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
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.
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
Prophet of Oak Ridge, John Hendrix, ( who probably even predicted Ray Smith). He showed the path of the 80 year old
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.