UW Today

News releases

June 15, 2016

‘Bright spots’ shine light on the future of coral reefs

a photo of a sailfin tang fish

Researchers have discovered a handful of “bright spots” among the world’s embattled coral reefs, offering the promise of a radical new approach to conservation.

June 13, 2016

Arc volcano releases mix of material from Earth’s mantle and crust

black rock and green rock

Rock from a common type of volcano shows surprising evidence of the descending tectonic plate. Analyses show that magnesium atoms are somehow drawn out of the crust, deep below the surface.

Eastern U.S. needs ‘connectivity’ to help species escape climate change

map showing different migration scenarios across US

A new study has found that only 2 percent of the eastern U.S. provides the kind of climate connectivity required by species that will likely need to migrate, compared to 51 percent of the western U.S.

Success in second language learning linked to genetic and brain measures

students sitting in the quad at UW

A new study by researchers at the University of Washington shows that the final grades that college students received in a second-language class were predicted by a combination of genetic and brain factors.

June 9, 2016

2016 Awards of Excellence recognize campus, community contributions

Golden medal for awards of excellence on purple ribbon

The University of Washington recognized and honored faculty, staff, students and alumni for their passion and dedication to the UW, the local community, the state and the world. The 46th-annual Awards of Excellence ceremony took place at Meany Hall on Thursday, June 9, 2016.

Jerry Franklin named 2016’s ‘Eminent Ecologist’ by leading ecological group

Jerry Franklin, far right, teaches a class in the forest.

The Ecological Society of America has named University of Washington professor Jerry Franklin its “Eminent Ecologist” of 2016. The award, considered the organization’s most prestigious accolade, honors a senior ecologist who has made significant, long-standing contributions to the field of ecology.

June 8, 2016

US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to speak at UW’s 141st Commencement Saturday

A scene from last year's commencement ceremony at Husky Stadium.

More than 5,600 graduates, along with 40,000-plus family members, friends, faculty and other observers, are expected to attend the 141st University of Washington commencement ceremonies June 11 at Husky Stadium. UW President Ana Mari Cauce will preside as more than 12,500 degrees are conferred, including more than 7,700 bachelor’s degrees, more than 3,500 master’s degrees, more than 500…

June 6, 2016

See, hear and study the deep sea: Ocean Observatories Initiative data now live

camera illuminating seafloor

Data is now streaming from the deep sea, thanks to an observatory installed in this region by the University of Washington as part of a larger National Science Foundation initiative to usher in a new age of oceanographic research.

June 3, 2016

Finding connections to nature in cities is key to healthy urban living

baby with sandy feet

The authors of a Science perspective piece discuss the growing tension between an arguably necessary role urban areas play in society and the numbing, even debilitating, aspects of cities that disconnect humans from the natural world.

June 1, 2016

UW to host June 14 conference on marijuana policy


City and state officials, entrepreneurs, attorneys and others will come together June 14 for a daylong conference at the University of Washington on the future of marijuana policy in the state. The event, co-hosted by the Cannabis Law and Policy Project and UW Professional & Continuing Education, will be held at the UW School of…

May 31, 2016

Gov. Inslee appoints UW undergrad Austin Wright-Pettibone as new student regent

New student regent Austin-Wright-Pettibone

Gov. Jay Inslee named Austin Wright-Pettibone as the next student member of the University of Washington Board of Regents for the 2016-17 school year. Wright-Pettibone, a Kirkland native, is an undergraduate studying chemical engineering and becomes the first undergraduate since 2008 to be selected as the UW’s student regent. He graduated from Inglemoor High School in…

Tiny probe could produce big improvements in batteries and fuel cells

image of nanoscale details seen by probe

A team led by University of Washington engineers has developed a new tool that could aid in the quest for better batteries and fuel cells. Although battery technology has come a long way since Alessandro Volta first stacked metal discs in a “voltaic pile” to generate electricity, major improvements are still needed to meet the…

May 30, 2016

Deep, old water explains why Antarctic Ocean hasn’t warmed

global map red at top, blue at bottom

The waters surrounding Antarctica may be one of the last places on Earth to experience human-driven climate change, because of its unique ocean currents.

