UW Today


June 21, 2016

UW-led team awarded $1M bioelectronics innovation prize

diagram of how device works

An international team led by researchers at the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) based at the University of Washington is one of three finalists in a race to produce an implantable wireless device that can assess, stimulate and block the activity of nerves that control organs.

June 16, 2016

UW’s large research vessel, R/V Thomas G. Thompson, gets a midlife overhaul

graphic of boat

The R/V Thomas G. Thompson, the 274-foot-long research vessel operated by the University of Washington, has spent 25 years carrying researchers, students and teachers out to sea. The ship has collected material from the bottom of the deepest ocean trenches and braved storms near Antarctica. This week, the ship will begin a yearlong stay in…

June 15, 2016

Falling fish catches could mean malnutrition in the developing world


The world won’t be able to fish its way to feeding 10 billion people by midcentury, but a shift in management practices could save hundreds of millions of fish-dependent poor from malnutrition, according to a new analysis by researchers at Harvard, the University of Washington and other universities.

‘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 10, 2016

Jackson School Space Security Initiative capstone event gathers students, area stakeholders

Saadia Pekkanen, Job and Gertrud Tamaki Professor and associate director of the UW's Jackson School of International Studies, chairs a capstone meeting for junior fellows of the school's Space Security Initiative Wednesday, June 8, at the University of Washington Club. From left, others are: Kristian Ulrichsen, affiliate professor of international studies; Alan Boyle, journalist with GeekWire; and John Thornquist, director of the Office of Aerospace for the Washington State Department of Commerce.

What are the policies of global rising powers regarding the use of orbital and outer space, and what are the implications of those policies for international cooperation? A capstone event for junior fellows of the Jackson School’s Space Security Initiative explored such questions in a recently with space industry, media and government representatives also on hand.

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 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

Q&A: Peter Kahn on nature interaction, wildness in cities

photo of peter kahn

University of Washington professor Peter Kahn recently co-authored an opinion piece in the journal Science about the importance of interacting with nature in urban areas. UW Today asked Kahn a few more questions about the broader implications of his work.

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.

May 31, 2016

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 26, 2016

Documents that Changed the World: Noah Webster’s dictionary, 1828

Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1828, title page shown here. Webster's work is the subject of an installment of Joe Janes' Documents that Changed the World podcast series.

Joe Janes of the Information School turns the attention of his Documents that Changed the World podcst to Noah Webster and his famous, 70,000-word “American Dictionary of the English language” published in 1828.

Ray Hilborn receives international fisheries science prize

photo of ray hilborn

Ray Hilborn, a UW professor of aquatic and fishery sciences, this week will receive the 2016 International Fisheries Science Prize at the World Fisheries Congress in Busan, South Korea.

May 25, 2016

UW, NOAA deploy ocean robot to monitor harmful algal blooms off Washington coast

The box surround by purple contains an automated laboratory that will analyze seawater for algal species and toxin. Researchers deployed it May 23 about 13 miles off Washington's coast.

Oceanographers from the UW and NOAA deployed a new tool that will automatically test for harmful algal blooms and help warn of when they could hit local beaches.

May 24, 2016

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…

Chickens on campus and a mood shift at EPA: Relevant projects are nature of environmental studies capstone

moving a new chicken coop at uw farm.

A cohort of UW Environmental Studies majors will present projects and research findings at at symposium from 1:30-5:30 p.m. May 25 at Alder Hall and Wallace Hall.

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.

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

Historical role of translation studied in new book ‘Translation’s Forgotten History’

Book cover to "Translation's Forgotten History: Russian Literature, Japanese Mediation, and the Formation of Modern Korean Literature," by Heekyoung Cho, UW assistant professor of Asian languages and literature, published in March by Harvard University Press.

“Translation’s Forgotten History: Russian Literature, Japanese Mediation, and the Formation of Modern Korean Literature” by Heekyoung Cho, UW assistant professor of Asian languages and literature, explores the role of translation in the making of modern literature, and how its understanding changes when viewed through the lens of translation.

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 16, 2016

Aliens, architecture, Beatles and beyond: MFA Dance Concert 2016

The UW Dance Program's MFA Dance Concert 2016 will be performed May 18-22 in the Meany Studio Theatre.

Six new works of choreography by graduate students in the University of Washington Dance Program will comprise the MFA Dance Concert 2016. Performances will be May 18-22 in the Meany Studio Theatre.

US-India collaboration finds molecular signatures of severe malaria

Malaria parasites infecting a red blood cell.

The malaria parasite can cause unusually severe cases of the eponymous disease in patients, leading to higher mortality and poorer health outcomes among survivors. But scientists have long struggled to understand why some patients develop severe malaria. The University of Washington’s International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research in South Asia — along with partners…

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

Washington home prices up 8.1 percent over last year in first quarter of 2016

A home with a for-sale sign in front. Story says: Washington state's housing market remained strong in the second quarter of 2016.

Washington state’s housing market showed the continuing effects of low supply in the first quarter of 2016, with sales limited and most markets less affordable, according to the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies.

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 researchers secure prestigious MURI grants for self-cooling lasers and fluid mechanics


University of Washington professors Peter Pauzauskie and Alberto Aliseda are part of two U.S. Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grants to develop innovative approaches to cutting-edge fields of engineering.

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

UW part of NOAA-led cruise to study West Coast ocean acidification

colored map shwoing the 16 stops

University of Washington students, faculty and staff are part of the fifth West Coast Ocean Acidification Cruise that will investigate changes to ocean chemistry from Baja to British Columbia. The ship left Thursday from San Diego to begin sampling on Mexico’s northern coast. It will stop May 21 at San Francisco’s Exploratorium Pier, then travel…

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

Vicente Rafael explores link between translation, historical imagination in book ‘Motherless Tongues’

"Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language Amid Wars of Translation," by UW history professor Vicente Rafael, was published by Duke University Press.

UW history professor Vicente Rafael says his new book, “Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language amid Wars of Translation,” asks longstanding questions about the relationship between history and language.

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.

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