College of Science
College of Science
In the College of Science, our challenge is to understand the extraordinary in the everyday, then use that knowledge to impact and improve our quality of life.
As the scientific core of Texas A&M, we take pride in providing the highest quality science education to all Texas A&M majors while delivering scholarly research and technical expertise to the world and preparing our students to become the next generation of scientific leaders.
We feature five departments (Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, and Statistics), one jointly administered department (Materials Science and Engineering), and 20 centers and institutes as well as many specialized laboratories and active research groups.
Valen E. Johnson became Dean of Science at Texas A&M University on May 1, 2019. A University Distinguished Professor of Statistics, he joined the Texas A&M faculty in September 2012 after eight years as a professor of biostatistics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. In addition to previous administrative experience as acting division head of quantitative sciences and department chair of biostatistics at MD Anderson, he has served as head of Texas A&M Statistics since March 2014. A renowned expert in Bayesian statistics and using probability distributions to represent uncertainties with regard to unknown quantities, he was appointed as a university distinguished professor in 2016.
Johnson earned his bachelor of science in mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1981, then served four years as a U.S. Army intelligence officer before receiving his master of arts in applied mathematics from the University of Texas in 1985. After earning his Ph.D. in statistics from The University of Chicago in 1989, he began his independent academic career at Duke University, serving 12 years as a professor of statistics. Following a yearlong stint as a technical staff member at Los Alamos National Laboratory from 2001 to 2002, he spent two years as a professor of biostatistics at the University of Michigan prior to arriving at MD Anderson in 2004.
During the past three decades, Johnson has analyzed comparative intelligences among non-human primates, probed grade inflation at American universities, examined the validity of student evaluations of teaching, and developed more effective tests for evaluating cancer drugs. He has developed models to estimate the reliability of space shuttles and other early stage rockets and to gauge the effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. In addition, he has used his statistical expertise to reinterpret the meaning of statistical significance and p-values, providing new insights into the sources of non-reproducibility of scientific research.
Johnson’s current methodological research interests focus on problems related to Bayesian variable selection, cluster analysis and the reproducibility of science.
Johnson is an elected fellow of both the American Statistical Association (1999) and the Royal Statistical Society as well as an elected member in the International Statistics Institute. He holds two patents and has published two books, Ordinal Data Models and Grade Inflation: A Crisis in College Education.
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College Station, TX 77843-3257
517 Blocker Building
155 Ireland Street, Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843
I Am Texas A&M Science
Texas A&M Science - I Am Texas A&M Science (Episode 17)Even for the most seasoned academic, career inspiration starts somewhere, and it all begins with a story. Here’s one from Texas A&M Science mathematician and distinguished professor Peter Kuchment details the circumstances, and obstacles, of his decision to come to the U.S. from the Soviet Union.
Texas A&M Science - I Am Texas A&M Science (Episode 16)Even for the most seasoned academic, career inspiration starts somewhere, and it all begins with a story. Here’s one from Texas A&M Science statistician and distinguished professor Cliff Spiegelman discussing which experts of his field had the biggest influence on his early career and what it takes to be a great statistician.
Texas A&M Science - I Am Texas A&M Science (Episode 15)Even for the most seasoned academic, career inspiration starts somewhere, and it all begins with a story. Here’s one from Texas A&M Science chemist and distinguished professor Don Darensbourg discussing the sort of legacy professors leave in their wake and what he hopes his will be.
When Texas A&M was founded in 1876, Louis Pasteur was proving the existence of microorganisms and dispelling the concept of spontaneous generation. Gregor Mendel was perfecting the basic concepts of genetics through his experimentation with peas. Fewer than 100 microscopes existed in the entire United States. Maps of Texas showed West Texas as Indian Territory.