At least two years ago, freelance writer David Brill approached the magazine about doing a story on the inventions created by UT faculty. At the time, it sounded like a good idea but a daunting project. How would we decide which inventions to mention? Surely, there would be too many to name. How would we explain what the inventions are so that everyday people could understand them?
This past summer, I met with David, and we decided to just pick about 15 inventions and make sure we have representatives from as many campuses as possible. He came up with a list after doing some research, and we ran the inventions by the necessary folks for approval. Over the course of a few weeks, we narrowed the list to 12. I think that ended up being a good round number. Not too many. Not too few. And the inventions covered the gambit from agriculture to engineering to healthcare.
David, who recently retired from working at the Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment at UT Knoxville, visited with each faculty team in person and took their photos. His story took him from Memphis to Chattanooga and back to Knoxville. We really appreciate the faculty members for taking time out of their busy schedules to be interviewed and photographed.
The real trick to writing each article was not just making it understandable but also short. We had to fit all 12 inventions into eight pages including photos for each one. I think David did a fabulous job writing about each one. Also lots of kudos to designer Laura Barroso for her graphic representing each invention and the layout. I think UT alumni should be proud of the great work these faculty are doing to make our lives better. These inventions have links to the UT Research Foundation, which is a UT System entity tasked with commercializing intellectual property.
There are many more than 12 inventions made by UT hands, but this should give you a taste of what’s going on in our laboratories across the state.