Learning for life

Ken Boyko, a former federal government scientist, leads a lab for Remote Sensing Technology in McNutt Hall. Sam O’Keefe/Missouri S&T

Ph.D. student not slowing down after 30-year career as federal government scientist

“The trouble with retirement is you never get a day off.”

Former University of Texas men’s basketball coach Abe Lemons popularized that one-liner in a long-ago interview. Missouri S&T doctoral student Ken Boyko embraces that sentiment to a degree few can hope to match.

At 65, Boyko is preparing to complete a Ph.D. in geological engineering, perhaps as soon as this fall. His research focuses on how LIDAR (light detection and ranging) scanners can be used to “see through” vegetation that might otherwise prevent detection of potential falling rock. The research could enhance safety along highways and bridges and also involved a project for the U.S. Navy, which wants to use the technology as a navigational aid for self-driving off-road vehicles.

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Learn locally, act globally

African Ph.D. student works on small-scale mining safety in Ghana

Ph.D. student Kenneth Bansah has formed a nonprofit organization in his native Ghana to improve working conditions for female artisanal miners who do so as means to survival. The mining engineering student is pictured in the Rock Mechanics Explosive Research Center, his campus home. Sam O’Keefe /Missouri S&T

Two boys swim in the Tano River near Ghana's western border with Ivory Coast. Contamination from artisanal mining has rendered the river's water unfit for human consumption. Photo by Kenneth Bansah.

Two boys swim in the Tano River near Ghana’s western border with Ivory Coast. Contamination from artisanal mining has rendered the river’s water unfit for human consumption. Kenneth Bansah.

As a doctoral student in mining engineering, Kenneth Bansah works, learns and lives nearly 10,000 miles from his boyhood home of Tarkwa, Ghana, a gold mining hub in western Africa.

But even as he fine-tunes his dissertation on mitigating sinkhole hazards and other karst formations − and takes care of three children ages four and under while his wife completes her own graduate studies in Michigan – the subsistence gold miners of Ghana are never far from Bansah’s mind.

Or his heart.

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UMR to offer blasters training short course

The University of Missouri-Rolla will offer a short course on blasting training October 15-17.

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UMR helps design bomb-resistant buildings

If terrorists strike again, lives and buildings could be spared with bomb- and impact-resistant buildings constructed using concepts being developed by researchers at UMR.

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Washing away land mines

UMR researchers hope to wash away the problem of land mines by developing technology that harnesses — and focuses — the power of water, as a child’s plastic water pistol does.

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