UT Science Forum

Presented by Quest



Nuclear Power for Deep-Space Missions March 6

nuke-power-deep-space-missions-dixonDavid Dixon, graduate teaching associate in nuclear engineering, will present “Nuclear Power for Deep-Space Missions” at the next UT Science Forum Friday, March 6.

Dixon conceived and led the development of the DUFF experiment–the first to produce electricity for long-endurance space missions that used nuclear fission, heat pipes and Stirling engines.  It went from concept to operation in only 6 months. In his presentation, Dixon will discuss why and how he and his colleagues developed the experiment and more recent developments in the Kilopower program.

The presentation will take place in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe, Rooms C-D from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. and includes a Q&A session afterwards. The UT Science Forum is free and open to the public.


Atoms Have Feelings Too Topic for February 27

atoms-takeshi-egamiDr. Takeshi Egami, UT-ORNL Distinguished Professor/Scientist in the Department of Materials Sciences and Engineering, and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Director of the Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences will present “Atoms Have Feelings Too: How They Suffer and Get Frustrated in Liquids and Solids” at the next UT Science Forum Friday, February 27.

Egami pioneered the development of new techniques to determine the atomic structure and motion of atoms in solids.

The UT Science Forum is weekly lunch lecture series that takes place in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe, Rooms C-D. Each lecture begins at 12 p.m. and is followed by a Q&A session. The event is free and open to the public.


Feb. 20 Science Forum CANCELLED Due to Weather

snow-day-cancellationThe UT Science Forum is cancelled this Friday, Feb. 20 due to the snow and potential for harsh winter weather. Our speaker, Carol Evans, will join us March 27.

We will resume our regular meeting at 12 p.m. Friday, February 27 with Dr. Takeshi Egami who will present “Atoms Have Feelings Too: How They Suffer and Get Frustrated in Liquids and Solids.”

The UT Science Forum is a weekly lunch lecture series that takes place in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe, Rooms C-D and is free and open to the public.


Aquanauts to Share 73-Day Experience Under the Sea Feb. 13

classroom-under-the-seaBruce Cantrell and Jessica Fain, associate and adjunct professors of biology at Roane State Community College, will present “Classroom Under the Sea” at the next UT Science Forum Friday, February 13.

Cantrell and Fain were chosen by the Marine Resources Development Foundation to be the two aquanauts in the 73-day “Classroom Under the Sea” educational mission which set a new world record for the longest time spent continuously living and working under the sea. In their talk, Cantrell and Fain will cover the logistics of daily living, the stresses and concerns of prolonged living in an over-pressured underwater habitat, the challenges of broadcasting a world-wide weekly live program from underwater, and the future of underwater living.

The UT Science Forum takes place every Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe, Rooms C-D. After a 45-minute presentation by the guest lecturer, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions. The event is free and open to public.


Mass Transit and Sprawling Development Topic for Feb. 6

Urban-SprawlBelinda Woodiel-Brill, director of marketing and development at Knoxville Area Transit, will speak about “Critical Mass Transit: How Sprawling Development Affects our Lives and Transportation” at the next UT Science Forum Friday, February 6. Her talk begins at 12 p.m.

Development patterns assume car ownership affect us in more ways than just increasing our driving. There are social, economic and environmental repercussions that create a challenge for those who use mass transit. These factors also create challenges for mass transit system designers. As a user and designer of mass transit in a car-centric urban area, Woodiel-Brill will discuss ways of re-thinking about how we get around.

The UT Science Forum takes place in the Thompson Boling Arena Cafe, Rooms C-D and is free and open to the public.


Small Indian Mongoose Topic at Next Science Forum

small indian mongooseDr. Daniel Simberloff, Professor, Nancy Gore Hunger Chair of Excellence in Environmental Science, will speak on “The Small Indian Mongoose: Ongoing Spread of a Global Scourge” from noon to 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30 during the UT Science Forum in Thompson-Boling Arena Dining Room C-D.

The small Indian mongoose is one of the most destructive invasive species and has spread to many locations worldwide during the last century, largely because of deliberate introductions by people who thought it could control introduced rats or native snakes. Although originally tropical and subtropical, it is now beginning to invade Europe. It has contributed to a number of extinctions of native mammals, amphibians, and birds, and it threatens a number of other species. In the course of this travel, this mongoose has evolved substantially. It has proven to be one of the most difficult of invasive species to eradicate or manage.

The Science Forum is free and open to the public.


“UT Planetarium Goes Public” Kicks Off Spring Science Forum

ut-planetarium-paul-lewisThe UT Science Forum | presented by Quest offers a weekly lecture on current science, medical, or technology developments. The UT Science Forum was established in 1933 to share scientific research with the public. It was and continues to be an excellent opportunity for students, UT professors, and the general public to learn about cutting-edge research at UT, ORNL and other local institutions on Fridays over lunch during the UT academic year.

