UW Today

News releases


April 4, 2016

The Twittersphere does listen to the voice of reason — sometimes

WestJet tweet screenshot

In the maelstrom of information, opinion and conjecture that is Twitter, the voice of truth and reason does occasionally prevail, according to a new study from UW researchers. Tweets from “official accounts” — the government agencies, emergency responders, media or companies at the center of a fast-moving story — can slow the spread of rumors on Twitter and correct misinformation that’s taken on a life of its own.


Bilingual baby brains show increased activity in executive function regions

Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, UW

Many brain studies show that bilingual adults have more activity in areas associated with executive function, a set of mental abilities that includes problem-solving, shifting attention and other desirable cognitive traits. Now new findings reveal that this bilingualism-related difference in brain activity is evident as early as 11 months of age, just as babies are…


April 1, 2016

To be sustainable, conservation needs to consider the human factor

The Salmon Dancer Canoe Family paddles along the shorelines of Swinomish.

The authors of a new paper in Science propose a set of social indicators that can be used to gauge how ecosystem management affects four essential factors in human lives: well-being, values, the ability to act purposefully and inequality. Considering such indicators, they note, serves not only to describe what exists but to define what is important in setting sustainability goals.


March 31, 2016

UW, gun-rights groups come together in new law to prevent suicide

ForefrontOlympiaDay

After her husband ended his life with a bullet in 2011, Jennifer Stuber went to the two Washington stores where he had bought guns to talk with the owners about suicide prevention. That bold move by Stuber, an associate professor at the University of Washington School of Social Work, eventually led to the passage of…


March 30, 2016

Tracking ‘marine heatwaves’ since 1950 – and how the ‘blob’ stacks up

Picture graph

A tally of Northern Hemisphere marine heatwaves since 1950 shows that prolonged warm periods have recurred regularly in the past, but are being pushed into new territory by climate change.


March 29, 2016

UW to create new real estate minor with gift from Windermere Real Estate founder John Jacobi

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The University of Washington will create an undergraduate minor in real estate studies thanks to a $5.4 million gift from retired Windermere Real Estate founder John Jacobi and his wife, Rosalind. The Jacobis’ gift will also support two new endowed faculty chairs at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies in the UW’s College of Built Environments.


March 25, 2016

Arboretum trail project underway will expand public access

A conceptual image of a bridge.

Construction started this month on the Washington Park Arboretum’s new Arboretum Loop Trail, one of the largest improvement projects to date in the Seattle public garden.


March 24, 2016

Study: Most tweets following fall Paris attacks defended Islam, Muslims

twitter-informationschool-islamTILE

The fall 2015 Paris terrorist attacks sparked heated social media debates about Islam. A researcher now with the UW Information School, with collaborators, analyzed millions of tweets after those attacks and found most tweets actually expressed support for Islam and Muslims.


March 21, 2016

Better safe than sorry: Babies make quick judgments about adults’ anger

Baby looks at people fighting, frightened

Adults often form fast opinions about each other’s personalities, especially when it comes to negative traits. If we see someone argue with another driver over a parking space, for instance, we may assume that person tends to be confrontational. Two new research studies with hundreds of 15-month-old infants demonstrate that babies form similar generalizations about…


March 17, 2016

Galapagos lakes reveal tropical Pacific climate since Biblical times

three people on water

University of Washington oceanographers track 2,000 years of El Niño history, showing that it can shift in strength for centuries at a time.


March 16, 2016

New technique tracks ‘heartbeat’ of hundreds of wetlands

Wetland in Douglas County, Washington.

UW researchers have developed a new method to track how wetlands in Eastern Washington behave seasonally, which will also help monitor how they change as the climate warms.


March 15, 2016

Medicine, nursing programs top national rankings; dozens more UW programs highly rated

Gerberding Hall on Red Square. Seattle campus, December 26th, 2013. Photo by Katherine B. Turner

For the 22nd time in the past 23 years, the University of Washington ranked as the No. 1 primary care medical school in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 Best Graduate School rankings released Tuesday. The rural medicine and family medicine programs have also led the nation since those rankings began in 1992. In a…


Smartwatches can now track your finger in mid-air using sonar

Photo of FingerIO on phone

A new sonar technology developed by University of Washington computer scientists and electrical engineers allows you to interact with mobile devices and smartwatch screens by writing or gesturing on any nearby surface — a tabletop, a sheet of paper or even in mid-air.


