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Natural Science and Mathematics Blog

Date: Nov 2013

Dr. Rebecca Wiseman, Assistant Dean of University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) Shady Grove, and Marchelle Payne-Gassaway, Director of Admissions for the UMSON, visited campus last Friday to discuss the dual-degree program. This program between the UMSON and the Mount allows nursing students to obtain two undergraduate degrees in five years. Dr. Wiseman and Ms. Payne-Gassaway discussed an overview of the program, requirements for admission, the application process, and program locations.

Big things are happening in the School of Natural Science and Mathematics! Can anyone guess what is being built in front of the COAD Science building?

Students in Dr. Simmons’ Ecology class this week are measuring the amount of carbon dioxide that is being emitted by the forest soils up on College Mountain. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that affects global climate change and on a global basis forest soils are a main contributor to carbon dioxide emissions.

This past summer, Amy Strosser, worked on two mathematical research projects in graph theory at Rochester Institute of Technology. A group of students, along with Amy, analyzed data that was recorded from the MRI's of football player's brains. They used graph theory metrics to determine whether the communication between brain regions had changed from preseason to postseason. They concluded that the number of hits a player took affected the communication connectivity of the player's brain. Amy and her partner worked on a second project, in which they discovered an algorithm called Walk Modularity that can detect communities within graphs. A community is a set of vertices that is well-connected by edges within a graph.

Throughout the semester, the School of Natural Science and Mathematics hosts speakers to present their research or provide an informative lecture on their field of study. These speakers are recommended by the current faculty or are alumni who come back and share their experiences after the Mount. Nicole Calabro C’11, presented in September to a group of students and faculty about her research surrounding an experimental biomaterial that could help heal wounds faster. She graduated from the Mount with a Biology degree and is currently pursuing a PhD at Yale School of Medicine.

During the summer of 2012 at St. Mary's College of Maryland, Michelle Rose C'15 and a group of three other undergraduate students researched existing work on dominating sets to create their own algorithm to find minimally double dominating sets. The algorithms were created to handle different types of graphs and to be self-stabilizing, in order to reduce the need for external interference. To make the idea of double dominating sets more applicable to the modern world, the group decided to tie their research to the zombie apocalypse. Zombies and national guard squadrons correspond to nodes out of and in the set, respectively. Therefore, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, the algorithm can be applied to the intersections of streets in order to determine where to place squadrons to contain the zombie mobs and how to use them most efficiently.

Students and faculty enjoyed a fascinating presentation on the evening of October 17, 2013 about how the faith of several famous scientists, like Copernicus and Einstein, may have shaped their scientific thinking. The speaker, Dr. Steven Gimbel, Chair of the Philosophy Department at Gettysburg College, pointed out that scientists are people too and their religious upbringing and education can influence the way they view the world. This event was sponsored by the George Henry Miles Honor Society and the Meredith Science and Culture lecture series, in honor of Dr. William "Bill" Meredith, Professor Emeritus of Biology. Bill and his wife, Betty, were in attendance.

 
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