UW News

Science


November 22, 2017

AAAS names 8 UW researchers as fellows in 2017

Drumheller Fountain and Gerberding Hall on the UW campus.

Eight University of Washington researchers are among the 396 new fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, announced this week.


November 17, 2017

When to fish: Timing matters for fish that migrate to reproduce

Alaska sockeye salmon.

A new University of Washington study points to yet another human factor that is hampering the ability of fish to reproduce: the timing of our fishing seasons. The study considers how the timing of fishing efforts might disproportionately target certain fish and change the life history patterns of entire populations.


November 16, 2017

UW receives top honors from CleanTech Alliance for research and support in energy innovation, industry partnerships

People posing at an award ceremony

The CleanTech Alliance has presented the University of Washington with the organization’s 2017 CleanTech Achievement Award. The honor recognizes the UW’s dedication to research and development of transformative clean energy technologies, facilities, pipelines for startups and industry partnerships. The award was announced on Nov. 8 at the annual meeting and 10th anniversary of the CleanTech…


November 15, 2017

Salt pond in Antarctica, among the saltiest waters on Earth, is fed from beneath

pond in bare valley with blue sky

One of the saltiest bodies on Earth, an analog to how water might exist on Mars, shows signs of being one piece of a larger aquifer.


Are petite poplars the future of biofuels? UW studies say yes

small poplars

A University of Washington team is trying to make poplar a viable competitor in the biofuels market by testing the production of younger poplar trees that could be harvested more frequently — after only two or three years — instead of the usual 10- to 20-year cycle.


November 14, 2017

2 UW engineering students make Forbes ’30 under 30 in Energy’ list

Double photo

Two University of Washington engineering students were selected by Forbes magazine for its list of the top 30 people in the world under age 30 working in energy.


With launch of new night sky survey, UW researchers ready for era of ‘big data’ astronomy

ZTF-firstlight-band

The first astronomers had a limited toolkit: their eyes. They could only observe those stars, planets and celestial events bright enough to pick up unassisted. But today’s astronomers use increasingly sensitive and sophisticated instruments to view and track a bevy of cosmic wonders, including objects and events that were too dim or distant for their…


November 13, 2017

New tool quantifies power imbalance between female and male characters in Hollywood movie scripts

graphic showing power comparisons between Anna and Elsa from the movie Frozen with Cinderella

UW researchers who used machine learning tools to analyze language in 800 Hollywood movie scripts found subtle but widespread gender bias in the way male and female characters are portrayed.


November 7, 2017

With climate change, Mount Rainier floral communities could ‘reassemble’ with new species relationships, interactions

Wildflowers growing on a mountain.

An unseasonably warm, dry summer on Mount Rainier in 2015 caused subalpine wildflowers to change their bloom times and form ‘reassembled’ communities, with unknown consequences for species interactions among wildflowers, pollinators and other animals.


November 6, 2017

‘Smart’ paper can conduct electricity, detect water

This "smart" paper produced at the University of Washington can conduct electricity and transmit information about its surrounding environment wirelessly to a receiver. The following images show how the paper is made.

A University of Washington team wants to simplify the process for discovering detrimental water leaks by developing “smart” paper that can sense the presence of water.


November 2, 2017

Washington Sea Grant receives $1.1 million in federal funding for aquaculture research

harvesting oysters

Three federal grants announced this week will provide total funding of $1.1 million to Washington Sea Grant, based at the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, for research that will sustainably further shellfish and finfish aquaculture in the state


October 31, 2017

How to store information in your clothes invisibly, without electronics

Using magnetic properties of conductive thread, University of Washington researchers are able to store data in fabric. In this example, the code to unlock a door is stored in a fabric patch and read by an array of magnetometers.

UW computer scientists have created fabrics and fashion accessories that can store data — from security codes to identification tags — without needing any on-board electronics or sensors.


October 23, 2017

50 simulations of the ‘Really Big One’ show how a 9.0 Cascadia earthquake could play out

colored map of subduction zone

The largest number yet of detailed simulations for how a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake might play out provides a clearer picture of what the region can expect when the fault unleashes a 9.0 earthquake.


