SMU to host international particle physics workshop April 27-May 1, 2015

physics

SMU to host international particle physics workshop April 27-May 1, 2015

DIS 2015 Dallas Hall oculus-splash logoMore than 300 of the world’s leading experts on particle physics are about to converge on Dallas for one of the discipline’s most important annual gatherings. The 2015 International Workshop on Deep-Inelastic Scattering and Related Subjects (DIS), held annually in a world-class city, will be hosted by SMU April 27-May 1, 2015,

A public panel will kick off the workshop week on Sunday, April 26. Steve Sekula, SMU assistant professor of physics, will host fellow physicists Joe Izen of UT-Dallas, Pat Skubic of the University of Oklahoma and Chris Jackson of UT-Arlington for “If the Universe is the Answer…What is the Question?” at 6:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information and parking directions, contact the Department of Physics, 214-768-2495.

> Follow the conference on Twitter: #DIS2015

SMU physicists are active in several major international scientific consortia on particle physics experiments, including one of the most notable – the Large Hadron Collider. The 23rd annual DIS workshop brings these scientists together to discuss both the results from current experiments and the theoretical advances that will guide the future.

> Learn more at the DIS 2015 homepage: dis2015.org

April 24, 2015|Calendar Highlights, For the Record, News|

SMU scientists celebrate Nobel Prize for Higgs discovery

Particle collision from the ATLAS ExperimentSMU’s experimental physics group played a pivotal role in discovering the Higgs boson — the particle that proves the theory for which two scientists have received the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences today awarded the Nobel Prize to theorists Peter W. Higgs and François Englert to recognize their work developing the theory of what is now known as the Higgs field, which gives elementary particles mass. U.S. scientists played a significant role in advancing the theory and in discovering the particle that proves the existence of the Higgs field, the Higgs boson.

The Nobel citation recognizes Higgs and Englert “for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.”

“A scientist may test out a thousand different ideas over the course of a career. If you’re fortunate, you get to experiment with one that works,” says SMU physicist Ryszard Stroynowski, a principal investigator in the search for the Higgs boson. As the leader of an SMU Department of Physics team working on the experiment, Stroynowski served as U.S. coordinator for the ATLAS Experiment’s Liquid Argon Calorimeter, which measures energy from the particles created by proton collisions.

The University’s experimental physics group has been involved since 1994 and is a major contributor to the research, the heart of which is the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator on the border with Switzerland and France.

Preliminary discovery results were announced July 4, 2012 at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, near Geneva, Switzerland, and at the International Conference of High Energy Physics in Melbourne, Australia.

• Several contributors from SMU have made their mark on the project at various stages, including current Department of Physics faculty members Ryszard Stroynowski, Jingbo Ye, Robert Kehoe and Stephen Sekula. Faculty members Pavel Nadolsky and Fred Olness performed theoretical calculations used in various aspects of data analysis.

• University postdoctoral fellows on the ATLAS Experiment have included Julia Hoffmann, David Joffe, Ana Firan, Haleh Hadavand, Peter Renkel, Aidan Randle-Conde, Daniel Goldin and Sami Kama.

• SMU has awarded eight Ph.D. and seven M.S. degrees to students who performed advanced work on ATLAS, including Ryan Rios, Rozmin Daya, Renat Ishmukhametov, Tingting Cao, Kamile Dindar, Pavel Zarzhitsky and Azzedin Kasmi.

• Significant contributions to ATLAS have also been made by SMU faculty members in the Department of Physics’ Optoelectronics Lab, including Tiankuan Liu, Annie Xiang and Datao Gong.

“The discovery of the Higgs is a great achievement, confirming an idea that will require rewriting of the textbooks,” Stroynowski says. “But there is much more to be learned from the LHC and from ATLAS data in the next few years. We look forward to continuing this work.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

October 8, 2013|News, Research|

Marc Christensen named dean of Lyle School of Engineering

Marc Christensen

Marc Christensen, SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle Professor of Engineering Innovation, has been named dean of the University’s Lyle School of Engineering, effective immediately. He has served as the school’s interim dean since July 2012.

Marc Christensen, a nationally recognized leader in photonics – the science and technology of light – has been named dean of SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering.

Christensen, 41, has served as interim dean in the Lyle School since July 1, 2012, and assumes the new position immediately.

“Dr. Christensen has been setting a strong example of collaborative leadership, innovative research and commitment to students since he began his career at the Lyle School in 2002,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “That he has become dean in little more than a decade is testament to both his achievements and his high expectations for the Lyle School and for himself. He is well-equipped to lead the Lyle School as it continues its rise to prominence.”

