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Published: 6/6/2003

Taft thinks ink in presenting $2M to BGSU

BY JENNI LAIDMAN
BLADE SCIENCE WRITER
Gov. Bob Taft and Dr. Sidney Ribeau, president of Bowling Green State University, confer during the governor's visit to present BGSU with $2 million to develop new technologies. Gov. Bob Taft and Dr. Sidney Ribeau, president of Bowling Green State University, confer during the governor's visit to present BGSU with $2 million to develop new technologies.
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BOWLING GREEN - “Bob Taft will disappear in exactly 24 hours,'' the chemist predicts.

Dr. Douglas C. Neckers, executive director of Bowling Green State University's Center for Photochemical Sciences, isn't making a veiled threat with that prediction. He's just explaining one of the things that brought Governor Taft to campus yesterday with a $2 million check.

That money, matched dollar for dollar with other state, federal, and private funds, will help move technologies like the one that can make Governor Taft disappear into the market.

OK, what disappeared wasn't the actual governor of the state of Ohio. It was his name. The governor shined a light on a specially coated surface, and his name appeared through the magic of photochemistry. In 24 hours, his name will disappear.

Such disappearing ink will help amusement parks keep out folks with day-old tickets, Dr. Neckers said. The ticket printing disappears.

It's just one of the many discoveries in photochemistry created at BGSU and by Spectra Group Ltd., the Maumee company chock full of BGSU-trained photochemists and owned, in part, by Dr. Neckers and other community investors.

But inventions are one thing, profitable products are quite another.

“We have no means for taking the things we discover and making them meet markets,'' Dr. Neckers said. He said the $2 million Wright Capital Project grant will bridge that gap. It will lead to the construction of a 5,000 to 7,000-square-foot laboratory for Photochemical Sciences on campus. It will create three additional jobs in the lab, and is expected to add 50 to 100 more as inventions become businesses.

“I can't do anything as a scientist unless the governor says it's important. It's important to [Governor] Taft. It wasn't to [former Ohio Gov. George] Voinovich,'' Dr. Neckers said. “These people have really made a major difference.''

The $2 million grant to BGSU is part of Governor Taft's 10-year, $1.6 billion Third Frontier plan to promote the development of a high-tech industry in Ohio.

BGSU's work “will help create high-paying jobs and help create Ohio's future prosperity,'' the governor told an audience of about 150 in the student union.

“This project is not a luxury, even in the most difficult budget hour,'' he said.

This is the second Wright grant awarded to northwest Ohio. Last week, the University of Toledo received $1.8 million for hydrogen fuel-cell research.

Also today, the University of Dayton received two Wright awards, worth more than $1.9 million. The Dayton projects are expected to create almost 300 jobs.



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