SMU’s May 14 Commencement celebrates academic achievement

SMU News

Originally Posted: May 3, 2016

SMU will celebrate the academic accomplishments of more than 2,500 students at its 101st annual Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 14, in Moody Coliseum.

Guests are urged to arrive early as seating in the coliseum is limited to four guests per student. Additional seating will be available for a simulcast of the event at Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, Crum Auditorium and McFarlin Auditorium. The ceremony also will be broadcast outside Moody Coliseum on Bolin Plaza, and there will be a live webcast of the ceremony at http://www.smu.edu/live.

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Associate dean for General Education addresses questions about UC-2016

SMU Daily Campus

Originally Posted: April 16, 2016

By: Peter Moore, associate dean, General Education

Let me take a moment to address the issues Noah Bartos raised in his editorial regarding UC-2016.

Noah is rightly concerned about the potential headaches various groups will face regarding two very similar curricula (UC-2012 and UC-2016). We are too. He notes the increase in paperwork. That comes in three forms: 1) course proposals that faculty must write; 2) assessment; and 3) student petitions.

He is right in pointing out that in the near-term faculty will have some additional work to do. A significant portion of that has already been completed this spring and I hope that most of the rest will be finished by December. There is a sense of fatigue, but this is offset to some extent by the improvements he notes in the structure which allow for new opportunities for participation. Regarding assessment, my expectation is that this will actually decrease initially (while eventually returning to the current level).

My biggest concern is with student petitions that will arise through confusion between the two curricula. Noah notes this problem as well regarding the mixture of requirements in the same course. This mixture does not involve Proficiencies and Experiences which are identical in both curricula. We are aware of the problem regarding pillars (UC-2012) and breadth and depth (UC-2016) and will be working to mitigate the headaches that are bound to result.

Noah also raises concerns with the new STEM requirements which he believes have the potential to unduly impact Meadows’ students. With regard to the lab-based portion (PAS under UC-2012) of this requirement the revision in UC-2016 is closer to the original intent of the UC adopted in 2010, that students complete two lab-based courses. The TM requirement, however, should not be an additional burden for most Meadows’ students who will be able to complete it in the major (e.g., Theater Lighting).

Noah notes the advantages from the simplified Second Language requirement which should prove beneficial across all majors. The changes in UC-2016 are designed to lessen the need for double-counting pillar courses by opening up courses in the major.

For example, I expect Cox majors to benefit when ITOM 3306 (a required course for all Cox students) satisfies the TM requirement. In this case the number of UC requirements met in the Cox major will increase from two to three. The modifications introduced in UC-2012 were designed to address high-credit majors and enhance students’ ability to double major. Students should find the same advantages in UC-2016 along with a simplified structure.

Finally he argues that the language of the proposal does not provide an adequate description of content. The descriptions match the information provided in the original UC and are augmented by the Student Learning Outcomes. Together these do provide a good basis for determining what the new breadth and depth requirements are all about.

Nearly two years ago the University Curriculum Council responded to concerns about the original UC and introduced key modifications. Those modifications have helped the class of 2012 to graduate on time. However, the modifications led to some unintended consequences which UC-2016 addresses. We expect that our efforts this time around will be even more beneficial. READ MORE

DRSEF Award Winner Has Unique Connection With SMU Department of Mathematics

March 8, 2016

(Dallas, TX) – Over 1,000 prize-winning students from across the Dallas and Fort Worth Metroplex competed in the 2016 Beal Bank Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair (DRSEF) on Saturday, February 28, in Fair Park. Co-sponsored by SMU, participants — who have won their school or district science fairs — were awarded top honors for their innovations.

Steven Elliott science fair
Steven Elliot at the Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Steven Elliot, a high school student with The Home Educators Outsourcing High School was one of the top prize-winners. He presented his work titled, “Use the force Lyapunov! A novel force controller for quadcopter applications,” and won first place in Senior Division, Physical Sciences: Robotics and Intelligent Machines. He was a runner up for the grand prize in the Senior Division, Physical Sciences.

Elliot has a unique connection with SMU as he enrolled and took several math classes in Fall 2015 and Spring 2016. Steven works with Dr. Thomas Carr, Associate Professor in Department of Mathematics on problems related to the stability and control of quadcopters.

“Steven is highly motivated, independent and particularly competent,” says Dr. Carr. “I provide some mathematical guidance but for the most part I am learning from him, and that is a lot of fun.”

Steven has one research manuscript accepted for publication in the American Journal of Undergraduate Research (http://www.ajuronline.org/) titled, “Robust Nonlinear Control of BLDC Motor in Quadcopter Applications.” A second research paper is currently being submitted.

He will now go to the International Science Fair competition in Phoenix, AZ, in May, which will host students from throughout the world.

imagesAbout the DRSEF:

SMU faculty members coordinate the fair, recruit judges and help select the grand prize winners. SMU also hosts a March banquet honoring the top fair winners, their parents and science teachers.

The Fair is affiliated with the International Science and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest pre-college science competition. Students in grades 6-12 at public and private schools within the boundaries of TEA Region 10, who placed in their school science fairs, are eligible to participate in the DRSEF.

