Cas Milner, Physics, subatomic particles could help detect damaged pipes

Inside Science

Originally posted: June 30, 2015

The subatomic muon could reveal potentially disastrous pipe corrosion.

By: Charles Q. Choi, Contributor
(Inside Science) — Of all the parts of the nation’s infrastructure that one might want least to fail, nuclear power plants might rank the highest. U.S. nuclear power plants are on average more than 30 years old now, and pipes within them can corrode over time with potentially lethal results. Now researchers suggest they could noninvasively scan infrastructure for weak points with the aid of subatomic particles streaking down from the sky.

Water and steam pumped through a pipe in a power plant or industrial refinery can eat away one side of the pipe. In 2004, such corrosion led a pipe to break at Mihama Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, killing five people and injuring six others with super-hot high-pressure steam in Japan’s worst nuclear power accident until Fukushima.

Analyzing the structural integrity of pipes typically involves ultrasound and X-ray scans. READ MORE

Dedman College students receive prestigious national fellowships and awards

Congratulations to the Dedman College students awarded prestigious national fellowships and awards during the 2014-15 academic year, including Fulbright Grants and a fellowship to the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. These students include:

Fulbright Scholar:

Whitney Goodwin
Michaela Wallerstedt
Kandi Doming

Institute for Responsible Citizenship Scholar:

Garrett Fisher

Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress Presidential Fellow:

Tracy Nelson

National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Nicole Hartman



Professors receive tenure, promotions effective in 2015-16



Congratulations to the Dedman College faculty members who are newly tenured as associate professors or have been promoted to full professorships to begin the 2015-16 academic year.

The following individuals received tenure or promotion effective Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015.

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

Angela Ards, English
Greg Brownderville, English
Justin Fisher, Philosophy
Matthew Keller, Sociology
Matthew Lockard, Philosophy
Daniel Moss, English
Nia Parson, Anthropology
Christopher Roos, Anthropology
Stephen Sekula, Physics
Alicia Zuese, World Languages and Literatures (Spanish)

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

Thomas Coan, Physics
Darryl Dickson-Carr, English
Robert Kehoe, Physics
Francisco Morán, World Languages and Literatures (Spanish)
Tony Ng, Statistical Science
Sherry Wang, Statistical Science

Steve Sekula, Physics, high-tech cancer treatment comes to North Texas


Originally Posted: May 14, 2015

It’s one of the most high-tech advancements in the fight against cancer, but if you want to get the treatment in Texas, your only option is driving to Houston.

That’s all about to change.

Inside a new three-story facility in Irving, a team of physicists, engineers and medical doctors is working on a new tool to fight cancer, all directed by one of the leading radiation oncologists in the country.

“I found the proton therapy to be not only very effective, but our published reports on the toxicity profile, and patient satisfaction rates have been quite good,” medical director Dr. Andrew Lee explained.

Dr. Lee is leading the Texas Center for Proton Therapy — the first of its kind in North Texas. READ MORE

1st proton collisions at the world’s largest science experiment expected to start the first or second week of June

Originally Posted: April 28, 2015

“No significant signs of new physics with the present data yet but it takes only one significant deviation in the data to change everything.” — Albert De Roeck, CERN
First collisions of protons at the world’s largest science experiment are expected to start the first or second week of June, according to a senior research scientist with CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Geneva.

“It will be about another six weeks to commission the machine, and many things can still happen on the way,” said physicist Albert De Roeck, a staff member at CERN and a professor at the University of Antwerp, Belgium and UC Davis, California. De Roeck is a leading scientist on CMS, one of the Large Hadron Collider’s key experiments.

The LHC in early April was restarted for its second three-year run after a two-year pause to upgrade the machine to operate at higher energies. At higher energy, physicists worldwide expect to see new discoveries about the laws that govern our natural universe. READ MORE

Physics Department hosts more than 300 of the world’s leading experts on particle physics

Originally Posted: April 24, 2014

Global physics talks at SMU star the tiny proton: a key to unlocking cosmic mysteries & cancer’s enemy

Why does physics matter? World’s scientists convene for ‘State of the Proton’

Starting Monday, the SMU Physics Department hosts more than 300 of the world’s leading experts on particle physics. The scientists will hold nuts and bolts sessions on questions that drive the world’s leading-edge physics experiments.

The “2015 International Workshop on Deep-Inelastic Scattering and Related Subjects,” is held annually in a world-class city, and this year is hosted by SMU at the Hughes Trigg Student Center.

Workshop sessions start Monday, April 27, and run through Friday, May 1, with physicists rolling up their sleeves to hash out equations, debate and refine algorithms, discuss and develop methodologies, explore spin physics and heavy flavors, and analyze and critique software and hardware developments to ensure the accuracy of the world’s frontline particle experiments.

SMU physicists and others at the workshop include members of the international collaboration that in 2012 made worldwide headlines for observing the Higgs Boson. The Higgs is science’s newest fundamental particle. Its presence was observed after high-energy collisions in the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, which straddles France and Switzerland. READ MORE

More on the Department of Physics

Brian Stump, Earth Sciences, key speaker at the 18th Honors Convocation

Outstanding achievement honored at SMU’s 2014-15 Awards Extravaganza, Honors Convocation.

Dedman College faculty, staff and students were recognized with teaching awards, service honors and the University’s highest commendation, the “M” Award, at the 2015 Awards Extravaganza Monday, April 13.

> Read the list of award winners from Honors Convocation 2015

On the same day, the University honored its best students at the 18th Honors Convocation. The address was delivered by Brian Stump, Claude C. Albritton Jr. Chair in Geological Sciences in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences.

An expert in seismic wave propagation and earthquake source theory, Stump has become well known in North Texas for his continuing research on the increasing occurrences of small earthquakes that have shaken the area since 2008. In November 2014, he was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for distinguished contributions to his field, particularly in the area of seismic monitoring in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. READ MORE

Congratulations to Dedman College faculty, staff and students who were recognized at the 2015 Awards Extravaganza on Monday, April 13.

Receiving the “M” Award, SMU’s most prestigious honor. Recipients include:

• Jill DeTemple, associate professor of religious studies
• Elizabeth Wheaton, senior lecturer in economics

The Willis M. Tate Award honors an outstanding faculty member who has been involved in student life. Recipients include:

• Jodi Cooley, associate professor of physics
• Stephen Sekula, assistant professor of physics
• Willard Spiegelman, Dwaine E. Hughes Jr. Distinguished Chair in English
• Brian Zoltowski, assistant professor of chemistry

Receiving the Extra Mile Awards, presented by Students for New Learning for graciousness and sensitivity to students with learning differences:

• Ian Harris, associate professor of statistical science

Read the full list of award winners.