James Quick

SMU sponsors musical tribute to African American author-activist Margaret Walker Alexander on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Randy Klein and Aurelia Williams

Randy Klein, at piano, and Aurelia Williams

Members of the SMU community are invited to a free performance of “For My People: A New Musical Work” on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 7 p.m. at the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, Clarence Muse Café Theater, 1309 Canton Street, Dallas.

Celebrating the centennial of the birth of acclaimed African American poet-scholar-activist Margaret Walker Alexander (1915-1998), the event will feature the opus’ author, Randy Klein, joined by Aurelia Williams and the Heart and Soul Singers performing in honor of SMU’s first sponsorship of the annual College Language Association (CLA) convention (April 8-11 in Dallas).

Margaret Walker Alexander

Margaret Walker Alexander

Co-sponsors of the musical tribute are SMU’s Department of English and Ethnic Studies Program in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences along with the University’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, in partnership with the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, the College Language Association and Dr. Maryemma Graham of the University of Kansas.

“This is not only CLA’s 75th convention and the centennial of Dr. Margaret Walker Alexander’s birth, but it’s also the centennial of SMU’s opening,” says CLA host committee chair Darryl Dickson-Carr, associate professor of English in SMU’s Dedman College.

“Walker Alexander was the direct inspiration for The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, as its founder, Curtis King, was her student and protégé,” Dickson-Carr says. “The CLA’s first visit to Texas in 50 years coincides with remarkable events in Dallas and SMU’s histories, and features the work of some of its best and most celebrated students.”

Dylan Smith

Dylan Smith

Synthia Green

Synthia Green

SMU will host a private reception for CLA members at Café 43 in the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. University leaders set to greet CLA guests include Dedman College Dean Thomas DiPiero, Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies James Quick and Department of English Chair Nina Schwartz.

A jazz trio led by Dylan Smith of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will provide entertainment, as will Meadows student Synthia Green.

SMU English Department graduate students will serve as CLA convention volunteers.

For more details about the CLA and related events, contact Dr. Dickson-Carr.

Written by Denise Gee

SMU seismologist Brian Stump named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Brian W. Stump, Albritton Professor of Geological Sciences and AAAS Fellow, SMUSMU seismologist Brian Stump has been named an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow for distinguished contributions to his field, particularly in the area of seismic monitoring in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. Stump, Albritton Chair of Geological Sciences in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences of SMU’s Dedman College, is the fifth SMU professor to be recognized as an AAAS Fellow.

> Learn about Dr. Stump’s work at the SMU Research blog

“Dr. Stump is a scientist of the first rank and brings the results of his outstanding research into the classroom, where his students benefit from his example and insights as a scholar,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He richly deserves the AAAS recognition by his peers and we are proud that he calls SMU home.”

“Brian’s work has been seminal in scientists’ ability to rapidly and accurately discern the difference between an earthquake, a conventional explosion (such as might occur in a mining accident) and a nuclear test,” said James Quick, SMU vice president for research and dean of graduate studies. “His research is tremendously important to all of us, and yet he is equally committed to teaching and serving as a mentor to young faculty.”

> SMU News: SMU-UT study shows “plausible” connection between DFW quakes and saltwater injection well

Stump is well known regionally for his continued work researching the increase of small earthquakes that have been occurring in North Texas since 2008. But his work in detecting ground motion from explosions has for more than 20 years proved invaluable to the United States government in ensuring that the world’s nuclear powers abide by their agreements related to underground nuclear testing. He served as scientific adviser to the U.S. delegation to the Conference on Disarmament from 1994 through 1996 and continues to be called upon frequently to assist the U.S. government in the interpretation of seismic and acoustic data.

“I’m humbled by the recognition by the AAAS that science impacts the society in which we live,” Stump said. “I really believe that. And the work we’ve done at SMU on inducted seismicity in North Texas has that same blend of real science and societal impact.”

> Brian Stump on CBS-11 News: Report looks at drilling wastewater and North Texas earthquakes

For the last five years Stump has chaired the Air Force Technical Applications Center Seismic Review Panel, which provides a review of federally funded efforts in nuclear monitoring. He served as a committee member on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Seismology and Continental Dynamics from 2007 through 2012, and recently completed a term as board chair for Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), a consortium of more than 100 universities funded by the National Science Foundation.

Stump joined SMU in 1983 from the Seismology Section of the Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. He graduated summa cum laude from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon with a bachelor of arts in physics in 1974, received a master of arts from the University of California-Berkeley in 1975 and received his Ph.D. in geophysics from UC-Berkeley in 1979 after completing a thesis titled Investigation of Seismic Sources by the Linear Inversion of Seismograms.

