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.
When Apollo astronauts returned from the moon 40 years ago, they brought back souvenirs in the form of moon rocks to be used for scientific analysis, and one of the chief questions was whether there was water to be found in the lunar rocks and soils. The problem they faced was complicated by the fact that most of the rock boxes containing the lunar samples had leaked. This led the scientists to assume that the trace amounts of water they found came from Earth air that had entered the containers. Forty years later, a team of scientists including UT Knoxville’s Larry Taylor has found evidence that the old assumption may be wrong.
Carol Tenopir, a professor in the School of Information Sciences at UT Knoxville, has received the 2009 ASIS&T Award of Merit. The award, from the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T), is the group’s highest honor.
Thomas Zawodzinski, an expert and innovator in fuel cell and related energy storage science and technology, has been named the fifth UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair. Zawodzinski will serve in the chemical and biomolecular engineering department at UT Knoxville and in the physical chemistry of materials group in ORNL’s materials science and technology division.
The University of Tennessee Libraries announces the launch of Trace: Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange, a digital repository which will expand access to the university’s intellectual capital and help preserve the creative work of its scholars and researchers.
The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) at UT Knoxville celebrates its one-year anniversary this month, and thus far, more than 400 individuals from 15 countries and 43 states have participated in various research and educational activities. NIMBioS focuses on advancing research and education at the interface of biology and mathematics. Programs for visitors to NIMBioS facilities began in March 2009, including working groups, investigative workshops, tutorials, and educational opportunities.
External research funding at UT Knoxville increased to more than $175 million in fiscal year 2009, more than doubling last year’s total and setting an all-time high for the campus.
The Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, recently released “The Impact of TennCare: A Survey of Recipients 2009,” a study done by Bill Fox, CBER director and economics professor, and Christopher Carty, research associate.
Researchers in the Department of Political Science at UT Knoxville are predicting that newly confirmed Justice Sonia Sotomayor will cast a liberal vote in roughly 67 percent of cases during her first term on the Supreme Court, which will make her the most liberal member of the current court. These predictions are based upon a statistical analysis of the voting patterns exhibited by previously confirmed Supreme Court justices.
Scientists at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have published new findings about a cause of a condition at the root of genetic disorders such as Down Syndrome, pregnancy loss and infertility.