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Faculty Focus: Mathematical Physics Research Group Part I
05.17.13 |
Oliver Lyons '13 at Inquiry 2013
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Oliver Lyons ’13: Bringing Coding Skills to the Lab

This is the first of two stories about student researchers who are members of the Mathematical Physics Research Group.

Dr. David Lyons, professor of mathematical sciences, and Dr. Scott Walck, chair and professor of physics, lead a student-faculty team of researchers known as the Mathematical Physics Research Group (MPRG), which for several years has been studying the area of quantum information science. This interdisciplinary field, which incorporates mathematics, physics, computer science, and engineering, studies the relationships between quantum mechanics and information processing.

The group recently was awarded a three-year, $273,975 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in support of their project, “Structure and Local Equivalence of Stabilizers and States.” This is the third consecutive NSF grant the group has earned, totaling more than $700,000 in support. Student researchers have co-authored numerous papers and delivered presentations at national conferences. Last spring, the group also received an Arnold Grant in support of this project. Oliver Lyons ’13 is one of five student members of the MPRG.

Oliver, son of Dr. David Lyons, is a double major in actuarial science and physics, with minors in chemistry and mathematics. He’s been involved with the MPRG since last summer. “Oliver has strong computer skills and that was very helpful to us,” Walck explained. “He was never dissuaded by what might appear to be a difficult computer problem. He was always ready to jump in and start coding and see where it went. So that was helpful to the group because there are lots of times when we’ll have an idea, but we need to do some computer experiments that involve some calculation just to see if some of our ideas can really pan out.”

Oliver Lyons is no stranger to summer research. Among other papers he has co-authored, he was lead author on a paper describing research into nanoparticle behavior conducted in association with Dr. Anderson Marsh, associate professor of chemistry. The paper, “Synthesis, Characterization, and Reaction Studies of a PVP-Capped Platinum Nanocatalyst Immobilized on Silica,” was published in the American Chemical Society journal Langmuir in 2010.

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