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Research


September 23, 2015

UW team links two human brains for question-and-answer experiment

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Imagine a question-and-answer game played by two people who are not in the same place and not talking to each other. Round after round, one player asks a series of questions and accurately guesses the object the other is thinking about. Sci-fi? Mind-reading superpowers? Not quite. University of Washington researchers recently used a direct brain-to-brain…


September 21, 2015

AI system solves SAT geometry questions as well as average human test taker

SAT photo Aaron Escobar, flickr

The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence and UW computer scientists have created an artificial intelligence (AI) system that can solve SAT geometry questions as well as the average American 11th-grade student, a breakthrough in AI research.


September 17, 2015

Scientists: Let wildfires burn when prudent

forest fire burning

In a commentary published Sept. 17 in Science, a team of scientists, including University of Washington researchers Jerry Franklin and James Agee, describe unique opportunities and provide suggestions to reform forest fire management to reduce the impacts of inevitable wildfires in future years.


September 15, 2015

Young chum salmon may get biggest nutrition boost from Elliott Bay restored beaches

UW researchers sample for young salmon and invertebrates along a restored beach at Seacrest Park in Seattle's Elliott Bay.

University of Washington researchers have found the types of organisms in Seattle’s Elliott Bay change depending on the shoreline nearby, either armored or restored beaches. Young chum salmon adjusted their diets based on these changes.


September 14, 2015

A more acidic ocean will bend the mermaid’s wineglass

Mermaid's wineglass algae.

New research from the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories shows that a more acidic ocean can weaken the protective shell of a delicate alga. The findings, published Sept. 9 in the journal Biology Letters, come at a time when global climate change may increase ocean acidification.


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.


New wearable technology can sense appliance use, help track carbon footprint

Electromagnetic radiation patterns of various appliances

A new wearable technology developed at the University of Washington called MagnifiSense can sense what devices and vehicles its user interacts with, which can help track that individual’s carbon footprint, enable smart home applications or even assist with elder care.


UW scientists are pioneering research on ‘body maps’ in babies’ brains

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For more than half a century, scientists have studied how the surface of the body is mapped in parts of the brain associated with touch. That research has focused largely on “body maps” that show how certain parts of the brain correspond point-for-point with the body’s topography. These body maps have been studied extensively in…


September 4, 2015

September launch could give UW team rare measurements of ‘dusty plasmas’

An experimental atmospheric rocket

Researchers from the University of Washington are awaiting the launch an over 50-foot-long rocket from a launch site in Norway into the upper reaches of the atmosphere to observe and measure a puzzling phenomenon.


Poplar trees are best bet for biofuel in UW-led research project

Poplar materials, including bark, leaves and wood, are used to make cellulosic ethanol.

A five-year, $40 million study is laying the foundation for a Pacific Northwest industry that converts sustainably produced poplar feedstock into fuels and chemicals. The research, led by the University of Washington, will seed the world’s first wood-based cellulosic ethanol production facility.


Climate change could leave Pacific Northwest amphibians high and dry

frog peeking out of water

A new model for snow-fed mountain wetlands projects that the extremely dry conditions seen this year could be commonplace by the 2070s, affecting mountain species.


August 26, 2015

Lab experiments question popular measure of ancient ocean temperatures

The study looked at Thaumarchaeota archaea, which are found throughout the world's oceans. These single-celled organisms have just one membrane sac that encloses their bodies. This organism, used in the study, was collected from a tropical-water tank at the Seattle Aquarium.

The membranes of sediment-entombed archaea are an increasingly popular way to determine ocean surface temperatures back to the age of the dinosaurs. But new results show that changing oxygen can affect the reading by as much as 21 degrees C.


August 25, 2015

Rare nautilus sighted for the first time in three decades

Nautilus pompilius swimming next to Allonautilus scrobiculatus off of Ndrova Island in Papua New Guinea.