SMU faculty previously named as AAAS Fellows:

  • Volcanologist and research dean James Quick, who was named a Fellow in 2013
  • Environmental biochemistry scholar Paul Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs and a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, who was named a Fellow in 2003
  • Anthropologist David Meltzer, Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory in the Department of Anthropology who was named a Fellow in 1998
  • James E. Brooks, provost emeritus and professor emeritus in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, who was named a Fellow in 1966.

The AAAS Fellows program began in 1874. AAAS members may be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering group of their respective sections, by three Fellows, or by the association’s chief executive officer. Each steering group then reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and forwards a final list to the AAAS Council, which votes on the final list of Fellows.

> Read more from SMU News

SMU welcomes its new supercomputer: ManeFrame

ManeFrame with R Gerald Turner, James Quick, Chase Harker, Chase Leinberger and Paul Ludden

At the ManeFrame ceremony were (l. to r.) SMU President R. Gerald Turner; James E. Quick, Dean of Research and Graduate Studies; Chase Harker, finalist in the naming competition; Chase Leinberger, who suggested the winning name; and Paul Ludden, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

SMU unveiled its new supercomputer, the ManeFrame, during ceremonies Wednesday, March 19, and award a Dell laptop computer to the student who named it – sophomore Chase Leinberger.

SMU students, faculty and staff selected the name from entries in a contest sponsored by SMU Provost and Vice President Paul Ludden.

With ManeFrame’s addition to its new data center at the southeastern end of campus, the University now has one of the top academic supercomputers in the nation. ManeFrame – named in honor of SMU’s mustang mascot, Peruna – will be opened to the campus in May, expanding the reach of faculty and student research into subjects ranging from particle physics, to human behavior, to water quality and drug discovery.

High-performance computing makes it possible for researchers to study complex problems involving massive amounts of data using sophisticated software and step-by-step recipes for calculations. At its peak, ManeFrame is expected to be capable of more than 120 trillion mathematical operations a second.

“High-performance computing has become an indispensible tool in the 21st century,” said Jim Quick, associate vice president of research and dean of graduate studies. “The incredible computational power provided by high-performance computing is widely used in science, engineering, business and the arts.  ManeFrame brings this capability to Dallas.”

Bob Kehoe named SMU Director of Undergraduate Research

Robert KehoeAssociate Professor Robert Kehoe, coordinator of SMU’s Undergraduate Research Assistantships program and director of undergraduate research in the Department of Physics, has been named the University’s new Director of Undergraduate Research. He reports to James Quick, Associate Vice President for Research.

Kehoe sums up undergraduate research as “one of the single most promising recent developments to enhance student learning and prepare them for their ultimate career or vocation.

“It propels students out of the classroom to confront new questions and opportunities armed with the knowledge they have newly gained,” he says. “It does this while students are still supported by the SMU community. Undergraduate research provides a valuable intermediate space between classroom curriculum and professional possibilities.”

An SMU professor since 2004, Kehoe received his B.A. degree in physics from Earlham College and his Ph.D. degree in high-energy physics from the University of Notre Dame. He completed postdoctoral study in astrophysics and high-energy physics at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, respectively.

Kehoe is a member of the SMU team on the ATLAS Experiment, the largest detector in the Large Hadron Collider array at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. His longstanding research into subatomic particle mass played a role in the search for the long-sought Higgs boson. He also contributed directly to the analysis published in summer 2012 that observed a new particle consistent with the Higgs.

His Higgs research focused on controlling and quantifying the large amount of background created in the production of two very massive charged particles used to help detect the previously unknown Higgs boson, as well as on understanding the large theoretical uncertainties involved in the production of those particles.

As a collaborator in Fermilab’s DZero experiment, Kehoe led analysis of data from particle collisions resulting in two leptons, which helped improve measurements of the mass of another heavy subatomic particle called the top quark. Physicists theorize that this particle — because of its sizable mass — is sensitive to the Higgs and therefore may point to it, and that knowing the mass of the top quark narrowed the range of where the Higgs can be expected.

“Professor Kehoe knows good research and good research opportunities when he sees them,” Quick remarked during the announcement of Kehoe’s new duties at the University’s 2012 Engaged Learning Expo on Aug. 27. Kehoe will continue to teach and do research in the Department of Physics.

