Frontiers Fall/Winter 2011 - College of Physical and Mathematical ...

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Frontiers Fall/Winter 2011 - College of Physical and Mathematical ...

dean’s messageIt seems that everyone's mailbox has been flooded with ads. Scores ofcompanies selling new backpacks, sneakers, and pencil boxes remindus that the fall season is upon us. While students may want to escapethe back-to-school fever, we embrace it. As fall semester gets underway,we open our doors to students and stand ready and excited tobegin educating both new and advanced students.The faculty here in thecollege certainly stand outas excellent educators. Semester after semester, they provethemselves to be dedicated, energetic, and skilled. In addition tobeing competent in their disciplines, they do a wonderful job ofcommunicating that knowledge in an accessible and beneficialway.Most importantly, our faculty members are very interested instudent learning. Unfortunately, at some universities teaching isrelegated to secondary status in favor of a strong primaryemphasis on research. But in CPMS we emphasize teaching andresearch, and seek for balance between both of these importantactivities. Our professors are focused on providing an outstandinglearning experience for our students—both in the classroom andin the lab.We see among the faculty a widespread recognition that someof their greatest work is done in helping students grow intocapable scientists and educators. Faculty members in the collegeare genuinely approachable, even as they handle large classes anda heavy workload.In this issue of Frontiers, you’ll get a closer look at how ourfaculty are improving the lives of their students as they mentorthem in the lab, the classroom, and the field.Dr. William Barrett’s work in handwriting recognition is notonly changing how genealogy is done; in his lab after class,students are applying their knowledge of computer science innovel ways everyday (p. 1).In the classroom of Dr. Harold Stokes, Harold’s love for hisstudents, science, and teaching may drive him to daring acts, buthe’s determined to bring science to life, however painful thatmight be (p. 3).With help from caring professors, both past and present,geology students spent a week diving into the Bahamas in searchof more than buried treasure and surfaced at the end of a oneof-a-kindexperience with new knowledge and understanding(p. 5).Since our last issue, CPMS students, faculty, and alumni havereceived recognition from all over the world. You’ll find moreabout their achievements on pages 7-13. In our college newssection, you can get a taste of the many fun events that went onthis summer and begin planning your schedule to join in forsome of next year’s events (p. 9-10).As this new school year unfolds, we expect to see many moreaccomplishments and events, and we look forward to sharingthem with you in our next issue. Thanks to the support of themany friends of the college, like yourself, as well as theoutstanding efforts of our faculty, we will continue to bring thebest to our students.In the next few months, we will be launching an initiative toraise two endowments that will help us meet the critical needsof our students. These two endowments will provide furthersupport for continued mentored learning opportunities for bothundergrad and grad students. Watch for more information tocome on how you can support the same great research andteaching that you’ll find in this issue.Wishing you all the best,Scott Sommerfeldt, Deanfall/winter 2011