In early August, biologist Peter Ward returned from the South Pacific with news that he encountered an old friend, one he hadn’t seen in over three decades. The University of Washington professor had seen what he considers one of the world’s rarest animals, a remote encounter that may become even more infrequent if illegal fishing…


August 24, 2015

To get girls more interested in computer science, make classrooms less ‘geeky’

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Women lag behind men in the lucrative computer science and technology industries, and one of the possible contributors to this disparity is that they’re less likely to enroll in introductory computer science courses. A new study of 270 high school students shows that three times as many girls were interested in enrolling in a computer…


Power lines restrict sage grouse movement in Washington

male sage grouse

Transmission lines that funnel power from hydroelectric dams and wind turbines across Eastern Washington affect greater sage grouse habitat by isolating fragile populations and limiting movement, a new study finds.


Blacks hit hardest by public-sector job losses during recession, study finds

Exterior photo of large government building in Mississippi

The public sector has long served as an equalizer in American society, a place where minority workers could find stable employment that offered advancement and a reliable path to a middle-class life. But the Great Recession wiped out many of those jobs, as tax revenues declined and anti-government sentiment added to a contraction that continued…


August 20, 2015

Hunger drives unethical acts, but only in the quest for food

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Ever been so hungry that you can’t think of anything but finding food? Research from the UW Foster School of Business finds that the single-mindedness that results from hunger makes people more likely to commit unethical acts to satisfy that hunger — but less likely to lie, cheat or steal for reasons that don’t address the immediate physiological need.


Maltreated children’s brains show ‘encouraging’ ability to regulate emotions

Regions of the brain where maltreated children had greater activity than non-maltreated children when looking at negative images.

Children who have been abused or exposed to other types of trauma typically experience more intense emotions than their peers, a byproduct of living in volatile, dangerous environments. But what if those kids could regulate their emotions? Could that better help them cope with difficult situations? Would it impact how effective therapy might be for…


August 18, 2015

Thanks and pass the candy: Feelings of gratitude increase the consumption of sweets

Gratitude is universally considered a social good, but gratitude can have a dark side. It can impel us to eat more sweets, according to new research by Ann Schlosser, professor of marketing at the UW Foster School of Business.


August 17, 2015

Washington state housing market stays strong in second quarter of 2015

A house for sale.

Washington state’s housing market remained strong in the second quarter of 2015 with home sale prices, home sales and new building permits up compared to one year ago, according to the UW’s Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies.


UW researchers model tsunami hazards on the Northwest coast

The Pacific Northwest from space.

Recent press and social media coverage have reminded residents of the Pacific Northwest that they live in a seismically active region. Stretching offshore from northern California to British Columbia, the Cascadia subduction zone could slip at any time, causing a powerful earthquake and triggering a tsunami that would impact communities along the coast. Scientists from…


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

330px-CharlesRichter

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.


‘Scarface,’ an ancient cousin to mammals, unearthed in Africa

Photograph of the skull of Ichibengops munyamadziensis.

A team of scientists has identified a new species of “pre-mammal” based on fossils unearthed in Zambia’s Luangwa Basin in 2009. The ancient, Dachshund-sized creature lived some 255 million years ago, in a time just before the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history. Its discoverers include Christian Sidor, professor of biology at the University of…


From protein design to self-driving cars: UW researchers win AI prize for new optimization approach

folded protein-flickr-Argonne National Laboratory_tile

UW machine learning researchers have developed a new approach to optimization – a key step in predicting everything from election results to how proteins will fold – that won a top paper prize at the world’s largest artificial intelligence conference.


August 12, 2015

CO2 emissions change with size of streams and rivers

A stream in Wyoming.

Researchers have shown that CO2 appears in streams by way of two different sources — either as a direct pipeline for groundwater and carbon-rich soils, or from aquatic organisms releasing the gas through respiration and natural decay.


