exp(865) is a local, student-lead non-profit set up in the summer of 2015 to host future TEDx events in the local area.  Talks from previous TEDxUTK events are on our website.

Painting the 'Rock' on campus for TEDx awareness.

Painting the 'Rock' on campus for TEDx awareness.

TEDxUTK 2014 was the focus of a Daily Beacon article by Emilee Lamb.  Below is the text in case the article is removed.

Baker Center to host UT-themed TED talks


Published: Thu Feb 20, 2014

It's TED time at UT.


The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy will host Knoxville's own TEDx conference Saturday, Feb. 22. Ten featured speakers are scheduled to present multidisciplinary thoughts and ideas to attendees beginning at 10 a.m.

TEDxUTK Organizer Katie Rogers, a sophomore in biomedical engineering, said she and Co-Organizer Chris Barnes, senior in chemical engineering, were inspired to host TED talks at UT after she was introduced to the annual international conference during the summer.

"I really love TED talks because they are cross-disciplinary and refreshing," Rogers said. "Chris and I thought that TED went along with UT's Pursuit of the Top 25 and Vol Vision so we decided to write a proposal and submit it to potential faculty advisors for their thoughts."

The non-profit organization TED, named for its original focus on sharing expertise in technology, entertainment and design, holds an international conference each year, bringing the world's leading thinkers together to share ideas and discoveries.

TEDx is a free licensing program that allows individuals to organize TED conferences in their own communities.

Patrick Caveney, an assisting organizer for TEDxUTK and graduate student in the Bredesen Center, aimed to bring interdisciplinary discussion to campus since founding the Academic Journal Club, a discussion group with similar goals. TEDx, he said, is a good fit.

"This is an opportunity to showcase the interesting, world-class work and research being done in the area and an opportunity to bring together a diverse set of people to learn about and discuss these ideas," Caveney said.

Some of TEDxUTK's featured speakers will include: Avigail Sachs, assistant professor in the School of Architecture; Baldwin Lee, professor in the School of Art; Neal Eash, associate professor in Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science; and Greg Kaplan, professor in Modern Foreign Languages. In addition to several UT faculty members, academics from other schools will be contributing their expertise.

"I'm really hoping TEDxUTK is something that the student body, as well as faculty and the Knoxville community, can get excited about," Rogers said. "TED talks are unique in that they bring people of all backgrounds together to discuss 'ideas worth spreading,' so an idea is seen from a variety of perspectives."

Tickets to TEDxUTK are free, but the 100 allotted seats for the conference in the Baker Center have been filled. To accommodate the expected crowd, TEDx organizers arranged a live broadcast of the event in the Hodges Library Auditorium and the UC Auditorium, for which tickets may be reserved.

In addition, talks will be available for live streaming on the TEDxUTK website. (https://tedxutk.com/)

TEDx attendees are asked to arrive 30 minutes prior to the event start.

Rogers said she is looking forward to the culmination of eight months of planning, much of which hinged on connecting with the area's academic community.

"Networking is definitely key in reaching out to potential speakers," Rogers said. "Chris and I are STEM majors, so it was difficult for us to reach out to people who were in different disciplines; however, our TEDxUTK core team grew, and collectively we span a good number of the colleges here at UT."

Saturday's event, Rogers said, will bring fresh inspiration to the UT community and push audience members beyond typical lines of thought.

"TEDxUTK," she said, "is the intellectual spark that students and faculty need here on campus."

For more information, visit https://tedxutk.com/.

TEDxUTK 2014 was the focus of a Daily Beacon article by Kevin Ridder.  Below is the text in case the article is removed.

TED talks a hit with campus community


Published: Mon Feb 24, 2014

"Ideas worth spreading" swept Knoxville on Saturday, drawing an audience of 100 to TEDxUTK 2014.


TED, a now global set of conferences, asks speakers to share their diverse expertise in lectures lasting less than 20 minutes. Rising to the challenge, 14 speakers gathered in the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy to discuss topics ranging from photography to creating efficient solar energy panels from spinach.

Chris Barnes, senior in chemical engineering and a TEDxUTK organizer, helped bring such insights to campus.

"We aim to get a mix of arts, sciences, social sciences and everything in between." Barnes said. "... I'm really glad we had such a great turnout."

The event kicked off with Baldwin Lee, professor in photography. Describing each element of a photograph, Lee provided a glimpse of the world through his eyes. Lawrence Scarpa, an architect based in Los Angeles, presented the benefits of green architecture, citing the advantages of natural light and cross ventilation over air conditioning and fluorescent lighting. Neal Eash, associate professor in biosystems engineering and soil science, explored responsible agricultural practices, explaining how proper food distribution could end hunger.

Marilyn Brown, professor of public policy at Georgia Institute of Technology and board member for the Tennessee Valley Authority, detailed issues facing the U.S. green economy.

"Very few Southern states have renewable energy goals," Brown said to the audience. "There are grounds for optimism but only if we don't delay. While we await federal action, state and local organizations are moving ahead."

Barry Bruce, professor in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology, introduced a technique that harnesses photosynthesis to create cheap, renewable energy.

