Welcome to the first eNewsletter of the new year. We hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday season and are experiencing a happy, healthy 2010 thus far. As alumni and friends of the college, we value your support and look forward to sharing another great year here at the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences with you.

As we enter a new semester, we are excited about the many promising activities that lie ahead in 2010. We will continue to provide the best possible educational environment for our students, while promoting a rigorous focus on cutting-edge research and scientific advancement.

To help make this goal a reality, we will host 24th annual Spring Research Conference on Saturday, March 20th, 2009. Students from across the college’s scientific and mathematical disciplines will present their individual research to faculty, alumni, friends of the college, and members of the community. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to share what they’ve learned and for CPMS to showcase the great things happening here in Provo.

We invite anyone interested in BYU, the college, our students, or just scientific research in general to join us for this wonderful event. It is truly an educational experience for all involved, including both the participants and their audience. We will share more details as the conference moves closer.

As always, we hope you enjoy the other articles included in this month’s eNewsletter. Highlighting the recent accomplishments of our students and faculty, these stories offer a snapshot of the great work we hope to continue performing as we enter a new decade with boundless opportunities here at BYU.

As we continue in this endeavor in 2010, we will keep you apprised of our activities and progress. We thank you for being a part of our college family and for your continued support.


Chemistry, Stats professors assist in groundbreaking medical advancement
State official visits BYU, lectures on future of education policy in U.S.
Professor receives ASA award for research excellence in acoustics
CPMS Homepage
Giving to the College


BYU mathematics students utilized good preparation and excellent math skills to come out on top in a November competition against the University of Utah.

The Intermountain Math Competition, which is entering its fifth year of existence, occurs once per semester and includes students from Utah’s major colleges and universities. The teams representing BYU and rival Utah paired off to compete against one another in November's installation. The competition is in the form of a timed exam and is used by the Math Department to scout out potential members for its national Putnam exam team.

Every year, math students across the country have the opportunity to take the notoriously difficult Putnam exam. However, each university must identify and select a team of three students to officially represent the school on the test. Their scores helps determine the university’s national ranking in mathematics.

Darrin Doud, an associate professor of mathematics and one of the Intermountain Math Competition’s founders stated in an interview with The Daily Universe that this regional competition “allows us to identify students who do really well and recruit them for the Putnam team. BYU is a great place to study math, and we’ve been recruiting people who do well at those math contests to come into the math department and take them.”

The competition exam is difficult, with most students only finishing a few of the seven questions.

Patrick Turley, a BYU economics student who participated in the competition, only completed three of the test’s seven problems in the three-hour time allotment, which is a fairly typical result. Most of the competitions’ winners only complete four questions themselves.

“Unless you’re really good, you probably won’t answer all the questions, and in fact unless you’re really good, you probably won’t answer very many,” Turley said.

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