UW Today

November 9, 2015

Documents that Changed the World: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 1982

Visitors touch names and leave gifts at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 2006.

The Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., is many things to many people. To Joe Janes of the Information School, the son of a World War II veteran and creator of the Documents that Changed the World podcast series, the memorial, the discussions it sparked and the hearts it helps heal — “the totality of the wall” he says – together comprise an important document.

November 3, 2015

Life, enhanced: UW professors study legal, social complexities of an augmented reality future

A mockup of an augmented reality mobile phone using a curved LED screen that renders augmented reality data for the wearer/user from cameras mounted on one or both sides.

A report from the interdisciplinary UW Tech Policy Lab on the challenges of augmented reality suggests such systems should be adaptable to change, resistant to hacking and responsive to the needs of diverse users.

November 2, 2015

Modern world learns from ancient civilizations in Scott Montgomery’s history of science

Scott L. Montgomery, a lecturer in the Jackson School of International Studies, uses a range of case studies and the notion of “scientific culture” to trace the evolution of technical thought through eight major civilizations from ancient Egypt to Medieval and Renaissance Europe in his latest book, “A History of Science in World Cultures.” “A…

October 22, 2015

UW Tacoma historian Michael Honey’s film about Rev. James Lawson to screen locally

Rev. James Lawson

UW historian Michael Honey and filmmaker Errol Webber have produced a documentary about the life of Methodist minister and civil rights activist Rev. James Lawson that will be screened in Tacoma on Oct. 28, Seattle on Oct. 29

October 21, 2015

School of Law’s Roy Prosterman delighted by humanitarian award for agency he started half a century ago

Roy Prosterman, professor emeritus of the University of Washington School of Law, says he knew Landesa, the international land reform agency he founded a half century ago, had been considered before for the prestigious Hilton Humanitarian Prize, with its $2 million cash award. “But I didn’t know that lightning was going to strike in 2015,”…

October 19, 2015

‘Pivotal Tuesdays’: New book by historian Margaret O’Mara studies four key elections of 20th century

"Pivotal Tuesdays: Four Elections that Shaped the Twentieth Century" by University of Washington professor Margaret O'Mara, was published by University of Pennsylvania Press.

Margaret O’Mara, UW associate professor of history, discusses her new book, “Pivotal Tuesdays: Four Elections that Shaped the Twentieth Century.”

October 16, 2015

NASA Astrobiology Debates Western Championship to be live-streamed Oct. 18

If we discover life beyond Earth — even just microbes — should we protect it at all costs? This is the topic of the NASA Astrobiology Debates, where elite college teams from across the country grapple with ethical, political and scientific questions stemming from the topic chosen for the year. Specifically, this year’s debate topic…

October 13, 2015

UW philosophy department to hold six public discussions of migration crisis

What does it mean to have a right to asylum? Does religion matter in deciding to help refugees? What kind of public health is owed to migrants and refugees? What is “climate justice” and how is it relevant to refugees and immigration policy? According to a June 2015 report from the United Nations, worldwide displacement…

October 12, 2015

New UW School of Law group to study marijuana regulation for state of Washington


A new group at the UW School of Law will spend the academic year studying existing and emerging markets for marijuana, to assist and inform the state as it prepares to blend current medical and recreational markets for cannabis.

October 9, 2015

Arctic, cybersecurity — even outer space — covered in Oct. 16 Jackson School conference


Academics and policymakers will gather at the UW’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies Oct. 16 for a conference to address cybersecurity and geopolitical concerns from the Pacific Northwest to the Arctic and even outer space.

October 7, 2015

‘Human Right to Family Planning Conference’ Oct. 9-11 at School of Law

The UW School of Law will be the location for the three-day Human Right to Family Planning Conference, Oct. 9-11. Lawmakers, researchers, academics and health care professionals will gather for this first-of-its-kind event to explore the relationship between the right to health and family planning, including abortion, and improving access to that care, locally and…

October 6, 2015

Documents that Changed the World: Alfred Nobel’s will, 1895

Alfred Nobel (1801 - 1872).

Alfred Nobel is remembered for the annual prizes given in his name. But were it not for his confused but effective will, we might remember him as the inventor of dynamite, who grew rich inventing and developing lethal explosives.

October 5, 2015

Where to look for life? UW astronomers devise ‘habitability index’ to guide future search

The James Webb Space Telescope, a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror, is scheduled to be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana in October of 2018 and will be the premier NASA observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers around the world.

Astronomers with the University of Washington’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory have created the “habitility index for transiting planets” to rank exoplanets to help prioritize which warrant close inspection in the search for life beyond Earth.

October 2, 2015

UW Dept. of Construction Management, Skanska launch new certificate program in ‘building information modeling’

The University of Washington’s Department of Construction Management and Skanska, one of the world’s leading construction and development firms, have partnered to offer a new certificate for Building Information Modeling. The new program was created to fill a current gap in the field of people trained to use data-rich virtual-reality modeling tools in building design….

