Tables of Content

Tables of Content events

Tables of Content

Table Hosts

Twenty table hosts will lead discussions on a variety of topics during the Tables of Content dinner. Table host information is still being updated so please check the website often for new hosts and topics.

Stephanie Amsel, Director, Discernment and Discourse, SMU

Topic: I'm gonna get medieval on your a**: Medievalism in Pop Culture


Stephanie Amsel has been teaching at SMU since 2009. Before moving to Dallas, she taught in public and private schools in Italy, New York, and Texas. Stephanie is the director of the Discernment and Discourse Program. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at San Antonio and specializes in Italian and English medieval literature. Stephanie is the Chaucer bibliographer for the New Chaucer Society and publishes a yearly Chaucer bibliography report in Studies in the Age of Chaucer. She has received several writing awards for poetry and short fiction. Her poems have appeared in Fog City Review, Sagebrush Review, and Ilya’s Honey.

Ace Anderson, Actor, Graphic Designer & Photographer

Topic: What does it mean to live a good life, and how does Art play a role?


My name is Ace Anderson. I am a professional Actor, Graphic Designer & Photographer. I began a career as a full-time graphic designer in 2013 after I graduated from SMU with a BFA in Acting. Working full-time gave me the experience and clientele to start my own design company (The Striped Heart). I've studied acting since 2002 and am, now, proudly one of eight members of the Brierly Resident Acting Company at The Regional Tony Award® Winning Dallas Theater Center. I've been recognized across the country as a pioneer in the arts and a true Renaissance Man. Google 'Ace Anderson' and you'll find much of my work. In 2014, I won Best Actor in Dallas for my role in August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. I was also handpicked as one of 100 Top Creatives (No. 36).  As a designer and photographer, I love working with movement and exploring the human body as a work of art. I easily adapt to my environment and I am a very fast learner. People say I'm not funny... 

Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, Fashion Historian, Curator and Journalist

Topic: Fashion: The Fabric of History


Dr. Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell is a fashion historian, curator, and journalist based in Los Angeles. She is the author of the award-winning book Fashion Victims: Dress at the Court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette (Yale, 2015) and a contributor to The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, Ornament, and Politico. Her latest book is Worn On This Day: The Clothes That Made History (Running Press, 2019).

Jodi Cooley, Associate Professor of Physics and Ford Research Fellow, SMU

Topic: Fantastical Dark Matter and How We Find It


Jodi Cooley is an Associate Professor of Physics at SMU and an SMU Ford Research Fellow.  She has won numerous awards for her teaching and research.  Her most recent accomplishments include election as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2018 and becoming the 2019 recipient of the American Association of Physics Teachers Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award.  Dr. Cooley’s research takes her to into deep underground mines in order to improve our understanding of the universe by deciphering the nature of dark matter.  The existence of this elusive matter was first postulated almost 90 years ago.   However, our only understanding of it comes from observing its gravitational interactions using telescopes.  Dr. Cooley and her colleagues operate sophisticated cryogenic detectors with the hope to be the first people to ever detect dark matter in a terrestrial detector and study its properties.

Fantastical Dark Matter and How We Find It

Looking up in the sky at night, have you ever wondered if there was anything between the stars you see?  Only a small fraction of the universe is made from ordinary, visible matter.   A much larger portion remains dark, its existence known to us only by its interactions through gravity.  The first evidence of this dark matter originates from studies of celestial bodies in the late 1920s and early 1930s.  Since that time, astrophysicists and astronomers have determined that it constitutes the bulk of matter in our universe.  Despite this fact, the composition still remains unknown.  Over the course of the night our table conversations will revolve around this fantastical matter and the novel experiments that scientists like Dr. Cooley and her colleagues conduct to try to find these elusive particles.

Christina Dandar, Teacher and Design Blogger

Topic: Trends vs. Tradition: Are the days of timeless design dwindling or reemerging?


The Potted Boxwood, founded by Christina Dandar, is an interior design, architecture, and lifestyle blog based in Dallas, Texas. It brings daily inspiration of chic design, creative ideas, along with showcasing the tremendous talent that exists in the world of interiors. Since launching her blog in 2014, her snaps of vibrant doors and ivy-covered exteriors have amassed over 100,000 Instagram followers, including Southern Living, Town & Country, and home brand Serena & Lily.

