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ORICL - Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning

Science and Technology

Science and Technology

550     The Life and Death of Stars, Part 2

This class will consist of eight lectures about the Life and Death of Stars.  Professor Keivan G. Stassun, Ph.D. is a Professor of picture of starsPhysics and Astronomy at Vanderbilt University. His dissertation research focused on the birth of stars.  Before going to Vanderbilt, he served as assistant director of the NSF Graduate STEM Fellows in the K-12 Education Program.  STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Each class period will consist of two 30 minute lectures shown from DVDs produced by The Teaching Company. The topics will be different from the lectures given in the Fall 2015 term.  The lectures for this term are:  Mass−The DNA of Stars, Eclipses of Stars, Stellar Families, Our Star−the Sun, Energy for a star’s life, Stars in Middle Age, Stellar Death, and Stellar Corpses.

Richard Wright received a commission in the U. S. Naval Reserve in March 1961.  He served as an instructor in physics and mathematics at the U. S. Naval Nuclear Power School from 1961-64.  He received an MS in mathematics from Emporia State University in 1965.  He was employed by Union Carbide at K-25 from 1965-69 and then worked at ORNL from 1970-2000.  He was employed as a consultant with the Nuclear Science and Technology Division at ORNL in 2005-2006 and is now retired.

Four Sessions: Thursdays, 9:30 - 10:40 a.m., April 7, 14, 21, 28

551 Technical Book Group

The Technical Book Group will discuss books on topics in science and technology.  Books will be selected from nominations.  open bookMembers should send nominations from their good-book-list to the class coordinator at at least one week before the first meeting.

The January book selection is:  North Pole, South Pole: The Epic Quest to Solve the Great Mystery of Earth’s Magnetism by Gilian Turner

Lee Berry is the class coordinator.

Four sessions:  Mondays, 4:00 - 5:10 p.m., January 25; February 22; March 28; April 25

552      What Can We Learn about Mirror Matter from Neutron Lifetime?

We know about Dark Matter from gravitational interactions, but the nature of Dark Matter is still not understood.  One of the dark matter drawingpossible models is that Dark Matter is made of Mirror Matter.  How might this affect some measurable properties of the matter, e.g. lifetime of the neutron?

Yuri Kamyshkov is a Professor of Physics at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  He received a MS degree from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and PhD from Moscow Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics (ITEP).  His previous experience includes Joint Research Professor for UT and ORNL and a Senior Scientist at (ITEP).

Three sessions:  Thursdays, 6:00 - 7:10 p.m., February 11, 18, 25

553     New Happenings with Thermoelectric Materials

This course will review recent developments in the discovery, design, fabrication, evaluation and use of thermoelectric pic of thermo electric atomsmaterials, which can convert temperature differences into an electric voltage and vice versa.

The role of materials informatics and nanotechnology on the discovery and design of thermoelectrics will be discussed, The participation of ORNL in the development of radioisotope thermoelectric generators to power space probes (e.g., New Horizons, Cassini, Curiosity) will also be discussed as well as the potential of using thermoelectrics to recover waste heat in industrial and transportation technologies.

Edgar Lara-Curzio is a distinguished Research Staff Member and Leader of the Mechanical Properties and Mechanics Group at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

One session:  Monday, 4:00 - 5:10 p.m., March 7

554     Critical Resources for Sustaining a Developed Civilization

picture of river and treesWe depend on a number of natural resources to maintain our modern civilization; are we running out of some of these, do particular countries (with government subsidies) control some critical resources; are there some critical resources that we in the US are not producing that could be?  Topics to be considered are: Introduction to basic controls of resource distribution; critical resources for civilization; rare earth elements and who has the most; fuels—are we running out?; alternative energy resources; and field trip introduction.

Gary Bible is President of Cougar Dome, LLC, which provides geologic and geographical information systems expertise to the oil and gas industry. 

Bob Hatcher is a UT Distinguished Scientist and Professor of Geology with primary interests in tectonics and structural geology.

Six sessions: Tuesdays, 7:00-8:40 p.m., Jan. 26, Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23, March 1. The February 9 class will begin at 7:30 p.m.  The field trip will be on Saturday, March 5.

555     The Birth of Quantum Mechanics

This course introduces the concepts of quantum mechanics by following the history of its development.  The emphasis is on the physics, but there is some mathematics (kept to the barest minimum).  The topics covered are the following: blackbody radiation; the photoelectric effect; the specific heat of solids; quantization of the atom; wave mechanics; the oscillator according to wave mechanics; the Pauli exclusion principle; the statistical interpretation of the wave function; the Heisenberg uncertainly principle; the debate over hidden variables; Bell’s theorem; how Bell’s theorem is used.  A STEM background will be useful.

