (right) visit with students and faculty members in the Jordan Hall Imaging Facility.


Research is a way of learning.

This year, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, which established the land-grant college system, it seems fitting to launch a new magazine devoted to research and creative discovery at Clemson University. As a land-grant institution, we know how to put new knowledge to work in the service of society. We do this every day, in our teaching, extension, scholarly publishing, and partnerships with industry and government. And we do it by sharing with the public what we learn from research.

Today, when the tap of a key can access more information than a person can possibly fathom, what can a magazine add to the mix? It can help us make sense of the science, the scholarship, and the artistic achievements that are changing our world. And it can give us a glimpse of the struggle behind the scenes. What does it take, for example, to engineer a new technology, design a better building, or produce a better food? These are stories of technical advances, yes, but they are also stories of human ingenuity, perseverance, and the passion to learn. At Clemson, research is first and foremost a way of learning, for students and faculty members alike.

Knowledge today expands so rapidly that the only way to stay current is to work at the frontier, conducting research, pushing the limits of what we know. When we expose our students to research, we equip them to change with the times. We also instill in them an appetite for discovery, the habit of precision, and the discipline of rigorous, original thought.

For all of these reasons, we want you to have a glimpse of what we are learning. We want to include you in the intellectual life of Clemson University as we wrestle with the crucial topics of our time. I hope you will join us, and I hope you enjoy what you find in the pages of glimpse.


James F. Barker


Have a glimpse of what we do.

When I arrived at Clemson in 2010, I found an impressive array of research especially relevant to the urgent issues of our time. Business and employment, engineering and advanced materials, health and nutrition, food and agriculture, the environment—all of these were front and center in Clemson research. The faculty here, I learned, included exceptional problem-solvers with a knack for working with partners in the outside world. We have specialists, yes, but they do not isolate themselves in specialization. They work across departmental lines to increase knowledge, create opportunities, and improve the quality of life.

This commitment extends beyond the bounds of science. In my first months at Clemson, I met historians, architects, artists, English professors, and many others who clearly shared a passion for discovery. Discovery is the heart of academic achievement, at every level and in every field.

We inspire that passion for discovery in our students. Everywhere I look, I find teams of undergraduate students working with faculty members to solve problems and push the limits of knowledge, learning the tools and techniques that will help them thrive in a rapidly changing, high-tech world.

We wanted to share this culture of discovery with people everywhere, to give them a glimpse of what goes on here. That’s why we chose to create a magazine, the first-ever campus-wide research magazine here at Clemson. Yes, we will continue to use the new tools of modern communication, including websites, digital publishing, and social media. But there is nothing like a magazine to capture, in tangible and enduring form, the spirit of a community. We believe that over time our magazine will help us enlarge our community, drawing new readers into the intellectual life of Clemson University. We will do this with good, true stories, not with bragging points and spin. And we will do it with our readers foremost in mind.

We would be honored to count you among our readers. Please join us. Have a glimpse of what we do.


Gerald Sonnenfeld

Vice President for Research