AMSE Receives First Ever Overcomer Award

The Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) has recognized The American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE) in Oak Ridge for successfully surmounting a significant and specific challenge. AMSE has been awarded with the first-ever Overcomer Award!

Legacy Parks Foundation Announces Partnership with UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm

Legacy Parks Foundation and the University of Tennessee Research Park at Cherokee Farm announced a unique partnership to develop a concept plan that will make the research park an even more attractive site for innovative businesses to locate and well as enhance the park for the entire public to enjoy. The concept plan will respond to the increasing demand for integrated live-work-play environments in which businesses can locate. The research park’s location in the bend of the Tennessee River provides an ideal setting to build out park features to make the site a key destination for innovative businesses and park users. One of the unique features of the UT Research Park is its unique archaeological zone, which includes nearly 85 acres that will be preserved to recognize the location of major Native American settlements dating as early as 12,000 years ago until about AD 1600. Additionally, a 2.2-mile section of greenway already exists along the shoreline of Cherokee Farm, connecting downtown Knoxville and the Neyland Greenway to the research park, and serves as a key section of the Knox-Blount Greenway currently under construction. Knox County’s Marine Park anchors the property on the south end and crosscountry trails and a small amphitheater are found in the middle of the property. Of interest for the park, are amenities that will serve University of Tennessee students and outdoor enthusiasts throughout the community.

Has Science Let Radiation Scare Us to Death?

Until now, the notion that has been followed is hat until the impact of low-dose radiation is ascertained, the safest thing to do is to assume the worst. For Andrew Maidment, the chief of physics for the Department of Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania, it was one of the oddest phone calls he’d ever received. “A woman called me up once,” he remembers, “and I hear this child screaming in the background, yelling and crying, crying. She starts off with, can I hug my son again?” Part of Maidment’s job is consulting with patients and occasionally answering strange questions, but this was a new one: “She explains that her son had broken his leg three weeks earlier, and he’d had an X-ray for his leg. And was he still radioactive? She’s so afraid of radiation she won’t hug her kid.” Maidment reassured the woman that any radiation her son had received vanished as soon as the X-ray machine was turned off, and that her child wasn’t radioactive. “She says, ‘so I could have hugged my son right away?’ And I say, ‘yeah.’” It was an example of a phenomenon that scientists and other experts have dubbed radiophobia — the fear of ionising radiation. Every horror filmmaker worth her fake blood and monster makeup knows that nothing is more terrifying than the unseen: the creak on the stairs, the shadow on the curtains, the hint of fatal evil.

History of Computing Resources at Y-12, Part III

This final part of Clyde Davenport’s excellent documentation of advances in computing at the Y-12 plant includes an example where I was personally involved and where we shared a U.S. Department of Energy Award of Excellence as a direct result. It is an early “expert system.” Today it would be called “artificial intelligence,” but we knew it was a learning system and used a great deal of data prioritized maintenance work. We just did not presume to label it as “artificial intelligence.”

What They Are Saying: Support For DOE’s New Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office

On Friday, September 6, 2019, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced the formal establishment of DOE’s Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office. Here is a sampling of the reaction to date:

Roane State Hosts Specialized Training for Y-12 Employees

Longstanding and varied partnerships between Roane State Community College and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge entered a new phase this summer, and it may lead to a five-year funding opportunity for the community college. Using an initial $41,000 in funding from the National Partnership for Environmental Technology Education (PETE), Roane State has been hosting and coordinating specialized training for non-bargaining unit workers at Y-12. The funding from PETE came from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences/Department of Energy (NIEHS/DOE) Nuclear Worker Training Program, which provides hazardous-related health and safety training to DOE workers and contractors. PETE is a nonprofit formed to support training programs at community and technical colleges.

TN Promise Needs Total of 9,000 Mentors for Class of 2020

tnAchieves has begun its effort to recruit 9,000 volunteer mentors to meet its goal of providing every TN Promise applicant from the Class of 2020 with a local support system.  TN Promise, which affords every graduating high school senior in the state the opportunity to attend a community or technical college tuition-free, needs mentors to give one hour per month. The time commitment is small but the impact can be life-changing for students. tnAchieves is still recruiting mentors, click here to see the counties and how many are needed.

Alexander Says Congress Is On Track To Provide 5th Year Of Record Funding For 17 National Laboratories, Supercomputing

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday unanimously approved legislation sponsored by subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.) that includes the fifth consecutive year of record funding for the Office of Science – the most important Department of Energy program that supports work at our 17 national laboratories, including the Oak Ridge National Laboratory – and keeps the U.S. number one in supercomputing.  

Teaching the Ivory Tower New Tricks

American colleges and universities are known throughout the world for the innovations they nurture and produce, from breakthroughs in solar power, chemotherapy research, and touchscreen technology, to the creation of the spreadsheet. But when it comes to innovating internally—by changing their structure and design to better serve their students—they are notoriously hidebound. For example: nearly 30 percent of all undergraduates are now over the age of twenty-five, but the vast majority of college classes are still held during the workday, not on weekends and evenings when adults with full-time jobs can take them. This is one of the many ways in which colleges have not adapted to the changing needs of the average student.  That said, there’s growing pressure on them to change. Students and parents are outraged by exorbitant tuition costs and the high levels of debt they have to take on; employers are frustrated by a mismatch between the skills they’re looking for and the ones newly minted college graduates have cultivated; and policymakers are increasingly concerned about the huge number of students, mostly from modest backgrounds, who start college but don’t finish, and are left with no credential that could help them get a good job to pay off their student debt. As a consequence, there’s now more oxygen for higher education leaders who want to start doing things differently. 

NSF Grant of Support Roane State’s Mechatronics Program

Roane State Community College has been awarded a three-year grant to make sure the community college’s mechatronics students have a well-rounded technical education to benefit themselves and their future employers. The National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education grant is for $299,793. It runs through June 30, 2022. “A great team got this project off the ground and will keep it moving forward to benefit students,” said Shelley Esquivel, the community college’s grants specialist who submitted the proposal to NSF.