Department of Defense awards to Texas colleges and universities for fiscal 1983* Baylor College of Medicine Baylor University Baylor University Central Texas College North Texas State University Park College Rice University Saint Mary’s University Southern Methodist University Texas A&M University Texas Christian University Texas. Technological University Texas Wesleyan College Trinity University University of Houston University of Texas University of Texas University of Texas University of Texas University of Texas University of Texas University of Texas UT in. thousands $ 240 26 80 2,538 680 84 543 88 441 4.066 354 1,200 28 153 938 63 21,845 513 144 102 26 132 1.312 Houston S.A./Ft. Sam Houston Waco Killeen Denton El Paso/Ft. Bliss Houston San Antonio Dallas College Station Fort Worth Lubbock Fort Worth San Antonio Houston Arlington Austin Dallas El Paso Galveston Hillsboro Houston S.A./Brooks Air Force Base *source: Department of Defense At North Texas State University, the Center for Applied Quantum Electronics, an internationally known laser lab, has a $1 million annual budget that comes from a large Navy contract and a few smaller contracts, including one with LTV Corporation. A lab physicist, Eric Van Stryland, said, “In Reagan’s latest Star Wars speech . . . the laser was one of the top priorities. Since we work in the laser area, we’re trying to capitalize on that at the moment to up our funding. We hope it pours money into basic research.” Research for laser weapons “is not the emphasis” of his lab, Van Stryland added, but “a way for us to get funding.” “The kinds of funds we want are very difficult to get,” said Loyd Hampton at UT’s Applied Research Laboratories. “We have defined our obligation as a university lab and we’re dedicated to remaining a university lab. In the Department of Defense, basic research funds are declining but there are numerous opportunities in systems, that is, advanced engineering of hardware to be placed aboard operational vehicles. There is continuous opportunity for us to go over and do work in systems. We believe that’s inappropriate for us.” Across the state, 23 colleges and universities do work under Pentagon contracts. At Texas A&M defense projects include the Center for Strategic Technology, a “defense think tank” that analyzes Soviet military strength. At Texas Tech, one Navy project is “pattern recognition for imaging systems.” Texas Tech professor Louis Hunt explained: “The computer takes information, makes an image, and recognizes it. It could track a plane to identify it.” At Southern Methodist University an Army contract funds work with lasers for quick transmission of data. The University of Texas at Dallas researches damage to hearing and concussions resulting from explosions. “They have a machine that can simulate a cannon blast directly into a soundproof room,” explained UTD spokesman Buddy Adams. At Baylor College of Medicine in Houston researchers study the effects of “an agent that would act on the nervous system,” according to Baylor spokesperson Gayle McNutt. “The students get to work on this research,” says Hunt of Texas Tech, “so it makes them better engineers or mathematicians or whatever . . . and they get to help the Navy.” “It’s a real tragedy,” David Cortright, executive director of the Washington-based peace group, SANE, said, “and I think a terrible moral dilemma for students of science and technology because as they come out of their graduate training they discover that the best-paying, most exciting, frontierrelated jobs are in the arms business. That’s where the action is.” Corporate recruiters visiting UT’s school of engineering this academic year include Bell Helicopter, Rockwell International, General Dynamics, United Technologies, General Electric, and Lockheed all major defense contractors as well as the CIA and the government weapons laboratories, Lawrence Livermore and Oakridge. “You’ll find very few electrical engineering students who have any qualms about working in defense,” said Larry Hilgert, 22, the president of the UT chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. “That’s where the money is. That’s where the jobs are going to be. So maybe some of us have a subconscious bias in favor of defense.” In September of last year McDonnell Douglas, the nation’s number-two defense contractor, chartered a bus to take 40 UT engineering students to its St. Louis plant. McDonnell Douglas put the students up at a St. Louis hotel and fed them. Shortly afterwards the newsletter of the UT Student Engineering Council reported: “The IEEE members toured the avionics lab, seeing many new and sophisticated electronic warfare systems . . . the highlight of the tour was the final assembly plant, where all the various parts come together to form F15, F-18, and Harrier AV-8B aircraft, some of the highest of high-tech warplanes in the world.” The newsletter noted that the visit ended with a “career panel” and filet mignon dinner in the McDonnell Douglas executive dining room. “What I call ‘state of the art’ is lasers, imaging, pattern recognition, artificial intelligence,” said David Lunsford, a 23-year-old UT senior in electrical engineering. “I decided to work with the state of the art, and all the directions are the wrong directions. . . . I can’t do that kind of work without it being military-oriented. . . . It troubles me because that’s what I want to do. I just don’t want to develop a pattern recognizer that’s going to be used to pick out targets. . . . Pattern recognizing is a wonderful art form. There’s a lot of THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7
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