Skip to main content
Intellect

Top 10 BYU News stories of 2020

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.

Book of Mormon

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.


7. Is video game addiction real?

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.

5. New Committee for Race, Equity & Belonging

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.

3. Logging 10,000 daily steps may not have much effect on your waistline

Up-close image of a step-counting watch

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.

2. Construction starts on new Music Building

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:

Scroll through all of BYU’s COVID-19 related research here.

With masks in short supply, BYU engineers use 3D printing labs to assist first responders

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.

BYU engineering: Spinning nanofibers to make regular cloth masks as strong as N95 masks. Video filmed by Brian Wilcox, produced by Julie Walker.
New 3D-printed stethogram, a low-cost digital stethoscope and app.

Related Articles
data-content-type="article"
July 21, 2021
Immigrant communities such as a Finnish settlement in Scofield and a Chinese community in Salt Lake City may not be as well-known or remembered but still play an important part of Utah’s history — a history rich with diverse stories of faith and perseverance.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"
July 20, 2021
A single bottle of tonic to cure diabetes, cancer, ulcers and dizziness. Raisins and currants for Christmas mince meat pies. Midwifery courses taught by a certified female doctor, $30 a term. A souvenir stone from the Hill Cumorah, “guaranteed genuine,” mailed from New York for 25 cents.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"
July 19, 2021
BYU cybersecurity professor Justin Giboney is training the next generation of cyber experts to keep your information safe. In this Q&A, Giboney answers a few questions to help breakdown what we are facing and what we can do.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText=