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College of Science
phone: (208) 885-6195
fax: (208) 885-6904
office: Mines 321

Mailing Address
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3025
Moscow, ID 83844-3025

Vandal Science News

Vandal Science News-October 2011

A Newsletter for Alumni and Friends October 2011

Dean's Message

Greetings to all our alumni and friends! We are now well into an eventful fall semester and college enrollment has grown for the third year in a row. With the addition of the Microbiology, Molecular Biology, and Biochemistry majors to our Biological Sciences Department and a solid 6.4% average enrollment growth across college programs, more students than ever now call the UI College of Science their academic home. We plan to continue to play a leadership role in increasing the number of students entering science and mathematics fields.

Several signature college events occur in October. On October 13 we presented the annual Robert B. and Floretta F. Austin Distinguished Lecture in Science. The presentation "Heavy Lifting in Space: Building the International Space Station" was given by former NASA astronaut Dr. John Phillips. See the link to the story below for more details. October 18 and 19 took us to the University of Idaho Coeur d'Alene Center for our fourth annual Women in Mathematics and Science program in collaboration with North Idaho College. We interacted with 10th-grade women in north Idaho school districts from Plummer to Bonners Ferry, encouraging them to consider careers in the STEM (Science – Technology – Engineering – Mathematics) fields. Participating students heard from female role models and took part in hands-on research into water-quality issues from that region of the state. We'll end the month with our 7th annual Student Research Exposition on October 28. We welcome any of you who may be in the area to drop by the expo and see the amazing breadth and quality of the student research that takes place in the College of Science. Additional information about the expo and some of its participants are highlighted in this issue of the Vandal Science News.

Thank you for your interest in and support of the College of Science!

– Scott Wood

Austin Distinguished Lecture

John L. Phillips, Autin Distinguihed LecturerJohn L. Phillips, former NASA Astronaut, spoke about his experiences with spaceflight and the International Space Station. read more »

NSF Grant benefits students

Robin Baker benefits from NSF GrantAn NSF-funded grant program is giving students like Robin Baker a chance to experience the excitement of Mathematical Biology research as undergraduates. read more »

Vandal Science News Puzzler

Suppose you have two fuses that each burn for exactly one hour. However, they don't burn at uniform rates, nor do they necessarily burn at the same rate. (That is, if you light the two fuses simultaneously they would both burn out exactly an hour later, but they may not always appear to be the same length at intermediate times, and would not necessarily be half their original length after a half-hour.) How can you use these two fuses (and a pack of matches) to time exactly 45 minutes?


You first light both ends of one fuse, and one end of the other. When the first fuse burns completely out you know that 30 minutes have passed and that the second fuse has 30 minutes of burn time left. At that moment you light the second end of that second fuse. With both ends burning, its remaining 30 minutes of burn time is shortened to 15 minutes, and when it burns completely out, a total of 45 minutes will have passed.

Correct solvers:

  • William R. Cordwell (Math and Physics, 1975; M.S. Math, 1975)
  • Jerry Fairley 
  • Claude Freaner (Math, 1966)
  • Mark Garber
  • Quinn MacPherson (current Physics and Materials Science student)
  • Alex Main (current Mathematics and Geography student)
  • Travis Nelson (current Chemical Engineering student)
  • Garrett Stauffer (current Electrical Engineering student)
  • Greg Stenback (Geological Engineering, 1985; M.S. Statistics, 1987)
  • Ian Tanimoto
  • Gary Troyer (Chemistry, 1968)
  • Mark Wilkins (Math and C.S., 1987)

Student Research Expo

2011 Student Research Expo, Student explains project to Faculty
Forty-seven graduate and undergraduate students will display posters of their research at the 7th annual College of Science Student Research Exposition. The event is on Friday October 28 from 2:30 to 5:00.
read more »

Alumni Awards

2011 Alumni Awards
The Alumni Awards program to recognize outstanding alumni and friends for their professional accomplishments and service to society and the university. The Celebration of Alumni Excellence will take place October 27, 2011 in Moscow.
read more »

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