Indiana Daily Student

Professor resigns as Gill Center director

The newly organized Linda and Jack Gill Center for Instrumentation and Measurement Science is in need of a new director as Gary Hieftje, Gill Center chair and chemistry professor, resigned Oct. 2.\nGill Center was created to instruct and research the development of new techniques of calculating scientific data. Hieftje resigned because of conflicts with excessive funding, said Kumble Subbaswamy, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.\n"Basically, he expected a certain level of commitment from the college in configuring the center in particular ways," Subbaswamy said. "And coming in as a new dean, I really had some problems with that and in terms of what I was willing to commit."\nHiefjte declined to comment on his resignation, saying only that he was no longer involved with Gill Center.\nThese conflicts had to do with the level of funding received by certain positions and how positions would construct, Subbaswamy said.\n"The Center has only begun to operate recently, and it is not one that has had designated space or a whole bunch of people working," Subbaswamy said. "The gift only got completed recently."\nJack Gill, who received a degree in organic chemistry from IU in 1982, established Gill Center. He is the founder and general partner of Vanguard Venture Partners, a high-tech venture capital firm. Gill is currently a member of the IU Foundation Board and the Deans' Advisory Boards of the Kelley School of Business and the College of Arts and Sciences.\nHieftje said Gill Center was formed in an effort to bring together scientists and technologists from different areas who are interested in the "conception, design, development and application" of instrumentation, which Hieftje defines as anything that extends one's senses.\n"Many of the most significant developments in science arise directly because a new sort of instrumentation is developed," he said. "For example, the fairly recent sequencing of the human genome is a direct result of new instrumentation that was capable of highly parallel sequencing of sections of the genome."\nThe faculty of the center is composed of five Gill Chairs, endowed by the Gills. One Gill Chair has been named in each of the biology and computer science or informatics departments. Two chairs are selected from the chemistry department and the fifth chair is a "wild card" position that can be filled by a faculty member from any department or school.\n"The intention is that the holders of these chairs be highly prominent faculty in the field of instrumentation design and development," Hieftje said, "and that they be instinctively collaborative."\nAnother aspect of the Gill Center is the awarding of the Gill Prize, recognition that carries a $10,000 stipend. The prize is awarded to a living scientist who has had outstanding achievement in instrumentation in the last five years.\nAny instrumentation designed at the Gill Center will be made available to the outside world through the Center's "industrial outreach" program. Organizers are developing a master's program in instrumentation and measurement science in connection with Gill Center. According to the organization's Web site, "In this program, students who already have a baccalaureate degree in physics, chemistry, biology or another science will develop the knowledge and skills to characterize, design and construct new instrumentation for measurement and control."\nTo accumulate funding for the project, organizers from IU have formed the Indiana Instrumentation Institute with faculty members at Purdue University. \nA search is under way for a new chair and Lisa Pratt, a professor of geological sciences, is putting the Center together until a new director is hired.\nSubbaswamy said this kind of turnover is not uncommon.\n"(Hieftje) is a very well-known analytical chemist with a great deal of expertise in instrumentation and measurement. He was a natural for the position," he said. "Directorships rotate just like department chairs rotate, especially when there is a change in higher level leadership and the new dean has some different points of view"

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