Before he could work on the handwritingrecognition software, Barrett had tofigure out several other complicatedproblems. Many microfilm records aredifficult to read because the records areold or were damaged when originallyphotographed. Barrett’s first challenge inworking with these images wasdeveloping algorithms that automaticallycrop, align, enhance and zone the imagesto make them easier to read and transcribe.Another problem to tackle is that each pagemight have both written and printedwords, some horizontal and some vertical.Barrett had to devise algorithms that would“We’re leveragingthe human intelligenceand vision; we’re notnecessarily replacing[it]. We want to keep[people] from havingto do the tedious stuff.That’s what computersare good at.”allow computers to recognize the differencebetween machine print and handwriting,and vertical and horizontal print.After several years of hard work anddedication from BYU students andFamilySearch engineers, the scanningprocess is now fully automated.“BYU students were actually part ofthe team that helped develop thescanning technology so that you couldpush a button, the microfilm would rollthrough, and [the computer would]scan it, crop it, and store it,” Barrettsaid.With the scanning process operational,Barrett can now focus on writingDr. William Barrett is committed to putting computers to good use. As he works to fulfill his own personal mission, he'salso giving BYU students lots of work to do as research assistants. Photo by Levi Price.algorithms that can train computers to more accurately recognize handwriting. Oneof the more successful methods of computer handwriting recognition, initiallydeveloped at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, stretches images of handwrittencharacters horizontally so that they fit better what the computer recognizes as a letteror number. Using this method, the computer accurately transcribes the correcthandwritten word 70-80 percent of the time, if they are words that the computer isalready familiar with.Barrett and Kennard decided to push the method further using algorithms tostretch the characters both vertically and horizontally. This method increased accuracyto 81-87 percent. They then applied morphing technology (developed at BYU bySederberg) to the words. The less morphing required to make a written word matchthe computer’s vocabulary, the more likely it is that the computer is reading the wordcorrectly. By applying both morphing and stretching technologies, they have nowreached an unprecedented 89 percent transcription accuracy on words that thecomputer is familiar with.With a challenging problem like handwriting recognition, Barrett said improvementbeyond 80 percent is usually incremental at best. The new ideas developed at BYUhave improved it by nearly 10 percent, or what Barrett describes as a quantum leap.“Now that’s really exciting because, well, we haven’t even pulled all our tricks outof our sleeve yet,” Barrett said.The next challenge is teaching computers to recognize the difference between wordswith similar letter combinations, like “you” and “your,” or “the” and “there.” Afterthat, they will also teach the computer to use contextual information about the recordsto help it determine what words are more likely to be used.By teaching computers to use context and read accurately, Barrett said he hopes topush accuracy into the nineties. Then this method could be used for indexing censusrecords, journals, and other important books and records.“There is much more to do beyond handwriting recognition, as fun and compellingand challenging a problem as that is,” Barrett said. “We’re really trying to build thetechnology that allows people to work together and work efficiently.” ¤fall/winter 20112


—Alysa HoskinMost people don’t wear a Superman logo to workunder their shirt and tie. Most people also don’tshoot themselves with a Ping-Pong ball going over500 miles per hour. Apparently BYU physics professorHarold Stokes is not like most people.To demonstrate the force ofatmospheric pressure in his physicsclasses, Dr. Stokes shoots a Ping-Pongball through a vacuum cannon. Thecannon is fired first at the wall, then at apiece of 1/8-inch plywood (which iteasily breaks through), and then at hisstomach.Bravely wearing an apron with a largetarget, Professor Stokes stands in front ofthe cannon without any artificialprotection, except what he calls his“natural padding.”At the end of the demonstration,Stokes admits he does have one secretprotection, and then opens his dress shirtto show a bright blue Superman T-shirtunderneath.Despite his steely response to theimpact, he confesses to his class, “Actually,that really hurt.” He then reveals a large,red welt on his stomach. While a Ping-Pong ball is lightweight, once it getsgoing at 70% of the speed of sound, it’sbound to make an impression. However,Dr. Stokes is less worried about the painand more interested in the impact itmakes on his students.“I always try to put twists in thedemonstrations like that,” Dr. Stokes said.“I add little, unexpected things if possibleand relate it to physics.”Born for PhysicsHarold Stokes considers himself a naturalphysicist. In high school he knew hewanted to be a physicist, and he neverchanged his mind. From Long Beach, Calif.,Stokes came to BYU as an undergraduateand loved every minute of it.When he needed to use computercalculations in his undergraduateresearch, he bought a book and taughthimself how to program computers. Thisself-training has been instrumental toStokes’ career as a computationalphysicist.After completing his Ph.D. at theUniversity of Utah, where he met his wife,Stokes completed his postdoctoralprogram at the University of Illinoisbefore being hired as a professor atBrigham Young University.“I have never regretted the decision towork here at BYU,” he said, “I have had awonderful 30 years getting paid to dosomething that I love so much.”The Man Behind the ClickerA sign hanging in his office serves asStokes’s personal career motto. It reads,“Choose a job you love, and you willnever have to work a day in your life.”One way his love of career is manifestis in his efforts to improve teachingthrough various technologicalinnovations. He was the first professor oncampus to use clickers, electronicremotes that allow professors to instantlyquiz students and record their scores3fall/winter 2011


