October has arrived, complete with red leaves on the mountains and crisp morning walks to campus. And we here at the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences are excited for our alumni and students to enjoy all the experiences that autumn at BYU brings.

We’re looking forward to seeing the “Y” light up again in preparation for Homecoming week. BYU will be hosting many visitors and activities, and of course, enjoying Homecoming Spectacular should be on everyone’s list of October activities. This year’s Homecoming Spectacular will be in the Marriott Center on Thursday and Friday, October 10 and 11, at 7:30 p.m. But the departments in our college will also be welcoming alumni back with reunions and dinners throughout the week. Please check the links to the right to find your department's homecoming activity.

This month also brings chemistry to life by celebrating National Chemistry Week, happening October 20–26. There will be plenty of attractions to entertain and surprise visitors, such as chemical magic shows, symposiums, and research poster sessions. The celebratory week is designed to help the public better understand the importance of chemistry to our society. But of course, it’s also simply a great family outing!

We are also pleased to announce the release of the Fall 2013 issue of Frontiers, our alumni magazine. This is a great publication, filled with announcements for upcoming events and stories about our amazing students and faculty. You can catch up with other alumni and some of your favorite faculty members by learning about their careers and research. This fall, we’ve highlighted the work of Dawn Teuscher, Mike Dorais, David Grandy, Dawn Gifford, and others.

Now that the first month of the semester has passed by, our students are realizing just how much work and excitement CPMS classes entail. As those who have passed through some of these classes, you too know the frustration of difficult computations or investigations and the excitement of watching your research yield the fruits of success. Because of your experience at CPMS as well as the working world, you are the perfect resource for our students to find great jobs after graduation. You can become a mentor and help change one student’s future. To learn more about how you can get involved with alumni mentoring, visit When we teach the rising generation, we’re really investing in a better future.

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At this year's Summerhays Lecture, Dr. Daniel Peterson spoke about is science can be used to prove there is God.


The Universe: Purposeful or Purposeless?

Can science prove that there’s a God?

Former editor of the FARMS Review, Dr. Daniel Peterson, isn’t sure about proof, but he thinks it can point in that direction.

“To say that there is no indisputable proof is not to concede, by any means, that there are no clues,” said Peterson at last week’s Summerhays Lecture.

Peterson, who teaches Islamic Studies and Arabic at BYU, spoke on God’s place in ancient cosmologies throughout the centuries and how our current cosmology still leaves room for a God.

“To pre-modern thinkers, the order of the visible universe was clear evidence, almost self-evident proof, of divine design and providence,” explained Dr. Peterson.

Some of the scientific community had troubles accepting a belief in God ever since Newton seemed to show us that the Universe was run by a “remorseless chain of cause and effect operating under mathematically rigorous physical laws.”

When Darwin showed us that life came about by what appears to be random circumstances, some may have thought that divine design was dead.

But Dr. Peterson and others think just the fact that we exist is so unlikely that it may be considered a clue to the existence of some Creator pulling the strings.

“It was interesting when he talked about the probability of us living in a random universe and how small that probability was,” said BYU student Hanna Abdo, a second-year MBA with a marketing strategy emphasis who attended the lecture.

Read more of this story.


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