Kehoe says his new position gives him “a well-defined role and a well-defined way to communicate with people. Now we can have a discussion about undergraduate research that will involve all of SMU.” His primary goal will be to expand and help enrich research opportunities and experiences for SMU undergraduates, he says.

Cooperation among programs and consistent communications to students and parents “are hard to do by individual project coordinators in a way that benefits everyone,” Kehoe adds. An office dedicated to building those connections “opens a whole new avenue for collaboration.”

In addition, Kehoe will help to implement assessment for program effectiveness, as well as integration with the research component of SMU’s Engaged Learning initiative.

Kehoe has already started informal discussions with faculty and will consult with the coordinators of undergraduate research programs across campus. His main focus will be to help existing programs and help develop new ones, he says.

“We’ll take a look at the programs we already have so we can discuss what’s missing,” as well as learning about faculty ideas for new programs, he says. He intends to establish a group to create a strategic plan for undergraduate research “with the input of a broad cross-section of SMU,” including faculty, students and program coordinators.

“My job is not to tell program coordinators what to do,” he says. “My job is to help them produce and coordinate common resources and practices, as well as to disseminate information that will enhance recruitment and retention.”

To this end, Kehoe will direct an expansion of SMU’s online undergraduate research presence, including a new website and the production of an online undergraduate research journal. He will also help create marketing campaigns and other communications for current and prospective students and faculty members.

Engaged Learning Expo 2012 connects students with opportunities

SMU students who want to learn outside the classroom, tackle real world issues and explore potential careers as part of their university experience will find representatives from DFW-area organizations and agencies who want their help at Monday’s Engaged Learning Expo. The event also will be of interest to faculty who want to develop courses with community components and staff who want to expand opportunities for their programs.

Scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 27, 2012, in the Umphrey Lee Center’s Mack Ballroom, the expo will celebrate 100 SMU undergraduates who worked on significant projects this summer, and provide opportunities to mix and match interested students with 15 different campus programs as well as 45 DFW-area community partners. Refreshments will be served, and participating students will be issued an Engaged Learning “passport” that can be entered into a lottery for prizes.

“A student who engages in a learning activity beyond the classroom has the opportunity to transfer the knowledge and skills of the classroom to a real-life situation, learn from the experience, reflect on it and use it as a basis for further learning,” said Susan Kress, director of Engaged Learning at SMU. “This is a taste of what it means to be a lifelong learner, and, for some, the first step in living a life of meaning and success in a complex world.”

SMU President R. Gerald Turner will speak about SMU’s commitment to community partnerships and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Ludden will outline the impact of Engaged Learning on the University. Gillian McCombs, dean and director of Central University Libraries, will explain how the Digital Repository: Engaged Learning Collections will house the publications of students who produce Engaged Learning projects.

In addition, James Quick, associate vice president for research and dean of graduate studies, will announce the first recipient of the Excellence in Mentoring Award and introduce SMU’s first director of undergraduate research.

Kimberly Cobb

> Find a list of participating companies and organizations at SMU News

SMU Digital Repository ready for faculty submissions

SMU Digital Repository logoSMU’s Central University Libraries, Office of Research and Graduate Studies, and Office of Information Technology have combined resources to create the SMU Digital Repository, an online archive for collecting and sharing the scholarly work of SMU faculty, staff and students.

The repository is the product of a strategic partnership headed by CUL Dean and Director Gillian McCombs, Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies Jim Quick, and Chief Information Officer Joe Gargiulo.

Using the Digital Commons software platform created by Berkeley Electronic Press, the SMU Digital Repository provides open access to research documents, articles, preprints, working papers, conference agendas and papers, and scholarly image collections created by SMU faculty, students, and academic staff.

The Digital Commons software also allows the publishing of open-access or subscription-based journals, and includes journal management software to customize workflows.

In the early stages of building the repository, “we’re focused on getting faculty members comfortable with the interface and with the idea of storing their work online,” says Josh Lupkin, faculty liaison for the Digital Repository. “Professors are used to communicating with colleagues in particular ways and publishing in venues specific to their fields. We’re not competing with those, but offering them another way to showcase their work and to make it more visible and accessible.”

Repository staff members are available to address any questions regarding storage, Lupkin says. For example, “some faculty members may have concerns about uploading papers to the Repository, because of publishing agreements. In those cases, we may be able to store an abstract with descriptive keywords and an outside link to the full publication.

“Above all else, this is a service to faculty that will afford them and their departments the benefits of increased relevance in Google and other searches.”

