Grand Challenges Lunchtime Talks

The Grand Challenges Lunchtime Talks were created to compliment the Grand Challenges Scholars Program by showing students what tackling the 14 challenges in “the real world” can look like. Speakers who have a passion for entrepreneurship, research or service, have a technical background and work with one or more of the Grand Challenges on a daily basis, present their work and research and discuss their career path with students.

Students are encouraged to ask questions during these talks to challenge their technical understanding, as well as learn about future career options. These talks are free and open to all SMU students, faculty and staff. Talks are typically hosted on the third Friday of the month at noon during the academic year.


Highlighted Past Speakers

Introduction to Quantum Computing and Reliability

Mitch Thornton Ph.D. (February 2022)
Executive Director, Darwin Deason Institute for Cybersecurity
Cecil H. Green Chair of Engineering, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, SMU 

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Net Zero by 2050: Is it Achievable and How?

Anna Broughel Ph.D. (October 2021)
Director of Energy Leadership at the Clean Energy Leadership Institute 
Adjunct Lecturer at John Hopkins School of Advanced international Studies, Washington DC.

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Innovation at Ochsner’s Medical 3D Lab: 3D Printing and VR in Healthcare

Korak Sarkar, MD (February 2021)
Director, M3D Lab, Ochsner Health
Attending Physician, Department of Neurology, Ochsner Health

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Actual Neural Networks in Action

Brad Pfeiffer, Ph.D. (November 2020)
Assistant Professor in Neuroscience, UT Southwestern Medical Center
Southwestern Medical Foundation Scholar in Biomedical Research

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Scholars' Summer Research Symposium

Felicity Gonzalez, '22
Jonathan Lindbloom, '21
Vlad Munteanu, '22
Michael Rainey, '21
(September 2020)

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Thoughts on Solving Hard Problems as a Technical Leader

Jon Clauss (March 2020)
Fellow, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
AIAA Senior Member, INCOSE Member, AAP Member

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Know a potential speaker?

Let the Hart Center know by emailing the speaker's name, contact information, and resume to