On March 12,2008, Governor Manchin announced that the National Science Foundationhad approved Dr. Wiest's
proposal to purchase a $20,000 laser system.
Governor Manchin stated, "Through these grants,we intend to make West Virginia fertile ground for research and the great minds of tomorrow."
Wiest said, "I plan to use the laser system to produce high-resolution energy diagrams of atoms such as lithium and cesium. The system will be used for both teaching and research."
Education Chancellor Dr. Paul Hill said, "These grants will help our colleges prepare young scientists for careers in high-tech fields, and to make significant contributions to solve some of the great technology quesitons of our time."
The research grant was funded through the state's Research Challenge Fund and the Department of Education.