The most-read BYU News of the year include Star Wars-inspired research, advice for parents, a new chocolate milk flavor and the DNA of a 7’6” basketball player. Click on the titles to read the full articles and come back to watch the top videos from BYU this year.
In 2018, BYU hosted the NCAA’s Common Ground IV, a forum to explore how representatives of LGBTQ and faith-based communities can work more cohesively in college sports and higher education.
Takeaways from the leadership panel include becoming comfortable in asking sincere questions, in listening to sincere answers and in respecting the ability of others to make their own choices while also asking for the same courtesy in return.
Brigitte Madrian was named as dean of the Marriott School. She will begin her five-year term when we ring in the new year. Previously Madrian was the Aetna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management and chair of the Markets, Business and Government Area in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
For the 21st year in a row, BYU was named the most “Stone Cold Sober” university by The Princeton Review. To celebrate, BYU dining created a mint brownie chocolate milk flavor. The mint brownie milk will be available in 2019.
BYU AdLab students Seth Mollerup and Chris Petersen won the top student prize at the ANDYs, an awards ceremony sponsored by the Advertising Club of New York. Their winning video shows Orkin pest control specialists singing “pest do not mess with the Orkin man” to the tune of a “Sound of Music” song.
BYU started five new courses of study Fall Semester 2018. The four new majors and the new minor come from five different colleges on campus: cybersecurity, editing and publishing, statistics with an emphasis in data science, design and design thinking (minor).
Professors from each of the new majors shared why they’re excited about the programs and what unique opportunities they offer students.
Holography expert (and BYU professor) Daniel Smalley developed a method to recreate the type of 3D image projection Princess Leia uses in Star Wars to call Obi Wan Kenobi for help. Smalley and his coauthors were the first to use optical trapping and color effectively in these kinds of projections, which generated worldwide news coverage.
“This display is like a 3D printer for light,” Smalley said. “You’re actually printing an object in space with these little particles.”
Political science has its own chicken-or-the-egg question: Which comes first, people's party affiliation or their opinions on the issues? In the field's top journal, Professors Michael Barber and Jeremy Pope published the answer: policy positions are quite malleable for many people depending on which message they get from President Trump.
“It should be about ideas and not about winning or beating the other side,” Barber said. “Politics should be about pushing ideas and policies that you think will better the country.”
A new BYU study showed fatherhood norms shifting alongside masculinity, with dads spending more time with their kids and providing more emotional support. Dads who showed their feelings were more likely to be involved, engaged fathers. This BYU research was highlighted nationally on Fox News.
Several years ago, BYU biology professor John Kauwe sat next to Shawn Bradley on a flight. Later, Kauwe was able to analyze Bradley’s DNA. Instead of discovering the former basketball player had a few rare genetic traits accounting for his exceptional height, researchers found his height was a result of him having nearly every common genetic variant that positively affects height. And for that, Professor Kauwe made the sports section of The Wall Street Journal.
A new parenting study led by BYU professor Ali Crandall finds that the greater emotional control and problem-solving abilities a mother has, the less likely her children will develop behavioral problems, such as throwing tantrums or fighting. Both harsh verbal parenting and controlling parenting attitudes are strongly associated with child conduct problems.
Authors of the study said even small improvements in a few basic areas of life—such a sleep, exercise, and nutrition—can make a significant difference for parents.
Top 5 Videos of the Year
A dinosaur discovery, two humanitarian innovations, the real hologram and our Cougarettes round out the best videos of the year. Combined across social platforms, these five videos drew more than 3 million views.