SMU Physics celebrates Dark Matter Days with a Halloween hunt, Oct. 29-31, 2017


Students paint rocks for Dark Matter Day 2017 at SMU
SMU physics students paint “dark matter” rocks for a Halloween hunt. Jasmine Liu, Christina McConville, Jared Burleson, Taylor Wallace, Bibi Schindler and Elijah Cruda took part.

This Halloween, SMU joins a worldwide celebration of the mysterious substance that permeates our universe: dark matter.

The Department of Physics in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences has planned a Dark Matter Day celebration – complete with a campus-wide hunt for “dark matter” rocks – and the entire community is invited to join in.

Each Oct. 31, science enthusiasts the world over celebrate “the hunt for the unseen” – the elusive matter that makes up much of the total mass and energy of the universe. Scientists don’t know if dark matter consists of undiscovered particles, or if it can be explained with known physics – but understanding it is key to unlocking the structure of the cosmos.

> Learn more about Dark Matter Day at its official website:

On Sunday, Oct. 29, the department hosts a free public lecture for lay audiences by Maruša Bradač, associate professor, University of California-Davis. The talk begins at 4 p.m. in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall, followed by a reception with beverages and light snacks at 5-6 p.m. in the Dallas Hall Rotunda.

SMU’s resident dark-matter expert, Associate Professor of Physics Jodi Cooley, presents a free public lecture for audiences familiar with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) studies at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30, in 158 Fondren Science Building.

#SMUDarkMatterOn Halloween, Tuesday, Oct. 31, the Dark Matter Rock Hunt begins. The Department of Physics has hidden 26 “dark matter rocks” around the SMU main campus; finders can collect special prizes from the Physics Department office in 102 Fondren Science. The hunt is free and open to the public and will take place 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Anyone who discovers a rock painted with a dark matter message on the SMU campus is encouraged to tweet a selfie with their rock and tag it #SMUDarkMatter.

> Follow @SMUPhysics on Twitter

“In the spirit of science being a pursuit open to all, we are excited to invite the public to become dark matter hunters for a day,”  Cooley says. “Explore the campus in the search for dark matter rocks, just as physicists are exploring the cosmos in the hunt for the nature of dark matter itself.”

Cooley is part of a 100-person international experiment team that uses ultra-pure materials and highly sensitive custom-built detectors to listen for the passage of dark matter at SNOLAB, an underground science laboratory in Ontario, Canada.

> Read more from the SMU Research blog

Jodi Cooley explains dark matter and its place in the universe in this video. Tap the YouTube screen to watch, or click here to open the Dark Matter Day 2017 video in a new windowvideo


Get into the Fall spirit with SMU Residential Commons

Haunted House Fundraiser: On Saturday, Oct. 24 the SMU Global Medical Brigades welcomes you to attend their annual Haunted House Fundraising event. The Haunted House will be held on the McElvaney Lawn, 6000 Bishop Boulevard, between 8 – 11 p.m. All profits will go toward medications and flight expenses for their members to travel to rural Panama and medically treat underserved villages.

The Great Crumpkin: On Sunday, Oct. 25 Crum Commons will host a Halloween/Fall inspired Music and Film Festival featuring live music, pumpkin carving, free food, photo booth and film competition. Come to the Crum/Armstrong Quad between 3:45 – 11 p.m. to join in on the fun! Visit the event page for more information.

A Spooktacular Showing: Kathy Crow and Loyd Commons are hosting a Spooktacular Showing of the classic Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus! The event will also feature pumpkin carving, fall food, and FREE shirts for the first 175 guests. The feature presentation will be on Wednesday, Oct. 28 on the lawn in front of Kathy Crow Commons. The movie will start around 8 p.m. – feel free to bring a towel or blanket to sit on!

S’mores and More with Pulse: Come enjoy a warm fire, delicious S’mores and make new friends on Thursday Oct. 29 from 7 – 9 p.m. outside Armstrong Commons, 5809 Bush Ave.

SMU scares up some fun during Halloween Week 2013

Halloween jack-o-lanternIt’s almost Halloween – seek out some scary fun at these campus activities:

• The SMU Center on Communities and Education sponsors a free screening of the 1988 Halloween classic “Beetlejuice” for Scary Movie Night at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29 on the Clements Lawn, between Clements Hall and Maguire Hall. The Easy Slider and Kona Ice food trucks will be on hand starting at 6 p.m. with food for purchase. The event supports The School Zone in West Dallas.

• Meanwhile, SMU’s Student Filmmakers’ Association and Program Council team up for Fright Fest starting at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29 on the Late Lawn, between Simmons Hall and the Airline Road garage. The fall-themed fun includes candy, caramel apples, popcorn, pumpkin painting, and an outdoor screening of the cult-favorite horror comedy anthology “Trick ’r Treat” (2007). Bring a blanket and RSVP on Facebook or Twitter.