March 9, 2016

Quintard Taylor’s BlackPast.org history site gets redesign, first executive director

Chieko Phillips

BlackPast.org, the online reference guide to African-American history started by University of Washington history professor Quintard Taylor, is getting an executive director — Chieko Phillips — and a website redesign.


Darkening of Greenland ice sheet due mainly to older, melting snow

ice with dark patches

A study by the UW and others finds that the darkening of the Greenland ice sheet is not due to an increase in wildfires, but is a side effect of a warming climate.


March 8, 2016

Evans School, Ruckelshaus Center featured when public policy administrators gather in Seattle March 17-22

Photo by Katherine Turner.

The evolving nature of the public sector will be the topic when professionals and scholars from the UW’s Evans School for Public Policy & Governance and around the world gather in Seattle March 17-22 for the 77th annual conference of the American Society for Public Administration.


Family technology rules: What kids expect of parents

family photo

A new UW study is among the first to explore children’s expectations for parents’ technology use — revealing kids’ feelings about fairness and “oversharing,” the most effective types of household technology rules and families’ most common approaches.


March 3, 2016

$750,000 Mellon Foundation grant will fund research, collaboration in arts

bandaloop-2

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the University of Washington a three-year, $750,000 grant to support guest artists in developing new works, and to better integrate arts disciplines into the broader university curriculum.

The grant will support a Creative Fellowships Initiative, under which guest performing artist fellows will be recruited from around the world for one- to three-year residencies in dance, music and theater.


February 29, 2016

Life or illusion? Avoiding ‘false positives’ in the search for living worlds

New research from the University of Washington-based Virtual Planetary Laboratory will help astronomers better identify and rule out "false positives" in the ongoing search for life. Shown is a NASA illustration of Kepler 62E about 1,200 light-years away in the constellation Lyra.

New research from the UW-based Virtual Planetary Laboratory will help astronomers better identify — and thus rule out — “false positives” in the search for life beyond Earth.


Doctor, patient expectations differ on fitness and lifestyle tracking

Image of phones with running apps

With apps and activity trackers measuring every step people take, morsel they eat, and each symptom or pain, patients commonly arrive at doctor’s offices armed with self-tracked data. Yet health care providers lack the capacity or tools to review five years of Fitbit logs or instantaneously interpret data patients have been collecting about themselves, according to new UW research.


NASA data used to track groundwater in Pakistan

Picture of groundwater fieldwork

Pakistan’s water managers are using NASA satellites to more effectively monitor groundwater supplies, thanks to a partnership with UW civil and environmental engineers. It’s part of a larger effort to use the vast amount of data and observations collected by Earth-orbiting satellites to better quality of life in developing countries.


Statewide home sales, affordability up in fourth quarter of 2015

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Home sale prices were up fractionally in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to the third quarter but up 9.7 percent compared with the previous year, according to the UW’s Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies.


February 26, 2016

Transgender children supported in their identities show positive mental health

Kristina Olson

Studies of mental health among transgender people in the United States have been consistently grim, showing higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide. But almost nothing is known about the mental health of a new and growing generation of transgender Americans — prepubescent children who are living openly as transgender with the support of their…


February 25, 2016

Driverless cars could increase reliance on roads

Photo of driverless car

Driverless vehicles could intensify car use — reducing or even eliminating promised energy savings and environmental benefits, a new study co-authored by a University of Washington researcher finds. If people can work, relax and even hold meetings in their fully automated vehicles, they may drive more.


Herring fishery’s strength is in the sum of its parts, study finds

Pacific herring.

Just like a strong financial portfolio contains shares from different companies, the diverse subpopulations of herring from different bays and beaches around Puget Sound collectively keep the total population more stable, a new study finds.


February 24, 2016

University of Washington, Gonzaga University announce UW medical school partnership, launch initiative to advance medical education and research in Spokane region

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The University of Washington and Gonzaga University have signed an agreement to continue, enhance and expand medical education and research in Spokane.