digitally.Several years ago, Dr. Stokes workedwith the Information Technology to setup this technology. Originally usinginfrared clickers, BYU classes nowemploy clickers with Radio Frequency,which requires much less infrastructure.These are now used throughout campusgiving all students a voice, regardless ofthe class size. This has altered classroomstructure by increasing interaction, allbecause of Dr. Stokes’ persistence andforesight.When he attends national physicsteacher conventions, Professor Stokes isalways looking for new technology tobring back to Provo. Recently, he foundsomething else that may be implementedin the future: a device that allows aportable tablet to project on classroomwalls via WiFi.Living with Prosopagnosia“When I was younger, I didn’t know whatwas wrong,” said Dr. Stokes. “I didn’tknow why I wasn’t recognizing people. Ididn’t know it was a real disability that Ihad.”Dr. Stokes deals with a disorder calledprosopagnosia, which impairs his abilityto recognize faces. “It takes me allsemester to learn 15 faces,” he said. “Andsometimes, I still can’t recognize them bythe end of the semester.”Though this disorder has led to someembarrassing situations, Professor Stokessaid that he has basically learned to livewith it. “I’m a physicist, and we tend to“I always try to put twistsin the demonstrations likethat,” Dr. Stokes said. “Iadd little, unexpected thingsif possible and relate it tophysics.”not let social situations get us tooembarrassed. We generally lack socialskills already. So, in some ways it fits inwith my profession.”The Future of Dr. SupermanMany ask Stokes if he will ever completethe Ping-Pong cannon experiment again.“My wife hated it whenever I shotmyself,” he said. “Last winter I taught twosections of Physics 105, and I decidedthat I didn’t want to shoot myself twicein the same day. That gave me reason tovideotape the demonstration.”Now that he can use the video tocomplete the demonstration, ProfessorStokes does not plan on shooting himselfagain anytime soon. “I’ve lost a lot of weightsince then,” he said. “I’m afraid I don’t haveenough natural padding now.” ¤Left and Below: Dr. Harold Stokes lectures on campus.Photos by Levi Price.Clickers onCampusOver the years, Dr. Stokeshas implemented manytechnological innovationsin the classroom,including electronicclickers. This responsesystem is one that hasgreatly impacted campus.“I use clickers to review material fromthe last lecture at the start of class. Thatway the students need to be in class ontime, and it forms a natural segue intothe day’s lecture.”-Dr. J. Ward Moody“I use them to encourage students tocome to class on time, to track studentunderstanding, and sometimes, to createa Socratic dialogue with students toemphasize a linear development of aconcept.”-Dr. Juliana Boerio-Goates“Clickers provide engagement. I hadtwo classes last semester. One usedclickers; the other used another way forthe students to show their response. Itseemed to me that more were involved inthe course that used the clickers.”-Dr. David Allred“I use them as a way to encouragestudents to prepare for class. I also usethem as a diagnostic to see if studentsunderstand the ideas that I am teaching.Often it helps me see where I need tospend more time, but it also helps me seewhen students already understand, and Ican move on.”-Dr. Matthew Asplundfall/winter 20114


By Katie PittsWhen it comes to rocks and fossils,geologists are more than familiarwith the principle of uniformitarianism—thepresent is the key to the past.But for students who attended the HamblinGlobal Geology Field Trip to theBahamas, these geological features ofthe present and the past are the keys totheir futures.Building the FoundationDuring his life, W. Kenneth Hamblin (1928-2009) wasmany things: husband, father, football star, author,world traveller, dedicated teacher, and a geologist. 1 Itwas his passion for hands-on geology that led him toestablish the W. K. Hamblin Global Geology Field TripFund following his retirement from BYU’s Departmentof Geological Sciences in 1993.Thanks to this subsidy, 29 students travelled to theFlorida Keys and the Bahamas in April 2011 to take partin this year’s field trip. Prior to stepping on the plane,students spent winter semester attending monthly lecturesand preparing background information on the locationsthat they would soon be diving into.Only in the BahamasIf you drive about twenty minutes southeast of Provo,up Spanish Fork Canyon, you’ll see an outcrop of ancientlimestone that dates back to the Jurassic period.But if you want to see what Spanish Fork Canyon looked like whenthis limestone was being deposited, there are two options: timetravel back over 165 million years ago, or visit a modern site wherethe same kind of limestone is being deposited right now. If you’rethinking option two sounds good, head for Florida and the Bahamas.“Not that we don’t have great geology in Utah,” Dr. Scott Ritter,chair of the Department of Geological Sciences, is quick to pointout. “There are just certain things that you can’t see here at the presenttime.”Going to the Florida Keys and the Bahamas allows students tosee geological processes in action. As the water conditions change,plant and animal life changes, and so does the sediment. Seeingthese transformations“This trip truly wasa life-changingexperience, and everymoment was one I hopenot to forget.”actually happen acrossthe ecological spectrumfrom the Evergladesto the outer shelfreefs is a great educationalopportunity.“[This area] is reallyonly one of three placesin the world today where tropical carbonates are being formed,”said Ritter. “Fifty percent of the world’s oil and gas comes out ofcarbonate rocks [including limestone]. [They’re] really just madeup of pieces of plants and animals; carbonates are born not made.”On the trip, students travel to locations like the Windley KeyQuarry, where they can see outcrops of limestone that formed125,000 years ago. Later in the day, they have the chance to snorkelfive miles offshore and see limestone forming through the sameprocess. Getting to see modern patterns freeze into rock is an experiencethat cannot be replaced or simulated.5fall/winter 2011