For more about Christina Dandar and The Potted Boxwood, check out this D Magazine article -

Jennifer Ebinger, Director, Office of Engaged Learning , SMU

Topic: Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Learning Beyond the Classroom


Jennifer Ebinger is the director of SMU’s Office of Engaged Learning.  As part of the Provost’s team, her department supports university-wide research and entrepreneurship programs, including Engaged Learning Fellowships and Summer Research Assistantships that support undergraduate research; the Big iDeas program that seeds and mentors undergraduate, graduate, faculty and staff startups; Think-Play-Hack which provides a unique big-data experience; and the SMU Incubator, which collaborates with entrepreneurs and organizations to bring social and economic value to north Dallas.  Before coming to SMU, Director Ebinger served as a regional director for a non-profit education foundation out of John’s Hopkins where she led an interstate team to support school, teacher, leader, and student growth.

Jennifer's table discussion will be focused on enhanced academic learning experiences (beyond the classroom), undergraduate research, entrepreneurship, innovation and why these learning opportunities in higher-ed are important to SMU students and Dallas.

Anthony J. Elia, Director and J.S. Bridwell Foundation Endowed Librarian, SMU

Topic: The Wonderful World of Museums! - The World Methodist Collections Come to Bridwell


It’s not surprising that Anthony Elia is an avid learner and voracious reader, given that he’s director of the Bridwell Library. Still, many might be amazed by the extraordinary range of his interests.

Elia is conversant in at least seven languages and has a working knowledge of about a dozen. He’s a composer whose works-in-progress include a choral cycle of Latin liturgical-style pieces and a cowbell concerto. And those are just a few of his side interests – on top of his career.

“Sometimes I ask myself—do I have too many interests?” he said. “I think that’s why I became a librarian after all!”

Elia has spent the last six months researching two distinct areas that are fairly new to him:  Environmental and Ecological Histories; and the Social and Political Histories of Museums.  He just completed a book chapter, soon to be published, on special collections and rare books, specifically related to the history of Bridwell’s collections and within the broader scope of theological special collections in North America.

“Bridwell has many fascinating stories—countless, in fact,” he said. “Many of them are hidden away in hundreds of boxes in its archives.  Part of this book chapter essay explores why and how the first Bridwell director, Decherd Turner, was so holistic a collector and how his vision crafted and drove the library into what it is today.  It’s astonishing.”Elia is also working on another article exploring the responsibilities of a theological library.

“Bridwell is built upon a nearly three-quarter-century history of oil and gas monies, which has afforded the expansive reach and resources it has today,” he said. “Yet, as we look to the future, it’s going to be necessary to consider not just how the library itself can be more efficient in its environmental impact, but also how we as a community can be the best stewards of a world impacted by environmental change.”

Many of his ideas about the environment stem from a 6,200-mile road trip Elia took this past summer through the west—and which he recounted recently in the latest edition of The Bridwell Quill.

“Nature is an amazing and fortuitous thing, and one we often take for granted, but it is so much a part of who we are,” he said.

Central Asia is another area of research and interest. Elia had planned to visit Russia last March to present and lecture, having co-edited a book of Tatar Literature, translated by a colleague in Russia. The trip would’ve also included working with the composers’ union in Tartarstan; Elia had written some cello music in honor of the traditional Tatar cultural heritage.   However, the pandemic cancelled the event just before his flight to Kazan (in Tatarstan) and it remains indefinitely postponed.

“That part of the world, Central Asia, is an understudied and undervalued place and idea—one which has so much to offer but is little known in the United States,” he said. “I’ve sought to examine how religions like Christianity have interfaced with the multiplicity of cultures there.  My most recent project in this area was to trace the translation of a 19th century American novel through Swedish into a local Turkic language translation, made in the 1930s, and find out why it was undertaken.”

Language is another area of deep interest and ongoing study for Elia. He started his career studying German, then Greek. He estimates he’s studied around 20 languages and is comfortably conversantly in seven or eight languages, depending on the context. He has a working knowledge of Latin, Greek and Hebrew as well as Italian, German, modern Hebrew, some Arabic, Chinese and various Central Asian Turkic languages like Tatar.  One of his favorite languages is Armenian.