Details about the Digital Repository, including information about submitting materials, can be found at digitalrepository.smu.edu. Digital Repository team members are also available to present information sessions tailored to individual schools, departments and centers.

The University’s Norwick Center for Digital Services (nCDS) works with faculty and academic units to identify, manage, upload and present a wide range of text, image, video, audio, database, and other files that showcase SMU’s research and scholarly achievements. The Scholarly Digitization Program – offered by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies – funds digitization of materials through the nCDS for University faculty and staff members who would like to contribute nondigital materials to the Repository but lack the technology or funds required to digitize them. Up to $25,000 per semester is available, and applicants can apply for up to $5,000 of funding per project. The funding application form is available online.

The Repository is working with the Office of Engaged Learning to create a space for approved student work, Lupkin says. Papers from the first three students to complete Engaged Learning projects will be uploaded by May 2012. “The Repository will also give graduate students a forum for getting their work out into the world, after consultation with faculty advisors,” he adds. “It’s all about making connections.”

The Repository can even provide an online home for conferences hosted by a University center or department, Lupkin says. “This could mean anything from storing programs, papers and abstracts to presenting audio or video of individual sessions,” he says. “We can tailor the experience depending on the host entity’s needs.”

For more information, contact Josh Lupkin or Rob Walker at digitalrepository@list.smu.edu.

> Visit the SMU Digital Repository
> Create an SMU Digital Repository account
> Learn more from the SMU Digital Repository FAQ
Learn how to submit materials to the SMU Digital Repository

Physics professor Jodi Cooley wins 2012 NSF career award

Jodi Cooley, SMU physics professor and NSF CAREER Award winnerJodi Cooley of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences has earned a National Science Foundation CAREER Award of more than $1 million for her research toward detecting the particles that are believed to make up dark matter.

NSF Early Career Development Awards are given to junior faculty members who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research in American colleges and universities.

Cooley, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics, is an experimental particle physicist working with the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (SuperCDMS), a collaboration of 14 institutions from the United States and Canada. Cooley is SMU’s principal investigator for the group.

Scientists theorize that more than 80 percent of all matter in the universe is dark matter, which consists of material that cannot be seen or detected by conventional means. Cooley’s research in the SuperCDMS project is conducted in the Soudan Iron Mine in Soudan, Minnesota, where researchers are shielded from cosmic-ray radiation as they use detector technology to “listen” for the passage of dark matter through the earth. Cooley’s research uses sophisticated equipment to optimize the chances of detecting “weakly interacting massive particles,” also known as WIMPS, which are the particles hypothesized to make up dark matter.

“Her CAREER Award will enable Professor Cooley to extend this research with additional measurements at higher levels of sensitivity and simulations, placing SMU in a leadership role in this cutting-edge field of physics,” said James Quick, associate vice president for research and dean of graduate studies.

Cooley joined SMU in 2009. She was a postdoctoral scholar in the Physics Department at Stanford University from 2004-09 and a postdoctoral associate in the Laboratory for Nuclear Science at MIT from 2003-04. She received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2003, a Master of Arts in physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000, and a Bachelor of Science in applied math and physics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1997.

The NSF is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In the past few decades, NSF-funded researchers have won more than 180 Nobel Prizes.

Cooley is SMU’s second NSF CAREER award winner this year. Joe Camp, J. Lindsay Embrey Trustee Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, received a Faculty Early Career Development Award for his research into improved wireless network design incorporating low frequencies.

> Read more from SMU News
> Visit the Department of Physics homepage

University rises in Carnegie Foundation research classification

dallas-hall-panoramic-750.jpg

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has raised SMU’s classification among institutions of higher education, reflecting dramatic growth in the University’s research activity since it was last measured in 2005.

SMU is now categorized as a research university with “high research activity,” a significant step up from its last assessment in 2005 as a doctoral/research university. The Carnegie Foundation assigns doctorate-granting institutions to categories based on a measure of research activity occurring at a particular period in time, basing these latest classifications on data from 2008-2009.

“SMU”s rise in the Carnegie classification system is further evidence of the growing quality and research productivity of our faculty. We are building a community of scholars asking and answering important research questions and making an impact on societal issues with their findings,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “In addition to our dedication to outstanding teaching, SMU is becoming increasingly recognized as a vital resource for research in a variety of fields.”

The designation as a “high research activity” university “is an important step in SMU’s evolution as a strong national university,” said Paul Ludden, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “The faculty, staff, and students at SMU can be proud of this, particularly when paired with our rise in national rankings.