"Improvements are greater than tenfold per year," Bruce said during his presentation. "Unlike biofuels and other energy resources, photosynthesis is 100 percent efficient. At the moment, the cells have enough energy to power an iPad indefinitely."

The conference provided a platform for Bruce to bring his work to the public.

"TED talks are a great resource for students," he said after his talk. "Realistically, we're going to need some more time to develop the technology. However, it's a great concept, and we've made some great progress in the short time that we've been researching it. ... Even if I may be unable to accomplish this work myself, I might have inspired somebody else to pursue it and improve upon it."

In addition to live speakers, the conference played videos of several previous TED talks, including those of Sarah Kay, an American poet, and Neil Harbisson, a British-born artist and self-described cyborg.

After years of watching TED talks online, Amos Manneschmidt, junior in physics, was excited to witness a conference in person.

"I like people to challenge things I previously held true," Manneschmidt said. "At TED talks, you get these really unique, new ideas that are interesting and get you thinking. You'd never think about these ideas unless you came here."

All talks given at TEDxUTK 2014 will be uploaded to YouTube.

Academic Journal Club

Academic Journal Club ended Spring 2015 due to low student engagement.  AJC had two missions, hosting academic discussions and TEDxUTK (2014 & 2015), both of which will now be taken over by other organizations.  The Office of National Fellowships and Scholarships has formalized monthly academic discussions with the launch of the Society of Fellows.  I am honored to help as a Senior Fellow.  exp865, a local non-profit we've started, will continue to annually host TEDxUTK.

Fall of 2013, along with my friends, I started the Academic Journal Club.  The purpose is to foster interdisciplinary, academic discussion among the members of the university, and, through our forum, members of the local community and world.

The Academic Journal Club is about promoting independent thinking vis a vis academic research.   The structure of traditional academic journals can tend to promote group think in an ivory tower enclave of academics.  Peer review is an essential part of science and serves to separate legitimate research from everything else.  However, it also creates a trend toward the sensational instead of solid results.  This article in BMJ details many of the troubles with peer review.  

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Academic Journal Club was the focus of a Daily Beacon article by Hanna Lustig.  Below is the text in case the article is moved.

Students create roundtable for academic discussion


Published: Tue Oct 15, 2013

It began with late night chats in Hodges Library.

"We'd talk economics, politics, and philosophy for almost two hours at a time, but then nothing really came of that," said Patrick Caveney, co-founder of UT's new Academic Journal Club.

From these informal meetings, the AJC was born. Created to facilitate roundtable academic discussions, the AJC aims to gather students with a passion for discovery and conversation."Each topic is broad and comes from all of our respective disciplines," Caveney said. "We want that kind of interaction between the majors because too often we can get so focused on our majors that we forget to look up and look around."

Through taking a technical writing class, Caveney, a graduate student in energy science and engineering, began to interact with seemingly unrelated areas of study. It was here the idea behind AJC first emerged.

"I was in a technical writing course and I was presenting on my work, which was genetic engineering," Caveney said. "Someone brought up the question, 'What about the ethical issues with this?' And I hadn't even thought about that. That was something so removed."

Later, Caveney encountered students with similar ideas. Marrying these meetings with the desire to hold a TEDxUTK conference, Hajie Sesay, Kent Connell, and Julie Hipp co-founded AJC with Caveney.

Sesay, a senior in political science and African studies, explained the purpose of AJC in a broader context.

"Let's say a chemical engineer is working on some project, (and) there's the ethical issues there," Sesay said. "There's the legislative issues maybe when it comes to governance. So we want to have that holistic perspective of viewing things.

"So bringing students together and looking at research that are fact, that are tested, that people have studied. I think we need to create that atmosphere to have that holistic perspective of things. Everything is interconnected. That's how we feel and that's been a driving force behind AJC."

Nicole Fazio-Viegel, associate director for the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships, was pleased to support Caveney and Sesay in their endeavor.

"In our work with National Scholarships and Fellowships we need students who are talking with one another about important issues, dialoguing, asking questions, bouncing ideas off of each other before they even really think about national scholarships and fellowships," Fazio-Viegel said. "It really makes a lot of sense for the work that we do."

As the Assistant Director in the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships, Fazio-Veigel encourages potential scholarship applicants to join AJC.

"All of this is in preparation for having to do that in writing for a national scholarship or in best case scenario having to do that in an interview situation where they'll be asked the difficult questions or they'll be asked about foreign policy somewhere else and they need to be able to talk about it," Fazio-Viegel said.

In February, AJC will help bring a TEDx conference to campus, an effort primarily spearheaded by members Katie Rogers and Chris Barnes. In abbreviated TED talks, the conference will combine alumni, faculty and current Knoxville community members. Fazio-Viegel views the conference as an excellent extension of AJC's initiatives and principles.

"I think it's interesting that they're open to this notion of indisciplinarity," Fazio-Viegel said. "We're talking beyond the disciplines that they individually represent. It's very exciting and I think TEDx is a culminating event that reinforces that notion."

AJC meets everytwo weeks on Wednesday in Room 118 in the Baker Center. More information can be found on their website. Their next meeting is Wednesday at 6 p.m. where the group will discuss the topic of intellectual property rights.