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Howard HallKNOXVILLE — Howard Hall, a professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair, will deliver this week’s UT Science Forum lecture, “Averting Armageddon: Global Challenges in Nuclear Security.” His talk will begin at noon on Friday, March 19, in Thompson-Boling Arena Dining Room C-D.

The UT Science Forum is a weekly event where leading science researchers share their discoveries and discuss the frontiers of their fields in a way that the general public can understand.

UT Science Forum programs are free and open to the public. Attendees are welcome to bring their lunches or purchase lunch at Arena Dining.

Hall is an expert in global nuclear security and a leading researcher on issues including detection of nuclear and radioactive weapons, preventing the spread of nuclear material and how best to respond to the use of weapons such as “dirty bombs.”

“We have the continuing rise of proliferate nations — North Korea and Iran are both engaged in activities that we’re not terribly comfortable with,” Hall said. “We have the specter of nuclear terrorism that we’re all concerned about. There are terrorist groups out there looking for nuclear material right now, and I’m fairly confident that if they had them and they could generate a working device, they would use it without compunction.”

Hall’s research explores ways to detect and control unruly radioactive materials. He also attempts to problem solve by anticipating what could happen if there was a disastrous nuclear event.

“If something should happen — God forbid — how do we respond to it and recover from it as quickly as possible?” Hall said. “So if there were some sort of nuclear event or nuclear attack, how do we minimize the damage; how do we save as many lives as possible? And how do we return society back to functioning as quickly as possible?”

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The Governor’s Chair Program was initiated by Gov. Phil Bredesen to enhance the connection between UT Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. As a Governor’s Chair, Hall is dubbed one of the nation’s top scientists and a “research rock star.” He works as a liaison between ORNL and UT to increase the connection of research and technology.

The UT Science Forum is sponsored by the UT Office of Research. Upcoming presentations include:

  • March 26: Dr. Stephen Kania, associate professor of comparative medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine, presents “Antibiotic-Resistant Staphylococci: Staying One Step Ahead.”
  • April 2: No meeting.
  • April 9: Bob Hatcher, professor and distinguished scientist of earth and planetary sciences, presents “Evidence for a 25,000-Year History of Earthquake Activity in Eastern Tennessee.”
  • April 16: Soren Sorensen, professor and head of physics and astronomy, presents “The End of the Universe.”
  • April 23: Forbes Walker, associate professor of biosystems engineering & soil science, presents “Developing Conservation Agriculture Systems in Africa.”
  • April 30: Suzanne Lenhart, professor of mathematics, presents “The Power of Optimal Control: From Confining Rabies to Improving CPR.”

For questions about the UT Science Forum, contact Mark Littmann, littmann@utk.edu or 974-8156, or Mike Clark, clarkgmorph@utk.edu or 974-6006.

C O N T A C T :

Bridget Hardy (865-974-2225, bhardy4@utk.edu)