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A Glass Act (Image 2)

July 30, 2010
Gary Coyne, a scientific glassblower at California State University, Los Angles, creates a custom and coiled glass tube for a chemistry experiment. [See related image Here.]

More about this Image Over the years, Coyne, who has worked at the University for over a quarter century and is the only scientific glassblower in the CSU system, has completed thousands of service orders--from glass hooks and coils for experiments to customized rounded-bottom flasks and cells that transmit UV rays. Coyne's glass work has been integral to many National Science Foundation-supported chemistry projects at CalState L.A., ranging from intricate custom designs critical to catalysis research, to beaker repairs that keep undergraduate labs humming.

Coyne, who holds a bachelor's degree in oceanography from Humboldt State University, got into scientific glass blowing in college, while choreographing Hungarian folk dancers. The dancer's had a number that required them to have bottles on their heads. For the bottles to stay put, though, the bottoms needed to be concave, he explained. He sought help from a chemistry professor, enrolling in the professor's glass blowing class to use his tools and complete all the bottles. Coyne discovered he had a knack for working with glass and realized that a career that combined his two interest--glass and science--would make for a bright future.


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