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. 

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Science and Society
6:00 pm
Fri November 28, 2014

The Method: Talking Turkey And Preventing Cyber Crimes

America's proud national bird. Ben Franklin wishes.
Credit Encyclopedia Britannica

The Department of Energy’s reservation in Oak Ridge is home to a variety of wild animals, including turkeys. But it wasn’t always that way. Matt Shafer Powell talks with a man who helped bring the turkeys back.

And Chrissy Keuper speaks with ORNL researcher Raymond Borges about his work designing cybersecurity systems.

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Science and Society
6:00 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

The Method: Researching Auto Pollution And Protecting Nuclear Plants

Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, near Spring City.
Credit Tennessee Valley Authority

Automakers decided to meet fuel economy standards by making new gasoline direct-injected engines. But scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered those engines may be bigger polluters than current motors, generating as much as ten times more particulate matter, or soot. ORNL researcher John Storey talks with WUOT's Chrissy Keuper.

At the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in Rhea County, one man is paid to figure out how to destroy the reactors...and then keep it from happening. Brandon Hollingsworth meets him.

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Science and Society
6:00 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

The Method: Peering Into Past Weather And Turning Tires Into Power

Credit National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Here in East Tennessee, our thoughts turn to sunny days and cool nights as autumn sets in. But you might be surprised to learn September is typically the peak month for tropical weather, including hurricanes. Today, meteorologists use all kinds of modern tools to track hurricanes from start to finish. University of Tennessee researcher Kelsey Scheitlin goes a different route.

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Science and Society
6:00 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

The Method: Tracking Disease Using Social Media And Exploring The Teenage Body Clock

Credit Ed Yourdon

In this edition of The Method:

You might use social media to tell your friends what you had for lunch, or share photos of your dog. But scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are using social media and other datasets to track infectious and chronic diseases. WUOT’s Chrissy Keuper spoke with Laura Pullum, a senior researcher working on this effort.

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Science and Society
6:00 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

The Method: Exploring Prehistoric Life and Making Fuel From Plants

Students at the McClung Museum's fossil camp identify sample animal tracks.
Credit Heather Fritts, McClung Museum

This month on The Method, Brandon Hollingsworth meets a group of kids studying rocks, fossils and geologic time at the McClung Museum. What's it like to be dinosaur? We'll find out from the children themselves.

Then, Chrissy Keuper speaks with Jerry Tuskan, an ORNL scientist studying ways to extract fuel from eucalyptus plants. He'll tell us how the process might work.

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Science and Society
5:50 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

The Method: Science At The Mall

The SPECTRUM solar energy exhibit in Knoxville Center Mall.
Credit Point Five Digital

Imagine walking through your local mall and finding, amid the stores and food courts, a science museum. That's what happened to Brandon Hollingsworth recently. For this month's edition of The Method, Brandon returned to that exhibit, called SPECTRUM, and went inside this portable museum of solar power.

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Science and Society
5:50 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

The Method: Change In The Air

Credit http://www.tennessean.com/assets/gif/DN112759714.GIF

In this month's edition of The Method, Matt Shafer Powell looks at how the Tennessee Valley Authority's effort to adjust to new realities of the energy market is also helping clean up East Tennessee's air.

Then, Chrissy Keuper marks the silver anniversary of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance.

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Science and Society
2:46 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

The Method: Windows To The Past And The Future

A tapir skull found at the Gray Fossil Site in Washington County. Tapirs were abundant in the Tennessee of the Miocene geologic epoch.
Credit East Tennessee State University

This month's edition of The Method involves a little time travel. But don't worry; we'll take only eight minutes of your time.

First, Brandon's off to the Gray Fossil Site in Washington County. Miocene-epoch fossils found there have painted an incredible picture of life in East Tennessee five million years ago. Two paleontologists will tell us what makes Gray special.

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Science and Society
6:00 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

The Method: Science On Social Media And Going Batty With An Expert

Credit Jason Howie, via Flickr/Creative Commons

Did you know nearly a quarter of all mammal species on Earth are bats? WUOT's Chrissy Keuper learned this and more when she spoke with Dr. Merlin Tuttle, founder of Bat Conservation International.

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Science and Society
6:00 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

The Method - Internal Clocks and Bright Lights From Above

Credit Via Matt Szczur/Flickr

On Sunday, March 9, there's a good chance you'll wake up feeling a little jetlagged. And for good reason - without the aid of a flux capacitor, you'll have traveled one hour into the future, thanks to daylight saving time. University of Tennessee College of Arts and Sciences dean Teresa Lee speaks with Brandon Hollingsworth about the mental and physical effects of the twice-yearly time shift.

Then, Matt Shafer Powell finds out how the new LED lights illuminating Thompson-Boling Arena are breaking new ground for sports facilities.

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