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Congressman Harold Ford Sees Demo of UTSI’s Laser Materials Processing

U.S. Congressman Harold Ford Jr. seemed “keenly interested” in a demonstration of laser materials processing research during a recent visit to The University of Tennessee Space Institute’s Center for Laser Applications.

“He showed a lot of interest in the work we’re doing, which I think was pretty new to him,” said Roger Crawford, one of Ford’s guides on the tour. “He showed particular interest in potential applications for the automobile industry.”

Ford also discussed with Lloyd Davis the professor’s bio-physics research in the pico second lab. Davis’ research is aimed at creating new technology that can rapidly read the DNA sequence code, molecule by molecule.

The Memphis five-term Congressman was accompanied by Brig. Gen. Stringer, commander of Arnold Engineering Development Center, where Ford had toured facilities.

Stringer recommended that Ford visit UTSI where AEDC is funding laser materials processing research.

Fred Schwartz, a research associate in the laser center, and Crawford demonstrated the LISI (Laser Induced Surface Improvement) method by processing a strip of metal with a unique surface.

Ford, whose father is a former member of Congress, was first elected from the Ninth Congressional District to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996 when he was 26 years old. He has announced as a candidate for the U.S. Senator’s seat now held by Sen. Bill Frist.