Clean, efficient cookstoves from UW-industry partnership to be manufactured in Kenya

Photo of woman testing stove in Kenya

A more efficient and clean wood-burning cookstove — developed by Vashon Island’s BURN Design Lab and UW mechanical engineers — will reduce the amount of fuel families need to collect or buy by 55 percent. It will also reduce exposure to the harmful particulate pollution produced by traditional cooking flames.


February 23, 2016

For weather forecasting, precise observations matter more than butterflies

thunderstorm with butterflies

Small disturbances, like the flapping of a butterfly’s wings, don’t really matter for weather forecasts. More important is boosting the accuracy of observations at larger scales.


UW engineers achieve Wi-Fi at 10,000 times lower power

UW computer scientists and electrical engineers have generated "passive" Wi-Fi transmissions using 10,000 times less power.

With “Passive Wi-Fi,” UW computer scientists and electrical engineers have generated Wi-Fi transmissions using 10,000 times less power than conventional methods. The system can transmit Wi-Fi signals at rates up to 11 megabits per second — lower than maximum Wi-Fi speeds but 11 times faster than Bluetooth — that can be decoded on any of the billions of devices with Wi-Fi connectivity.


Four UW scientists awarded Sloan Fellowships for early-career research

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Four faculty members at the University of Washington have been awarded early-career fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The new Sloan Fellows, announced Feb. 23, include Bingni Brunton, assistant professor of biology; Christopher Laumann, assistant professor of physics; Matthew McQuinn, assistant professor of astronomy; and Emina Torlak, assistant professor of computer science and engineering….


February 19, 2016

UW part of team that drilled first deep ice core at the South Pole

red tents on snow

UW glaciologists helped drill the first deep ice core at the South Pole, which will provide new clues to Antarctica’s climate history.


February 18, 2016

Three UW professors win Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

Shwetak Patel, Luke Zettlemoyer, David Masiello (left to right)

Three members of the UW faculty have received the 2016 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor given by the U.S. government to early-career scientists and engineers.


David Levy addresses digital overload in ‘Mindful Tech’

"Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to Our Digital Lives" was published by Yale University Press.

David Levy of the UW Information School discusses his new book, “Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to our Digital Lives,” published in January by Yale University Press.


University of Washington produces the most Peace Corps volunteers for 2nd consecutive year

peace-corps-uw

For the second year in a row, the University of Washington produced the most Peace Corps volunteers among large universities with 72 Huskies currently serving around the world. The UW is also ranked No. 4 among graduate schools with 16 alumni currently volunteering. “Community engagement – here and across the globe – is part of what makes…


February 12, 2016

Caught in the act: UW astronomers find a rare supernova ‘impostor’ in a nearby galaxy

The galaxy NGC 300

UW astronomers Breanna Binder and Ben Williams have identified a rare type of ‘supernova impostor’ in a nearby galaxy, with implications for how scientists look at the short, complex lives of massive stars.


Rare beluga data show whales dive to maximize meals

Belugas observed among West Greenland sea ice.

As the Arctic continues to change due to rising temperatures, melting sea ice and human interest in developing oil and shipping routes, it’s important to understand belugas’ baseline behavior, argue the authors of a new paper.


UW scientists create ultrathin semiconductor heterostructures for new technological applications

An illustration of the strong valley exciton interactions and transport in a 2-D semiconductor heterostructure.

University of Washington scientists have successfully combined two different ultrathin semiconductors — each just one layer of atoms thick and roughly 100,000 times thinner than a human hair — to make a new two-dimensional heterostructure with potential uses in clean energy and optically-active electronics.


February 11, 2016

Male biology students consistently underestimate female peers, study finds

GirlInLab

Female college students are more likely to abandon studies in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines than their male classmates, and new research from the University of Washington suggests that those male peers may play a key role in undermining their confidence. Published this week in the journal PLOS ONE, the study found that…


Bellingham Bay buoy an opportunity to observe marine waters for Northwest Indian College, world

Preparing to launch the new buoy, named Se’lhaem, in Bellingham Bay.

The Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction, through its education partner the University of Washington, is deploying an oceanographic observing buoy in Bellingham Bay this week that will allow Northwest Indian College students both hands-on experience with the technology as well as the ability to study the data from their computers, through the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems, NANOOS.


Gravitational waves detected 100 years after Einstein’s prediction

The LIGO facility in Hanford, Washington. Over 1,000 scientists from 15 countries make up the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.

For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the Earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.



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