Monthly Archives: August 2012

Programs for September 2012

September 24 Dr. Jenny Retherford, P.E will be the speaker . The title of her talk will be: “Reliability Analysis for Flexible Pavement Design”.(PDH)

This presentation discusses analytical and simulation-based reliability methods as applied to flexible pavement design. The research concepts utilize the AASHTO Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) which is a fairly recently released design procedure (released in 2004). The reliability analysis procedures are explained in some detail and include: Monte Carlo Simulation, Advanced Mean Value, First Order Reliability Method, Mean Value First Order Second Moment method, and the Rosenblueth method.

Dr. Jenny Retherford, P.E. is a recent graduate from Vanderbilt University and just joined the UT Civil Engineering department this fall as a Lecturer. Jenny worked as a structural design engineer for a number of engineering firms: Leo A Daly in Omaha, amec in Nashville, as well as Stan Lindsey in Nashville. Her academic achievements include a “handful” of publications and conference presentations related to her dissertation, loosely described as uncertainty management for flexible pavement design. Jenny is a licensed civil engineer in the state of Tennessee as well as a LEED accredited professional.

The Technical Society is the civic organization for technically oriented people and it has traditionally provided volunteer technical advice and services when the opportunity or need has arisen. Dr. Retherford had a request in her letter to Ken Barry that some of the Technical Society members or other technical people could answer.

Dr. Retherford is teaching the senior design class at UT this semester and she is looking for local engineers to come to the class. She is open to a number of activities – maybe someone comes in and showcases a recent project (hopefully with some aspects similar to the one the class is working on), or some innovative activity that they are working on, or, possibly the most helpful option, She would love for someone to come in to the class and let the students give their ‘elevator speech’ describing their project and provide feedback/comments/recommendations on the design decisions they have made and maybe some insight into concepts/concerns that they might encounter further along in their design process (right now, they are in something of a schematic phase, so foresight would be incredibly useful to them now). She asked if Ken Barry or anyone else he knows would be interested in visiting with her class? She will take as many volunteers or repeat visitors as Ken can find for her. She would really like these students to be exposed to senior engineers who could to some extent represent the relationship that they would have if they were performing this work at a firm. She asked if Ken and others would be interested in stopping by campus and mentoring these students?

September 17 Mariappan Parans Paranthaman will be the speaker. The title of his talk will be: “Novel Anodes and Cathodes for Lithium-Ion Batteries”.
Dr.Paranthaman is a distinguished scientist and a leader of the Materials Chemistry Group of the Chemical Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He currently ranks #2 in worldwide citations

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in the high temperature superconductivity research in the last decade (1999-2009).

The major limitation on development of renewable energy sources is energy storage and lithium – with it’s light weight and low electronegativity is the most likely key material for breakthrough batteries.

Sept 10, 2012 Sergey Gavrilets will speak on “The evolution of monogamy”. He is UTK Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Mathematics in the Department of Ecology

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His self description follows:
Depending on the context, I call myself a theoretical evolutionary biologist (most of the time) or an applied mathematician (sometimes). I use mathematical models to study complex evolutionary processes. Over the last several years, my research interests have mostly concentrated on the following major areas: social and cultural evolution, speciation and adaptive radiation, sexual conflict, holey fitness landscapes, and micro-evolutionary processes and macro-evolutionary patterns. I have also studied mathematical models aiming to describe/explain maintenance of genetic variation in natural populations, dynamics of genetic variation under selection, frequency-dependent selection and coevolution, maternal and parental effects, hybrid zones and clines, and spatially heterogeneous selection.


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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Meetings


August 2012 TSK news

On August 6, 2012 Dr. Terry Hazen of UTK Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, spoke to the society. The title of his talk was “Can Mother Nature Take a Punch: The Deepwater Horizon Incident”
Dr. Hazen’s area of specialty is environmental microbiology, especially as it relates to bioremediation, water quality and bioenergy. He recently led groundbreaking research about how the giant clouds of oil from the Deepwater Gulf spill seemed to disappear. His team identified oil-eating bacteria that proliferated below the ocean surface helping to break down and clean up the oil plume. In 1979 the Gulf of Mexico had the second largest oil spill when exploratory oil well Ixtoc 1 blew out, spilling an estimated 140 million gallons of crude oil into the open sea. Although it is one of the largest known oil spills, it had a low environmental impact because bacteria present in the Gulf of Mexico are capable of degrading oil quickly. In the Deepwater Horizon disaster the spill began on April 24 and by July 15 there was no detectable oil in the plume from the spill. The bacteria that degraded the oil are more active at very low temperatures unlike most bacteria.
On August 13, 2012 the speaker was Dr. Boyce N. Driskell, Director and Research Professor at UT’s Archaeological Research Laboratory. He described the work of the Archaeological Research Laboratory and described projects in Townsend ( evaluating 200,000 chipped stone samples?) and

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at the UT farm- which is being developed as part of the campus.

The August 20, 2012 speaker was Dr. J. Wesley Hines, Head of The University of Tennessee Nuclear Engineering Department.
The department was started in 1957 by Dr. Pasqua and it is doing very well, with very good students and faculty. The department enrollment has trippled in the last decade. Currently the department is ranked number 9 in the nation and the goal is to move to number five in five years. He discussed some of the changes that have been implemented in nuclear plant emergency preparedness since the Japanese nuclear plant disasters.


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August 27, 2012 Ray Smith from BWY-12 talked about the history of the Y-12 plant and Oak Ridge. Ray was responsible for maintenance for many years and he has extensive knowledge of the history and great enthusiasm in presenting it. He told of the remarkable

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nun who recently entered the Y-12 facility as a disarmament protester. The two atom bombs dropped on Japan were the only two that had been built and it would have taken one or two years to make enough plutonium and U235 to build new ones.

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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in News