The

DEAN’S MESSAGE

Welcome to the August edition of our eNewsletter. It seems hard to believe, but summer is almost over here in Provo and we are currently preparing to welcome our students back to campus in just a few short weeks.

Brigham Young University has always prided itself on the high quality educational experience offered to its undergraduate students — and our college is no different. Our faculty and staff are constantly striving to provide more opportunities for in-depth learning and hands-on involvement for our students, and we have been pleased with the results of these efforts.

One of the ways in which we help provide these unique opportunities is through our on-campus mentorship program. Undergraduate students who successfully apply for these mentorships receive funding to conduct cutting-edge research in their field of choice. Working closely alongside one of our faculty members, these mentored students are able to gain the type of first-hand experience that greatly enhances their learning.

Furthermore, mentorships can be incredibly helpful to students financially. Rather than flipping burgers or bagging groceries to pay their bills, mentored students can work

their way through school while gaining meaningful research experience that will enhance their future career prospects. It’s an astounding opportunity that I wish we could provide to every single one of our qualified undergraduates.

Unfortunately, the college doesn’t have an unlimited amount of funds — and that’s why we’re turning to our alumni and friends to help support this great cause. If you would like to help sponsor a mentorship and open up a whole new world of possibilities for one of our students, please feel free to contact Brent Hall via email at brenth@byu.edu. Brent can provide more information for you, and even let you review student applications if there is a particular student or research area you would be most interested in.

Our undergraduate students receive a world-class education at BYU that prepares them to excel in their future careers. With your assistance, we look forward to continuing to mold the brightest scientific minds of the future this coming school year.

Thanks for your continued support. We look forward to staying in touch.

DEPT. NEWS

CHEMISTRY AND BIOCHEMISTRY
Professor develops artificial plant system to produce energy
COMPUTER SCIENCE
Computers get creative with music
PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY
Astrofest brings astronomy to the community
STATISTICS
Stats professor promotes alternative research method
COLLEGE LINKS
CPMS Homepage
Giving to the College
SOCIAL MEDIA
CPMS on Facebook
CPMS on Twitter
CPMStv

CHEM/PHYSICS PROFESSORS COLLABORATE

Though scientific research is a serious thing, full of deadlines, proposals, and intricate experiments, it can be fun as well.

This has been true of Paul Farnsworth and Ross Spencer’s collaboration on the flow of plasma ions into a mass spectrometer through which the two professors have developed a great friendship.

Farnsworth, a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Spencer, of Physics and Astronomy, are now in their seventh year on a Department of Energy grant. The project studies the flow of plasma ions through a mass spectrometer. This instrument is so sensitive that if a grain of salt was thrown into an Olympic-sized swimming pool, the mass spectrometer could detect the concentration—the equivalent of a few parts per quadrillion.

With such a sensitive instrument, the ions must be consistently and efficiently transported from the high atmospheric pressure they are created at to the vacuum of the mass spectrometer. Because of the large difference in pressures, this process is very difficult and expensive to characterize experimentally. In order to meet this challenge, Farnsworth invited Spencer to collaborate by providing computer models and simulations of the data. Both agree that their work and published papers have been greatly improved by this process.

“Our combined efforts are a lot stronger than either one of them would have been individually,” said Farnsworth. “The idea was that we could develop a model—someone could calculate things that we couldn’t do experimentally.” Laughing, he added, “But it turns out that the calculations are just about as hard as the experiments.”

Despite the challenges of turning the experimental data into models, Spencer was well-prepared by his background in plasma physics. Still, he jokes that understanding Farnsworth’s jargon was another task.

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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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