In, But Not Of, The ClassroomSnorkeling everyday, viewing breathtaking scenery,and enjoying warm ocean waves: the Bahamas is agreat destination. Still, students who participated inthis year’s trip found far more than a chance to get outof Provo.For Stephen Phillips, a graduate student studyingsedimentology and stratigraphy, this field trip was anunbeatable way to bring his education in carbonaterocks together.“To go out in the field and actually see the rocks thatwe’d been looking at [in our classes] . . . is amazing,” hesaid. “Everything just all of a sudden made sense. Youthink you kind of understand things, but when you finallysee it, you understand it for real.”Ritter says that once students get immersed in marinegeology, they begin having “ah-ha” moments ofunderstanding, which connect their classroom experiencesto the real world.“[The difference] is like reading about a volcaniceruption and then standing [and] watching one,” hesaid.For Kevin Fukui, a senior studying geology from Elwood,Utah, the boattrip to Joulters Cay,small islands in theBahamas, left a lastingimpression.“The beautiful turquoisewater andbrilliant white ooidshoal beaches werenot only breathtakingto look at, but createdan understandingof how carbonaterocks form that cannotbe duplicated inthe classroom,” Fukuisaid in an email.“When I look at ooids[small sedimentarygrains] in rocks, Ino longer rememberdiagrams and explanationsfound in mytextbook, but I amtaken back to the unforgettablebeaches ofthe Bahamas where Iwitnessed their creation.”Moving into the FutureFor many of these students, this field trip is just the beginningThis year’s trip included conducting a groundpenetratingradar survey on the limestone. ProfessorBelow: Geology students examine marine rock formations in theBahamas.Bottom Left: Scott Ritter examines a specimen. Students get a chance to seegeological processes, like these sand formations, in action.“Everything just all of a sudden madesense. You think you kind of understandthings, but when you finally see it, youunderstand it for real.”John McBride, who specializes in this technology, hasobtained a mentored research grant to continue theproject. This research opportunity will mean a return tothe Bahamas in the near future for some of the students.While others may not be returning, they’ll be carryingtheir fresh knowledge into new realms of explorationas they enter the workforce. Hoopes will be takingwhat he’s learned about carbonate rocks into a career inthe oil industry.“This trip has helped me solidify concepts discussedin the classroom and given me the experience of handling[carbonates] in the real world,” he said. “I understandtheir environments of deposition, why they look,feel, have fabrics and textures the way they do. Theseare real concepts used in the understanding of paleoenvironments,the creatures and fauna that lived in them,and present oil and gas exploration.”After building on their knowledge that the present isthe key to the past, these students are headed for greatfutures.“This trip truly was a life-changing experience,” saidFukui, “and every moment was one I hope not to forget.I consider myself very lucky to have had such an amazingexperience and to be taught and receive support bysuch a wonderful faculty in the Geology Department.” ¤1Obituary. “William Hamblin,” Daily Herald, October 7, 2009, http://www.heraldextra.com.fall/winter 20116