“I once met the patriarch of the Armenian Church in Jerusalem,” he said. “We had Sprite and discussed Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Ha!”

Elia is also an active composer. Two years ago, he wrote an unusual work for quartet—tenor, oboe, cello and violin—in which the tenor part sings the words of an ancient Buddhist chant in the Mongolian.  He has often written choral works in Latin (or Italian, Portuguese, or German) – he enjoys experimenting with the sound of languages with music.

During COVID-19, he went back to working on a choral cycle of Latin liturgical-style pieces that venerated the Virgin Mary in the Catholic Tradition—tentatively a 12-piece set of choral works titled The Marian Cycle for a cappella choruses.  He started that project in 2013 and is about halfway through. He’s hoping to have one portion, the 56-page Stabat Mater, performed this year. He also wrote some viola and violin sonatas—Orpheus in Cyberspace for Viola and The Metamorphoses of COVID for solo violin.  His latest is an anomalous work “in the year of COVID”—both serious and comical: The Cowbell Christmas Concerto: for Cowbell, Organ, Bible, and Operatic Cow—An Udderly Festive Work.

“A composer has to have a sense of humor,” he said. “And even though Christmas is now past, that too is being rehearsed for performance.”

Currently, the library is undergoing renovation, so Elia has worked outside of the building, but his job as librarian has never kept him confined to the stacks. Last year, the staff discovered a homeless person had been living in the library secretly.  The spurred Elia to join the January term Homeless Immersion in Waco led by Hugo Magallanes.

“I wanted to see how to be more engaged, empathic and understanding of the homeless and homelessness,” he said. “There are serious problems in our country and world and getting a sense of what the issues are is just the first step.  It was a great experience to participate in the Waco seminar, and it’s helping me to reflect and better articulate considerations about what can be done here on campus and in the libraries.”

Research Interests:
Intellectual Histories; Christian Cabala; Near Eastern Studies; Islamic Central Asian History, Literature, and Art; Histories of Education, Technology, and Cybersecurity; Environmental Histories; Origins of the Modern Nation-State; and the Social History of Museums.

Favorite Bible verse:
Proverbs 26:11: “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” Says Elia: “I’m sure there are better verses, but let’s just say I try not to repeat mistakes that I have made!” Another favorite: 1 Corinthians 16:14: “Do everything in love.”

Book on his nightstand:
Make that “books.” Elia counts 36 books on his nightstand, plus there’s a pile next to his bed. His reading interests include historical works and fiction. Most recently he’s been reading works on the history of nationalisms: Edward Crankshaw’s biography of Otto von Bismark (1981); Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities; Denton’s Modern Chinese Literary Thought; Tisdall and Bozzolla’s history of Futurism in Italy; and Louis Fischer’s The Life of Lenin.

“I can’t put books down,” he said. “I just can’t.  If I want to know something, I will plow through it, sleep, and get up at 4 a.m. and read for several hours until it’s time to go to work.  Maybe I’ll take a break, exercise, drink coffee.  But books—yeah, they often take over!”

Fantasy Dinner Party:
Elia would love to serve tortellini, arugula and beet salad, and steaks to Napoleon, Malcolm X (in his non-vegetarian days), Abe Lincoln, Zhou Enlai, Susan Sontag and Maya Angelou.  He would ask them: “Does food matter to how we govern the church or state?”

Elia has “two parents, two siblings and two wonderful, brilliant and beautiful daughters” and lots  of extended family.

A tomato plant named Cicco that produces no fruit, drinks too much and spawns gnats.
“I’ve thought of taking him out one of these days,” Elia said.

Favorite travel destination:
Very tall mountains and very clear oceans.

Something about him most people don’t know:
Elia climbed to the top of Mt. Fuji in Japan in the summer of 1997 and froze in nearly 35F temps at the top.  In 2013, he wrote a 21-movement ballet for orchestra about the Syrian Civil War titled Damascus at Night, which he hopes to produce one day.

Signature dish:
Elia makes a killer Sicilian style pizza.  “My kids love it,” he said. “I love it.  My stomach loves it.  That’s the problem.”

What question would you ask at the Pearly Gates?
“Do you serve Chicken parm here?  If not, I’m going to the other place!”

