UT Science Forum

Presented by Quest

“Century of Cities” Topic for Oct. 24 Science Forum

century of citiesThe 21st century has rightly been called “The Century of Cities,” with urban areas as the leaders in economic growth and sustainability innovation.

Phil Enquist, UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair for Energy and Urbanism, will present on the challenges facing cities and regions today and holistic principles to guide future development. An integrated approach to energy and urbanism will be transformative at all scales of development, from individual buildings, to districts, cities, nations, and even multinational watersheds. With a focus on the human experience and a bold vision of carbon neutrality, city design can drastically reduce resource consumption, help cities build disaster resiliency, and improve quality of life.

The “Century of Cities” presentation will take place Friday, October 24. The science forum will not meet the week of Fall Break – October 17.

The Science Forum begins at 12 p.m. in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe, Rooms C-D. The event is free and open to the public.

Science of Communication Next Topic at Forum

decision-making-dr-rentschFriday, October 10, Dr. Joan R. Rentsch, professor of communication studies at the University of Tennessee, will present “Communicating to Build Knowledge in Decision-Making Teams.”

Decision-making teams perform best when team members capitalize on their different perspectives and information to build team knowledge. Building team knowledge requires team members to communicate uniquely held information, to transfer knowledge to teammates, to operate relevant knowledge available in the team and to collaboratively integrate and structure knowledge possessed by the team.

However, research has shown that team members tend to communicate information ineffectively, which limits team knowledge building. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to test a team training strategy to examine its effects on distributed decision-making teams. The results indicated that the team training strategy may support high quality team decision making. This research was conducted with funding from the Office of Naval Research.

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

Emerging Infections, Resistant Diseases Discussed Oct. 3

emerging infections-caroline-graberCaroline Graber, research nurse at Vanderbilt University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will cover Ebola, recently discovered hospital-acquired infections, resistant bacteria and the recent flu epidemic during her talk. Her lecture, titled “Emerging Infections—Old Germs, New Problems,” begins at noon on Friday, Oct. 3, in Room C-D of Thompson-Boling Arena.

Graber will discuss new medical topics concerning resistant organisms, vaccination practices and diseases like Ebola. She will specifically address the Chikungunya virus and the Middle Eastern respiratory virus, two infectious diseases emerging in the Western Hemisphere.

Graber earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from UT and her master’s degree in microbiology from the University of Michigan Medical School. She worked as director of infection control and the institutional review board at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital before moving to Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine.

The Science Forum is a weekly lunchtime series that allows professors and area scientists to discuss their research with the general public in a conversational presentation.

Free and open to the public, each Science Forum consists of a 40-minute presentation followed by a question-and-answer session. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch or purchase it at the cafe in Thompson-Boling Arena. The Science Forum is sponsored by the UT Office of Research and Quest, an initiative to raise awareness of the research, scholarship and creative activity happening on campus.


Learn how to “Get FRUVED” Sept. 26

get-fruved-dr-sarah-colbyDr. Sarah Colby, assistant professor of nutrition, will present “Getting Fruved!  Changing Behavior, Changing the World, and Improving Health” at this week’s UT Science Forum Friday, September 26.

Obesity is a serious problem for teenagers in this country, and it has been on the rise for the past 30 years. If young people begin to make healthier choices now, such as eating more fruits and vegetables and exercising more regularly, it could result in better health throughout their lifespans.

Get FRUVED (Get FRUits and VEgetables) is a USDA-funded 4-H project designed to decrease the proportion of older adolescents who are overweight or obese by developing an effective behavioral intervention with environmental supports. Dr. Colby’s study uses an interactive, peer-led, social marketing environmental intervention to help teens manage their weight through dietary quality, physical activity and stress management skills.

Dr. Colby is an obesity prevention behavioral researcher with a focus on health communication through novel nutrition education strategies including marketing, arts, and technology.

The Science Forum is free and open to the public. Location: Thompson-Boling Arena Dining room C-D. Bring your lunch or purchase it from the Arena.

Cost and Opportunities of Electric Transportation topic for Sept. 19

ev-everywhere-dr-claus-danielThis Friday, Sept. 29, Dr. Claus Daniel, from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, will speak on “Electrification of Transportation: Cost and Opportunities” from noon to 1 p.m. during the UT Science Forum in Thompson-Boling Arena Dining Room C-D.

Dr. Daniel is the deputy director of the Sustainable Transportation Facility and director of the Battery Manufacturing R&D facility at the national lab. He will outline the factors – price volatility, environmental impact, and national security – that require the discovery of alternative energy sources and technologies which allow energy diversification.

Lithium ion batteries have made an enormous progress towards their use in new generation hybrid and electric vehicles. However, the initial cost of materials and production, long-term costs, and safety are still an issue. The President’s manufacturing initiative and “EV Everywhere” challenge are working to reduce the cost of battery systems and to build a domestic supply chain. Dr. Daniel’s talk will showcase one specific accomplishment in water based cathode processing, which reduces electrode processing cost by 75%; he will outline what other opportunities could be identified by really addressing automotive energy IN-efficiency.

Creation of The Manhattan Project presented at this week’s Science Forum

the-manhattan-projectDr. Ted S. Lundy, retired professor of metallurgy, will speak on “The Manhattan Project: How did it begin?” Friday, September 12 from noon to 1 p.m. during the UT Science Forum in the Thompson-Boling Arena Dining Room C-D.

Dr. Lundy is the former director of the Tennessee Technological University’s Center for Manufacturing Research. He will discuss the global events that lead to the creation of the Manhattan Project – starting with the scientific work by Marie and Pierre Curie to the actual project origin at Columbia University in 1939 – culminating in the atomic weapons used against the Japanese to end the World War II. His talk emphasizes the key decisions made throughout the process.

Science of Green Locomotives to Wrap-up Science Forum

ut science forum green locomotive works pete clauseenThe final UT Science Forum presentation for Spring 2014 will feature Mr. Pete Claussen, founder and CEO of Gulf & Ohio Railways, Inc., Friday, April 25. His talk, titled “Green Locomotives,” will feature solutions and ideas about green locomotives from Knoxville Locomotive Works.
Knoxville Locomotive Works (KLW) is a company working on green locomotive solutions that are changing the way people think about green locomotives. Their single-engine solutions for switcher and road switcher locomotives offer extremely low emissions, reduced fuel consumption, and increased tractive effort. In essence KLW products do more work, consume less fuel and emit at Tier 3+ levels without the use of aftertreatment. Learn more about Knoxville Locomotive Works
The UT Science Forum takes place in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe, Rooms C-D from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. The presentations are free and open to the public.

Bringing Back the Mighty Giant: American Chestnut at next forum

The-American-Chestnut-TreeDr. Stacy Clark, research forester with the U.S. Forest Service, will present: “American Chestnut Restoration: Can We Bring Back the Mighty Giant?” at the next UT Science Forum Friday, April 11.

The American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was one of the most widely distributed and important tree species in eastern North America until decimated in the early part of the 20th century by an exotic fungus from Asia, the chestnut blight. Planting trees that have been bred for blight-resistance using Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima) has led to some important discoveries. The return of American chestnut into forests of the eastern United States will face challenges from native and non-native plants, animals, insects and diseases, in addition to the chestnut blight.

Dr. Clark will present her current research findings and share her thoughts on bringing back this mighty giant.

The UT Science Forum takes place Fridays from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe, Rooms C-D. Each 40-minute presentation is followed by a Q&A. The UT Science Forum is free and open to the public.

Solving Problems Through Scientific Computing at next Forum

computer-simulationsDr. Steven Wise, association professor of mathematics at the University of Tennessee, will present “Simulations for Solutions: Solving problems through scientific computing” at the next UT Science Forum Friday, April 4.

Computer simulation is used in almost every aspect of our lives, from the design of the antenna on our smartphones, to the weather forecast that we rely on before we leave for work in the mornings. But, what are computer simulations really? Are they reliable? Are there problems that we cannot solve with computers?

There are some amazing success stories in the history of computer simulation, and, in fact, there are certainly things that human beings simply could not do without relying upon computers to crunch the numbers. However, with any subject that has a history, there are also great failures and cautionary tales we all should heed.

Dr. Wise will discuss the advent of scientific computing, from the early days at Princeton and Los Alamos and the building of the first atomic weapons, to the present day and the great triumphs of modern computing. Wise’s lecture is also speculative about the future, as he will speak about what challenges lie ahead and how we might—and might not—be able to solve some of our biggest problems with the help of computers.

The UT Science Forum starts at 12 p.m. in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe, Rooms C-D. The 40-minute presentation is followed by a Q&A session.

Arctic Alaska: Wild, Wonderful and Warming at next Forum

arctic-alaska-wild-warming-stan-wullschlegerDr. Stan Wullschleger, project director of Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments at ORNL, will present “Arctic Alaska: Wild, Wonderful, and Warming” at the next UT Science Forum Friday, March 28.

Rising temperatures in high-latitude ecosystems bring into question the vulnerability of frozen soil or permafrost to thaw and degradation. Organic matter stored for thousands of years is slowly becoming available for microbial decomposition with implications for our planet’s climate. While important, that is just part of the story; the tip of the terrestrial iceberg.

Dr. Wullschleger will address, through a mixture of science and travelogue, the rest of the story as he focuses his presentation on the landscape-scale consequences of further warming in the Arctic.

The UT Science Forum takes place Fridays from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the UT Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe, Rooms C-D. The 40-minute presentation is followed by a Q&A session. The UT Science Forum is free and open to the public.

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