Second LVC Professor Receives National Science Foundation Grant This Month

Dr David Lyons is a professor of mathematical sciences at Lebanon Valley College

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced Dr. David Lyons, professor of mathematical sciences, as the second Lebanon Valley College professor to be awarded a grant this month. Lyons’ grant for $210,429 is his fifth career NSF award, enabling him to surpass $1 million in support for student-faculty work in his interdisciplinary (mathematics, physics, and computer & data science) Mathematical Physics Research Group during the past 15 years. Lyons has served as principal or co-principal investigator on all five three-year grants.

In the College’s tradition of student-faculty research dating back to the 1940s, Dr. Daniel Pitonyak, LVC Class of 2008 and current LVC assistant professor of physics, also received an NSF award earlier this month. His three-year, $164,862 grant will fund his theoretical nuclear physics research at LVC with students. Pitonyak was a member of Dr. Lyons’ Mathematical Physics Research Group as an undergraduate. 

Lyons’ most recent NSF grant will focus on Quantum State Symmetry and Applications, and he will again serve as principal investigator. Lyons’ project description states: “Recent cutting-edge and near-future quantum devices will push the boundaries of information processing in communication, computation, and measurement to probe new physical realms and enhance the foundational understanding of physics.” Lyons’ project will continue studies in quantum entanglement and other nonlocal properties that power the “quantum advantage” of these revolutionary technologies. He will seek to design useful applications for quantum computers and quantum communication networks. A primary focus of the grant will be the development of LVC undergraduates through participation in hands-on research.

“As a fellow student-faculty research mentor, I know how competitive NSF awards are,” said Dr. James MacLaren, LVC president and former physicist. “This distinguished national award recognizes David’s caliber of your scholarship and dedication to our students. The extraordinary success of his former student researchers amplifies his commitment to hands-on student research.” 

Alumni of Lyons’ Mathematical Physics Research Group have co-published numerous articles in prestigious journals and presented at regional and national conferences as undergraduates. Many are attending or graduated from prominent universities such as The College of William & Mary, University of Virginia, Pennsylvania State University, University of Colorado, Lehigh University, University of Nebraska, Texas Tech University, and more. Other alumni are actuaries, professors, teachers, and industry professionals. 

“Together with Dan Pitonyak’s recent NSF award, this is cause for celebration at LVC,” noted Lyons. “It highlights our work in out-performing many of our peer institutions. Our collaborative student-faculty research, with many students published as co-authors in top-tier science research journals, is at a level comparable to elite national institutions.”


About Dr. Lyons

Dr. David Lyons, professor of mathematical sciences, earned his bachelor’s degree from Davidson College and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has taught at Lebanon Valley College since 2000. Lyons teaches or has taught more than 20 classes, ranging from Finite Mathematics to Abstract Geometry. 


Lyons co-founded the Mathematical Physics Research Group in 2002 with Dr. Scott Walck, LVC professor of physics. Solo and with many of his students and Walck as co-authors, Lyons has published his research in numerous national scientific journals, including the Journal of Physics A: A Mathematical and Theoretical; PRIMUS; Advances in Mathematical Physics; Physical Review A; and Theory and Quantum Computation, Communication, and Cryptography.


Lyons and his student-research mentees have presented at conferences throughout the U.S., including California, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. He has presented more than a dozen times internationally in Austria (Innsbruck, Seefeld), Canada (Montreal), the Czech Republic (Valtice), England (University of Cambridge, Leeds, University of Bristol, University of York), France (Paris), and Spain (Madrid).  


About the LVC Mathematical Physics Research Group 

The LVC Mathematical Physics Research Group conducts interdisciplinary student-faculty research. Recent areas of primary focus have been functional programming and quantum information science. Their work is interdisciplinary, involving physics, mathematics, and computer & data science.