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Dr. Lee Riedinger

Bredesen Center Director


Lee Riedinger is a Professor of Physics at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, on the faculty since 1971, and also serves as the Director of the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education. He received a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1968. His field of research is experimental nuclear physics, emphasizing properties of highspin states in deformed nuclei. He is an author of 200 refereed publications, has given 60 invited talks at conferences and workshops, and
is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His research was funded by the Department of Energy for 30 years from 1976 and is focused on experiments to search for the occurrence of tetrahedral nuclear shapes and includes experiments at the ATLAS accelerator at Argonne National Laboratory utilizing beams of heavy nuclear projectiles and the Gammasphere array of gamma-ray detectors. Various sabbatical leaves have been spent at the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark. He served as the elected chair of the Division of Nuclear Physics of the APS in 1996 and the chair of the Southeastern Section of the APS in 2004. In 1983-84, he was the science advisor to Tennessee Senator Howard Baker, who was then the majority leader of the U.S. Senate. He has received the UT Chancellor’s Research Scholar Award in 1983, the 2005 Francis G. Slack Award from the Southeastern Section of the APS, the 2008-9 Macebearer award at the University of Tennessee (the top faculty honor), the Chancellor’s Medal in 2012, the L.R. Hesler Award for Excellence in Teaching and Service at UT in 2013, and the Graduate Director of the Year in 2017 from the Graduate Student Senate.

In addition to teaching and research, he has served in a number of administrative leadership positions at the university: 1988-91, director of the UT Science Alliance Center of Excellence, a program devoted to building joint research between UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL); 1991-95, UT Associate Vice Chancellor for Research; 1996–2000, head of the Physics Department; 2006-7 and again 2012,  Vice Chancellor for Research. From 1993 to 1996, he was the first chair of the Tennessee Science and Technology Advisory Council, which advised the Governor and the Legislature on technical priorities for the state. In 1999 he was one of the leaders of the successful UT effort to choose a partner (Battelle) and bid on the ORNL management contract. From 2000 to 2004, he served as the ORNL Deputy Director for Science and Technology and from 2004 to 2006 as the Associate Laboratory Director for University Partnerships.

Since his return to the university in 2006, he has led various efforts to develop a greater focus on energy teaching and research at UT. He was one of three original Haslam faculty at UT and taught an energy course to the Haslam scholarship students each year until 2015. In September of 2010 he was appointed to be the first
director of the UT/ORNL Bredesen Center, which is the academic home of a new doctoral program in energy science and engineering. In this role he teaches the core two-semester graduate energy technology course and leads all aspects of this interdisciplinary energy PhD program. A second interdisciplinary doctorate in data
science and engineering between UT and ORNL started in August of 2017.

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