Physics receives grant for Center for Microgravity Research

The University of Central Florida received two grants to offer new programs to retrain those who will lose their jobs as the space shuttle program ends.

The grants are part of the 2010 New Florida Initiative program, which awarded 11 universities $10 million for 31 projects on Nov. 15.

The goal of the program is to create partnerships among universities in the areas of health, science and engineering while creating high-wage jobs. Grants awarded to UCF cover space technology, nanoscience, work force development, engineering and medicine.

One of the grants will help the UCF Department of Physics work with Space Florida and the Kennedy Space Center to create a Center for Microgravity Research. The goal is to establish Florida as an international center for microgravity research, a new area with plenty of economic opportunities.

Microgravity, also called zero gravity, is the absence of gravity. It is best illustrated by astronauts floating in their spacecraft. They are floating because they are in a microgravity environment. Many people experience microgravity every day by riding roller coasters or jumping off diving boards. It is the “free fall” period of these activities when the microgravity occurs and lasts for a short period of time.

Information courtesy of the Orlando Business Journal, UCF lands $1.3M in retraining grants

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