2017-10-12 / Local & State

County Native’s Team Of Scientists Win Gold Medal For Invention


MHS graduate Jay Hendricks, front, center, is pictured with the team of scientists he led in the development of the optical/laser device that redefines a new basic standard for the measurement of pressure. He holds the team’s Gold Medal award for their work on the breakthrough project. MHS graduate Jay Hendricks, front, center, is pictured with the team of scientists he led in the development of the optical/laser device that redefines a new basic standard for the measurement of pressure. He holds the team’s Gold Medal award for their work on the breakthrough project. Each year the U. S. Department of Commerce recognizes distinguished performance by awarding gold, silver and bronze medals to those who “make extraordinary contributions that impact the mission of the department.”

This year the Gold Medal, the highest honor the department bestows, went to a team of scientists at the National Institute of Science headed by McConnellsburg High School graduate Jay Hendricks.

The team is recognized for revolutionizing pressure measurement technology by their invention of the Fixed- Length Optical Cavity (FLOC) that redefines gas pressure in terms of fundamental constants. The FLOC replaces the previous standard of 375 years with a single device that is 100 times faster, 20 times smaller, and 10 times more precise. The new invention delivers a traceable standard and sensor for U.S. industry and the world metrology community that eliminates the need for mercury, an environmental neurotoxin.

The FLOC will have worldwide application and will be installed on aircraft, rockets and any other device that needs to know the pressure ... you may someday have a small FLOC to measure the air pressure on a car’s tires.

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