Half of U.S. solar physics grads come from MSU

By ARINA BILLIS/Montana State News

Montana State University’s solar physics program started out in 1993. As of 2015, the department has gained international fame and produces half of all graduates in the country with a specialty in solar physics. In addition, the MSU solar physics group is continually leading discoveries that bring scientists all over the world closer to the prediction of the space weather.

“I think we successfully attract high-quality graduated students in solar physics. And it is very beneficial for us, as it lets us do more research. MSU doesn’t have an observatory; instead we have partners and team members in observatories around the world. This provides our students an opportunity to get involved in those observatories. And when they graduate, their names are known all over the world,” says David McKenzie, associate research professor at MSU.

For the last 20 years, interest in solar physics has increased, according to McKenzie. The Internet is overflowing with images of the sun from various different angles, as scientists across the world are producing detailed studies of the sun’s activities. Continue reading “Half of U.S. solar physics grads come from MSU”

Student legal aid change deemed successful

By NICOLE DUGGAN/Montana State News

A new and controversial legal aid program is proving successful, according to the current Associated Students of Montana State University executive team, serving more students than the old system of keeping a full-time attorney on staff.

The executive team from the last academic year eliminated the position of their student attorney of 30 years against the wishes of the ASMSU Senate in 2014.

The ASMSU former attorney Phyllis Bock provided legal advice to students and also served in the role of operations manager for ASMSU. Roughly 10 hours of her week were dedicated to possible meetings with students in her attorney position. However, according to then-ASMSU executive team President Lindsay Murdock, the majority of these hours were not filled. Continue reading “Student legal aid change deemed successful”

Beer becoming bigger part of state economy

By LAUREN SHUN/Montana State News

There is nothing better than a locally brewed beer. In Montana, that is not too hard to find.

According to the nation’s Brewers Association, Montana only has 39 breweries statewide, ranking them 22nd in the nation, but they are third in the nation in terms of breweries per capita. Montana has an astounding 5.3 breweries per 100,000 adults. Oregon and Washington with are the only states in the nation ahead of Montana.

The beer brewing industry in Montana is booming. According to the Montana Brewers Association, there are 53 licensed brewers in the state, which manufacture and package over 140,000 barrels (4,340,000 gallons) of fine handcrafted beer in bottles, cans, and kegs.

Tony Herbert, executive director of the Montana Brewers Associations said, “Montana craft beer is very popular … People want more of it and we don’t really see any kind of point where this will slow down. Sure, one day it may. But (there) seems to still be potential for continuing growth for the craft beer market in the nation and in Montana.” Continue reading “Beer becoming bigger part of state economy”

State ranks 10th for pushing STEM fields

By WILLIAM NEVILLE/Montana State News

According to data from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Montana ranks 10th in the nation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) growth in education.

The rapid growth rate reflects the increased participation of students in STEM fields throughout the state. In the past month, a few noteworthy events have taken place in Montana that demonstrate the invested interest of students.

On March 21, hundreds of families in the Missoula area attended the ninth annual Science Circus at Big Sky High School. The science fair was a chance for high school students to demonstrate their creativity to inquisitive elementary and middle school students.

“There are over 80 different stations for guests to visit and interact with high school ‘experts’ and gain knowledge about various sub-units of science, including biology, chemistry and physics. Demonstrations under these categories include: flaming gummy bears, multiple dissections, smoke ring cannon, a Velcro wall and edible bugs to name a few,” Missoula County Public Schools said in a press release on the Science Circus. Continue reading “State ranks 10th for pushing STEM fields”

Student literary magazine goes campus-wide

By BRETT NELSON / Montana State News

Artists rejoice ­—Opsis is back.

Montana State University’s literary arts magazine, Opsis, offers readers new content and a new look for its second annual release on May 2 at 4 p.m. at the Country Bookshelf.

“This has been a big year for Opsis,” said Mary Koppy, Opsis editor-in-chief, “Those of our readers who have seen our transformation over the last four years know how aggressively the magazine has evolved.”

Since its inception in 2006, Opsis has sought to expand interest amongst the public, not only with Bozeman readers, but also with anyone interested in local arts beyond the Bozeman community.

“Our long-term goal is to make Opsis a national circulation,” said Professor Zachary Bean, Opsis’ faculty advisor.

