Bonus feature: Scroll down to the bottom for the Top 5 BYU videos of the year
The most-read BYU News stories of the year include a report on video game research, a gallery of creative costumes, advice about what milk to drink, and the many ways students and faculty have bettered the world throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click on the titles to read the full articles.
10. BYU's library receives rare Book of Mormon collection
After years of curating a collection of first editions of the Book of Mormon in all 149 translations, BYU alums Carolyn and William Ingersoll generously donated their collection to the L. Tom Perry Special Collections department of the Harold B. Lee Library. Anyone can see the books in Special Collections during normal operating hours or locate the collection in the library catalog by searching for the Ingersolls’ names.
9. Praise, not discipline, helps students stay on task
This collaborative study by BYU, the University of Kansas and Vanderbilt University found that praising students for appropriate classroom behavior, rather than reprimanding them for being disruptive, improves class behavior overall. In the words of the researchers, the higher the teachers’ praise-to-reprimand ratio, the higher the students’ on-task behavior percentage.
8. BYU Halloween
COVID-19 altered or canceled many campus traditions, but students, faculty and staff adapted to the circumstances and embraced masks for a new year of clever and creative costumes. BYU’s Student Connection and Leadership Center added to the festivities by hosting several Halloween-themed (and COVID-19-safe) activities for students, faculty and staff to enjoy.
Despite growing concerns that spending too much time playing video games might be harmful, this six-year study (the longest study ever done on video game addiction) found that 90% of gamers don’t play in a way that is harmful or causes long-term consequences.
6. When drinking milk, 1% can make a difference
If you’re looking to slow the aging process, drinking low-fat milk (both nonfat and 1%) can have significant benefits for your cells. BYU researchers found that those who drink 2% and whole milk have several years more biological aging than those who drink lower-fat milk.
In June, BYU announced a new campus committee appointed to examine issues on race and inequality at BYU and provide recommendations to the university about specific actions to address these issues. The committee has heard from many throughout the BYU community sharing important thoughts and experiences, and the committee will be presenting formal recommendations to President Worthen soon.
4. BYU Cougars earn national spotlight
Even though COVID-19 changed the landscape for most collegiate athletic competitions for the majority of the year, BYU’s men’s basketball and football teams garnered much-deserved attention for standout performances. In February, BYU Basketball packed the stands for its final home game of the season against #2 nationally ranked Gonzaga, where some senior-night magic boosted the Cougars to one of the greatest upset wins in program history. This fall, BYU Football navigated a scheduling rollercoaster to put together an 11–1 season, beat several opponents by 40 or more points and ranked as a Top 10 team for five consecutive weeks, ending the year with a dominating performance against UCF in the Boca Raton Bowl.
Researchers from BYU’s exercise science and nutrition, dietetics and food science departments studied 120 freshmen over their first six months of college as they participated in a step-counting experiment. Participants walked either 10,000 steps, 12,500 steps or 15,000 steps a day while researchers tracked their caloric intake and weight. In all cases, the number of steps alone did not help prevent weight gain, but there were other positive impacts on physical activity patterns.
The 170,000-square-foot Music Building (located east of the law school) will have four levels and feature more mid-sized spaces for practice and recitals, including a 1000-seat concert hall. The ever-evolving campus landscape also saw the completion of the West View Building this year, which houses the economics and statistics departments and the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship.
1. Persevering through a pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has dominated research worldwide for most of 2020. Also due to the pandemic, the university announced an abrupt transition to remote learning on March 12, right in the middle of winter semester. Despite the chaos and constant cancelations, BYU faculty, students and staff have not only adapted to life and work in a world threatened by a global virus but also contributed to bettering the lives of others through research and resources related to COVID-19. Here are stories on just a handful of those contributions:
- An analysis of 115+ studies about mask efficacy and COVID-19.
- Supplying first responders with much-needed 3D printed masks.
- Testing Utah wastewater to model and monitor COVID-19 infection rates.
- Developing a low-cost, FDA-approved ventilator for COVID-19 patients.
- Designing a bluetooth stethoscope to protect healthcare practicioners.
- Creating a nanofiber membrane to increase mask efficacy by 99%.
- Testing thousands of classmates for COVID-19 before they left campus for the holidays.
Scroll through all of BYU’s COVID-19 related research here.
Top 5 Videos of the Year
A project to preserve the history of the survivors the Khmer Rouge regime, a tiny ghost creature from Antarctica, two COVID-19 inspired inventions, and a focus on enduring joy round out the best videos of the year. Combined across social platforms these five videos drew more than a million views.