eNewsletter

The

DEAN’S MESSAGE

DEPT. NEWS

Welcome to the April edition of our eNewsletter. As the current semester comes to a close in Provo, we look forward to the many new possibilities that the impending summer will bring to the college – including warmer weather!

Last month, we held our 25th annual Student Research Conference on campus. About 350 students – over half of them undergraduates – were able to participate and present their original research to a diverse audience. This was not only a chance for us to showcase the great work being performed here at BYU, but it also represented a terrific opportunity for the students to gain valuable experience presenting and explaining their research to an outside audience, better preparing them for their future endeavors.

Prior to the conference, we were also pleased to host our College Volunteer Leadership Council for its latest semi-annual meeting. This generous group of alumni and friends of the college has dedicated significant time and effort to improving the resources and opportunities available to our students and faculty, and we are thankful for their service. A number of our students are currently obtaining a quality education and performing hands-on undergraduate research because of the CVLC's continued support.

We are excited about the many opportunities that lie ahead for our faculty and students this summer. While our faculty members and numerous students will diligently continue to conduct cutting-edge scientific research on campus, other students will be putting their knowledge to work in internships that will expand their understanding and prepare them for their respective careers. We are proud of our students and alumni — their continued impact on industry and academia is inspiring to all of us here at CPMS.

In that spirit, we'd like to know where you are and what you are doing. We regularly feature alumni in our college magazine Frontiers — look for the latest issue in your mailbox this month — and it helps us tremendously when you keep us informed about the great things you're involved with. We are proud of the work being performed by our alumni, and we want to highlight those achievements. Please don't hesitate to send us an update at college@cpms.byu.edu.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Best wishes,

CHEMISTRY & BIOCHEMISTRY
Finding Proteins With Laser Vision
MATHEMATICS
Fine Music, Mathematically Speaking
Pi Day at BYU
Visit From Pixar Research Chief
PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY
Science Meets Sports: Jimmeranium
GENERAL COLLEGE NEWS
CVLC Spring Meeting
The SRC Experience
COLLEGE LINKS
CPMS Homepage
Giving to the College
SOCIAL MEDIA
CPMS on Facebook
CPMS on Twitter
Linkedin
CPMStv
FRONTIERS MAGAZINE
Spring 2011 Issue
Videos

BASEBALL, WHALES, & STATISTICS

During a lecture from a statistics professor, BYU honors students learned how statistics can be used to travel through time, and even save the whales.

As a guest in the BYU Honors Program weekly seminar series, Dr. Shane Reese spoke about how he has used statistics to create a better world and to enjoy his hobbies. Reese specializes in Bayesian statistics, a type of statistics that takes a much broader view than classical statistics.

"The point of Bayesian calculations is to use all the data you can use in the most efficient way possible," Reese said. "Bayesian methods turn out to be particularly adept at building bridges; it is the grout of science."

Reese explained an example of Bayesian statistics that has recently received significant attention in the sports world — a statistical time machine. A classic argument among sports enthusiasts is over which athlete in history was the best. Reese wanted to know who was the best home run hitter of all time. Was it Babe Ruth, Mark McGwire, or Barry Bonds? Because baseball players throughout history have played for different reasons, with different equipment, and with different teams, it is a difficult question to answer.

"We have 16,000 players worth of at-bats and data," Reese said. "We can create a set of statistical bridges that will tie Babe Ruth to Barry Bonds, and those ties can help us to bring them to the same point in time."

So who was the best home run hitter? Alex Rodriguez, according to Reese's data. But Babe Ruth was still third best, just behind second-best Mark McGwire.

Another example Reese shared showed how statistics can be used to truly make the world a better place — by helping save the whales. Reese explained that oil drilling results in many whale deaths, especially among baby (or neonate) bowhead whales along the northern coast of Alaska. The most difficult part of helping save these whales is that scientists have very little information on the migration patterns of bowhead whales, and at what point during migration, they are born.

more...
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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