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ORICL - Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning

Science and Technology

Science and Technology

550     Climate Change and National Security

globe in hand pic“The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security”. --- President Barack Obama, 2015 State of the Union Address, citing the Department of Defense 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap. While considerable controversy and debate surrounds the connection between climate change and conflict, the U.S. defense and security establishments are giving serious attention to climate change as a potential threat to national security.

In this class we will consider the range of possible climate-related risks to national security, from the vulnerability of defense installations to geopolitical instability. We will examine the issues surrounding scientific evidence for a relationship between climate change and conflict, and explore how climate change might act as a ‘threat multiplier’ in the context of fragile states and political instability. None of the class content or discussions will in any way be sensitive or classified, with all material and information open and in the public domain.

Anthony King is a Research Staff Member in the Environmental Sciences Division of ORNL.  He received a BS in Zoology and MS in Biology from Arkansas State University.  He received his PhD in Ecology from the University of Tennessee.  Since joining ORNL in 1987, Dr. King has performed a variety of research.  Most recently he has been involved in scientific synthesis and assessment in support of decision making and the assessment of climate impacts on coupled socio-ecological systems, including the impacts of sea-level rise on military and urban infrastructure and current climate change impacts and adaption in agricultural systems.

Sessions:  Fridays,  2:30 - 3:40 p.m., June 12, 19, 26, July 10, 17, 24, 31 and August 7

551 The Campaign to Eradicate Polio World Wide

This two-session class will discuss the international effort to eradicate polio world wide.   The first class will discuss the history of polio, polio newpaper articlediscovery of oral and intramuscular vaccines to prevent transmission of polio, and discussion of how polio spreads and why the entire world is at risk until we eradicate polio worldwide.  The discussion will cover the current status of where the live polio virus still exists (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria) and the ramifications to the entire world if vaccination efforts were to stop now.

The second class will discuss the current challenges facing the eradication efforts. These challenges include political and cultural issues throughout the world, including the murder of dozens of vaccination workers.  Long-term goals of Rotary International and other organizations will also be discussed, including the projected "End Game" plan of Rotary International to help eradicate Polio by 2018.

Brenda Thornburgh is president and part owner of the Galbraith Laboratories, Inc., a private testing laboratory with 75 employees in Knoxville.   She is presently chairperson of the Polio Plus Campaign for 2012-2016 of District 6780 of Rotary International.  In 2012,  she was a part of a polio immunization team that immunized children in the slums and rural areas of Delhi and Calcutta.

Two sessions: Thursdays, 4:00 - 5:10 p.m., July 23 and 30

552 Introduction to Fractals

fractals picThis class is based upon the Chaos and Fractals class that I designed and taught to my high school students. It doesn’t require advanced mathematical skills or any prior knowledge of the subject. Fractals abound in nature. One of my students (an artist) said that fractals are “art made with math” and they are indeed lots of fun to look out. So you’re invited to learn about fractals in a qualitative and also mathematical way.

David Pierce has been a high school teacher for 20 years.  Prior to that he worked as a programmer and manager at a computer company.  Currently he teaches math, computer science, engineering, and robotics at Webb.  For the past 11 years, he has been the lead mentor of a FIRST robotics team.

One session:  Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. - 12:10 p.m., June 24

553 Technical Book Group

The Technical Book Group will discuss books on topics in science and technology. The Group will discuss The Universe and Dr. Einstein, bypic of books Lincoln Barnett, at its first meeting.  Also at the first meeting, subsequent books will be selected from nominations.  Members should send nominations from their good-book-list to the class coordinator, at

leeaberry223@gmail.com at least one week before the first meeting.

Lee Berry is the class coordinator.

Three sessions:  Mondays, 4:00 - 5:10 p.m., June 15, July 20 and August 17

554     Advanced Nuclear Power Reactors

nuclear reactorsJoin us for this four session class which will update the progress (or lack thereof) of four advanced nuclear power reactor concepts currently being developed in the U.S. and elsewhere.  The speakers are all senior members of the ORNL Reactor and Nuclear Systems Division, Advanced Reactor

Systems and Safety group, who have specialized in the development, design, and licensing of these concepts.  The reactors and speakers are:

Molten salt reactors (MSRs) - David Holcomb

Sodium-cooled fast reactors (SFRs) - George Flanagan

Small (water-cooled) modular reactors (SMRs) - Randy Belles

Modular high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (Modular HTGRs) - Syd Ball

Four sessions:  Tuesdays, 4:00 - 5:10 p.m., July 14, 21, 28 and August 4

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