Dr. Earl Scime

earl-scimeOrganization: West Virginia University
Personal Biography: Earl Scime was raised in Tampa, Florida where he attended an inner city, urban high school. He attended Florida State University as a National Merit Scholar where he earned bachelors degrees in Physics and Applied Mathematics in 1987. He then moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he studied the physics of thermonuclear plasmas and earned a PhD in plasma physics in 1992. After obtaining his PhD, he changed research fields to space plasma physics and was named a US Department of Energy Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. At Los Alamos he was responsible for the development for a new type of space plasma instrument, one that takes pictures of the plasma environment around the Earth with atoms, not with light. In 1995, Dr. Scime joined the physics faculty of West Virginia University (WVU) where he remains to this day. He is now the chair of the department of physics and the Eberly Distinguished Professor of Physics. His research program spans both laboratory and space plasmas. He continues to analyze data from space-borne instruments and develop new flight instruments. His laboratory program has established a worldwide reputation for the application of laser spectroscopy to the measurement of ion and neutral temperatures and flows in thermonuclear and lower temperature plasmas. His research group currently includes one postdoctoral researcher, seven graduate students, two undergraduates, and one high school student. Over the past decade, Dr. Scime has also led the development of regional robotics programs for middle and high school students in north-central West Virginia. He has taken eight teams to the World Robotics Championships over that time. In 2011 he was named the WV State FIRST LEGO League coach of the year. In 2012 his work with high school robotics was recognized with the national Woodie Flowers Award, given to a single high school robotics mentor/coach each year.

Directed Study Topic: Robotic Tracking
In this directed study project, students will program an existing robot to track a reflective target. The objective will be to have the robot close on the target and then follow it once it begins to move. Programming will be accomplished in the LabView environment and a standard networked digital camera will provide the tracking information.