Hiking, walking, playing the piano, singing in choral clubs, and exploring everywhere possible by car, foot or wing. Walks, especially solitary walks, clear his mind.  “I love going into nature—in the woods, walking and thinking about stuff,” he said. “There’s lots to think about!”

Clint Emerson, Retired U.S. Navy Seal

Topic: The Right Kind of Crazy: My Life as a Navy SEAL, Covert Operative, and Boy Scout from Hell


Clint Emerson is a retired Navy SEAL with more than 20 years of service. He continues to serve by empowering good people with safety and security skills at home, at work and abroad.

Emerson is the only SEAL ever inducted into the International Spy Museum. Operating from the shadows, with an instinct for running towards trouble, his unique skill set made him the perfect hybrid operator.

Emerson spent his career on the bleeding edge of intelligence and operations, often specializing in missions that took advantage of subterfuge, improvisation, the best in recon and surveillance tech to combat the changing global battlefield. MacGyvering everyday objects into working spyware was routine, and fellow SEALs referred to his activities simply as “special shit.” His parameters were: find, fix, and finish—and of course, leave no trace.

The Right Kind of Crazy is unlike any military memoir you’ve ever read because Emerson is upfront about the fact that what makes you a great soldier and sometimes hero doesn’t always make you the best guy—but it does make for damn good stories. In his latest book, Emerson presents an explosive, darkly funny, and often twisted account of being part of an elite team of operatives whose mission was to keep America safe by whatever means necessary.



Sarah Hepola, Author

Topic: Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget


Sarah Hepola is the author of the bestselling memoir, "Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget." Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Elle, Glamour, Bloomberg Businessweek, among many others. She is a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly, where she is currently working on a podcast about the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. 



Norm Hitzges, Author and Sports Talk Radio Host

Topic: Sports and Travel


Norm Hitzges hosted the first full-time sports talk-show in morning drive time in the country right here in Dallas Ft Worth over 30 years ago. He has been on-air continuously for all those years in the DFW Market. Hitzges is known for his enthusiasm and knowledge of sports trivia and his penchant and success for handicapping all sports. But especially for his first love outside of broadcasting: horse racing. Hitzges has been honored by the Texas Radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Dallas All of Sports Association and the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame. Norm also hosts the “Norm-A-Thon”, a yearly 18 hour marathon broadcast to raise money for the area’s homeless.

Sam Holland, Algur H. Meadows Dean and Professor of Music, Meadows School of the Arts, SMU

Topic: Creativity in the Age of AI


Samuel S. Holland is the Algur H. Meadows Dean and an award-winning professor of music at the Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University. A champion of the transformational power of arts and communication, Dr. Holland leads a team that is responsible for raising over $150M in new funding for the Meadows School. Under his leadership, the Division of Music at SMU was ranked #1 in the nation in 2015 by College Factual as reported in USA Today. In addition to artistic and programmatic excellence, the Meadows School is nationally recognized for innovative curricula, sustainable community engagement, and its entrepreneurial approach to arts education. Dr. Holland’s articles have appeared in every major English language professional keyboard journal and he is the author of over seventy critically acclaimed and innovative method books and recordings distributed internationally by Alfred Publishing Co. and the Frederick Harris Music Co. A performance student of John Perry and Abbey Simon, he earned a Ph.D. in music education with an emphasis in piano pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma. He has presented hundreds of lectures and recitals throughout North America, Europe, and Australia and has pioneered in the application of new technology to performance and pedagogy. Dr. Holland is a founding trustee of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, a not-for-profit educational institution in Princeton NJ that presents the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy and publishes Clavier Companion magazine. He is a co-founder of the Centre for Musical Minds (Frisco, TX).

Helen LaKelly Hunt, Author, activist and philantropist

Topic: Suffrage & Women's Empowerment


Helen LaKelly Hunt is one of a small army of women who helped to seed the women’s funding movement. She co-founded the Texas Women’s Foundation, The New York Women’s Foundation, Women’s Funding Network and Women Moving Millions. Helen is the author of Faith and Feminism: A Holy Alliance. Her latest book, And the Spirit Moved Them, The Lost Radical History of America’s First Feminists, shares the inspiring story of the abolitionist feminists. Helen was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001. In addition, she has co-authored several books with her partner, Harville Hendrix, on Imago Therapy, which helps transforms relationships.  