Lawrence Dresner worked for ORNL from 1954 until 1994.  He has a PhD in physics from Princeton University.  Since his retirement, his main hobby has been recreational mathematics.  He has been an annual lecturer at ORICL since 2002.

Eight sessions:  Thursdays, 11:00 a.m. - 12:10 p.m., February 18, 25; March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; April 7

556    The Tina Riedinger Memorial Lectures on Renewable Energy Strategies

                   Where do We Stand?

ORICL lost one of its most popular teachers last year with the untimely death of Tina Riedinger. Her wonderful lectures on various topics in modern physics and cosmology were always informative, stimulating, and fully subscribed.   This series of pic of windmillsfour lectures on renewable energy sources will be offered by Tina’s husband and other selected speakers.

Generation of electricity from wind and solar is increasing in the U.S. and in the world for a variety of reasons - governmental mandates, economic opportunities, concern about carbon emissions, etc.  Some states (e.g., California) and some nations (e.g., Germany) have been especially aggressive in promoting renewable energy.  The purpose of this course is to look carefully at the status of wind and solar in the world - understand what is the current status, discuss future opportunities, and realize both the opportunities and the constraints.  In a series of four lectures, one will be spent on solar energy, one on wind, a third on storage issues, and a fourth on policies and projections.

Lee Riedinger led a program of experimental studies of nuclear structure at the Holifield Heavy Ion Research Facility at ORNL for many years.  He was Chairman of the Physics Department, served on the staff of Senator Howard Baker, and held numerous senior administrative positions at UT.   From 2000-2004, he was the ORNL Deputy Director for Science and Technology.

Four sessions:  Wednesdays, 4:00 – 5:10 p.m., February 3, 10, 17, 24

557     Perspectives on ITER

ITER is the crown jewel of the international fusion power program using magnetically confined plasma.  It has been two decades since the major milestone in fusion research of ‘breakeven’ was achieved on the Toroidal Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) facility in the US and Joint European Tours (JET) in  Europe.  ITER has the goal of exceeding JET and TFTR by an order of pic of ITERmagnitude and is expected to produce ten times as much fusion power as the input power required to create it.  ITER is a technically difficult and complex project supported by a seven-party international collaboration, and is being designed and built by a new organization at the Cadarache Facility in southern France.  The challenges of the project will be discussed from four different perspectives:  the U.S. ITER Project Office, the Department of Energy, the ITER Organization, and the ORNL Fusion Program.  The course will conclude with a discussion of the International Space Station (ISS).  Like ITER, the ISS is a large and complex international project.

Brad Nelson is Chief Engineer for the U.S. ITER Project Office and leads the engineering effort.  He joined the U.S. ITER effort with over 30 years experience at ORNL in the design and construction of fusion projects.  The project included facilities at Oak Ridge as well as collaborations with other laboratories.  Nelson is a registered professional engineer, received bachelors and masters degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri.

John Glowienka received his degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  After a stint in the Air Force, his 30-year career at ORNL includes work in fusion using ion beams to measure plasma parameters and work in ORNL management.  There he led laboratory activities dealing with safety, performance management, and performance assessment.  After 30 years, he retired from ORNL to become the DOE program manager for ITER in Washington, DC.  He has now retired from DOE and returned to live in Oak Ridge.  

Wayne Houlberg received his degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  He then joined the ORNL Fusion Energy Division where he developed theoretical models and computer simulations of fusion plasmas.  These models played a key role in understanding the behavior of existing devices and assessing the performance of future devices.  After retiring from ORNL in 2007, he joined the ITER Organization, living in Aix -en-Provence near the French Cadarache facility.  At Cadarache, he worked in the ITER Integrated Modelling Section.  After retiring (again) Wayne is now living in Oak Ridge.

Larry Baylor received degrees from Iowa State University and the University of Tennessee.  He started his career at ORNL working on instrumentation design and development.  He then moved to work on using high velocity solid hydrogen pellets to fuel fusion plasmas and currently leads pellet system design activities for the U.S. ITER Project Office. 

Mark Uhran formerly directed the International Space Station effort in  NASA's Office of Space Operations and is now Director for Strategic Communications for the U.S. ITER Project Office in Oak Ridge.

Five sessions:  Tuesday, 4:00 – 5:10 p.m., February 9, 16, 23, March 1 and 8

558     The Evolution and Applications of Stainless Steels

This course will start with some discussion of the discovery of stainless steel and detail its evolution, after overcoming some picture of stainless steel rodsinitial technical challenges, into a myriad of beneficial applications for industry, home, and art. One topic will be clarifying why stainless steel “rusts” at times that contradicts its “stainless” name.

Gerard M. Ludtka is a Distinguished Research Staff Member of the Processing and Joining Group of the Materials Science and Technology Division at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory with over 30 years of industrial and national laboratory research experience in metallurgy and materials science.

One session:  Tuesday, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., February 9

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