Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering News

ChBE Alumna Profiled in Newsweek

ChBE Alumna Profiled in Newsweek

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering alumna Anh Duong (B.S. '82) was recently featured in Newsweek magazine's column The Last Word, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author George F. Will. The column, titled "Anh Duong, Out Of Debt" describes her desire to give back to her adopted country by helping to fight the War on Terror.

Duong's family fled South Vietnam in 1975 and eventually settled in Maryland, where she attended high school and later earned a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland. She knew exactly how she wanted to apply her knowledge and skills. "I wanted to work for the Defense Department," she tells Will in the article, "because I wanted to pay back the guys who protected us all those years." Will's column highlights the deep impression the kindness of American strangers—both military and civilian—made on Duong, which led her into public service.

In 2001, Duong was designing Navy munitions and explosives. After the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, she became part of a team of scientists tasked with designing a bomb capable of penetrating the caves in Afghanistan in which members of Al-Qaeda and other enemy forces hid. Sending troops into the caves would result in significant losses, but existing weapons did not have the power to go deep enough to reach entrenched forces. To solve the problem, her team designed a thermobaric bomb whose heat and blast were delivered more slowly, giving them a longer "reach." Her current mission is to design portable forensic labs for use in Iraq that will help identify individuals who build improvised explosives used against U.S. forces.

Read "Ahn Duong, Out Of Debt" on Newsweek.com »

December 17, 2007


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