SMU Department of Physics

FOX 4 DFW: SMU’s supercomputer aids in search for particles present during Big Bang

Thomas Coan, neutrinos, SMUSMU physicist Thomas E. Coan talked with Fox 4 DFW reporter Dan Godwin about the neutrino, an elusive fundamental particle that scientists are working to understand using one of the most powerful physics experiments in the world.

Godwin hosted Coan on the program Fox4Ward on Nov. 30, 2014. Coan and Godwin discussed neutrinos, one of the most elusive particles in the Standard Model’s “particle zoo.” 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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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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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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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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Digital Journal: Scientists spot 12-billion-year-old star burst

Gamma_Ray_BurstThe news web site digitaljournal.com 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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