Statistics professors offer opportunity to attend virtual lecture from England

Jonathan Holmes will give a virtual talk to statistics students called "Codebreaking at Bletchley Park: Enigma and Lorenz."

David Holmes and Elizabeth Johnson, both assistant professors in the Department of Statistics, worked for more than a year to develop a study abroad trip to England for students pursuing a BS in statistics.

There are very few study abroad opportunities for STEM majors, but with the help of grants from Mason's Global Education Office, they developed a first-of-its-kind statistics study abroad trip. The date was set for spring break 2020 for the trip called "The History of Statistics: English Origins," but all spring break trips were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Holmes was especially disappointed because he was looking forward to showing students his home country and having his brother Jonathan Holmes discuss the history of codebreaking. 

Jonathan Holmes, who holds an MA degree in physics and a PhD in astrophysics from Oxford University, is a physicist specializing in the numerical simulation of physical processes for the energy industry.

As a scientific advisor for Schlumberger, he assisted in the construction of computer simulation codes for oil and gas reservoirs, production facilities, and multiphase flow in wells and pipelines. 

Now retired and living in the United Kingdom, Jonathan Holmes follows a variety of interests within the scientific community. He is a member of the Institute of Physics and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Because some of the students will be graduating this spring they will not be able to go on this study abroad trip when David Holmes and Johnson try to do it again next year. So the Holmes brothers developed a plan to have Jonathan Holmes give his planned talk to the students via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.

They practiced using the system and on Tuesday, April 14, Jonathan Holmes will give his talk called “Codebreaking at Bletchley Park: Enigma and Lorenz" for Johnson's statistics capstone class.

Anyone interested in attending the virtual lecture should email Johnson for information.