friends of the collegeStaying Connected WhereverLife Takes You By Alysa HoskinEven though he doesn’t live anywhere nearProvo, alumnus Gerry Morton finds ways to stayactive as a friend of the College of Physical andMathematical Sciences.Currently residing in Houston, Texas,where he serves as general counsel andvice president for business developmentat Carrizo Oil and Gas, Inc., Morton setsaside time to serve as both a member ofthe College Volunteer Leadership Council(CVLC) and as chair of the Department of Geological SciencesAlumni Board. He fulfills these responsibilities from over 1,400miles away.In that capacity he has occasionally conducted meetings overspeakerphone, but more commonly he attends in person becausehe has made service to the college a top priority. Morton decided tobecome actively involved ten years ago when his children startedcoming to BYU. He has now sent five children to BYU with onemore entering next year.His volunteer efforts with the Geology Alumni Board andthe CVLC center on how to help current students. One of theprojects he participated in was the creation of the Departmentof Geological Sciences’ Career Pathways Seminar, a lecture serieswith alumni speakers, which provides students with valuableinformation about career opportunities and graduate school.Morton feels it is important to stay connected to BYU aftergraduation. “[Graduates] have both a moral, and frankly, a selfinterested,obligation to support current students, whether it isfinancially or through helping students start careers,” Morton said.“I think that we are blessed through the service, reputation, andaccomplishments of our new graduates, just as we alumni canenhance and bless their lives through our reputation and actions.”After graduating from BYU in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree inengineering geology, Morton was hired at Texaco as a geophysicist.While working on an MBA degree at the University of Houston,he took a law class and really enjoyed it. It was then that Mortondecided to get his juris doctor at the University of Houston LawCenter—an unexpected twist in his journey through life.Following law school, Morton was employed first by a majorNew York law firm and later by a natural gas exploration andproduction company (Pogo Producing) as senior vice presidentand regional manager for Asia and the Pacific, until he landed hiscurrent job where he again has cycled back into the practice of law,among other things.As a volunteer at BYU, he has taken part in an effort to gatherother alumni from the Department of Geological Sciences fornetworking and outreach in various cities. Morton has alsosupported other projects at BYU like the creation of ProspectDevelopment: Business Side of Geology, a hands-on class that wascreated by geology alumni and has been active in helping withfundraising for a 3-D visualization lab. He even convinced hiscompany to make a substantial donation of seismic data to the lab.In addition to his frequent gifts of time and effort, Morton hasalso contributed generously to the College’s mentorship fund.Contributions such as his make hands-on research opportunitiesavailable to many students.“You never know which direction your career will take,” Mortonsaid, “but what’s important is that you have a high quality educationlike BYU offers and broaden your experiences so you are preparedwhen the opportunity presents itself. Don’t get locked into whatyou think you will do when you graduate or start your career. Beflexible, prepared, and enjoy the journey.”“What’s important is that you have a high qualityeducation like BYU offers and broaden your experiencesso you are prepared when the opportunity presents itself.”Top Left: Gerry and his wife, Rebekah. Above: The Morton family. Photoscourtesy of Gerry Morton.7fall/winter 2011