September 28, 2015

Four UW-related books finalists for 2015 Washington Book Awards

Four University of Washington-related books are finalists for 2015 Washington Book Awards. The awards are chosen by the Washington Center for the Book, at the Seattle Public Library. “Mary Randlett Portraits,” a book of photos of Northwest artists, writers and arts advocates taken by a photographer nearly as well-known as her subjects, was published in…

Earth-like planets around small stars likely have protective magnetic fields, aiding chance for life


Earth-like planets orbiting close to small stars probably have magnetic fields that protect them from stellar radiation and help maintain surface conditions that could be conducive to life, according to research by UW astronomers.

September 22, 2015

Jackson School gathers experts to discuss Syrian humanitarian crisis Oct. 6

Syria’s drawn-out civil war has displaced more than 10 million people since 2011 and the flood of refugees from the area has drawn the concerned attention of the world. The University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies will hold a free, public forum at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 6, in Room 101 of Thomson…

September 18, 2015

Former U.S. Senators Lott, Daschle to discuss plan for ‘civility and democracy’ at Sept. 24 Ruckelshaus Center event

In a sense, early returns from the 2016 election are already in: Civility is losing to vitriol in a landslide. But two former U.S. senators who each served as Senate majority leaders — Republican Trent Lott of Mississippi and Democrat Tom Daschle of South Dakota — have been promoting a plan to restore civility to…

‘Access to Information as a Human Right’ public conference Oct. 5

The University of Washington Center for Human Rights will hold a daylong conference Oct. 5 at the UW School of Law, underscoring a crucial international theme even with its title: “Access to Information as a Human Right.” The conference springs from the center’s partnerships with communities and organizations struggling for truth and accountability in postwar…

September 8, 2015

Gender, corporate culture at Boeing explored in new book ‘Capitalist Family Values’

"Capitalist Family Values: Gender, Work, and Corporate Culture at Boeing" by Polly Myer, lecturer in the UW history department. We offer a Q and A with Myers.

Polly Myers is a lecturer in the UW Department of History and author of the book “Capitalist Family Values: Gender, Work, and Corporate Culture at Boeing,” published by University of Nebraska Press.

September 3, 2015

Earth observations show how nitrogen may be detected on exoplanets, aiding search for life

The Earth as seen by the Polychromatic Imaging Camera aboard NASA's Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite, July 2015. Recent research by UW grad student Edward Schwieterman shows that observations of nitrogen in Earth's atmosphere from afar might help astronomers detect the "invisible" gas in the atmospheres of planets beyond our solar system.

Observations of nitrogen in Earth’s atmosphere by a NASA spacecraft 17 million miles away are giving astronomers fresh clues to how that gas might reveal itself on faraway planets, thus aiding in the search for life.

August 27, 2015

Evans School’s Justin Marlowe pens second installment of guide to public finance

Government finance is a bit like Italian opera, writes Justin Marlowe, professor in the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance: It’s beautiful and elaborate, sure — but it’s also in a foreign language full of “traditions, customs and unspoken rules most casual fans don’t understand.” And though local, county and state government officials don’t…

August 20, 2015

Crime writer Ann Rule to be remembered in public Kane Hall gathering Aug. 23

A public celebration of the life of writer Ann Rule will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23, in Room 130 of Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus. The gathering, under the title “Ann Rule, Our Tribute to a Life Well Lived,” will feature friends and colleagues remembering the writer’s life and…

August 19, 2015

UW political scientist Megan Francis looks at philanthropy and racial inequality

Protecting African-Americans from state-sanctioned violence remains “an unmet challenge for civil rights groups committed to racial equality,” writes Megan Ming Francis, UW assistant professor of political science, in a much-read post at HistPhil, a blog launched in June to cover the history of philanthropy. Why is preventing racial violence not a higher priority? In part…

August 17, 2015

UW historian William Rorabaugh explores ’60s counterculture in ‘American Hippies’

"American Hippies" a book by William Rorabaugh was published by Cambridge University Press.

William Rorabaugh, UW professor of history, looks at the flower power culture of the 1960s in his latest book, “American Hippies.”

August 13, 2015

Documents that Changed the World: Charles Richter’s seismic scale, 1935


A scale of simple numbers — the Richter Scale — unnerves us when we think about earthquakes, as Pacific Northwest residents have been prone to do lately. But who was Richter, and how did it all come about? Joe Janes takes a look for an installment of his Documents that Changed the World podcast series.

August 7, 2015

Information School’s Michelle Carter explores our ‘IT identities’

Oh no — you’ve lost your smartphone. Anxiety spikes as you check pockets and bags. But wait — there it is and your worries vanish. All is well, and you feel yourself again, whole again. What’s up with that? Michelle Carter, an assistant professor in the University of Washington Information School, has studied and given…

August 4, 2015

‘How We Spent It’: UW infographic designs get attention from Seattle Police Department

When UW design professor Karen Cheng collaborated with students to create an infographic from publicly available City of Seattle data and published it in a local design magazine, the result was so good they were invited to present their work to the Seattle Police Department. Cheng, professor in the School of Art + Art History…

July 29, 2015

Documents that Changed the World: Annals of the World, 1650

James Ussher

As shadows lengthened and day turned to night on Saturday, Oct. 22, in the year 4004 BCE, God created the universe. Or, perhaps not. Still, that’s the time and date for creation determined, after long and painstaking research, by Irish scholar and church leader James Ussher, author of the 17th century chronology, Annals of the World.

