Category Archives: UT

Sen. Alexander comments on ‘Tennessine’

alexandersummitSen. Lamar Alexander’s office this afternoon released a statement on the proposal to name a new element — Element 117 on the periodic chart — as “Tennessine” to recognize the contributions to the discovery by scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University.

Here’s an excerpt from Alexander’s comments: Continue reading

Girls take look at future in engineering; Y-12 hosts event

womenengineersTeresa Robbins, deputy manager of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Production Office, was among the speakers at Tuesday’s “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” program at Y-12’s New Hope Center. (KNS/Munger photo)


Teresa Robbins is a top executive in the National Nuclear Security Administration, overseeing work at two nuclear weapons plants, and she said the foundation for her successful career was a decision to pursue a degree in engineering.

Engineering made everything possible, she said.

“I came from a family that had never gone to college, and I really didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Robbins said Tuesday at an “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” program at the Y-12 National Security Complex. Continue reading

UT, ORNL to participate in NNSA-funded research

The National Nuclear Security Administration this week announced a grant award of $25 million to a consortium led by the University of California at Berkeley to pursue research and development in nuclear science and security.

Other members of the consortium includes the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Michigan State University; the University of California, Davis; the University of California, Irvine; the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; George Washington University; and Texas A&M University. Continue reading

ORNL wins two ARPA-E awards; UT gets two, too

ORNLmrfEnergy Secretary Ernest Moniz last week announced $125 million in grants for “transformational energy technology projects,” including two projects to be headed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The projects are funded through DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

The ORNL projects include work on new cast alumina-forming alloys and design of 2-D proton-selective membrances for use in storage technologies. Continue reading

ORNL reactor’s past tied to nation’s energy future

IMG_4823John Kotek, the Department of Energy’s acting assistant secretary for nuclear energy, was at Thursday’s workshop on Molten Salt Reactor Technologies at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“I think the spirit of Alvin Weinberg is here,” Alan Icenhour, an associate lab director at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, said Thursday morning.

No, Icenhour wasn’t holding a seance, hoping to connect with the late Dr. Weinberg — a nuclear pioneer, science ambassador and longtime director of ORNL. He was speaking at the opening session of a workshop celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, of which Weinberg was its champion. Continue reading

‘Can a Robot Have a Mind?’

The featured speaker at the Oct. 13 lunch meeting of Friends of Oak Ridge National Laboratory will be Bruce MacLennan, associate professor at the University of Tennessee’s Electrical and Computer Science Department. His topic will be: “Can a Robot Have a Mind?”maclennan

Here’s an abstract from MacLennan:  “Suppose we could make a robot with the intelligence of a human. Would it be conscious?  Feel emotions?  Have free will? How could you tell?  In this talk I will explore these questions and discuss how they could be answered scientifically.  In particular, I will address the problem of machine consciousness, which is an instance of what philosophers call the Hard Problem of consciousness: the task of explaining the relation between conscious experience and the physical processes associated with it.  In addition to its relevance to artificial intelligence, this question provides a sharp test-case for our theories of the human mind, and investigating it will foster a deeper understanding of our own humanity.” Continue reading

ORNL works with industry on energy-sharing prototype

0924_KCLO_ORNL24_07_ALA 3D-printed building is displayed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as part of the AMIE (Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy) demonstration. A vehicle, also built using a 3D printer at ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, is part of the integrated system that can share energy with the building. The demonstration took place as part of the first-ever Industry Day sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. (KNS photo/Adam Lau)

The future was parked on Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s front lawn Wednesday, and it created quite a stir.IMG_4760

A nine-month research project, demonstrating a wealth of energy-efficient technologies and a creative approach to energy planning, was on display for the opening session of Industry Day at ORNL.

The prototype known as AMIE (Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy) links a building and a vehicle — both constructed of polymer materials using large-scale 3D printers — that share energy sources via lab-developed wireless connections and make powerful things possible.

“This whole exercise is a ‘what if’ about the future,” ORNL Director Thom Mason said. “What if the investment we make in our car is also going to be part of the power source for our house, instead of sitting idle 95 percent of the time? Continue reading