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linda kahUT’s annual Science Forum kicks off today with a discussion on how NASA’s Curiosity rover could help determine if life was once sustainable on Mars.

The Science Forum is a weekly brown-bag lunch series that allows professors and area scientists to discuss their research with the general public in a conversational presentation.

Earth and Planetary Science Professor Linda Kah will speak on “What Do Blobs and Cracks in Rocks Tell Us About Mars?” Her talk begins at noon Room C-D of Thompson-Boling Arena.

Free and open to the public, each Science Forum consists of a forty-minute presentation followed by a question-and-answer session. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch or purchase it at the café in Thompson Boling Arena. The Science Forum is sponsored by the UT Office of Research and Quest, an initiative to raise awareness of the research, scholarship, and creative activity happening on campus.

Kah will talk about information gathered by the Curiosity rover and how scientists can use textural features in sedimentary rocks to help determine what Martian environments were once like and whether Mars was once habitable.

Kah obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her doctorate from Harvard University. She has taught at UT for fourteen years, focusing her research and curriculum on integrating different aspects of geology in understanding the evolution of Earth’s biosphere.

The weekly Science Forum continues throughout the semester:

September 12—Ted Lundy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory independent research professional, will speak on “The Manhattan Project.”

September 19—Claus Daniel, deputy director of ORNL’s transportation program, will speak on “Electrification of Transportation: Cost and Opportunities.”

September 26—Sarah Colby, assistant professor of nutrition at UT, will talk about “Getting Fruved! Changing Behavior, Changing the World, and Improving Health.”

October 3—Caroline Grabber, research nurse at Vanderbilt University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will discuss “Emerging Infections—Update.”

October 10—Joan Rentsch, UT professor of communication studies, will talk about “Communicating to Build Knowledge in Decision-Making Teams.”

October 24—Philip Enquist, UT-ORNL Chair for High Performance Energy Practices in Urban Environments, will speak on “Higher Density Living with Higher Quality of Life.”

October 31—Stefan Spanier, professor of physics, will talk on “Searching for New Forces with the Large Hadron Collider.”

November 7—Omer Onar, Alvin M. Weinberg Fellow at ORNL, will discuss “Electric Vehicles without Plugging In.”

November 14—Tim Isbel, Anderson County Commissioner, will speak on “A Vision for Rocky Top’s Coal Creek Miners Museum.”

November 21—Steven Ripp, research associate professor at the Center for Environmental Biotechnology, will talk about “Catch of the Day: Tiny Zebrafish in the Big Pharmaceutical Pond.”
For more about the UT Science Forum, visit

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,