ORNL Lab Director Speaks at Fall Commencement

Knoxville – The director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory warned of the dangers of information overload in his address to graduating students at the University of Tennessee-s Fall Commencement on Saturday, December 16.

Dr. Bill Madia questioned the graduates on how they plan to manage the streams of information they will receive every day of their lives.

“In facing the random deluge of information, how will you determine which pieces should be retained and which should be discarded?” Madia asked. “Which pieces of information, when combined, form a creative idea that will add value to your jobs, families, communities, and society?”

More than 1500 men and women received undergraduate and advanced degrees at Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday morning.

Madia told the graduates to act as their own editor, when choosing what information to use in their lives.

“Turning off the firehose of information is not an option anymore,” Madia said. “The challenge lies in the discipline and knowledge to filter the water, to understand that in a world of supercomputers, human reasoning counts.”

Madia earned his bachelor-s and master-s degrees in chemistry from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and his doctorate in chemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He is the author of journal articles in the fields of radiochemistry and quantum mechanics.