July 28, 2015

‘Antigona’ dance performance born at UW nominated for two Bessie awards

Dancers Juan Ogalla and Soledad Barrio in "Antigona," presented by the UW World Series. Both Ogalla and the production have been nominated for Bessie awards, the highest honor in the New York dance world.

“Antigona,” a dance production by Soledad Barrio & Noche Flamenca that was born at the University of Washington, has been nominated for two Bessie awards — the highest tribute in the New York dance world.

July 24, 2015

UW historian Quintard Taylor’s BlackPast.org website honored by National Education Association

BlackPast.org, an extensive online reference center for African-American history and African ancestry created by UW history professor Quintard Taylor, has been honored by the National Education Association. The website has won the 2015 Carter G. Woodson Award, given annually by the education association and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, which…

July 22, 2015

Two UW art professors honored with 2015 Seattle Mayor’s Arts Awards

Of the five recipients of 2015 Seattle Mayor’s Arts Awards, two — Robin K. Wright and Akio Takamori — are faculty members in the UW School of Art + Art History + Design. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s office announced the awards on Tuesday, July 21. The awards, notes say, “recognize the contributions of artists, creative…

July 21, 2015

UW hosts conference on medieval text ‘Piers Plowman’

“Piers Plowman” is not only a 14th century alliterative narrative, it is also the reason a hundred scholars are coming to the UW this week. The Piers Plowman International Conference will be held July 23-25 in Alder Hall and the Simpson Center for the Humanities. “The poem is a work contemporary with Chaucer in the…

July 17, 2015

‘Lives matter’: Simpson Center project marries animal, postcolonial studies

The study of animals meets up with postcolonial studies in The Postcolonial Animal, a cross-disciplinary research project hosted by the UW’s Simpson Center for the Humanities. The work, notes from the center state, “considers relations between human and nonhuman lives and with indigenous ways of knowing” and “follows a conviction that violence toward any life…

July 16, 2015

New book by UW’s Philip Howard urges democratic values for coming Internet of Things

"Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up," by University of Washington professor Philip Howard, was published this spring by Yale University Press.

UW professor Philip Howard discusses his new book, “Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set us Free or Lock Us Up,” published this spring by Yale University Press.

July 13, 2015

Robotics and the law: When software can harm you

An artist's concept of a NASA robotic refueling mission. Shown here, cameras light the way as a tool from a robotic refueling mission approaches a satellite to cut wire, one of the steps to remotely accessing a satellite's triple-sealed fuel valve.

Twenty years in, the law is finally starting to get used to the Internet. Now it is imperative, says Ryan Calo, assistant professor in the UW School of Law, that the law figure out how to deal effectively with the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence.

June 30, 2015

‘The Shape of the New’: Two UW profs, four ‘big ideas’ in new book

"The Shape of the New: Four Big Ideas and How they Made the Modern World," by UW Jackson School faculty Scott L. Montgomery and Daniel Chirot, was published in May be Princeton University Press.

The concepts of freedom, equality, evolution and democracy lie at the heart of “The Shape of the New: Four Big Ideas and How they Changed the World,” by Scott L. Montgomery and Daniel Chirot of the UW’s Jackson School of International Studies.

June 25, 2015

Harry Potter celebrated with ‘Muggles & Magic’ library exhibit

A new, staff-created exhibit brings a little bit of Hogwarts to Suzzallo and Allen libraries, with books, games, action figures and even scholarly articles about that famous, lightning-browed “boy who lived.” The exhibit is called “Muggles & Magic: Harry Potter @ the Libraries.” The main attraction sits just outside the Suzzallo Reading Room, which is…

June 23, 2015

Visualizing the cosmos: UW astronomer Andrew Connolly and the promise of big data

UW astronomy professor Andrew Connolly at TED2014 at the Vancouver, B.C., convention center.

A conversation with UW astronomer Andrew Connolly on the coming Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the promise of big data to the study of the universe.

June 22, 2015

Spectrum of life: Nonphotosynthetic pigments could be biosignatures of life on other worlds

Laguna Colorada is a shallow salt lake in the southwest of Bolivia. One of several places on Earth whose colors are dominated by nonphotosynthetic pigments. Eddie Schwieterman of the University of Washington has research on how such nonphotosynthetic biosignatures might appear on exoplanets, or those outside our solar system.

To find life in the universe, it helps to know what it might look like. If there are organisms on other planets that do not rely wholly on photosynthesis — as some on Earth do not — how might those worlds appear from light-years away?

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