Dedman College biology major traveled the world with SMU Global Brigades club

Daily Campus

Originally Posted: August 30, 2016

Stepping out of the cozy, warm environment of your comfort zone to go serve in a foreign country full of poverty and danger can be an overwhelming experience. But for some SMU students, the thrill is what keeps them going back every summer.

Katherine Nelson, a senior biology major, is a member of the SMU Global Brigades club that works throughout the year to raise money for the stimulating summer trip. Every year volunteers travel to different settlements in the Panama area to help the less fortunate get the care they need.

Katherine Nelson volunteering in Panama

Katherine Nelson volunteering in Panama. Photo credit: Katherine Nelson

Nelson said that some days more than 200 people would come in to be treated. She and 13 other SMU students took on this adventure to serve where they were needed, learning in the process.

“I remember thinking ‘dang, if they didn’t have us, this wouldn’t happen,’” said Nelson. READ MORE

Listen: SMU seismologists mentioned in a story about North Texas earthquakes and oil/gas activities

Texas Standard

THE EPA’S THE LATEST TO LINK NORTH TEXAS QUAKES TO OIL & GAS ACTIVITY

A new report says the federal agency found a “significant possibility” that oil and gas drilling in the region triggered earthquakes. But what have Texas regulators said about it? READ MORE

SMU alumnus Tim Seibles named Virginia’s poet laureate

Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

Originally Posted: August 23, 2016

Tim Seibles, professor of English at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, was named poet laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia by Governor Terry McAuliffe. Professor Seibles teaches in the master of fine arts in creative writing program at Old Dominion.

Professor Seibles joined the faculty at Old Dominion University in 1995. He was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2012 for his collection Fast Animal (Etruscan Press, 2012).

Professor Seibles is a graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He taught for 10 years in the Dallas public school system before earning a master of fine arts degree in creative writing at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. READ MORE

Listen: A Nation Engaged – America’s Role In The World

THINK KERA

Originally Posted- August 29, 2016

If you think this year’s presidential campaigns seem more divisive and acrimonious than ever before, you’re not alone. And the political rhetoric is making waves – not just here at home but abroad as well. This hour, as part of a NPR’s “A Nation Engaged” conversation project, we’ll talk about how the election and the next president will affect America’s role in the world. Our guests are writer Ben Fountain, who’s been reporting on the election forThe Guardian and Jeffrey Engel, who directs the Center for Presidential History at SMU. LISTEN

James Cronin, Nobel laureate who overturned long-accepted beliefs about the fundamental symmetry of laws of physics , dies at 84

Washington Post

Originally Posted: August 28, 2016

James W. Cronin, who shared the Nobel Prize in physics for discovering a startling breakdown in what was assumed to be the immutable symmetry of physical law, thereby helping to explain the behavior and evolution of the universe as a whole, died Aug. 25 in St. Paul, Minn. He was 84.

Dr. Cronin’s death was announced by the University of Chicago, where he was a professor emeritus of physics as well as of astronomy and astrophysics. No cause was reported.

Through the study of the decay of a single subatomic particle, Dr. Cronin and a colleague, Val Logsdon Fitch of Princeton University, made it possible for inferences to be drawn about the laws of nature on a scale as vast as the entire universe, in all its unfathomable immensity and multibillion-year duration. The two shared the 1980 Nobel Prize.

Scientists had assumed a symmetry between the particles making up matter and what theory described as their oppositely charged counterparts. These counterparts formed what is known as antimatter.

In addition, it had been assumed that the laws of nature were, in the terms of science, “invariant under time reversal.” This meant essentially that physics would be the same whether time flowed forward or backward, a concept as intriguing as it is foreign to experience. READ MORE

We Can’t Resurrect T. Rex and We Don’t Want To

Inverse
Originally Posted: August 22, 2016

Molecular biology Ph.D. candidate Lauren Ammerman has looked into and Jurassic megafauna would be a megaproblem.

