Skip to content

“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.

UT Science Forum on Spring Break

spring-break-2016The UT Science Forum will not meet the following days because of UT Spring Break and Spring Recess:

Friday, March 11 – Spring Break

Friday, March 18 – Spring Break

Friday, March 25 – Spring Recess

We will resume our regular Friday meetings April 1 with Chad Melton, senior in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, who will speak on the discoveries of Pluto.

Traveling to Titan at the next Science Forum Friday, March 4

titan-moonDr. Devon Burr, associate professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, will present “Titan: A Surprisingly Earth-like World” at the next UT Science Forum Friday, March 4.

 

Titan, the largest satellite of Saturn, is very alien in its composition and conditions, but surprisingly Earth-like in its landscapes. Mountain ranges have similar shapes to terrestrial mountains, but a likely composition of icy compounds. The moon hosts rivers and lakes, although with an average surface temperature of -290 degrees F (94K), the flowing liquid is largely nitrogen. Vast sand deposits are apparent, comprised of carbon-rich sands. This talk will review these fascinating aspects of Titan.

The UT Science Forum begins at 12 p.m. in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe, Rooms C-D. Each 45-minute lecture is followed by an audience Q&A. Attendees are encouraged to bring their lunch or purchase it from the Cafe.

The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. John Skinner to Examine Factors of Pollinator Decline February 26

Dr. John Skinner, Professor and Extension Apiculturist at the University of Tennessee, will present “Examining Factors of Pollinator Decline, Progress and Future Directions” at the UT Science Forum Friday, February 26.

Crops that benefit from or require pollination to set seeds or produce fruit are valued in excess of $26 billion per year in the United States. This decline includes multiple bee species. Honey bee populations have declined in recent years due to several suspected causes including parasitic mites, viruses and other pathogens, pesticide exposure, challenging weather fluctuations and reduction in food resources, resulting in poor nutrition. This presentation will explain our current knowledge on these suspected causes and discuss the future outlook.

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.

Sleep: Neuroscience, Medicine, and Society Topic for February 19

Dr. Ralph Lydic, Cole Professor of Neuroscience in the Departments of Psychology & Anesthesiology, will present “Sleep: Neuroscience, Medicine, and Society” at the UT Science Forum Friday, February 19.

The oldest cave art dates to about 40,000 years ago suggesting that humans at that time already possessed secondary consciousness and dreaming cognition. The first physiological evidence, however, for the existence of a dreaming phase of sleep did not appear until 1953. This UT Science Forum talk will highlight neuroscience evidence showing that sleep, like breathing, is actively generated by the brain and not the passive loss of wakefulness. Sleep is often devalued as a state of consciousness, yet normal sleep is as essential to health as is nutrition. Virtually everyone has a family member who experiences disordered sleep to some degree. Sleep disorders medicine will be highlighted as a vibrant, medical specialty.

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. Each 45-minute presentation is followed by a Q&A session. The UT Science Forum is free and open to the public.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.