Two students from the University of Arkansas at Monticello won the physics and chemistry competitions at the 98th annual meeting of the Arkansas Academy of Science held April 4-5 at Harding University in Searcy.

Ryan ReyesDr. Jeffrey Taylor (above left), associate professor of chemistry, and Ryan Reyes, a biology and biochemistry double major from New Waverly, Tex. stand beside a poster created by Reyes. The poster explains Reyes’ research that employs three-dimensional molecular modeling and computer calculations to better understand the structure of carotenoids, the accessory light harvesting pigments of algae and plants.  These pigments collect and transfer the energy of light to electrons utilized in photosynthesis.  His research focuses on calculating the orbitals and energies of the electrons in their excited states to better understand energy transfer processes that occur during photosynthesis.

Christopher GillisonChristopher Gillison of Lake Village, a senior mathematics major, stands next to his poster on “Stable fuzzy logic control for nonlinear simple chaotic maps.” Gillison’s faculty mentor, Dr. Juan Serna, says chaotic maps are used to describe nonlinear phenomena such as population growth, economic fluctuations, chemical reactions, climate changes, and other phenomena. “In his research, Mr. Gillison uses a mathematical model called Fuzzy Logic to study a very particular chaotic map,” explains Serna. “This type of logic, that differs from the standard, bivalent logic of trues and falses, allows someone to describe complex, nonlinear systems by using a set of understandable human-language set of rules. These rules help to make the system linear and simpler to study.”