student newsaround the world at the society’s annualmeeting in San Antonio.MathematicsBYU students placed 16th in the PutnamMathematical Competition, the highest theteam has been ranked in 21 years. HiramGolze, Michael Griffin, and Robert (Tianyi)Yang placed sixteenth in the PutnamMathematical Competition. This is thehighest that a BYU team has been rankedin twenty-one years.By Alysa HoskinStudents Return Victorious, BringingHome Awards, Scholarships, and HonorCollegeIn March, students gave back to students inthe “Choose to Give” program. Choose toGive is an annual university campaign thatinvites students to give any amount they canto fund scholarships for other students. Since2000, C2G has awarded over 34 need-basedscholarships. As CPMS students made theirway through the donation line, they weremet with a tasty, blowtorch-grilled hot dog.In April, the graduating senior classlooked back on their college experiencesand looked forward to the rest of theirlives. Spring convocation included remarksby Dean Scott Sommerfeldt, as well asgraduates Aaron Pulsipher and MarieKillian.Chemistry & BiochemistryAt the 35th Annual InternationalSymposium on Capillary Chromatographyin San Diego, BYU graduate student Dan Lireceived the prestigious Leslie Ettre Award, a$3,500 grant which is presented to a youngscientist with original research in capillarygas chromatography. Three other BYUstudents were recognized in the top ten atthe symposium.Y Chem—a branch of the AmericanChemical Society and BYU’s chemistryclub—received honorable mention for its2009-2010 accomplishments at a nationalconvention in Anaheim, Calif., in March.The Society was most interested in the club’sbroad spectrum of activities—from dancesto organized sports.Computer ScienceA freshman intrigued with computerscience, Christine Kendall was selectedfor the $2,000 Microsoft scholarship fromhundreds of applicants across America. Aspart of the award, Kendall experienced theExplore Microsoft internship this summer,a hands-on training experience.Geological SciencesTerik Daly won a Barry M. Goldwater award,a scholarship for excelling in math, naturalscience, or engineering. He studies thechemistry of micrometeorite impact withDr. Daniel Austin, a chemistry professor.This is the fourth consecutive year that aBYU student has claimed the scholarship.In a quiz competition hosted by the Societyof Exploration Geophysicists in Denver,BYU students took home top honors fortheir superior geology knowledge. Aswestern region champions, Matt Davis, agraduate student from Queen Creek, Ariz.,and Forrest Roberts, a senior from Frannie,Wyo., won all-expenses-paid trips tocompete against other winning teams fromPhysics & AstronomyOn March 14 (commonly known as PiDay), eighteen-year-old Reese Peterson,a freshman majoring in physics, broke aBYU record when he correctly recited 806digits of pi from memory. Using a varietyof memorization tactics, Peterson beat hisown record later that day when he recited838 digits. Called to the Thailand Bangkokmission, he plans to beat his own recordwhen he returns.Students competed in the University RoverCompetition in Hanksville, Utah. Theyspent months building a robot that couldwork next to a human scientist, and thenshowed its capabilities in a contest withinternational competitors. Though the teamdid not finish first overall, they were only0.6 points away (on a scale of 100) from thehighest score in the Sample Return Taskcategory.Top Left: The college deans grill up some hotdogs forC2G last spring. Above: Students gather before convocationceremonies in the Wilkinson Student Center.A Y Chem Frisbee team member catches a pass.fall/winter 20118


college news01011010Emily Bates, Chemistry & BiochemistryEmily Bates received funding from the American Headache Societyfor her research.Douglas Henderson, Chemistry & BiochemistryThe Journal of Chemical Physics highlighted the research ofemeritus professor Douglas Henderson. The journal, whichranks number one in total citations by the ISI, featured the article“Analyzing the components of the free energy landscapein a calcium selective ion channel by Widom’s particle insertionmethod” on their homepage.Richard Meibos, Chemistry & BiochemistryEmeritus professor Richard Meibos passed away on May 26,2011 in Salt Lake City. He taught chemistry for 37 years, wasan avid BYU sports fan, and had nine children.James Thorne, Chemistry & BiochemistryFormer chemistry professor James Thorne passed away on July21, 2011 at the age of 73. Jim was an accomplished scientistand a well-loved colleague.New Leadership, Chemistry & BiochemistryJohn Lamb is replacing Steven Goates as associate chair.Bill Hays, Computer ScienceBill Hays, former dean of the college and professor of computerscience, passed away on July 19, 2011. Throughout his morethan thirty years of service, Bill played a key role in strengtheningresearch and academics in the college.New Leadership, Computer ScienceMark Clement is replacing Christophe Giraud-Carrier as associatechair. Parris Egbert has been reappointed as departmentchair for another three-year term.Jessica Purcell, MathematicsJessica Purcell was awarded the prestigious Sloan Research Fellowship.This is only the second time a BYU professor has wonthe fellowship. Of the twenty fellows chosen this year, she wasone of only four women to win an award.Kirk Tolman, MathematicsAfter forty-six years of teaching, Professor Kirk Tolman retiredon September 1, 2011.Gerald Armstrong, Mathematics EducationIn January 2011, Professor Gerald Armstrong retired after 35years as an associate professor.Keith Leatham, Mathematics EducationKeith Leatham was interviewed for the Mormon Channel radiostation program “Insights,” where he spoke about how mathcan be both accessible and entertaining.New Leadership, Mathematics EducationDan Siebert is replacing Blake Peterson as associate chair. SteveWilliams had been reappointed as department chair for anotherthree-year term.Karine Chesnel, Physics & AstronomyKarine Chesnel spoke on nanomagnetics for "Insights," theMormon Channel radio station program.J. Ward Moody, Physics & AstronomyJ. Ward Moody was featured in a Deseret News article aboutscience and religion. As an astronomer and former LDS bishop,the story highlighted Moody’s faith in both science and religion.Upcoming Events:STEM Career Fair: Sept. 22, 2011Summerhays Lecture: Sept. 22, 2011Honored Alumni Lecture: Oct. 6, 2011Fall CVLC Meetings: Oct. 7, 2011Chemistry & Biochemistry Homecoming Dinner: Oct. 7, 2011Museum of Paleontology Geology Alumni Fieldtrip: Oct. 7, 2011Physics & Astronomy Dinner and Planetarium Show: Oct. 7, 2011Geology Alumni Homecoming Breakfast: Oct. 8, 2011National Chemistry Week: Oct. 16-22, 2011Computer Science Homecoming Dinner: Nov. 11, 2011College Awards Banquet: Jan. 19, 2012Izatt-Christensen Lecture: Feb. 7-8, 2012Pi Day: March 14, 2012Spring CLVC Meetings: March 16, 2012Student Research Conference: March 17, 2012Dr. Bruce Schaalje presenting at the Summer Instituteof Applied Statistics. Photo by Levi Price9fall/winter 2011


