The Method

The Method is a series that explores the intersection of science and society. In modern journalism, science reporting often repeats the material in press releases or studies without engaging in the critical thinking that defines the scientific method. The Method will look at science through a different lens. How does scientific research affect you and your community? That's the story we hope to share with you. 

NEW! The Method is now available as a podcast.  Click here to subscribe.

U.S. Park Police/National Park Service

All earthquakes are products of the dynamic planet we live on. They typically occur as massive slabs of the Earth's crust, called tectonic plates, bump against, over and past each other.

via Flickr/Creative Commons

In 2013, USA Today estimated 83 percent of Americans have at least one cup of coffee a day. Some drink way more than that. But even lifelong coffee drinkers can learn how to make a better cup through science.

In this edition of The Method, Brandon Hollingsworth talks with Knoxville coffee shop owner Pierce LaMacchia about the science behind the brewing process. Then, a researcher at Vanderbilt University's Institute for Coffee Studies tells Matt Shafer Powell about the biological effects of coffee.

WBMA Birmingham/ABC 33-40

If you grew up in the South, you grew up with tornadoes and tornado warnings. But you probably didn’t know there are some big differences between the tornadoes that happen here, and their Midwestern cousins. They’re typically deadlier. They’re harder to see. And they’re more likely to happen at night, an especially dangerous time.

via Flickr/Creative Commons

Tennessee voters will head to the polls on primary day, Tuesday, March 1. Gone are the paper ballots of decades past – the process is virtually all electronic now. So what happens once you press the button that records your ballot? Where does the information go? To find out, Matt Shafer Powell spoke with Chris Davis of the Knox County Election Commission.

Library of Congress

Nearly a century ago, when medical science was in its relative Bronze Age, a severe strain of influenza spread around the world. The flu of 1918 killed between 50 and 100 million people. Today, many people think of the flu as a routine illness. But the flu strains of today are the genetic descendants of the 1918 flu. Dr.

The decorations have been put away. The nights are long, and spring seems like a long way away. Now is a great time to chase away the winter blues with some good science books!

No, not those dense science textbooks from your school days. Books that bring the stories of science to life. As we close out 2015, Method host Brandon Hollingsworth and two previous guests suggest some great additions to your winter reading list.

Brandon Hollingsworth, WUOT News

It's a very special Thanksgiving edition of WUOT's signature science series. First up, your Thanksgiving meal might include a stout ale or a nice IPA. But before you take a sip, think about the shape of your beer glass, and the temperature of the beverage. Glassmaker Matthew Cummings has studied both, and he says the way you drink your favorite brew might be hurting, instead of helping, the experience. Cummings talks with Method host Brandon Hollingsworth.

Matt Shafer Powell, WUOT News

At Maryville College, two of the picnic tables outside the student dining hall might look a little odd to you. It's because they've been outfitted with umbrella-like shades that contain solar panels.

The energy the panels produce goes into charging stations built into the picnic shelters, so students have the opportunity to soak up the sun while their devices charge. But students have been getting way more out of the picnic tables than a fully-charged smartphone.

Brandon Hollingsworth, WUOT News

Tennessee’s state park rangers aren’t in the business just because they get to wear cool hats. Many of them are trained in the natural sciences, such as biology or geology. Method host Brandon Hollingsworth visits with Fall Creek Falls State Park ranger Matt Brown. He talks about sharing his love of science with the public.

Brandon Hollingsworth, WUOT News

 Early this year, virologist Colleen Jonsson moved from Kentucky to Knoxville, to become the new director of NIMBioS. That’s the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, located on the University of Tennessee campus. WUOT’s Chrissy Keuper spoke with Jonsson about the institute and her plans for its future.

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