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Pitt Alum Nominated for the Tyler Prize in Environmental Achievement
NASA Scholar, Inventor of Eco-Friendly Oil Spill Cleanup Products That Use Beeswax Nominated for Prestigious Environmental Award
In the early and mid 1980’s while a student at Pitt’s Main Campus Resnick developed ‘The Coplanar Annular Microencapsulating Process’ which has its foundations in work initially undertaken in the early 1980’s and early 1990’s by his mentor's, NASA Scientists, Dr. Taylor G. Wang (NASA JPL), Dr. John Vanderhoff (Lehigh Univ.) and Dr. Dale M. Kornfeld (MSF, Huntsville, AL). Wang, et al, were tasked with developing a means of producing monodisperse polystyrene beads, leading to the ability to encapsulate foods, liquids and live cells. Wang, et al, influenced Resnick’s continued research during completion of his Master’s studies, as a NASA Scholar, at The Military College of Vermont’s Norwich University of Vermont College, Montpelier, VT, leading to development of the instrument and new process to encapsulate live cells and other exotic substances.
Early work by Wang, et al, enabled through a NASA Research Grant resulted in the development of a bio-reactor system called the Kornfeld Rotary Reactor ( http://ntrs.nasa.gov/
By 1985 The Kornfeld Monodisperse Latex Reactor experiment had flown five times on the space shuttle, with at total of eight mission flights over an eight-year period (1985-1993). The objective of the project was to manufacture large monodisperse polystyrene particles in the microgravity environment of space. Historically it had been extremely difficult, if not impossible, to manufacture very high quality monodisperse latexes on Earth in particle sizes much above several micrometers in diameter due to buoyancy and sedimentation problems during the polymerization reaction. However the MLR project succeeded in manufacturing, in microgravity, monodisperse latex particles as large as 30 micrometers in diameter with a standard deviation of 1.4 percent. Subsequent experiments on STS 43 resulted in production of particles with a standardized manufacture aspect ratio of 100 micrometers. These tiny, highly uniform microspheres became the "FIRST SPACE PRODUCT," that is, the first material ever to be commercially marketed that was manufactured in space. The U.S. National Bureau of Standards certified the first batch of "space latex," which was transferred to NBS by NASA in July 1984 and marketing was begun in mid-1985 as the U.S. National 10-micrometer Standard Reference Nater id. which remains the US National Standard to this day.
Realizing the significance of what NASA researchers had accomplished culminating in the production of microspheres in Space aboard STS 43 and the shortfalls of the requisite manufacture methods in gravity environments, Dr. Resnick determined the reason that Wang, et al, were unable to produce microspheres (successfully)
The Resnick Encapsulation process is a mature technology with first use being to manufacture the environmental cleanup products, WAPED, PRP, Bio-Boom, Bio-Sok, deployed as the first bioremediation products used to mitigate environmental impact at the crash of the Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound Alaska, in March of 1989. In collaboration with Petrol Rem, Inc, of Pittsburgh, PA in 1990 as the company’s Chief Scientist, Resnick used the encapsulation process/device to encapsulate a live-cell culture media comprised of C. lipolytica (Str. 10) inside microcapsules made with 100% natural beeswax sized to 60 microns in diameter to treat oil spills. Resnick had the unique instrument built at Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Chemical Engineering Machine Shop/Laboratory in Pittsburgh, PA produced several viable batches of product which were tested and demonstrated as effective by NETAC at the University of Pittsburgh in 1993. Resnick also produced the first hollow microspheres made with 100% pure beeswax as a 'next-generation' bioaugmentation medium in 1994. The products were later highlighted at a ‘mock oil spill exercise’ held at the National Oil Spill Response School in Corpus Christy, TX in 1989 and later by NASA in the cover story of NASA Tech Brief, September, 1994 and again in numerous stories and articles including a feature story on the History Channel's 'Modern Marvels' (
More recently Resnick’s next-generation oil spill cleanup products were use to assist in mitigating the effects of the massive oil spill that took place in April of 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico and continued for nearly a year when British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers and releasing million of gallons of crude oil in the gulf. The products were used in open water and in estuaries, mangroves and in eco-sensitive marsh areas where grasses provide crucial habitat for water foul, manatees and other endangered species and were featured in stories on the Mike Huckabee Show ( http://www.youtube.com/
In May, 2011 the products were again called in to use to assist in the cleanup of beaver dams and eco-sensitive marshlands that were negatively impacted when the Rainbow Pipeline (operated by Plains Midland) ruptured releasing 4.5 million liters of crude oil near Lubicon Lake in Calgary, Alberta (see: http://www.cbc.ca/
Dr. Resnick’s nomination for the Tyler Prize was presented by Dr. Richard Archer a Paleo-Archeo-
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