Science of Summer 2011Admin and Staff Retreat: May 13College staff came together for a day of learning service. Projectsincluded making lunches for the homeless, creating educationalsensory books, assembling care packages for soldiers, andtying quilts for those in need.Astrofest: May 14Members of the community came to be entertained and educatedat this year’s Astrofest, hosted by the Department of Physicsand Astronomy. Kids of all ages constructed homemade rockets,viewed complimentary planetarium shows, and scanned thenight sky through high-tech telescopes.Open Lab Day: May 14 & 21The Y Chem club and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistrygave kids from local schools an exciting introductionto the world of science with dazzling displays, hands-on experiments,and tours of BYU labs and facilities.Summer Institute of Applied Stats: June 15-17This year’s Summer Institute of Applied Statistics featured ProfessorG. Bruce Schaalje speaking on the history and function ofR.A. Fisher’s influential mixed models. This yearly event, put onby the Department of Statistics, draws a crowd of professionalsand professors from several fields.CS BBQ: June 22At the annual summer BBQ put on by the Department of ComputerScience, alumni, faculty, and family relaxed in the warmsun, enjoyed cool treats, and caught up with old friends.REU: June-AugustAt REU, the Research Experience for Undergraduates, visitingstudents from around the country, as well as some BYU students,spent several weeks working closely with professors inresearch that will help prepare them for graduate school. REUsummer programs are offered by both the Mathematics Departmentand the Department of Physics and Astronomy.RET: July 6-August 12The Physics and Astronomy Department gave secondary scienceteachers an opportunity to participate in a summer researchprogram, Research Experience for Teachers, where they learnto enliven classroom instruction with discussion and hands-onexperiments.TA Training Conference: August 26Teaching assistants from the College of Physical and MathematicalSciences were educated on the ins and outs of the classroomwith instruction ranging from grading assignments to properpersonal conduct as a BYU employee.United Way Day of Giving: September 8Worldwide organization and charity, the United Way, organizeda day of giving in which BYU employees volunteered their timeand skills to help shape the community through acts of service.Left: Kids of all ages were treated by CS to a special get-together. Above: Dean ScottSommmerfeldt pitches in for a day of giving. Photos by: Levi Price and BYU Photo.fall/winter 201110


Where in the World are cpms Alumni76756 6111574302233630622867538143347107471276211517789 802412140328147426 12145383166121606 151583452451441351 94711311273664U S A : 1 4 , 2 7 5C a n a d a : 8 8N o r t h e r n A s i a : 6 5A r m e d F o r c e s : 3 3E u r o p e : 2 8S o u t h e a s t A s i a : 1 6M i d d l e E a s t : 1 2S o u t h A m e r i c a : 9M i c r o n e s i a : 6C a r i b b e a n : 5A f r i c a : 1U n k n o w n : 3 4 8contact us and tell us where you are! cpms@byu.edu11


