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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Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Forty-seven years ago, filmgoers got a taste of the dark side of the burgeoning field of computer technology. In Colossus: The Forbin Project, a supercomputer gains sentience and turns on its creators – and humanity. The idea that supercomputers will eventually overwhelm the humans that created them is a common theme in science fiction and fantasy. And it usually doesn't end well for the humans.

In in the early 1950s, a girl named June Kent borrowed an encyclopedia volume – the letter A. Reading that volume, she learned about astronomy, aeronautics and a new field called astronautics – sending machines and people into space. Years later, June Kent would marry test pilot Dick Scobee, and the two of them shared an excitement about Dick’s role in the space shuttle program.

Megan Jamerson, WUOT News

This week’s rain wasn’t enough to reverse the effects of a long drought in the Tennessee River basin. James Everett monitors river levels for the Tennessee Valley Authority. His job is only getting tougher as the drought lingers. WUOT’s Megan Jamerson checks in with Everett to see how TVA is keeping an eye on water levels.

Brandon Hollingsworth/WUOT News

Imagine being in the hospital, but unable to tell your doctor what’s wrong. WUOT’s Megan Jamerson visits Rebecca Kosalinski, a University of Tennessee nursing professor who helped invent Speak for Myself, an app that helps patients give doctors, nurses and caregivers important information.

UK Department of Transportation

More than fifty years ago, The Jetsons predicted life in the 21st century would be defined by homes in the sky and flying cars. History, of course, took a different path. Today's prognosticators say the highways of the future will be filled with automated, driverless vehicles. Nineteen companies say they're working to get models to the market around 2020.

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