The completely student-run publication features work from MSU students in unexpected fields, like engineering, agriculture, architecture, as well as from faculty and staff. Continue reading “Student literary magazine goes campus-wide”

120 years of the Exponent archives to go digital

By JASON BERG/Montana State News

Montana State University’s student newspaper, The Exponent, has launched a project that will store all 120 years of issues digitally.

With the help of the Associated Students of Montana State University Senate and the Renne Library staff, the Exponent will have over 3,200 issues available online. The newspaper received $5,000 from the ASMSU Senate, which unanimously approved the project.

ASMSU senators have voiced their support of the project. Levi Birky, ASMSU’s newest vice president, said, “What the exponent is doing is a great way to archive more than 100 years of MSU history in an easy and accessible form.”

ASMSU Business Manager John Cowles said, “It was tricky to approve funding towards a self-funded program like the Exponent, but ASMSU is in support in increasing more student employment, and the project is valuable for preserving the history of MSU.” Continue reading “120 years of the Exponent archives to go digital”

Green commuting alternatives promoted locally

By NICOLE SMITH/Montana State News

Why drive? In Bozeman, the options are plentiful when it comes to getting around. The alternatives include riding the Streamline bus, riding a bike, or using unconventional fuels.

The Streamline Bus, provided by MSU, is free to the public and has four routes with stops in Bozeman, Belgrade, Four Corners and even Livingston.

According to the American Public Transportation Association’s transit calculator, taking the Streamline instead of driving just 10 miles to work or school every day could save over $400 each year.

Biking in Bozeman is also easy, good for your health and can save you money in more ways than one way. Besides skipping the cost of filling up a tank of gas, biking can result in discounts at many Bozeman businesses.

Bozeman is a part of Bicycle Benefits, a program that provides discounts to people who commute by bicycle. Continue reading “Green commuting alternatives promoted locally”

Exhibit will highlight wealthy Roman lifestyles

By MORGAN BROWN/Montana State News

Ancient Romans knew how to live it up.

Quality of life before the twentieth century is often thought of as “nasty, brutish and short” as political philosopher Thomas Hobbes once wrote. Wars and invasions threatened countries and empires constantly, people lit their houses with candles and oil lamps, diseases ran rampant and famines plagued the earth. It is easy to think that ancients lived like animals.

Scholars who study ancient Rome and other cultures would beg to differ.

“Since 2007, I have been a part of a scholarly project at a very big and very luxurious Roman villa on the Bay of Naples that was buried in the same eruption that buried Pompeii in the year 79,” said Dr. Regina Gee, associate professor of art history at Montana State University.

Gee is working with a team of scholars under The Oplontis Project, whose mission “is to conduct a systematic, multidisciplinary study” of two ancient villas located in Oplontis, Italy. Gee is working to bring artifacts found from the villas to be viewed in three museums across the U.S. Because of Gee’s participation and scholarly contribution, the exhibit, which is called “Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii,” will be featured at the Museum of Rockies from June to December 2016.  Continue reading “Exhibit will highlight wealthy Roman lifestyles”

Next big one may dwarf Ebola outbreak

By MOLLY WRIGHT/Montana State News

Ebola came. It left. So what?

According to David Quammen, it – or something like it – could happen again, and on a much larger scale.

Speaking to a full crowd in the Montana State University Strand Union Building Ballroom recently, the renowned Bozeman-based science writer spoke not only about the Ebola epidemic that struck West Africa, but the deadly potential of any emerging disease.

“Humans are an outbreak population,” said Quammen. With 7 billion people on our planet and counting, we have all the potential to see a viral infection that would kill off much of the population.

The Ebola virus, with 24,000 reported cases and 10,000 deaths, is only one in a long string of deadly diseases. It is known as a zoonotic disease, Quammen said, or an animal infection transmissible to humans. When it crosses from animals to humans, it is known as “spillover.” Continue reading “Next big one may dwarf Ebola outbreak”

App allows smartphones to ‘smell’

By ERIC JOONDEPH/Montana State News

A potentially life-saving chemical detecting smartphone app is set to launch soon.

Chemical engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are designing a smartphone app that could be capable of detecting hazardous gases from sources such as spoiling foods or environmental gases.

The sensors are going to be sent out across the country and can be used to sense harmful gases in public places, warehouses, or businesses offices. They even contain readable barcodes that can track pollutants from vehicles.

According to MIT news, researchers have demonstrated that they can detect gaseous ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, cyclohexane, and many other gases, while using this app. Continue reading “App allows smartphones to ‘smell’”

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