alumni news1971, Calvin Arnason, Mathematics – Portland, ORCalvin is now a consulting QA solution architect. With dozens ofclients in North and South America, Australia, and Europe, he currentlyresides in Medellin, Colombia assisting the largest bank ofthe country with a complete restructure of their quality processes,products, and training.1974, Steve Church, Geological Sciences – Sandy, UTSteve and his wife, Barbara, have accepted a call to serve in the BarcelonaSpain Mission. They will begin their service in October 2011.1985, John Buffington, Mathematics – The Woodlands, TXJohn is employed by Enbridge, a Canadian pipelinecompany that manages the gathering and shipping ofcrude oil and gas. He works in trading analysis andvaluing derivatives.1986, Melinda Trego, Statistics – Mesa, AZMelinda is currently the co-owner of an eye-tracking technologybusiness, EyeTech Digital Systems, Inc., that has had worldwide impact.She has also worked with the capstone programs of BYU’s severalengineering departments. She attributes her success in businessto the education she received from the BYU Statistics Department.1987, I. Richard Schaffner, Jr., Geological Sciences– Goffstown, NHRichard pursued graduate studies in contaminant hydrogeology.Since that time, he has worked as senior technical specialist withGeoEnvironmental, Inc. (GZA), one of the leading engineeringfirms in the northeast. He has completed projects throughout the USand the world including Puerto Rico, Japan, India, and Saudi Arabia.He tells friends and colleagues that just as he started his career asa custodian in the Widtsoe Building on campus, he is still doingostensibly the same thing decades later—cleaning up after people.2000, Ken Jennings, Computer Science – Seattle, WAAfter graduating from BYU with a double major incomputer science and English, Ken’s legendary Jeopardy!streak won him more than $2.5 million. Morerecently he competed against IBM’s supercomputerwhere he took second place.2001, Charity Lander, Geological Sciences – Lawrence, KSCharity recently accepted a position as chair of theGeological Society of America’s professional developmentcommittee for 2011-2012. She is currentlypursuing a PhD in biogeochemistry at the Universityof Kansas.2004, Nancy Fulda, Computer Science – Rantrum, GermanyNancy was recently awarded the 2011 Jim Baen Memorial award,which is annually given to a science fiction writer whose work demonstratesboth exceptional literary quality and stringent scientificaccuracy. Her winning story, “That Undiscovered Country,” exploresdevelopments on mankind’s first permanent settlement in space andwill appear as the leading story on the Baen Books website later thisyear. She is now living in Germany with her three children and alsorunning a small online business.2006, Chris Monson, Chemistry & Biochemistry –Cedar City, UTAfter graduating cum laude, Christopher received his PhD fromUC-Berkley. He recently began working as an assistant professor ofchemistry at Southern Utah University.2006, Nathan Manwaring, Mathematics – MountainGreen, UTNathan is a senior BI analyst at Equation, a consulting firm thatworks to improve physician economics in hospitals as well as privateand academic settings.2009, Kendall Clement, Computer Science – Somerville, MAUpon his graduation in computer science with a bioinformaticsemphasis, Kendall was awarded an NSF graduate research fellowship.He is currently working on a medical engineering degree atMIT through the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences andTechnology.2009, Sam Tartakoff, Chemistry & Biochemistry – Irvine, CASamuel is now a graduate student in his second year at the Universityof California, Irvine. He has been awarded an NSF graduateresearch fellowship, which will fund the next three years of hisprogram.2010, Enoch Yeung, Mathematics – Pasadena, CAEnoch was recently awarded an NSF graduate research fellowship.He is currently working on his PhD at CalTech in the control anddynamical systems program.12


HOW ANNUAL DONATIONS ARE HELPING HIMCLEAR THE AIR AROUND USJonathan Christensen wasn’t sure where his BYU educationwould lead him. Then, thanks to a grant made possiblein part by donations, he received an opportunity tojoin Dr. William Christensen’s pollutant research team.“The research has been an important part of myexperience at BYU,” says the statistics major from FallsChurch, Virginia. “It has challenged me to stretch farbeyond my coursework and explore problems that I neverwould have encountered as an undergraduate student.”Jonathan has enjoyed his mentored learning experience somuch that he’s now planning further educational endeavors instatistics.Expressing gratitude to donors, Jonathan says, “Thankyou for your support of BYU’s exceptional undergraduateresearch program.”We invite you to help us breathe life into another student’seducation. Give online at give.byu.edu/cpms and pleasedesignate the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences.To help the college with a special gift, contact Brent Hall at 801-422-4501 or e-mail brenth@byu.edu.

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