Robert Kehoe

SMU physicists: CERN’s Large Hadron Collider is once again smashing protons, taking data

Following its annual winter break, the most powerful collider in the world has been switched back on.

Geneva-based CERN’s Large Hadron Collider has been fine-tuned using low-intensity beams and pilot proton collisions. Now the LHC and its experiments are ready to take an abundance of data.

The goal is to improve understanding of fundamental physics, driving future innovation and inventions. Continue reading

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Nearby massive star explosion 30 million years ago equaled brightness of 100 million suns

A giant star that exploded 30 million years ago in a galaxy near Earth had a radius prior to going supernova that was 200 times larger than our sun, say astrophysicists at SMU.

The massive explosion, Supernova 2013j, was one of the closest to Earth in recent years. Analysis of the exploding star’s light curve and color spectrum found its sudden blast hurled material from it at 10,000 kilometers a second. Continue reading

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SMU 2015 research efforts broadly noted in a variety of ways for world-changing impact

SMU scientists and their research have a global reach that is frequently noted, beyond peer publications and media mentions.

It was a good year for SMU faculty and student research efforts. Here’s a small sampling of public and published acknowledgements during 2015, ranging from research modeling that made the cover of a scientific journal to research findings presented as evidence at government hearings. Continue reading

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Top Quark: Precise particle measurement improves subatomic tool probing mysteries of universe

Top Quark, physics, Higgs boson, FermilabPhysicists at Southern Methodist University have a new precise measurement of a key subatomic particle, opening the door to better understanding of our universe.

The researchers calculated the new measurement for a critical characteristic — mass — of the Top Quark. The new value adds growing uncertainty to physics’ Standard Model. Continue reading

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Physicists tune Large Hadron Collider to find “sweet spot” in high-energy proton smasher

ATLAS, Large Hadron Collider, Run 2, SMU, HiggsStart up of the world’s largest science experiment is underway — with protons traveling in opposite directions at almost the speed of light in the deep underground tunnel called the Large Hadron Collider straddling France and Switzerland.

As protons collide, physicists will peer into the resulting particle showers for new discoveries about the universe, said Ryszard Stroynowski, Southern Methodist University, a collaborator on the LHC. 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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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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Houston Chronicle: Texas scientists spot 12-billion-year old star explosion

Gamma ray burst, SMU, Kehoe, CBSThe Texas newspaper the Houston Chronicle covered the astronomy research of physicist Robert Kehoe, SMU professor, and two graduate students in the SMU Department of Physics, Farley Ferrante and Govinda Dhungana.

The astronomy team in May reported observation of intense light from the enormous explosion of a star more than 12 billion years ago — shortly after the Big Bang — that recently reached Earth and was visible in the sky. Continue reading

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