Teaching has always had a huge impact on BYU physics professor Duane Merrell—an impact that has both affected his life and guided his career and passion for teaching physics.
BYU invites families and students to attend this year’s Astrofest.
A crowd of 29 stands still, positioned as lookouts in various directions. A chirp punctuates the silence before being replaced by a distinct buzz. The buzzing grows louder, then abruptly drops back into silence. Twenty-eight Lego figurines shift slightly — they survive. But one unlucky companion lies on his back, toppled by an invisible force.
Clement Gaillard spent three or four nights a week operating BYU’s Orson Pratt Observatory telescope in the summer of 2015. On the night of June 23, the physics undergrad pointed the telescope toward a star more than a thousand light years away, recording meticulous data and hoping. Soon after, physics professor Denise Stephens and a visiting student reduced the data and looked anxiously at the plot points they had gathered. On a six-hour timeline, the dots congregated along a straight line for two hours, dipped down for two, then popped back up through the end.
An individual could travel around the world more than seven times in a single second if moving at the speed of light. That’s pretty fast. A beam of light used in physics professors Michael Ware and Justin Peatross’s quantum-physics experiment can contain 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 photons worth of energy. That’s a lot of photons.