May 27, 2016

UW researchers illuminate ways to heal defects in solar cells

Microscopic image of a crystal

Electrical energy fuels our modern lives, from the computer screen that keeps us up after sunset to the coffee maker that greets us at sunrise. But the electricity underlying our 21st century world, by and large, is generated at a cost — through the unsustainable expenditure of fossil fuels. For decades this demand for cheap,…

May 24, 2016

Jennifer Cohen appointed athletic director at the UW

Jennifer Cohen

UW President Ana Mari Cauce announced Tuesday that after a four-month national search, Jennifer Cohen, senior associate athletic director at the University of Washington, who has been serving as the interim athletic director since January, has been named the UW’s new athletic director, effective June 1. “I am very pleased to announce Jen’s appointment,” said…

UW experts develop first method for including migration uncertainty in population projections

Image of earth with black background

Statisticians at the University of Washington have developed the first model for projecting population that factors in the vagaries of migration, a slippery issue that has bedeviled demographers for decades. Their work, published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also provides population projections for all countries worldwide — and…

May 23, 2016

Study shows disparities in treatment for children with traumatic brain injuries

Young boy in brain scanning machine

Children who suffer traumatic brain injuries can face a difficult road to recovery, requiring services such as physical therapy and mental health treatment for months or years to get their young lives back on track. When those children come from low-income households with limited English proficiency, there can be significant barriers in getting them the…

May 20, 2016

Lingcod meet rockfish: Catching one improves chances for the other

A lingcod fish

In a new study, scientists found that selectively fishing for lingcod in protected areas actually avoided hampering the recovery of other fish, including rockfish species listed as overfished.

Jerry Baldasty named provost at UW, following 14 months as interim provost

Jerry Baldasty

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce today named Jerry Baldasty provost and executive vice president, following a 14-month term as interim provost. The appointment is to a three-year term, effective June 1, 2016, subject to approval by the Board of Regents. “Jerry’s excellence as a scholar and teacher, as well as a seasoned administrative…

Bacteria in branches naturally fertilize trees

Young poplar and willow trees along the Snoqualmie River.

A University of Washington team has demonstrated that poplar trees growing in rocky, inhospitable terrain harbor bacteria within them that could provide valuable nutrients to help the plant grow.

May 19, 2016

Rickey L. Hall named vice president for the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity and chief diversity officer at the UW

Rickey L. Hall

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce and Interim Provost Jerry Baldasty announced today the selection of Rickey L. Hall as the new vice president for the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer, effective Aug. 1, 2016.

Appeal of ‘genetic puzzles’ leads to National Medal of Science for UW’s Mary-Claire King

Mary-Claire King

In a White House ceremony May 19, President Barack Obama presented the National Medal of Science to Mary-Claire King, University of Washington professor of genome sciences and medicine. The award, the nation’s highest recognition for scientific achievement, honors King’s more than 40 years dedicated to research in evolution and the genetics of human disease, as well as to teaching and outreach endeavors that have supported human rights efforts on six continents and reunited families.

UW to host first of four White House public workshops on artificial intelligence

Self-driving Google car

From self-driving vehicles to social robots, artificial intelligence is evolving at a rapid pace, creating vast opportunities as well as complex challenges. Recognizing that, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is co-hosting four public workshops on artificial intelligence — the first of them May 24 at the University of Washington. Subsequent events…

Poet Alice Fulton to give 53rd annual Roethke Reading May 27

Poet Alice Fulton is shown -- she will give the University of Washington's 53rd Roethke Reading on May 27 in Room 130 of Kane Hall.

Poet and author Alice Fulton will give the 53rd annual Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Reading at 8 p.m. Friday, May 27, in Room 130 of Kane Hall, also known as the Roethke Auditorium. The event is free and the public is invited.

Using static electricity, insect-sized flying robots can land and stick to surfaces

Image of flying insect robot

A new study co-authored by a University of Washington mechanical engineer demonstrates how flying insect-sized robots can land and stick to surfaces, which conserves energy and extends flight times.

Will more snow over Antarctica offset rising seas? Don’t count on it

person in red coat pointing at ice

Heavier snowfall over Antarctica was supposed to be one of the few brakes on sea-level rise in a warming world. But that prediction is not reliable, says a new study of Antarctic snowfall over the past 31,000 years.

May 17, 2016

UW team first to measure microscale granular crystal dynamics

Photo of slide showing granular crystals

UW mechanical engineers have for the first time analyzed interactions between microscale granular crystals — a first step in creating novel materials that could be used for impact mitigation, signal processing, disease diagnosis, or even making more controllable solid rocket propellants.

May 13, 2016

Proton-conducting material found in jelly that fills organs of sharks, skates and rays

Image of the ampullae of Lorenzini found in sharks, skates and rays.

The jelly found in the electrosensory organs of sharks, skates and rays is a remarkable proton-conducting material, with the highest proton conductivity ever reported for a biological material, UW researchers have found.