The Jurassic Park franchise, like the dinosaurs it reanimates, won’t be ignored. Michael Crichton’s masterpiece makes a lot of cameos in academic papers. Still, it’s rarely the focus of true inquiry. It is, after all, kind of easy to dismiss. But Lauren Ammerman, a molecular biology Ph.D. candidate at Southern Methodist University, doesn’t want to be dismissive. This is why, as a senior at Baylor University, she authored an honors thesis about what happens when Jurassic gene editing meets the rewilding movement meets the ultimate alpha predator. She made herself — and this is truly awesome — an expert on what would happen if we brought back the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Inverse spoke to Ammerman, whose work reads like a potential sequel to Jurassic World, about how science and blockbusters can coexist.

Okay, I know we can’t actually resurrect the T. rex — for now. What’s holding us back?

We have one or two complete genes, but they’re not anything important, like dinosaur hemoglobin. And the information we do have is pretty badly damaged so, right now there’s not that much we can do about it. We don’t know enough about these decaying processes to reverse them and determine the original sequence. So the whole Jurassic Park idea of using frog genomes and reptile genomes to supplement it doesn’t really work because we don’t have anything to supplement. Dinosaurs are also actually physiologically different than the reptiles we have on Earth right now. We don’t have a good foundation to build on there.

I didn’t really have the chance to get into this in my thesis and I’ve never seen anyone mention it, but you also have this problem of ‘Okay, it’s in the cell, now what do we do?’ DNA is just one piece of the puzzle. It’s pretty strictly regulated by epigenetic mechanisms, processes that make DNA available or unavailable for gene expression. We have no way of knowing what key points turn it on or off. READ MORE

Nobel laureate and SMU alumnus James Cronin dies

Physics World

Originally Posted: August 27, 2016

American nuclear-physicist James Cronin, who shared the 1980 Nobel Prize for Physics with Val Fitch, died on 25 August, at the age of 84.

James CroninCronin and Fitch – who died in February last year – were awarded the prize for their 1964 discovery that decaying subatomic particles called K mesons violate a fundamental principle in physics known as “CP symmetry.” The research pointed towards a clear distinction between matter and antimatter, helping to explain the dominance of the former over the latter in our universe today.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, on 29 September 1931, Cronin completed his BS in 1951 at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where his father taught Latin and Greek. Cronin moved to the University of Chicago, where he graduated with a PhD in physics in 1955. While there, Cronin benefited from being taught by stalwarts of the field, including Enrico Fermi, Maria Mayer and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.

After his doctorate, Cronin worked as an assistant physicist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) until 1958, when he joined the faculty at Princeton University, where he remained until 1971. He then returned to the University of Chicago to become professor of physics. Cronin met Fitch during his time at BNL and it was Fitch who brought him to Princeton. While there, the duo aimed to verify CP symmetry using BNL’s Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS) by showing that two different particles did not decay into the same products. READ MORE

Drone video footage of Malawi dig site

YouTube
Originally Posted: August 22, 2016

American archaeologists of their field areas in Malawi, where Louis Jacobs is now. He is working with Dr. Elizabeth Gomani Chindebvu, former SMU graduate student.  The Mwakasyunguti valley is below the red layer where the archaeologists were digging.  The dinosaur beds are the light colored beds.

Oh, the places Dedman College students will go… (after graduation)!

Dedman College graduate employer list

Engaged Learning Fellowship announces Sept. 15 application deadline

Daily Campus

Originally Posted: August 25, 2016

SMU’s Engaged Learning Fellowship (ELF) presented by the Engaged Learning Center announces its Sept. 15 deadline for fellowship applications. The Engaged Learning Fellowship, a student-driven program, is aimed at mentoring students so that they can create a project that both fulfills the students’ learning goals and impacts the greater community and world.

The Engaged Learning Fellowship lasts until the semester of graduation and includes four phases: a proposal, the project, the presentation of the project and the final product. The ELF allows students to be involved in scholarly research, civic engineering, professional internships or other creative opportunities in its aim to link classroom experience with the greater world.

ELF projects begin in a student’s sophomore or junior year and ends when they graduate, and through the funds provided to ELF by SMU, students can earn fellowships of up to $2000 per project.

In order to complete an ELF application, students should have a well-written proposal that includes the following: a title, statement, purpose, methodology, timeline, bibliography and mentor approval.

For more information, go to http://www.smu.edu/Provost/EngagedLearning/FELLOWSHIPS