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Energy independence…materials make
the difference

April 22, 2009

Local math and science teachers (from left) Cathy Lowden, J.D. Goodlaxson and David Hundermark, along with teacher Marsha Sega (not pictured), teamed together to play the “Materials Match Game,” which involved nine “marbles”–each made up of a particular material (aluminum, brass or otherwise). Based on limited information, the team had to correctly identify the type of material represented. Being one of the first teams to finish, Lowden said of the game, “That was cool!” The teachers participated along with 11 other area math and science teachers in a pre-conference Teachers’ Workshop held at ORAU’s Center for Science Education as part of the Materials for Megawatts Symposium led by ASM International, April 21-22, 2009. ORAU co-sponsored the events with Y-12.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—Our energy future depends on meeting materials challenges. B&W Y-12, the contractor operating the Y-12 National Security Complex, and Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), a consortium of 100 doctoral-granting institutions, played an active role in meeting those challenges by hosting this year’s ASM International educational symposium, which focused on the materials and advances needed to improve the way we produce, distribute, store, use and conserve energy.

“Our objective is to raise awareness of the broad range of materials challenges that must be addressed for the U.S. to meet our growing energy needs. We also hope to energize students, faculty and professionals working in these areas to meet the challenges. There’s no better place in the world to bring together people interested in materials.” said Kevin Finney, Y-12’s chief technology officer.

Materials for Megawatts is sponsored by the Oak Ridge Chapter of ASM International, the materials information society, in partnership with the Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

“A comprehensive knowledge of materials relative to power generation, energy storage and conservation is essential in moving America toward energy independence,” said Cathy Fore, director, Collaborative Initiatives, ORAU. “Materials for Megawatts offers a unique venue for increasing understanding about materials issues, as well providing practical approaches for enriching materials science teaching methods.”

The Materials for Megawatts symposium was held at Y-12’s New Hope Center. It drew some 150;materials professionals and university students and faculty. Michael W. Howard, senior vice president of R&D at Electric Power Research Institute addressed the crowd. Speakers from the private sector, government and academia discussed advances in materials design as well as materials performance and processing to meet our future electric power needs.

A pre-conference Teachers’ Workshop was held at Oak Ridge Associated Universities’ new Center for Science Education. Led by ASM chapter members, educators interacted with approximately 60 science and math professionals to explore basic materials science concepts, learn about experiments and demonstrations suitable for the classroom, and experience hands-on activities to share with students. It is also designed to give teachers a glimpse of the opportunities and challenges offered by a career in metallurgy, materials science or related fields.

For more information, please contact Cathy Fore at 241.8158, or visit the Web site at for details.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).


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