Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Four U-M projects named to NSF “Sensational 60” list

Four U-M projects have been included in the National Science Foundation’s “Sensational 60” list of scientific discoveries or advances that have had a major impact on American life.

Learn more about:
National Science Foundation Sensational 60 Report
Panel Study of Income Dynamics
American National Election Studies
Center for Wireless Integrated MicroSystems
IntraLase technology and procedures

The list is part of NSF’s 60th anniversary celebration. The projects are:

• The Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a longitudinal study of a representative sample of U.S. men, women and children, and the families in which they reside.

Conducted by the Institute for Social Research (ISR) since 1968, the study has information on nearly 70,000 individuals spanning as much as 43 years of their lives. It has been influential in building knowledge in such key areas as intergenerational relations, income, poverty, savings and wealth, demographic events, labor market behavior, and patterns in time use in American households.

• The American National Election Studies, the longest running political time-series in the world, with data from every U.S. presidential election since Harry Truman’s unexpected victory over Thomas Dewey in 1948.

The study, jointly conducted by ISR and Stanford University, serves as the gold standard for understanding the politics of our democracy on a wide range of public policy and socioeconomic issues, from trust in government to the racial divide in public opinion. Its quality and longevity enhance its usefulness in determining long-term trends and the political impact of historical events.

• The Center for Wireless Integrated MicroSystems, an NSF Engineering Research Center based on a partnership between U-M, Michigan State University and Michigan Technological University.

NSF Engineering Research Centers play a key role in driving discovery at the frontiers and developing creative solutions to societal problems, bringing together experts from different fields to tackle complex issues and train the next generation’s leaders in research and innovation.

• IntraLase for blade-free LASIK surgery, a development of U-M engineers, NSF-funded physicists and ophthalmologists. In 2001, they made a major improvement in LASIK eye surgery, using a very precise, ultrafast femtosecond laser to create the initial flap of cornea.

Much more precise than the previous technology, which used a mechanical blade, the femtosecond laser improves clinical safety and lessens chances of uneven cuts or collateral damage. Surgery using this device, known as IntraLase, was used for the first time in 2006 for human corneal transplants and now is used by doctors at dozens of sites around the country, including the Kellogg Eye Center, where the idea began.