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Science and Technology

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Emily Siner / WPLN

You could say Butch Wilmore has star power.

The Tennessee native is an astronaut who spent six months on the International Space Station, and students at William Henry Oliver Middle School in Nashville were clearly excited that he was visiting Thursday. The school band welcomed him with a Star Wars medley. Students lined up to take selfies.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

A video that purported to show Planned Parenthood selling fetal tissue has been discredited. But it spawned an inquiry that carries on, led by Congressman Marsha Blackburn.

Her investigative panel has been forcing researchers to turn over emails and billing information. They're trying to root out people who may have profited from the sale of fetal parts, which is illegal.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are starting to build applications for a supercomputer that might not go live for another seven years.

The lab recently received more than $5 million from the Department of Energy to start developing several longterm projects.

Brookings Institute

Nashville needs to build better relationships between big health care companies and tech startups if it wants to remain a powerhouse in the health care industry, according to a new report by the Brookings Institute.

J. Intintoli / MTSU

Scientists from Tennessee recently discovered — and named — two species of bacteria growing in man-made water sources in Putnam County. Next, they want to find out just how big of a threat the bacteria pose to humans. 

Kelly Stewart via Flickr

Gigabit-speed internet has been a buzzword around Nashville, with several companies competing to roll out super-fast connections. But a recent report from the state's economic development office pointed out that some parts of the state are far behind when it comes to getting online.

Nearly everyone — 98 percent of people — in urban areas of Tennessee has access to internet with download speeds of 25 Mpbs or faster, even if they're not purchasing it for their own homes.

Courtesy of Google

A new survey on broadband Internet, commissioned by the state's economic development office, has a simple takeaway: High-speed internet access is good for business, and Tennessee needs more of it. 

Joe Howell / Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is trying to solve a problem that is currently hindering research: how to get enough participants — especially from minority groups — to take part in clinical trials. 

The National Institutes of Health recently awarded Vanderbilt a $14 million grant to help researchers around the country find more people to study. By some estimates, more than a third of clinical trials have to stop because there aren't enough participants, says Consuelo Wilkins, a joint professor at Vanderbilt and Meharry Medical College.

Vanderbilt University

One of the newest elements on the periodic table could soon be named "tennessine," in honor of the state's role in helping to discover it six years ago.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, which oversees the periodic table, announced the tentative names of four new elements Wednesday morning — including element 117, tennessine.

Emily Siner / WPLN

For seven music technology startups working in Nashville this year, last Monday marked a big day: Pitch Day. That's when their founders and CEOs courted investors with snazzy slideshows and pithy presentations.