Happenings on the Hill

Quantum cooperation

Monthly conversations between an entrepreneur and SMU engineering researcher Mitch Thornton created new opportunities for both of them.

“One of those monthly conversations resulted in us filling a whiteboard with some pretty radical ideas, and that whiteboard was the genesis of this new company,” said Wil Oxford, CEO of Anametric Inc., of Austin.

Now Anametric has given SMU’s Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security more than $1 million for quantum-related research.

Institute executive director Thornton and Duncan MacFarlane, executive editor for SMU’s Hart Institute for Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, will investigate theoretical approaches to enhancing cybersecurity using quantum information.

“The long-term goal is to build quantum computing devices. But we have to take baby steps, and this first grant is focused on quantum-based cybersecurity devices,” Thornton said.

Quantum-related technology exploits quantum physics properties to enable complex tasks that would be impossible with today’s computers, which rely on classical binary digits, either a 0 or 1.

In contrast, a quantum computer could use quantum bits that could be both 0 and 1 simultaneously, theoretically enabling them to radically outperform today’s computers.

An American in China

While waiting for tea in Jiangsu, China, the summer after his first year at SMU, Jared Burleson overheard two men speaking English, then recognized one as Nobel Prize-winning physicist Michael Kosterlitz.

Jared Burleson

“I was inspired by my conversation with them to continue studying Chinese and someday work with the particle physics research community in China,” Burleson said.

Now a senior, Burleson has been named a Schwarzman Scholar, one of 154 scholars from 39 countries chosen from 3,600 applicants to study at Tsinghua University in Beijing beginning in August 2021.

“The next frontier in particle physics will be in China,” said Burleson, who is minoring in Chinese.

The Institute of High Energy Physics in Beijing hopes to build a particle collider, a significant successor to the Large Hadron Collider located at CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland.

Science is a global enterprise, said Steve Sekula, SMU associate professor of physics. “It’s magnificent that someone Jared’s age is coming into our field understanding that human relationships are essential going forward.”

Madrid masterworks

SMU’s Meadows Museum has added two works by contemporary Spanish artist Secundino Hernández.

The monumental painting Untitled (2019) measures just more than 13 by 9 feet and consist of pieces of canvas—often discarded scraps from other works—stitched together and then washed and dyed repeatedly, creating a mix of hard-edged lines with vibrant washes of color.

Secundino Hernández

In tandem with the purchase, Hernández donated Orígenes Secretos (Secret Origins) (2020), a much smaller painting that began as a palette on which artists typically mix paint colors.

Untitled (2019) felt at home in the Meadows from the moment we hung it in the museum,” said Mark A. Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the museum. “The dialogue it creates with other works in our collection and the enthusiasm it inspires among our visitors encouraged its purchase as we expand our commitment to collecting contemporary Spanish art.”

Click here for more Happenings on the Hill coverage


For nearly 40 years, People Newspapers has worked tirelessly to tell the stories—good, bad, and sublime—of our neighbors in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow. To support our efforts, please contact [email protected] for advertising opportunities. Please also consider sharing this story with your friends and social media followers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *