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TENN Herbarium Director Jessica Budke will speak on biodiversity collections Friday, September 30

biodiversity-budkeJessica M. Budke, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and the TENN herbarium director, will present “Biodiversity Collections: A Record of the Past; A Resource for the Future” at the next UT Science Forum Friday, September 30.

Modern-day natural history collections are not the dusty museum displays of your childhood memories. Biologists are using cutting-edge research techniques and analytical tools to leverage the data from billions of specimens to study global climate change, invasive species, and evolutionary relationships. Come learn how you too can join forces with citizen scientists around the world to document the plant and animal life on our planet.

The UT Science Forum takes place Friday, Sept. 30 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe (located at 1600 Phillip Fulmer Way), Rooms C-D.

Guests are encouraged to bring their lunch or purchase it from the arena. Each presentation is followed by a Q&A. The event is free and open to the public.

Additionally, this year, we have temporary parking passes available for our guests who do not have UT parking passes. An RSVP is required for the pass. Please email Amanda Womac for more details.

“Methane: The New Paradigm” topic for Friday, Sept. 22

 

Hands holding a flame gasTerry C. Hazen, UT/ORNL Governor’s Chair Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, will discuss “Methane: The New Paradigm” at the next UT Science Forum Friday, Sept. 22.

The United States is rapidly becoming energy independent, largely due to fracking of natural gas and oil from shale in our country–a 700 percent increase in the last 5 years. Methane is a clean-burning fuel, but is also a major greenhouse gas. Fracking also has a very negative perception to the public in many parts of the US to the point that is has been banned in some states, counties, and municipalities.

The UT Science Forum takes place Friday, Sept. 22 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe (located at 1600 Phillip Fulmer Way), Rooms C-D.

Guests are encouraged to bring their lunch or purchase it from the arena. Each presentation is followed by a Q&A. The event is free and open to the public.

Additionally, this year, we have temporary parking passes available for our guests who do not have UT parking passes. An RSVP is required for the pass. Please email Amanda Womac for more details.

“Options for Managing Spent Nuclear Fuel” is the topic for the next UT Science Forum, Friday, Sept. 16

skutnik-9-16-16Steve Skutnik, assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at UT will discuss “Trash or Treasure? Options for Managing Spent Nuclear Fuel” at the next UT Science Forum Friday, Sept. 16.

Nuclear power is by far the largest non-emitting source of electricity generation in the US. However, one of the most intractable challenges for the continued use of nuclear energy is in the ultimate fate of spent fuel when it is used up; or in other words, “What do we do about the waste?” To date, nearly all spent fuel assemblies from reactors are stored on-site in pools and concrete casks. Yet while the ultimate fate of spent nuclear fuel remains a daunting political and social challenge, viable technical options for spent fuel are numerous, including deep geological sequestration as well as reusing of many of the longest-lived components as new fuel in advanced reactors. In this talk, Skutnik will discuss the current challenges with managing spent fuel and potential pathways forward.

The UT Science Forum takes place Friday, Sept. 16 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe (located at 1600 Phillip Fulmer Way), Rooms C-D.

Guests are encouraged to bring their lunch or purchase it from the arena. Each 40-minute presentation is followed by a Q&A. The event is free and open to the public.

Additionally, this year, we have temporary parking passes available for our guests who do not have UT parking passes. An RSVP is required for the pass. Please email Amanda Womac for more details.

“The Arlington Archosaur Site: Discovering a Cretaceous Lost World” kicks off the fall 2016 UT Science Forum Lecture Series

Drumheller-Horton_9.9.16Dr. Stephanie Drumheller-Horton, a lecturer in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences will kick off the fall 2016 UT Science Forum Lecture Series Friday, Sept. 9 with her talk: “The Arlington Archosaur Site: Discovering a Cretaceous Lost World.”

Texas was a very different place 95 million years ago. Dinosaurs and crocodiles dominated a lush coast, preserved as a rich fossil bed in Dallas-Fort Worth called the Arlington Archosaur Site. This site provides an unparalleled glimpse into life during the Cretaceous Period.

The UT Science Forum takes place Friday, Sept. 9 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe (located at 1600 Phillip Fulmer Way), Rooms C-D.

Guests are encouraged to bring their lunch or purchase it from the arena. Each 40-minute presentation is followed by a Q&A. The event is free and open to the public.

Additionally, this year, we have temporary parking passes available for our guests who do not have UT parking passes. An RSVP is required for the pass. Please email Amanda Womac for more details.

“Geologic History of Tennessee” to wrap up Spring semester of UT Science Forum

 

tn-geologic-history-byerlyDr. Don Byerly, Professor Emeritus of Earth & Planetary Sciences, will present “The Last Billion Years: A Geologic History of Tennessee” at the UT Science Forum Friday, April 29. This will be the final presentation of the Spring semester.

Tennessee’s geologic history has evolved in myriad ways since its initial formation more than a billion years ago, settling into its current place on the North American supercontinent between 300 and 250 million years ago. Throughout that long span of “deep time,” Tennessee’s landscape morphed into its present form. The Last Billion Years: A Geologic History of Tennessee is the first general overview in more than thirty years to interpret the state’s geological record. Dr. Byerly will share key points from his book.

The UT Science Forum takes place from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe, Rooms C-D. Each presentation is followed by a Q&A. Guests are encouraged to bring their lunch or purchase it from the Arena.

The UT Science Forum is free and open to the public. This is the final presentation of our Spring 2016 series. We will resume in the Fall.

Climate change and its effect on electricity generation topic for UT Science Forum Friday, April 22

Electricity TowersDr. Melissa R. Allen, Post-Doctoral Researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, will present “Can We Predict If and How Climate Change Will Adversely Effect Electricity Generation?” at the next UT Science Forum Friday, April 22.

Climate change will adversely affect electricity generation capacities in the United States while at the same time increasing seasonal demands for electricity for cooling.  Experimental studies at both large and small regional scales indicate that electricity power plant derating could result in many areas in some seasons due to:

  1. Effects of air temperature increases on the capacity of gas turbines
  2. Effects of water temperature increases on the capacity of steam turbines and nuclear power plants
  3. Effects of precipitation changes on hydropower capacity and fossil plant cooling.

The ability to project climate change impacts on future electricity systems depends on both the capacity to project impacts of climate change and related extreme events at a relatively detailed geographical scale, and also on the capacity to understand sensitivities of affected systems to those impacts. We will discuss methodologies for making these projections along with several findings from their application to the evaluation of infrastructure vulnerability in both mid-western and southeastern states.

The UT Science Forum begins at 12 p.m. in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe, Rooms C-D (in the back of the cafe). Guests are encouraged to bring their lunch or purchase it from the Arena.

The 45-minute presentation will be followed by an audience Q&A. The UT Science Forum is free and open to the public.

“Lifesaving Robotic Tentacles” topic for UT Science Forum Friday, April 15

robotics-medicalDr. Caleb Rucker, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace & Biomedical Engineering at UT, will present: “Lifesaving Robotic Tentacles” at the next UT Science Forum, Friday, April 15.

Dr. Rucker will describe recent research to advance technical capabilities and improve patient outcomes in robot-assisted surgery. Many of these advances have come from new, bio-inspired, tentacle-like, flexible, robotic arms that can traverse narrow, winding paths with minimal invasion.

The UT Science Forum takes place in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe, Rooms C-D from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Guests are encouraged to bring their lunch or purchase it from the arena.

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

The rising cost of cancer drugs is the the topic for the next UT Science Forum, April 8

cancer-drug-treatments-waddellDr. J. Aubrey Waddell, professor of clinical pharmacy at UT and the oncology pharmacist at Blount Memorial Hospital, will present “Why New Cancer Drugs Cost So Much But Do So Little” at the next UT Science Forum Friday, April 8.

The three-drug chemotherapy regimen that produces a 90 percent cure rate in metastatic testicular cancer carries a wholesale price tag of about $400, and that’s the total wholesale price for four cycles of chemotherapy that take about two months to treat the patient. All of those drugs date from the 1970’s. However, a new drug for metastatic melanoma, ipilimumab, produces only a two to four month median overall survival advantage over the old and cheap drug dacarbazine and the ipilimumab costs $160,000 wholesale for two months of treatment. How did we get to this point in American cancer drug development and economics? Also, what are the clinical trial endpoints you should be discussing with your oncologist when considering any cancer drug therapy, old or new? Dr. Waddell will answer these and other questions during the presentation.

The UT Science Forum takes place in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe, Rooms C-D from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Guests are encouraged to bring their lunch or purchase it from the Cafe.

Presentations usually last 45 minutes with time for Q&A afterwards. The Science Forum is free and open to the public.

Discoveries at Pluto Topic for UT Science Forum Friday, April 1

pluto-new-horizons-chad-melton-utsfChad Melton, Senior in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, will present “Discoveries at Pluto: A First Look into the Outer Solar System” at the UT Science Forum Friday, April 1.

NASA’s New Horizons space probe has observed some of the most intriguing bodies in our Solar System, most recently Pluto. Upon the Pluto encounter, New Horizons revealed a world that is greatly more complex and beautiful than previously imagined! This talk will discuss New Horizons and its exciting discoveries.

The UT Science Forum takes place in the Thompson-Boling Arena, Rooms C-D from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Guests are encouraged to bring their lunch or purchase it from the Arena Cafe. Each 45-minute presentation is followed by a Q&A session.

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

Virginia Hughes, award-winning science editor for BuzzFeed News, will speak at 2016 Hill Lecture

vch5Virginia Hughes, acclaimed Science Editor for BuzzFeed News, will give the University of Tennessee’s annual Alfred and Julia Hill Lecture Tuesday, March 29 at 8 p.m. in the College of Nursing Auditorium.  Hughes’ Hill Lecture is free and open to the public.

Before joining BuzzFeed News as Science Editor in 2015, Hughes was a freelance journalist specializing in genetics, neuroscience, and biotechnology.  Her blog, Only Human, was published by National Geographic, and her writing has also appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Slate.  In 2012 and 2014 Hughes’ science stories were selected to appear in The Best American Science and Nature Writing.

Hughes graduated magna cum laude in neuroscience from Brown University and then earned a master’s degree in science writing at Johns Hopkins University.

For her Hill Lecture, Hughes will speak on “In Defense of Clickbait.”  “Science is a human endeavor like any other,” she says, “and so science news should be like any other kind of news: urgent, informative, provocative, compelling – and, on the web, yes, clickable.”

Hughes will also discuss what it’s like to do hard-hitting science journalism for BuzzFeed, a site known for its viral quizzes and listicles, and the importance of bringing science to new audiences.

Hughes’ speech is this year’s Alfred and Julia Hill Lecture – the 24rd in the series.  The Hill Lectures bring distinguished science journalists to campus to share their thoughts on science, society, and the mass media.  The lectures are made possible by an endowment created by Tom Hill and Mary Frances Hill Holton in honor of their parents, Alfred and Julia Hill, founders of The Oak Ridger.  The Hill family’s endowment of the lecture series was a gift to the UT School of Journalism & Electronic Media in the College of Communication & Information.

The College of Nursing Auditorium, site of Hughes’ Hill Lecture, is on the University of Tennessee campus at the corner of Volunteer Boulevard and Peyton Manning Pass.  The auditorium is accessible without stairs from Volunteer Boulevard.  Free parking is available on the street and in nearby lots.  Refreshments will be served before and after the lecture.

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