August 11, 2015

Behaviors linked to adult crime differ in abused girls and boys, study finds

Black and white photo of boy sitting alone outside a brick building.

The signs that an abused child might later commit crimes might not be obvious — that boisterous playground behavior from a third-grade boy, for example, or the 10-year-old girl who seems a little anxious or withdrawn. But new research from the University of Washington suggests that troubling behaviors exhibited by abused children can be predictors…


August 6, 2015

Abusive men put female partners at greater sexual risk, study finds

Black and white photo of woman sitting alone on stairs

Abusive and controlling men are more likely to put their female partners at sexual risk, and the level of that risk escalates along with the abusive behavior, a UW study found. Published in the Journal of Sex Research in July, the study looked at patterns of risky sexual behavior among heterosexual men aged 18 to…


August 4, 2015

New fish genus and species named for its red, fingerlike fins

Red, orange and pink color variation.

University of Washington scientists recently announced the name of a new genus and species of frogfish, which are small, stocky creatures found in most tropical and subtropical oceans around the world.


August 3, 2015

Crystals form through a variety of paths, with implications for biological, materials and environmental research

Artist's rendition of calcium carbonate crystals.

Crystals play an important role in the formation of substances from skeletons and shells to soils and semiconductor materials. But many aspects of their formation are shrouded in mystery. Scientists have long worked to understand how crystals grow into complex shapes. Now, an international group of researchers has shown how nature uses a variety of…


UW to invest $37 million in nanofabrication lab critical to researchers, start-ups

Photo of UW students learning microfabrication techniques in the Washington Nanofabrication Facility.

The UW is investing up to $37 million in the Washington Nanofabrication Facility, which makes things for researchers and outside companies that aren’t practical, economical or possible to fabricate at commercial foundries: inconceivably tiny devices, chips made from unconventional materials that industrial factories won’t touch and devices that probe the boundaries of our universe.


What would the world look like to someone with a bionic eye?

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Various sight recovery therapies are being developed by companies around the world, offering new hope for people who are blind. But little is known about what the world will look like to patients who undergo those procedures. A new University of Washington study seeks to answer that question and offers visual simulations of what someone…


July 30, 2015

Four West Coast universities funded for earthquake early warning system

map with concentric circles

The U.S. Geological Survey today announced $5 million in funding that will allow the University of Washington and three other institutions to help transition the prototype ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system, under development since 2005, into a public-facing tool.


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 27, 2015

Babies’ brains show that social skills linked to second language learning

an example of gaze shifting

New findings by researchers at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) at the University of Washington demonstrate for the first time that an early social behavior called gaze shifting is linked to infants’ ability to learn new language sounds.


July 22, 2015

Distinguished faculty to be inducted into Washington State Academy of Sciences

Detail from the Turing exhibit at a science museum

In recognition of their outstanding records of scientific achievement, 12 University of Washington professors will be inducted this fall into the Washington State Academy of Sciences. The professors will be honored for their “willingness to work on behalf of the academy” to bring top-quality scientific methods to research issues pertaining to Washington state. The induction ceremony will be…


Computer security tools for journalists lacking in a post-Snowden world

Journalists typing

Despite heightened awareness of surveillance tactics and privacy breaches, existing computer security tools aren’t meeting the needs of journalists working with sensitive material, a new UW study finds.


July 17, 2015

Marine plankton brighten clouds over Southern Ocean

an image showing clouds and sun.

New research led by the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory suggests tiny ocean life in vast stretches of the Southern Ocean plays a significant role in generating brighter clouds overhead.


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.


Many mobile health apps neglect needs of blind users

Screenshot of mHealth app with poorly labeled buttons

University of Washington researchers who conducted the first academic review of nine mhealth iPhone apps on the market in March 2014 found none met all the criteria that would make them accessible to blind customers. Accessibility shortcomings ranged from improperly labeled buttons to layouts that confuse built-in screen readers that assist low-vision smartphone users.



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