The

DEAN’S MESSAGE

Over the past decade, the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences has made a concerted effort to promote mentored undergraduate research. With the help of many generous donors, we are able to fund research projects that pair students with a faculty mentor, allowing them to work one-on-one to conduct important scientific and mathematical research and gain a wealth of invaluable first-hand experience.

These unique opportunities provide our undergraduates a fuller, more comprehensive scientific education at BYU because of these extensive research experiences. As a result, we find our students are more prepared to move on to graduate school or take a job in industry and excel immediately, due to the hands-on knowledge they have gained during their time here.

None of these great things would be as effective without the gracious support of the BYU community – our alumni, donors and friends of the college. Through their selfless sacrifice, we are able to provide a first-class education to countless students from around the world – a shining group of individuals who will one day touch every part of the globe through their influence.

As a thank you to our friends and an additional educational opportunity for our dedicated students, the college invites each of you to attend our annual Spring Research Conference on March 20th. In just one day, 350 students (more than half of them undergraduates) will present the findings of their original research from the past year to an audience comprised of faculty, staff, family, friends, and community members.

This is not only a wonderful chance for us to showcase the great work being performed here at BYU, but it also represents a terrific opportunity for the students to gain valuable experience presenting and explaining their research to an outside audience, ultimately preparing them for their future endeavors.

We hope you enjoy the many articles contained in this month’s edition of our eNewsletter, and we wholeheartedly invite you to join us for the 24th edition of this tremendous educational conference. Thank you for your continuing support of and inestimable generosity toward the BYU community and the advancement of science and mathematics.

DEPT. NEWS

COMPUTER SCIENCE
Student publishes better DNA sequencing method in scientific journal
GEOLOGICAL SCIENCES
BYU paleontologists discover new dinosaur species at Dinosaur National Monument
MATHEMATICS
Professor receives NSF grant to fund interdisciplinary research
MATHEMATICS EDUCATION
Professors develop new methods to improve student-teaching experience
PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY
BYU researchers measure electronic and magnetic fields with precision
STATISTICS
Professor develops statistical models to improve climate predictions
COLLEGE LINKS
CPMS Homepage
Giving to the College

BYU INSTALLS NEW TELESCOPE AT WMO

Several tons of heavy steel and glass may sound like an enormous telescope, but in the world of modern astrophysics massive telescopes such as this are still considered to be ‘small’. BYU’s newest telescope at the West Mountain Observatory (WMO) is bringing great benefits to students and faculty even though it is less massive than the smaller telescope it replaced.

Thanks to funding primarily from the National Science Foundation, as well as the BYU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Michael Joner, J. Ward Moody and Eric Hintz were able to purchase and install a 0.9-meter telescope for the BYU astronomy group. The new telescope, which was installed at the observatory in August 2009, is able to detect remote objects that are hundreds of times fainter than those seen with the older telescope.

In the past, even a one millimeter guiding error caused by a wind gust could result in useless, blurred pictures. This is no longer a problem with the new computer-controlled telescope. This is remarkable since the new telescope gathers more than twice the light of its predecessor and yet weighs half as much.

Michael Joner, the observatory’s resident astronomer, was heavily involved in the process of obtaining the new telescope. After being consumed with the project for three years, he is very excited to see it come together.

“The very first night we got good images,” he said. “Performance-wise, there’s no comparison.”

Though the new telescope is technically considered small, it is still the largest in the state and larger than most university-owned telescopes. With this addition, WMO now houses a total of three research telescopes. Joner said this arrangement is particularly beneficial for students, who can work on a variety of observational research projects.

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CHEMISTRY AND BIOCHEMISTRY | COMPUTER SCIENCE | GEOLOGICAL SCIENCES
MATHEMATICS | MATHEMATICS EDUCATION | PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY | STATISTICS

For more information about the college, contact Lynn Patten at lynn_patten@byu.edu.
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