Debora Hunter, Retired Professor of Photography, SMU

Topic: Stories Photographs Tell


Debora Hunter, educated at Northwestern University and Rhode Island School of Design, arrived in Dallas in 1976 to teach photography in the Division of Art at SMU. She retired three years ago after teaching forty years. Her lens-based art has been exhibited nationally at the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Modern Art, Hirshhorn Museum, New Mexico History Museum and locally at the Dallas Museum of Art, Amon Carter Museum, Liliana Bloch, SP/Gallery and Texas Tech University. Her work can been seen at


Debora will be speaking about the Stories Photographs Tell. What makes a photograph significant, either culturally or personally? What images continue to stick in our mind and hearts? What do they have in common? Are they iconic photographs like Dorothea Lange’s 1936 “Migrant Mother,” or maybe a family photograph of a grandfather as a young man? Let’s explore how photographic meaning is created. Tablemates are invited to share examples on their phone of photographs that hold special importance for them. 

Shira Lander, Senior Lecturer and Director of Jewish Studies, SMU

Topic: Holy Land or Land of the Holy?: The Significance of Jerusalem to Jews, Christians, and Muslims


Dr. Shira L. Lander (B.A., Yale University, M.H.L., Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) is Professor of Practice and Director of Jewish Studies specializing in late antique Judaism and Christianity. Her book, Ritual Spaces and Religious Rivalries in Late Roman North Africa (Cambridge, 2016), explores why religious groups competed over and destroyed sites considered holy. Lander previously was the Anna Smith Fine Senior Lecturer of Jewish Studies at Rice University, where she taught in the departments of Religious Studies and History. Before moving to Texas, she taught at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, St. Mary's Seminary and University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Delaware, and Princeton University. Her areas of interest include Jewish-Christian relations, sacred space, martyrdom, religious violence, and material culture. Her current research project explores images of synagogues in medieval manuscripts.

Elizabeth G. Loboa, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, SMU

Topic: tbd


Elizabeth G. Loboa joined SMU as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs on July 6, 2020.  As chief academic officer for the university, she is responsible for the overall quality of teaching, scholarship and research and all aspects of academic life, ranging from admissions and faculty development to supervision of SMU’s eight schools, library system, and international programs.

Elizabeth G. Loboa, a biomedical engineer, came to SMU from the University of Missouri where she held the position of vice chancellor for strategic partnerships, dean of the College of Engineering, and Ketcham Professor of the College of Engineering. She brings to SMU a distinguished academic record and broad university leadership experience.

As one of the co-leaders, Loboa was instrumental in the largest capital research project ever undertaken at the University of Missouri - the $221 million NextGen Precision Health Institute. She worked to bring together the assets of five MU colleges -Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources, Arts & Science, Engineering, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine - in partnership with the Truman VA Hospital, the MU Research Reactor, and MU Healthcare.

She received both her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and her master’s degree in biomechanical engineering from Stanford, and earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UC Davis.

Loboa has been recognized for her work as an engineer, inventor, researcher and leader. She is a fellow in the National Academy of Inventors, the Biomedical Engineering Society and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. She earned the Insight into Diversity Giving Back Award, the Sigma Xi Faculty Research Award, the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Award and the UK-US Stem Cell Collaboration Development Award. Loboa also is the recipient of the University of California Davis Distinguished Engineering Alumni Medal as well as the Stanford University Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award.

Loboa serves on the advisory board of the AAAS Education Counsel Societies Consortium on Sexual Harassment in STEMM.  She is a member of the board of directors of Applied Optoelectronics, Inc. (AOI). She currently serves on the nominations committee for the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Loboa is a past member of the executive council of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society, Inc. Until becoming provost, Loboa served as a director for the Engineering Deans Council for the American Society for Engineering Education and on the AAU’s Strategy for Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination Advisory Board.

Russell Martin, Director, DeGolyer Library, SMU

Topic: Westward, Ho! Collecting the American West


The DeGolyer Library has one of the country’s finest collections of Western Americana. Russell Martin, the director, will trace the collection’s history and development, describe some of its many treasures (and surprises), and outline its usefulness for teaching, research, and historical understanding. He’ll also place the DeGolyer in the context of other collections devoted to the American West. Dr. Martin has been at the helm of the DeGolyer since 2001. Prior to returning to his roots in Texas, he held several positions at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts, which, believe it or not, also has a very strong collection on the American West.