“The Carnegie Classification recognizes the tremendous efforts by the entire faculty at SMU to expand our research portfolio and address the many questions facing North Texas and the world. Recognition should go to Associate Vice President for Research James Quick and his office for their efforts to support the research activities of our faculty and staff.”

The foundation analyzed SMU’s research activity in a category of universities that awarded at least 20 research doctorates in 2008-09, excluding professional degrees such as those leading to the practice of medicine and law. The analysis examined research and development expenditures in science and engineering as well as in non-science and non-engineering fields; science and engineering research staff (postdoctoral appointees and other non-faculty research staff with doctorates); doctoral conferrals in the humanities, in the social sciences, in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, and in other areas such as, business, education, public policy and social work.

The Carnegie Foundation classification of U.S. accredited colleges and universities uses nationally available data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education, the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the National Science Foundation, and the College Board.

“SMU’s rise in academic rankings and research productivity is a strong return on the investment of our alumni and other donors who provide support for research, endowed chairs, and graduate programs and fellowships,” said SMU Board of Trustees Chair Caren Prothro. “SMU students at all levels are the beneficiaries of this distinction as their faculty enliven the classroom with their research and engage students in the tradition of academic inquiry.”

> Read more from SMU News
> Visit the SMU Research website
> Keep up with research news at the SMU Research blog

Jim Quick receives Capellini Medal for supervolcano discovery

James Quick in ItalyItalian geologists awarded the Capellini Medal to SMU Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies James E. Quick (right) Sept. 6-8, 2010, in Pisa. The award recognizes the discovery of an enormous 280 million-year-old fossil supervolcano in the Italian Alps with its magmatic plumbing system exposed to an unprecedented depth of 25 kilometers. The discovery has sparked not only worldwide scientific interest but also a budding regional geotourism industry.

Quick and his colleagues at the University of TriesteSilvano Sinigoi, Gabriella Peressini, Gabriella Dimarchi and Andrea Sbisa – discovered the unique fossil supervolcano in northern Italy’s picturesque Sesia Valley.

The Italian Geological Society, Italy’s oldest professional organization for geologists, awards the medal to foreign geoscientists for a significant contribution to Italian geology.

Quick, a professor in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences in Dedman College, is the second recipient of the award.

Supervolcanoes, also referred to as calderas, are enormous craters tens of kilometers in diameter produced by rare and massive explosive eruptions – among nature’s most violent events. Their eruptions are sparked by the explosive release of gas from molten rock, or magma, as it pushes its way to the Earth’s surface.

“There will be another supervolcano explosion. We don’t know where,” Quick says. “Sesia Valley could help us to predict the next event.”

The Capellini Medal is named for Giovanni Capellini, founder and five-time president of the Geological Society of Italy and strong advocate of international scientific exchange.

Written by Margaret Allen

> Read more from the SMU Research blog

Research Spotlight: When airplanes and volcanic ash collide

Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruptingFloating ash plumes from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano have caused massive disruption to the world’s air traffic, highlighting the danger that volcanic ash plumes pose to aircraft.

The threat from volcanoes has become more severe as the world’s air traffic has increased, and as more people settle closer to volcanoes, says SMU vulcanologist James Quick, a professor in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College. Quick previously served as program coordinator for the USGS Volcano Hazards Program.

One of the most infamous encounters between a commercial jetliner and a volcanic ash plume took place in 1989. KLM Flight 867, carrying 231 passengers in a Boeing 747, flew into an ash plume after the eruption of Redoubt volcano in Alaska. According to USGS reports, the volcano spewed enormous clouds of ash thousands of miles into the air and nearly caused the airliner to crash.

Captured on audio was the frantic conversation between KLM’s pilot and the Anchorage control tower as the aircraft’s engines began flameout. Hear the cockpit audio in this video, as well as Quick’s comments on the danger.

Volcanic ash plumes can rise to cruise altitudes in a matter of minutes after an eruption, Quick says. Winds carry plumes thousands of miles from the volcanoes and then the plumes are difficult or impossible to distinguish from normal atmospheric clouds.

Worldwide from 1970 to 2000 more than 90 commercial jets have flown into clouds of volcanic ash, causing damage to those aircraft, most notably engine failure, according to airplane maker Boeing.

Volcano monitoring by remote sensing allows USGS scientists to alert the International Civil Aviation Organization’s nine Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers as part of ICAO’s International Airways Volcano Watch program. The centers then can issue early warnings of volcanic ash clouds to pilots.

Written by Margaret Allen

> Read more from the SMU Research blog

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