UW researchers unleash graphene ‘tiger’ for more efficient optoelectronics

Image of one of the graphene-based devices

In traditional light-harvesting methods, energy from one photon only excites one electron or none depending on the absorber’s energy gap, transferring just a small portion of light energy into electricity. The remaining energy is lost as heat. But in a paper released May 13 in Science Advances, Wu, UW associate professor Xiaodong Xu and colleagues at four other institutions describe one promising approach to coax photons into stimulating multiple electrons. Their method exploits some surprising quantum-level interactions to give one photon multiple potential electron partners.

May 12, 2016

UW study: state-licensed marijuana canopy enough to satisfy recreational and medical markets


The amount of marijuana allowed to be grown by state-licensed producers in Washington is enough to satisfy both the medical and recreational marijuana markets, a University of Washington study released today finds. The state Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) tasked the UW-based Cannabis Law and Policy Project (CLPP) with calculating the “grow canopy,” or square…

May 11, 2016

Skull specializations allow bats to feast on their fellow vertebrates

Skull of a fish-eating bat.

Over their 52-million-year history, a few bats have evolved a taste for their fellow vertebrates. Now biologists at the University of Washington and the Burke Museum of History and Culture are shedding light on how these so-called “carnivorous bats” adapted to the daunting task of chowing down their backboned prey.

UW-led suicide prevention initiative planned for Washington colleges and universities

More than 700 people turned out for the 2016 Huskies Hope & Help walk for suicide prevention and awareness April 30.

The University of Washington is leading a new, four-year collaboration aimed at promoting mental health and preventing suicide at colleges and universities around the state. The initiative is a partnership between Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention — an organization in the UW School of Social Work — and the New York-based Jed Foundation, which focuses…

Paper gets ‘smart’ with drawn-on, stenciled sensor tags

In this example, the speed of the spinning tag on the pinwheel is mapped to onscreen graphics.

Researchers from the University of Washington, Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University have created ways to give a piece of paper sensing capabilities that allows it to respond to gesture commands and connect to the digital world.

May 10, 2016

Brain pattern predicts how fast an adult learns a new language

Hello in different languages

Some adults learn a second language better than others, and their secret may involve the rhythms of activity in their brains. New findings by scientists at the University of Washington demonstrate that a five-minute measurement of resting-state brain activity predicted how quickly adults learned a second language. The study, published in the June-July issue of…

May 9, 2016

This five-fingered robot hand learns to get a grip on its own

This five-fingered robot hand can learn how to perform dexterous manipulation — like spinning a tube full of coffee beans — on its own, rather than having humans program its actions.

A University of Washington team of computer science and engineering researchers has built a robot hand that can not only perform dexterous manipulation – one of the most difficult problems in robotics – but also learn from its own experience.

Early Earth’s air weighed less than half of today’s atmosphere

swirly rocks

The idea that the young Earth had a thicker atmosphere turns out to be wrong. New research from the University of Washington uses bubbles trapped in 2.7 billion-year-old rocks to show that air at that time exerted at most half the pressure of today’s atmosphere. The results, published online May 9 in Nature Geoscience, reverse…

May 6, 2016

Academics, artists collaborate on UW book arts exhibit ‘Just One Look’

"Cupid and Psyche" by Mari Eckstein Gower of Redmond, Washington. Inspired by a work of the same name by Apulieus and suggested by Ashli Baker of Bucknell University.

Thirty-two colorful and creative artist books on display as part of the exhibit “Just One Look,” in University of Washington Libraries’ Special Collections department, in Allen Library. The exhibit co-curated by UW alumna Lauren Dudley with Sandra Kroupa, UW book arts and rare book curator.

May 5, 2016

Two-minute warnings make kids’ ‘screen time’ tantrums worse

picture of child using computer

Giving young children a two-minute warning that “screen time” is about to end makes transitions away from tablets, phones, televisions and other technological devices more painful, a new University of Washington study has found.

May 4, 2016

Urban planning symposium May 5 addresses ‘The Future City’


What possible future scenarios lie ahead for urban design, and how will big data and new technologies affect science and decision-making? The UW Graduate School’s Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Urban Design and Planning will tackle such questions in a daylong symposium May 5.

May 2, 2016

New health sensing tool measures lung function over a phone call, from anywhere in the world

image of SpiroSmart being used in a Bangladesh clinic

University of Washington researchers have developed SpiroCall, a new health sensing tool that can accurately measure lung function from anywhere in the world over a simple phone call.

Previous page Next page