“Marc is highly regarded in the Lyle School, across the campus and in the scientific community,” said SMU Provost Paul Ludden. “He is personally immersed in the innovative education style that is the Lyle School’s signature, and has solidified the Lyle School’s academic offerings and research footprint as interim dean. We congratulate him in his new role.“

Christensen will continue as the engineering school’s Bobby B. Lyle Professor of Engineering Innovation and as a research professor in the Department of Physics in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

“I am excited about the opportunity to serve as dean of the Lyle School at this critical juncture,” Christensen said, “and I am proud of the quality of our faculty, the dedication of our staff, and the poise and creativity of our students. SMU-Lyle is making a difference – preparing our students to be innovative leaders, engaging them in our classrooms, our research labs and our community. We will support SMU’s pursuit of excellence in graduate and undergraduate programs while maintaining a strategic focus on the research enterprise, and I look forward to collaborating with the other fine schools across SMU’s campus.”

Christensen received his Bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from Cornell University. He received his Master’s degree in electrical engineering and his Ph.D. in electrical computer engineering at George Mason University. He also is a graduate of the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education Management Development Program.

Christensen is a recognized leader in mapping photonic technology onto varied applications. In 2007, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) identified him as a “rising star in microsystems research” and selected him to be one of the first DARPA Young Faculty Award recipients.

From 1991-1998, while pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees, Christensen was a staff member and technical leader in BDM’s Sensors and Photonics group (now part of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems). In 1997, he co-founded Applied Photonics, a free-space optical interconnection module company.

Joining SMU in 2002, Christensen served as chair of the Electrical Engineering Department from 2007-12.

In 2008, Christensen was recognized at SMU for outstanding research with the Gerald J. Ford Research Fellowship, and in 2011 he was recognized for outstanding and innovative teaching as a recipient of the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Award.

Christensen has co-authored more than 100 journal and conference papers. He has two patents in the field of free space optical interconnections, one patent pending in the field of integrated photonics, and four pending in the field of computational imaging.

> Visit SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering online

May 1, 2013|For the Record, News|

For the Record: Feb. 26, 2013

Jodi Cooley, Physics, Dedman College, was named by the American Physical Society’s Committee on the Status of Women Physicists as its December 2012 CSWP Woman Physicist of the Month. She was nominated by students as “a physicist who has had an impact on [their] life or career, both past and present.” The award is open to students, teachers or any woman doing physics-related work.

Donna Dover, Office of the Provost, received a 2012 Award of Merit in a competition sponsored by the North Texas Lone Star Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication. She was honored for her work on the print edition of SMU’s 2012-13 General Information Undergraduate Catalog. 

Louis Jacobs, Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College, received the 2012 Skoog Cup from the Science Teachers Association of Texas for his “significant contributions to advancing quality science education.” The teacher association presents the Skoog Cup annually to a deserving faculty or staff member at a Texas college or university for a sustained record of leadership in science education, advocacy for quality K-12 science education for all students, contributions to science, and development of effective programs for pre-service and in-service teachers of science. Jacobs received the award at the Annual Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching, which took place in Corpus Christi in November.

K. Shelette Stewart, Executive Education, Cox School of Business, has received the 2012 Christian Literary Award in the Christian Living category for her book, Revelations in Business: Connecting Your Business Plan with God’s Purpose and Plan for Your Life (Tate Publishing and Enterprises). The award was presented in a ceremony that took place in November.

Michael McLendon, Higher Education Policy and Leadership, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, delivered a keynote address to the 2012 College of Education Dean’s Symposium at Florida State University in Tallahassee in October. The symposium’s theme, “Shared Dreams, Separate Interests: Higher Education Finance & Accountability,” focused on higher education performance, accountability and finance in an era of intense scrutiny of higher education in the United States and internationally.

Azfar Moin, History, Dedman College, presented a paper at the 2012 South Asia Research and Information Institute (SARII) conference at SMU in September. The SARII conference brings together leading historians of South Asia and specialists of Indo-Muslim cultures. Its 2012 theme of “Cities, Courts, and Saints” gathered new research on the way Islam spread across and became part of the Indian subcontinent.

Wes Abel and Jon Haghayeghi, Master’s degree candidates in the Department of Economics, Dedman College, were among three U.S. students chosen to participate in the ISEO Institute’s “Learn Economics from Nobel Prize Laureates” summer program June 23-30, 2012 in Iseo, Italy. Among the Summer 2012 participating Nobel laureates were Peter Diamond and Michael Spence.

February 26, 2013|For the Record|

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.

October 9, 2012|News, Research|
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