• SMU Preschool and Child Care holds its annual Halloween Parade on the Boulevard 9:30-11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 31. Wear your friendliest costume and come out to Bishop Boulevard to treat the mini-Mustangs – wrapped candy, boxed raisins, fruit snacks, packaged graham and goldfish crackers, and small trinkets are all welcome.

• Central University Libraries bring sharks, tornados and Tara Reid in a free outdoor showing of 2013’s instant Z-movie camp classic “Sharknado” at 8:30 p.m. Halloween night, Thursday, Oct. 31, on the Laura Bush Promenade at the Fondren Library Center east entrance. The screening is offered by SMU’s Fondren Library Media Collection.

• Meadows Opera Theatre explores the eternal battle between good and evil in its annual Halloween Opera Free For All. This year’s theme, “Singing Saints and Sinners,” features Meadows School of the Arts students performing scenes from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera and Bizet’s Carmen. The free event begins at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1 in the Bob Hope Theatre Lobby, Owen Arts Center. For more information, call the Meadows Division of Music, 214-768-1951.

SMU Libraries welcome Halloween 2012 with a ‘Night’ to remember

'Night of the Living Dead' 1968 logoSMU’s Central University Libraries break open the vaults to present a horror classic on Halloween night, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. Legendary director George Romero’s first feature film, the original Night of the Living Dead, haunts the quad in a free outdoor screening beginning at 8:30 p.m. on the Laura Bush Promenade, Fondren Library Center.

First released on Oct. 1, 1968, and completed on a budget of $114,000, Night of the Living Dead went on to gross $12 million in the United States and $18 million internationally (as well as gross out viewers everywhere). The film soon became the most profitable independent horror feature ever made.

It also grew from its humble roots to be selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry as a motion picture deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” And in 2001, the American Film Institute ranked Night #93 on its “100 Years…100 Thrills” list as one of the most heart-pounding American movies in cinema history.

CUL encourages arriving in costume — the three best will win prizes.

> Visit SMU’s Central University Libraries online
> Learn how to check out movies from Fondren Library Center

Scary good times for SMU this Halloween season

Black cat and Halloween jack-o-lanternAnd now, a quick round-up of various Halloween 2010 events around SMU:

• It’s time to show your knife skills again as the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports is hosting a Pumpkin Carving Competition this Thursday, Oct. 28. The competition begins at 6:00 p.m. at the Falls, where judges will hand out prizes to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd best carvings.

• The SMU Preschool and Child Care Center‘s “Mini Mustangs” will host their annual Halloween Parade at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 29. This year’s march of costume-clad toddlers will go from Hawk Hall to the Flagpole and back. Faculty and staff are invited to join in handing out candy to the kids along the way. The SMU Police Department will also be participating.

SMU-In-Plano will host a Halloween potluck lunch at noon Friday, Oct. 29. The party is in Room 118, Building 4. RSVP to Sharla Agnew before 5 p.m. Thursday if you’re interested.

• Can you wear a costume and climb in it as well? If so, you should consider the Midnight Cosmic Costume Climbing challenge at the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. Attendants will compete for best costume (that they can climb in) and food, drinks, and a live DJ will be provided. The event begins at 11 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29 and will continue until 1 a.m. Bringing your own harness – shoes are optional, as Dedman also has rentals. For any questions, call the Climbing Wall at 214-768-9917.

RSVP by Oct. 25 for 2010 Staff Association Talent Show

SMUSA Talent Show 2010 logoThe SMU Staff Association’s 2010 Talent Show is scheduled for Oct. 28. And just when you thought it was safe to watch the dancing, music and comedy acts, SMUSA has taken advantage of the impending Halloween holiday to add a costume contest and pumpkin-carving competition to the festivities.

The action takes place 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Martha Proctor Mack Ballroom (formerly the Grand Ballroom) in Umphrey Lee Center.

Those who want to enter the costume contest should check in at the registration table at 11 a.m. Oct. 28. Costumes will be judged on stage between talent show acts. Winners will be announced at the end of the show for the scariest, funniest, and most creative group or individual costumes.

To participate in the pumpkin carving competition, carve your pumpkins in advance and check in at the registration table at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 28. Pumpkins will be displayed next to the table, where talent show attendees can cast their votes as they enter the ballroom. Prizes will be awarded for the scariest, funniest, and most creative group or individual pumpkins.

SMU Dining Services will provide a catered lunch at the cost of $11 per person. Register online to pay with a credit or debit card, or by cash or check.

Faculty and staff members are also invited to attend the talent show without purchasing a meal. RSVP online to SMUSA.

