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Adventure Science Center invites you to join us for a series of informal discussions on current issues in science. Whether tackling how science can solve global problems or help us to understand how the universe works, these gatherings are NOT lectures. They are an opportunity for you to share your opinions, ideas and thoughts with other science lovers and to meet local scientists in a fun, casual setting. So grab a cup of coffee and let's chat! All Science Cafe events are free and open to the public.

Schedule: Join us on the third Thursday of each month from 7 to 8 p.m. Locations may vary.
Have an idea for a topic? Submit your idea here!

Join our Science Cafe Meetup Group!  You'll get monthly notices about each month's meeting topic and speaker(s).

Next Science Cafe:

Thursday, April 17
7 - 8 p.m.
Powering the Grid with Negawatts
Presented as part of TVA Energy Month at Adventure Science Center

Group Panel:

  • Jack Barkenbus, Vanderbilt University
  • Joe Hoagland, TVA Vice President, Stakeholder Relations
  • Todd Palmer, EEDR Coordinator, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation
  • Moderator: Tony Richman, Meter Services-Smart Grid Manager, Nashville Electric System

Explore innovative ways to power the electric grid by decreasing usages on both average days as well as during periods of high electric demand. You will leave with a better understanding of how The Tennessee Valley Authority and local power companies use these alternate “NegaWatts” to plan for the future energy needs of the Tennessee Valley. You will also learn more about the theory behind “Powering the Grid with NegaWatts” using programs and technologies that help reduce power customers’ usage through energy efficiency improvements, renewable energy and technology that helps users reduce consumption during periods of highest demand.

Panel Bios:

Jack Barkenbus is a political scientist and researcher with the Climate Change Research Network within Vanderbilt University’s Institute for Energy & Environment.  He was previously Executive Director of the Energy, Environment and Resources Center at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  Before joining the University of Tennessee, Dr. Barkenbus served 10 years as senior scientist and deputy director of the Institute for Energy Analysis, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  He is currently a member of the 2015 Integrated Resource Plan Stakeholder Working Group for TVA.  His research has focused on the interface of technology and institutions and is currently engaged in climate change and energy policy research.

Dr. Barkenbus is the author of numerous publications and has been selected as a Fulbright scholar, Eisenhower Exchange fellow, and a research scholar at Hawaii’s East-West Center.

Dr. Joe Hoagland is responsible for strategic engagement of stakeholders around various issues including TVA’s energy resources, natural resource stewardship and other key issues.  In addition, Dr. Hoagland directs TVA’s strategy on technology innovation research, development, and implementation to improve TVA’s power system.

Prior to his current appointment, Hoagland was Senior Vice President of Policy and Oversight  responsible for TVA’s health and safety and security programs, overall compliance and retail regulations, as well as technology innovation and energy efficiency.

Hoagland has previously served as Vice President and Chief of Staff, for the CEO, Vice President of Environmental Science Technology & Policy, and as Vice President of Energy Efficiency & Demand Response.

A TVA employee since 1992, Hoagland has worked in several organizations, including: river operations, environmental stewardship, customer relations, and research and development.  He has extensive experience in research and development of new power technologies, distributed generation, energy efficiency and storage technologies, and environmental remediation.

Hoagland has served on boards and committees for several industry-related organizations, including the Electric Power Research Institute, the Electricity Storage Association, the Department of Energy, CASL, and the Electric Utility Cost Group.

Hoagland earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Southern Utah University and Master's and Doctorate degrees in Physical Chemistry from Washington State University.

Todd Palmer: A 15-year veteran of Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation (MTEMC), Todd Palmer is the Energy Efficiency Demand Response Coordinator.  He currently works in the Communications and Member Services department coordinating renewable energy projects, overseeing the promotions of MTEMC’s energy service’s programs.  He is involved in the current deployment of the utility’s advanced meters.

Before becoming the EEDR Coordinator, he spent 10 years working as the Communications Coordinator where he served as the MTEMC’s spokesperson.

Tony Richman has been in the electric utility industry for the past 20 years.  He is the Meter Services-Smart Grid Manager at NES. Tony is currently managing the implementation of a system-wide Gridstream two-way AMI network and some 52,000 endpoints that have been used to implement two Virtual Power Plants including: voltage management and direct load control pilot solutions.  Tony has led various Smart Grid project activities for nearly the past four years; including the current process to evaluate a Meter Data Management System.  His previous roles at NES include: Design/Planning Engineer, Customer Engineering Supervisor and Transmission & Distribution Operations Manager.  Tony is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Tennessee


Coming Soon:

Thursday, May 15
Marijuana: Menace or Miracle?

Thursday, June 19
Building “Green”

Thursday, July 17
Climate Change

Thursday, Aug. 21

Thursday, Sept. 18

Thursday, Oct. 16

Thursday, Nov. 20

No Science Café in December






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