Frank Loeffler, a leading expert in environmental microbiology and the use of bacteria to clean and protect environmental resources, has been named the sixth UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair. Loeffler will serve in the departments of microbiology and civil and environmental engineering at UT Knoxville and in ORNL’s biological and environmental sciences directorate.
The Construction Industry Research and Policy Center at UT Knoxville has received a $9.3-million, five-year grant to assist the U.S. Department of Labor in measuring prevailing rates for construction workers working on federal construction projects throughout the nation. The center — part of the College of Business Administration — will conduct wage and benefit surveys of construction labor markets throughout the nation.
With the goal of shedding light on society’s most pressing social issues, UT Knoxville has formed the Center for the Study of Social Justice. Based in UT’s Department of Sociology, the center provides a framework for scholars of sociology, psychology, education, social work, law, geography, political science and philosophy, among others, to collaborate on research and share insights about the conflicts, complexities and contradictions related to social justice. The center aims to produce science-based solutions for everyday problems.
The amount of research being done by retail faculty at UT Knoxville ranks in the top 20 internationally and in the top five nationally, according to published studies recently done by two members of the Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Management department. Assistant Professor Rodney Runyan and doctoral candidate Jonghan Hyun studied faculty and program productivity in the retail discipline at colleges and universities around the world.
The ratings are in, and UT Knoxville’s National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, or NIMBioS, is at the top of the charts. A video about the year-old National Science Foundation research center is the most-watched video on the SEC Academic Network, a new Web site that hosts academically-oriented videos from all the schools of the Southeastern Conference.
UT Knoxville will host a mathematics colloquium with Dr. Sreekanth Pannala of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) at 3:35 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 26, in room 102 of the Haslam Business Building. Pannala is a senior research staff member in the Computer Science and Mathematics Division at ORNL. The colloquium is entitled “Bridging Atomistic to Continuum Scales for Designing Energy Materials: Challenges and Opportunities.”
While football bowl season is still a few weeks off, math bowl season is now under way. Next Tuesday, Oct. 27, more than 600 high school students will descend on UT Knoxville for the UT-Pro2Serve Math Contest, an annual day-long event pitting students from across the state in both individual and team competitions testing their mathematics skills.
The College of Communication and Information at UT Knoxville will receive $3.2 million over five years — the largest grant award the college has ever received — to participate in a National Science Foundation project to help create a data network that will enable earth and environmental scientists worldwide to share and preserve their research. The project is called DataONE, with ONE being short for Observation Network for Earth.
The National Science Foundation has awarded UT Knoxville $10 million to develop a computer system that will interpret the massive amounts of data created by the current generation of high-performance computers in the agency’s national computer grid. Nautilus, a computer system that will have the capability to store vast amounts of data, will be one of the largest shared-memory computers in the world.
Mercury pollution is a persistent problem in the environment. Human activity has led to increasingly large accumulations of the toxic chemical, especially in waterways, where fish and shellfish tend to act as sponges for the heavy metal. It’s that persistent and toxic nature that has flummoxed scientists for years in the quest to find ways to mitigate the dangers posed by the buildup of mercury in its most toxic form, methylmercury. A new discovery by scientists at UT Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, however, has shed new light on one of nature’s best mercury fighters: bacteria.