Earth & Climate

Hunt begins for elusive neutrino particle at one of the world’s largest, most powerful detectors

NOvA, SMU, Thomas Coan, Fermilab, neutrinosWhen scientists pour 3.0 million gallons of mineral oil into what are essentially 350,000 giant plastic tubes, the possibility of a leak can’t be overlooked, says SMU physicist Thomas E. Coan.

The oil and tubes are part of the integral structure of the world’s newest experiment to understand neutrinos — invisible fundamental particles so abundant they constantly bombard us and pass through us at a rate of more than 100,000 billion particles a second. Continue reading

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The Atlantic: Can a Nation’s Soil Explain Its Economic Fortunes?

Omer Ozak, SMU, agriculture, soil, economicsJournalist Joe Pinsker with The Atlantic covered the research of SMU economist Ömer Özak about the association between cultures that value long-term payoffs and their ancient history of successful crop yields.

Pinsker’s story, “Can a Nation’s Soil Explain Its Economic Fortunes?” published Sept. 17. Continue reading

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KERA: Telescope-Wielding Twosome: High School Students Discover New Stars

SMU, Lake Highlands, binary star, discovery, Fritz, Barton, Quark, KERAReporter Courtney Collins at public radio station KERA covered the discovery of five stars by two Dallas high school students in an SMU summer physics research program.

Quarknet enabled the students to analyze data gleaned from a high-powered telescope in the New Mexico desert. All five stars are pairs of stars that orbit around each other so closely that their outer atmospheres touch, then dim and brighten as one emerges from behind the other. Continue reading

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Houston Chronicle: Project to protect rare dinosaur tracks

dino3Houston Chronicle reporter Marvin Pfiefer has written about a project led by SMU alum Thomas L. Adams to catalog and protect the tracks of a 110 million-year-old dinosaur preserved in rock at Government Canyon State Natural Area.

Adams, a paleontologist, is a graduate of Dedman College’s Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences.

The story, “Project to protect rare dinosaur tracks,” published in the Thursday, Aug. 28 edition of the Houston Chronicle. Continue reading

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DMN: Two high school students discover variable stars during SMU summer program

Lake Highlands, variable star, discovery, SMU, QuarknetReporter Alexis Espinosa with the Dallas Morning News covered the discovery of five stars made by two Dallas high school students, Dominik Fritz (left) and Jason Barton, in an SMU summer physics research program.

The Quarknet program enabled the students to analyze data from a high-powered telescope in New Mexico to discover a variable star — one that changes brightness. (Credit: DMN) Continue reading

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Eclipsing binary stars discovered by high school students at SMU summer research program

binary stars, SMU, Quarknet, students, discovery, physicsTwo Dallas high school students discovered five stars as members of an SMU summer physics research program that enabled them to analyze data gleaned from a high-powered telescope in the New Mexico desert.

All five stars are eclipsing contact binary stars — pairs of stars that orbit each other so closely that their outer atmospheres touch. As they eclipse, they dim and then brighten. Continue reading

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Hunt for dark matter takes physicists deep below earth’s surface, where WIMPS can’t hide

Dark matter makes up much of the universe, and surrounds us all like an invisible, clumpy soup. Physicists have hunted dark matter particles for decades, but they continue to elude observation.

Now construction of a major international experiment aimed at discovering dark matter could be constructed and operational by 2018, according to the SMU scientist on the experiment known as SuperCDMS SNOLAB. Continue reading

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Daily Mail: Now that’s a Jurassic Park! ‘World class’ treasure trove of dinosaur footprints discovered in national park

Anthony Fiorillo, SMU, Perot Museum, Alaska, hadrosaurOne of the U.K.’s widely circulated newspapers, the Daily Mail, has covered the research of paleontologist Anthony Fiorillo, an adjunct associate professor in SMU’s Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences. Continue reading

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LiveScience: Huge Trove of Dinosaur Footprints Discovered in Alaska

Anthony Fiorillo, SMU, Perot Museum, Alaska, hadrosaurLiveScience has covered the research of paleontologist Anthony Fiorillo, an adjunct associate professor in SMU’s Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences.

Fiorillo is curator of earth sciences at the Perot Museum of science and natural history. He has collected fossils throughout North America and parts of Asia, but has primarily worked in western Texas and Alaska. Continue reading

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