Eight UT students have been selected to be a part of the 2020 National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program.
Volunteer Legacy Evident in Disaster Relief Efforts for Tornado Victims
Being a UT Volunteer is more than cheering for a football team and wearing orange. It is the continuation of a legacy of service and caring for the community. In the wake of Middle Tennessee’s recent catastrophic tornadoes, Vols are stepping up, in both big and small ways, to support disaster relief efforts.
Graduate Student Spotlight: Lindy Westenhoff
The Tennessee Historical Commission places approximately 20 markers a year commemorating sites, people, and events that are significant to Tennessee history. Four of those markers are on UT’s campus and nine more are within walking distance. But a paragraph of information on a marker can’t convey the full scope of a historical event. Lindy Westenhoff, a graduate student in geography, is exploring how augmented reality (AR) can provide greater context to our physical world.
Graduate Student Spotlight: Maegen Rochner
Maegen Rochner, a graduate student specializing in dendrochronology in the Department of Geography, is recreating a millennia of climate history one tree at a time. Armed with a chainsaw, a face shield, and hiking boots, she climbs the landslides and avalanches of the Beartooth Mountains in Montana and Wyoming searching for her next potential sample.
Tree-ring science, or dendrochronology, is a fundamental tool in understanding climatological and ecological histories of a location.
At the most basic level, tree rings show the amount of precipitation a region experiences in a year. When moisture is plentiful in the spring, a tree’s cells expand quickly, forming a light band. As the year progresses and the ground becomes more dry, the cells shrink, forming a thinner, darker band. One light and one dark band together constitute a year, with the variation in ring widths marking the different amount of moisture absorbed year to year.
Tree rings are also very dependent on temperature. The earlywood (light band) reflects the early growing season (spring and summer), and the latewood (dark band) reflects the later growing season (late summer and early fall) into dormancy (late fall, winter).
Wildfires, insect outbreaks, floods, droughts, and avalanches can alter the pattern, creating a unique “fingerprint” of that period that is present within all the trees of that location. Matching up the overlapping patterns from a sample with a known age to an older log of unknown age allows us to date that older sample. Continuing the process with older and older samples allows us to go back tens of thousands of years while giving us a more complete climatic picture of the area.
Shaw Earns 2018 Best Land Transportation Paper Award
Shi-Lung Shaw, professor of geography, will receive an award for his paper A Sensor-Fusion Drivable-Region and Lane-Detection System for Autonomous Vehicle Navigation in Challenging Road Scenarios, originally published in IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology in 2014.
The IEEE Vehicular Technology Society Awards Committee will honor Shaw and his team with the 2018 Best Land Transportation Paper Award, which recognizes the best propagation paper published in IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology in the past 5 years. The award will be presented to his Shaw and research collaborators on August 29, at the Fall 2018 Vehicular Technology Conference in Chicago.
A Sensor-Fusion Drivable-Region and Lane-Detection System for Autonomous Vehicle Navigation in Challenging Road Scenarios demonstrates a novel real-time optimal-drivable region and lane detection system for autonomous driving, based on both the fusion of light detection and ranging (LIDAR) and vision data. Multiple sensors cover the most drivable areas in front of an autonomous vehicle, and then a conditional lane detection algorithm selects optimal route. Shih-Lung and research collaborators demonstrate the effectiveness of this system on both structured and unstructured roads, a challenge autonomous vehicles face in real urban environments.
Raphael Rosalin (865-974-2152, firstname.lastname@example.org)