The spring semester lecture series will begin on January 23; Paul Lewis, Director of the Astronomy Outreach Program in the UT Department of Physics and Astronomy, will speak on “The UT Planetarium Goes Public” from noon to 1 p.m. during the UT Science Forum in Thompson-Boling Arena Dining Room C-D.

A planetarium has an immersive quality that excites and stirs the imagination and piques curiosity. It is a remarkable tool for teaching – primarily astronomy – but other disciplines as well. Lewis will talk about how the university uses the planetarium for UT astronomy students, public school students, and the general public to teach and promote astronomy and space science in our community.


“Catch-of-the-Day” to Wrap Up Science Forum Nov. 21

ZebrafishDr. Steven Ripp, research associate professor at the Center for Environmental Biotechnology, will wrap up the Fall 2014 Science Forum series with his presentation: “Catch-of-the-day: The tiny zebrafish in the big pharmaceutical pond.” The final session will take place Friday, Nov. 21.

The zebrafish is a 1.5 inch long tropical freshwater fish belonging to the minnow family. It is a very popular aquarium fish due to its hardiness, ease of breeding and availability in nearly any pet store. Zebrafish are also becoming popular in the biomedical research community because they share nearly 12,800 genes in common with humans, 84 percent of which can be linked to genes that cause disease in humans. Thus, studying how zebrafish genes react and respond to new cancer drugs or other disease treatment strategies serves as an indicator of similar reaction endpoints in humans, and can be used to determine the safety and efficacy of drugs prior to human (or other animal) therapies.

Although the mouse served admirably as the proxy for human biomedical research for the past several decades, the small size and high fertility of zebrafish assists in reducing drug discovery costs and accelerating research results. More critically, the transparency of zebrafish early in their life cycle allows them to function as see-through subjects whose every organ and tissue can be easily visualized to better and more quickly understand how a new drug might be affecting, for example, the growth of a cancerous tumor.

To make zebrafish visualization even easier, Dr. Ripp’s research is focused on integrating genes into the zebrafish that will allow specific organs and tissues to emit bioluminescent light. Cameras able to capture this light response will very precisely monitor the zebrafish’s physiology to rapidly pinpoint the effectiveness of a new drug or, alternatively, determine unwanted side effects of a new drug. With the zebrafish being so small and large in number, many drugs can be tested simultaneously to massively accelerate the current pace of new drug discovery and move drugs to market faster and more inexpensively than previously possible.

The UT Science Forum is free and open to the public. Presentations begin at 12 p.m. in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe, rooms C-D.


Vision for Rocky Top’s Coal Creek Miners Museum Nov. 14

CoalCreekMinersMuseumTim Isbel, commissioner for Anderson County, will present “A Vision for Rocky Top’s Coal Creek Miners Museum” at the next UT Science Forum meeting Friday, November 14 from noon to 1 p.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena Dining Room C-D.

The town of Rocky Top, Tenn., was formerly known as Coal Creek, named after the stream that runs through the town. This area was the site of a long struggle in the 1890’s, known as the Coal Creek War, between miners and coal companies over the use of unpaid convict labor in the coal mines. The coal miners were eventually victorious, ending the Tennessee’s convict labor program.

In 2013, the Anderson County Commission voted to purchase the former Bank of America building in Lake City and donate it to the City of Lake City to be used for the home of the Coal Mining Museum. PlanET awarded the City of Lake City a Community Enhancement Project, which included a conceptual design for the Coal Creek Miners Museum. Mr. Isbel will share plans for the new Coal Creek Miners Museum in Lake City.

The UT Science Forum is free and open to the public.


Expert to Speak on Electric Vehicles at next Science Forum

omer-onar-electric-vehiclesDr. Omer Onar, the Alvin M. Weinberg Fellow at the National Transportation Research Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will present “Electric Vehicles Without Plugging In” at the next UT Science Forum Friday, November 7

Imagine charging an electric vehicle without plugging it in – and even while it is in motion.  Wireless power transfer is a safe, convenient, efficient and autonomous means charging electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Wireless charging does not require bulky connectors, plugs and heavy-duty wires; is not affected by dirt or weather conditions; and is as efficient as conventional conductive charging systems.

During his presentation, Dr. Onar will provide an overview of wireless power transfer systems and vehicle charging applications he developed. He will also describe three different programs on wireless power transfer in progress at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, along with experimental test results.

The UT Science Forum is a brown-bag lecture series hosted each Friday in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe, Rooms C-D from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

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