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Images: A Laser Light in the Ocean Depths

MIT/WHOI graduate student Anna Michel takes a turn at the controls of the Jason remotely operated vehicle (ROV), as navigator Dara Scott looks on. Michel is developing a laser-based chemical sensor that she hopes to deploy on ROVs. (Photo by Stace Beaulieu, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Anna Michel is working to develop an instrument that could directly measure chemical elements just as they emerge from the seafloor and spew from hydrothermal vents. That laser sensor would be mounted onto one the of the manipulator arms of a remotely operated vehicle such as Jason. ?We would be able to observe the composition of vent fluids in their natural environment, under real conditions,? Michel said. (Illustration by E. Paul Oberlander, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Anna Michel aids two middle school students with an experiment during "Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day" at Argonne National Laboratory in February 2006. Michel is already making a second career?in addition to her main research?in promoting interest in engineering and science among young girls. (Courtesy of Argentina Leyva and Tom Fanning, Argonne National Laboratory)

In a Woods Hole laboratory, Michel has been testing lasers beams of different wavelengths, as well as different lenses for focusing the beams, in order to determine the best arrangement for creating plasma and detecting light in the deep ocean. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)