Over the years, we have made a concerted effort to promote mentored undergraduate research here in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. With the help of several generous donors, we have been able to fund research projects that pair students with a faculty mentor, and allow them to work one-on-one to conduct important scientific and mathematical research and gain a wealth of invaluable first-hand experience.

These extensive research experiences provide our undergraduate students with a unique opportunity not found at many other universities and, ultimately, with a fuller, more comprehensive scientific education. As a result of this additional hands-on knowledge, we have found our graduates to be more prepared to excel immediately in whatever path they choose—whether it be in graduate school, industry or something else entirely.

None of these great things would be as effective without the unwavering support of our alumni, donors and friends. Through their selfless sacrifice, we are able to provide a first-class education to countless students from around the world—a shining group of individuals who will one day touch every part of the globe through their influence.

As a testament to the great research being done by our students every day, the college invites each of you to attend our 25th annual Student Research Conference on March 19, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Jesse Knight Building at BYU.

In just one day, hundreds of students (about half of them undergraduates) will present the findings of their original research from the past year to an audience comprised of faculty, staff, family, friends, and community members. (If any of you have teenagers interested in math or science, they may find the conference particularly enjoyable — we have a general session at 10:00 a.m. designed just for people like them.)

This is a wonderful chance for us to showcase the great work being performed here at BYU, and it also represents a terrific opportunity for the students to gain valuable experience presenting and explaining their research to an audience, further preparing them for their future endeavors.

We hope you enjoy the articles contained in this month's eNewsletter, and we hope you'll join us on the 19th for this tremendous educational conference. Thank you for your continuing support of the BYU community and the advancement of science and mathematics.

Building a Community with Math
Pixar Research Chief to Visit BYU
Math Professor Earns Fellowship
Students Prepare to Share Work

CPMS Homepage
Giving to the College
CPMS on Facebook
CPMS on Twitter
SRC 2011
Official Website
Fast Forward Video

Chemistry Webisode
Click on the image to learn more about the 2011 Student Research Conference


Although Utah boasts some of the best musicians in the country, a math professor will show that our instruments are out of tune—and he'll be adding his own violin to the dissonance.

Professor David Kung of St. Mary's College of Maryland will present a lecture entitled "How Math Made Modern Music Irrational" on March 18 at the 2011 Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics (CURM) Conference, sponsored by the Department of Mathematics at Brigham Young University and the National Science Foundation.

During the lecture Kung will talk about how music has changed over the last few centuries. In an interview last week, Kung gave a preview of the lecture he will give at the research conference. He said musical tones are directly connected to math. The math that has been used to tune musical instruments has changed over time, and so music has changed.

"No piano is ever in tune," Kung said. "It's just a matter of how out of tune, and what particular ways it's out of tune."

The modern tuning used for musical instruments allows musicians to play chords and intervals that will harmonize the same way in any key – two or three centuries ago that wasn't the case, according to Kung. He will explain in his lecture how innovative musicians like Bach used math to change music.

"[Musicians] were actually doing a whole lot of mathematics," Kung said. "Bach was famous for loving puzzles and loving some of the mathematical aspects of it."


For more information about the college, contact Lynn Patten at lynn_patten@byu.edu.
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