Board of Directors: Prof. Simon Dalley, SMU Physics Department, Prof. Randall J. Scalise, SMU Physics Department, Prof. Fredrick I. Olness, SMU Physics Department, Prof. Nicolay V. Tsarevsky, SMU Chemistry Department, Lacey Porter, SMU Physics Department

Executive Council: President: Simon Dalley, SMU Physics Department , Vice President: Randall J. Scalise, SMU Physics Department , Vice President: Fredrick I. Olness, SMU Physics Department, Secretary: Lacey Porter, SMU Physics Department, Treasurer: Andrew Milburn, Texas Capital Bank

For more information: dallassciencefair.org

Scott A. Norris, Mathematics, on odds of winning $1.6B Powerball jackpot

Associated Press

Originally Posted: January 14, 2016

$1.6B Powerball jackpot to be split three ways

Winners bought their tickets in Florida, Tennessee and a Los Angeles suburb

An eye-popping and unprecedented Powerball jackpot whose rise to $1.6 billion became a national fascination will be split three ways.

The winners’ identities remain a mystery, but they bought their tickets in Florida, Tennessee and a Los Angeles suburb where even lottery losers were celebrating Thursday that such heady riches were won in their modest city.

The winners of the world-record jackpot overcame odds of 1 in 292.2 million to land on the numbers drawn Wednesday night, 4-8-19-27-34 and Powerball 10. They can take the winnings in annual payments spread over decades or a smaller amount in a lump sum.

The California ticket was sold at a 7-Eleven in Chino Hills, California, lottery spokesman Alex Traverso told The Associated Press. The winning ticket in Tennessee was sold in Munford, north of Memphis, according to a news release from lottery officials in that state.

The California store and its surrounding strip mall immediately became a popular gathering spot in the usually quiet suburb of 75,000 people. Hundreds of people, from news crews to gawkers, crowded the store and spilled into its parking lot.

They cheered and mugged for TV cameras as if it were New Year’s Eve or a sporting event. Many chanted, “Chino Hills! Chino Hills!” in celebration of the city.

“It’s history. We’re all so excited for our city,” Rita Talwar, 52, who has lived in Chino Hills for 30 years, told the local newspaper, the San Bernardino Sun.

Some took selfies with the store clerk on duty, who became an instant celebrity and may well have been the man who sold the ticket after being on duty for much of the run-up to Wednesday night’s drawing. READ MORE

There’s no way to guarantee winning money on Powerball

New York Post

Originally Posted: January 11, 2016

For all you wise guys thinking of buying every Powerball combo and scooping up a guaranteed $1.3 billion: Think again.

Professional numbers crunchers have done the math and found there’s no way for a New York Powerball player to land in the black by snatching up every possible lottery number, even with this record prize coming up on Wednesday.

There are 292.2 million combinations of the five numbers plus one Powerball number in the game — which means a gambler could spend $584.4 million to guarantee a win by buying every set of numbers.

It may seem like a no-brainer investment, considering the payoff will be at least $1.3 billion. But buying every number would actually be a sucker bet.

Even if playing every number were possible — and experts say it’s not — the winnings could be cut down to just $806 million with a lump-sum payout.

That would be further reduced through taxes. A winner in New York City would take home $502.1 million after taxes, while a state resident outside Gotham would pocket $533.4 million, according to officials.

As bad of a loss as that would be, the real hurt would come if even one other person shared the jackpot by also picking the winning numbers. That would cut the winning prize in half.

Of course, a winner could take the payout over time, which would give them $1.3 billion total. But that would take 29 years of annual payments to collect. It would be much better to just invest the $584 million.

“They’re not stupid,” Scott Norris, a professor of applied mathematics at Southern Methodist University in Texas, said of lottery organizers. “You’re much better off going to a casino.”

The hardest part, though, would be the physical act of buying 292.2 million lottery tickets. READ MORE

Scott Norris, Mathematics, has one good tip for winning the Powerball jackpot

WINA News Radio

Originally Posted: January 8, 2016

It’s easy to sum up your chances of winning tomorrow’s huge Powerball jackpot: slim to none.

The math whizzes put the odds of winning at more than one in 292 million.

One statistical expert at the University at Buffalo – Jeffrey Miecznikowski – says that’s like flipping a quarter and getting heads 28 times in a row. In other words, forget it.

Scott A. Norris, an assistant professor of mathematics at Southern Methodist University, has one tip: He says let the computer pick rather than choosing the numbers yourself.

That’s because when people use birthdates or other favorite figures, they generally choose numbers 31 or below. That ignores the fact that there are 69 numbered balls. READ MORE

SMU is closed December 24-January 1. Have a safe and happy holiday!

HappyHolidays

SMU books fulfill your holiday gift giving list

Books published in 2015 by the SMU community, including faculty, staff, alumni, libraries and museum, can complete your holiday gift list.

Need to satisfy a history buff? This list has it covered in genres from art to film to science to the Southwest. Find selections for readers of poetry, as well as personal, political and travel memoir. There’s a cookbook for foodies. A photography collection showcases the American West. Arty crime capers are filled with mystery and intrigue to the end. There’s even a literary riff in the form of a card game based on a classic novel.

This collection has something for all reading preferences, from light to serious. Some selections are available at the SMU bookstore, but all are available via online booksellers unless otherwise noted. Authors are listed alphabetically. READ MORE

Save the Date: 2016 Career Fair, Feb. 18 from 4-7 p.m.

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