David Meltzer, Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory, Department of Anthropology, SMU

Topic: Archaeology, Ancient DNA and the Ice Age Peopling of the Americas


David J. Meltzer is the Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory in the Department of Anthropology at SMU, and an Affiliate Professor at the Centre for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. His research focuses on the origins, antiquity, and adaptations of the very first Americans – the hunter-gatherers who colonized North America at the end of the Ice Age. His publications include a dozen books and nearly 190 articles. He’s been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1998), a member of the National Academy of Sciences (2009), The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (2009), and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2013).


His table talk will be on Archaeology, ancient DNA, and the Ice Age peopling of the Americas, and the sea change that’s come about in just the last decade in our understanding of who the first Americans were, where they came from, when and how they made their way to what was then a truly new world, and how these bygone Siberian hunter-gatherers met the challenges of adapting to a vast, utterly unknown, partly ice-shrouded and ecologically diverse landscape. It’s a sea change that’s directly resulted from a raft of newly-discovered (but old!) archaeological sites, and findings about human population history and past environments that have emerged thanks to revolutionary advances in the extraction of DNA from ancient bones, teeth and even sediments.

Pamela Nelson, Artist

Topic: Life/Art/ Dining/Hospitality


Pamela Nelson lives and works in Dallas, Texas. Over her lifetime, she has been committed to contributing to the good of Dallas. She founded the art program at the Stewpot, a center for homeless and at-risk individuals. She designed all the windows for Frank Welch Associates at First United Methodist Church of Richardson; she designed five Dart stations, created a mosaic floor medallion at Terminal D in DFW Airport, and served on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts in Washington, D.C. from 2001-2011. Nelson has been an instructor for Dallas County Community Colleges, the Arlington Museum of Art, and the Gateway Gallery at the Dallas Museum of Art. She is currently working on a stained-glass commission and an installation, DINNER PARTY, for Fall of 2020 at Craighead Green Gallery.


For several years, Nelson , with Kaleta Doolin, has hosted THE CONVERSATION with a group of visual artists.  Her round table will focus on Life/Art/ Dining/Hospitality. There will be a bowl of questions.

Stephen Sekula, Associate Professor of Physics and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor, SMU

Topic: Tiny Universes, Big Science


Stephen Sekula is an Associate Professor of Physics at SMU and an SMU Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor. He conducts research at the forefront of the field using a one-of-a-kind machine: the Large Hadron Collider located at the CERN Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. Using this facility he and his colleagues are studying the recently discovered Higgs particle, the primogenitor of fundamental mass in the universe. He is also the co-author of a book for a general audience, "Reality in the Shadows (or) What the Heck's the Higgs?" Together with co-authors S. James Gates Jr. (theoretical physicist) and Frank Blitzer (aerospace engineer), they explore the history of science and physics and take the reader on a journey into what is known, what we wish were known, and how to bridge between the two. His research has been continuously supported by the U.S. Department of Energy since 2012 and he has earned numerous awards and recognition for his teaching and mentoring at SMU, including the HOPE Professor of the Year Award (2016),  Rotunda Outstanding Professor Award (2015), and the SMU Golden Mustang Award (2012).

The table topic will be centered on several key ideas about large-scale modern science including how you conceive of and then sustain large international projects like the Large Hadron Collider and how machines like this can recreate the universe in miniature, capturing a moment just after the universe came into existence, so that one can discern the laws of nature then and now to better understand the history of the whole universe.

Brett Shipp, Journalist and Media Consultant

Topic: War Stories From the Front Lines: 35 Years of TV News


Brett Shipp, longtime WFAA-TV investigative reporter has expanded his reach and embarked upon a new voyage in television news. He is now on the anchor desk at Spectrum News 1, a cable news network covering the entire State of Texas. During his 36-year career in television news, his body of journalistic work speaks for itself. He has won every major award in broadcast news including three George Foster Peabody Awards, two Alred I. duPont Silver Batons and the duPont Gold Baton, widely recognized as the highest honor in all of broadcast news. Brett has covered and uncovered scandals and scoundrels, hurricanes and heart-warming adventures and was the first local reporter on the scene near Ground Zero during 9-11. 




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