Earth & Climate

SMU seismologist Brian Stump named AAAS Fellow for distinguished scientific contributions

Brian Stump, SMU, seismology, earthquakesSMU 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 in SMU’s Dedman College, is the fifth professor at SMU recognized as an AAAS Fellow. Continue reading

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Study funded by NIH is decoding blue light’s mysterious ability to alter body’s natural clock

blue light, circadian clock, sleepless, zoltowski, nih
A study funded by the National Institutes of Health is unraveling the mystery of how blue light from residential and commercial lighting, electronic devices and outdoor lights can throw off-kilter the natural body clock of humans, plants and animals, leading to disease.

Exposure to blue light is on the increase, says chemist Brian Zoltowski, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, who leads the study. Continue reading

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Jurassic climate of large swath of western U.S. was more complex than previously known

Morrison Formation, Jurassic, ancient soil, paleosols, climate, Myers, SMUClimate over a large swath of the western U.S. was more complex during the Jurassic than previously known, according to new research from SMU.

Instead of a gradual transition from dry to wetter, chemical analysis of ancient soils reveals there was an unexpected abrupt change. Samples came from the Morrison Formation, which sprawls 13 states and Canada and which has produced dinosaur discoveries for over 100 years. Continue reading

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International Business Times: Angola — Ancient Mystery Mammal Tracks Found in Angolan Diamond Mine

Angola, dinosaur, mystery, tracksThe research of an international team co-led by SMU paleontologist Louis L. Jacobs is receiving worldwide coverage for discovery of the first dinosaur tracks discovered in Angola, including those of a mysterious mammal from 118 million years ago.

The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology announced the discovery in a press release Nov. 5, “African diamond mine reveals dinosaur and large mammal tracks.” Continue reading

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KERA Think: Tiny Particles, Big Impact

Tom Coan, neutrinos, SMU, physics, NOvAKERA public radio 90.1 hosted SMU physicist Thomas E. Coan on Krys Boyd‘s “Think” program Oct. 29. Coan and Boyd discussed neutrinos, one of the most elusive particles in the Standard Model’s “particle zoo.”

Neutrinos are the subject of the NOvA experiment, with the goal to better understand the origins of matter and the inner workings of the universe. Continue reading

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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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