The response deadline is 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25. For more information, contact Staff Association President Gretchen Voight.

> Find more information at the SMU Staff Association homepage

SMU-in-Plano celebrates name change Oct. 29-31

smu-in-plano-logo-300.jpgSMU’s campus in Plano’s Legacy Business Park, formerly known as SMU-in-Legacy, officially changes its name to SMU-in-Plano Oct. 29 with a 4 p.m. reception featuring SMU President R. Gerald Turner and Plano Mayor Phil Dyer.

A Community Open House is scheduled for 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 30-31, to which all University faculty and staff are invited. Saturday will include trick-or-treating and a costume contest for kids. All events take place at the SMU-in-Plano campus, 5232 Tennyson Parkway. For more information, visit

Read more about SMU-in-Plano

Scary good fun for SMU’s Halloween week

Halloween jack-o-lanternIt’s almost Halloween – seek out some scary fun with these campus activities:

• Enjoy a frightfully good workout with Group X Spooky Spinning, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 29 in the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. All Dedman Center members and guests are invited; no Group X pass is required. Costumes are encouraged. Contact Brook Jimenez, 214-768-4824.

• Bring your own pumpkin and start cutting at SMU’s annual Pumpkin Carving Contest, 6-8 p.m. Oct. 29 at The Falls, Dedman Center. Carving tools will be provided. Jack-o’-lanterns will be displayed through Nov. 6 in the Dedman Center main lobby. Visit and vote for your favorite – prizes will be awarded for the best designs. Contact Tony Bates, 214-768-9916.

Outdoor Adventures offers late-night atmosphere and DJ’ed music in its Halloween Midnight Cosmic Climb, 11 p.m.-1 a.m. Oct. 29 in Dedman Center. Bring your own harness; appropriate shoes will be provided as needed. Costumes are encouraged (must be harness-compatible), and prizes will be awarded for the best men’s and women’s get-ups. Contact David Chambers or Albert Mitugo, 214-768-4822.

SMU Child Care and Preschool holds its annual Halloween Parade beginning at 10 a.m. Oct. 30. The procession begins at Hawk Hall and crosses the street before making its way to Boaz Hall, the flagpole, the Owen Arts Center and beyond. Come out to Bishop Boulevard to see the costumes and treat the tricksters.

Meadows Opera Theatre plays up the magic and make-believe in its annual Halloween Opera Free For All, which will include scenes from La Cenerentola (Cinderella), The Magic Flute, Rusalka, Hansel and Gretel, Once Upon a Mattress and Into the Woods. The free performance begins at 1 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Bob Hope Theatre Lobby, Owen Arts Center. For more information, call the Meadows School of the Arts Division of Music, 214-768-1951.

SMU-in-Plano‘s Community Open House Oct. 30-31 will include trick-or-treating and a costume contest for kids from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Halloween Day. For more information, visit

Legacy no longer: SMU’s Plano campus gets a new name

smu-in-plano-logo-300.jpgKnown for a dozen years as SMU-in-Legacy, the University’s campus located in Plano’s Legacy Business Park is aptly changing its name to the more familiar SMU-in-Plano.

Festivities to celebrate the name change begin Oct. 29 with a 4 p.m. reception featuring SMU President R. Gerald Turner and Plano Mayor Phil Dyer at the SMU-in-Plano campus, 5232 Tennyson Parkway. A Community Open House is scheduled for 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 30-31, to which all SMU faculty and staff are invited. Saturday will include trick-or-treating and a costume contest for kids. For more information, visit

Kate Livingston, SMU-in-Plano campus director, cites several factors for the switch. “This new moniker distinguishes the campus from the nearby commercial development called ‘The Campus at Legacy,’ which has proved confusing,” she says. “The school is located on Tennyson Parkway, not Legacy Drive, and SMU has a sister campus in New Mexico called SMU-in-Taos, so it makes sense to have both reflect the city in which they reside.”

The Plano campus opened in 1997 to offer SMU’s resources to working professionals in the growing Collin County area who wished to strengthen their careers through higher education. Today some 800 graduate students are enrolled at the campus, pursuing master’s degrees or professional certificates through programs including the Cox Professional M.B.A., counseling, dispute resolution, teacher education and engineering. The digital game design Master’s program at The Guildhall at SMU attracts students from across the United States and internationally.

Beginning in January 2010, SMU-in-Plano will add two more programs: the Master of Liberal Studies degree, offered through the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, and the Graduate Marketing Certificate Program, offered by the Cox School of Business.

In addition to graduate degrees and certificate programs, SMU-in-Plano offers noncredit courses for adults through the Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE) program, such as photography, financial planning and test preparation. Summer programs include the Advanced Placement Institute for teachers, as well as the Academic Enhancement programs and Summer Youth Program for K-12.