October 20, 2017

Mountain glaciers shrinking across the West

aerial view of Mount Rainier with red zones

A satellite technique provides a new way to monitor the status of more than 1,200 mountain glaciers in the lower 48 states.


October 18, 2017

For $1000, anyone can purchase online ads to track your location and app use

graphic of commute where someone could be tracked via ads

New University of Washington research finds that for a budget of roughly $1000, it is possible for someone to track your location and app use by purchasing and targeting mobile ads. The team hopes to raise industry awareness about the potential privacy threat.


October 17, 2017

Flexible ‘skin’ can help robots, prosthetics perform everyday tasks by sensing shear force

photo of robot arm with skin on finger

UW and UCLA engineers have developed a flexible sensor “skin” that can be stretched over any part of a robot’s body or prosthetic to accurately convey information about shear forces and vibration, which are critical to tasks ranging from cooking an egg to dismantling a bomb.


October 16, 2017

UW researchers mark first detection of gravitational waves from collision of two neutron stars

Neutron_stars_TILE

For the first time, scientists have detected gravitational waves from the merger of two neutron stars.


October 12, 2017

UW names second CSE building the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering

photo of Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering under construction as of Oct. 5

The University of Washington Board of Regents on Thursday approved the naming of the new computer science building under construction on the Seattle campus as the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering. The naming of the building was made possible by gifts from Microsoft Corp. and a group of local business and philanthropic leaders who are longtime friends and colleagues of the couple.


October 9, 2017

Paul Bodin named interim director of Pacific Northwest Seismic Network

photo of Paul Bodin

Paul Bodin, a UW seismologist and manager of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, has been named interim director of the network that monitors earthquakes and volcanoes in Washington and Oregon.


October 6, 2017

3 UW researchers chosen for NIH High-Risk, High-Rewards program

Joshua Vaughan, Daniel Chiu and Jakob von Moltke

Three University of Washington faculty members are among those honored with an NIH High-Risk, High-Reward Research grant, which fund exceptionally creative scientists proposing to use highly innovative approaches to tackle major challenges in biomedical research.


October 5, 2017

Northwest climate science community gathers Oct. 9-11 in Tacoma

poster for town hall event

The eighth annual Northwest Climate Conference will take place in Tacoma, and begins with a free public discussion featuring UW experts on Monday evening.


October 4, 2017

Study points to win-win for spotted owls and forest management

spotted owls

A new study has found that cover in tall trees is the key habitat requirement for the spotted owl, not total canopy cover. It indicated that spotted owls largely avoid cover created by stands of shorter trees.


New portable blood analyzer could improve anemia detection worldwide

Nikita Taparia stands with a microfluidic card in her hand, next to the optical analyzer.

To reduce the burden of anemia worldwide, health officials need a portable and affordable way to analyze blood. Mechanical engineering researchers at the University of Washington developed a device smaller than a toaster that can detect the level of hemoglobin in whole blood samples using optical absorbance.


October 2, 2017

UW alumnus Jeffrey C. Hall awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Nobel Medal

The Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute has awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly to Jeffrey C. Hall — an alumnus of the University of Washington — along with Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young “for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm,” according to an announcement Monday morning.


September 28, 2017

Lisa M. Zurk named executive director of UW Applied Physics Laboratory

Lisa M. Zurk

Lisa Zurk, a UW aluma in electrical engineering, professor at Portland State University and program manager at DARPA, will become the eighth director of the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory.


September 25, 2017

UW to host $15.6M NSF-funded center for innovation, education in materials science

Photo by Katherine Turner.

The University of Washington is home to a new national center of excellence for research, education and training in materials science. The Molecular Engineering Materials Center is funded by a $15.6 million, six-year grant from the National Science Foundation as part of its highly competitive Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) program.


Group project? Taking turns, working with friends may improve grades

A University of Washington study has found that social dynamics affect student performance on group projects. The more comfortable students are in the group, the better they perform.

  It has become an almost essential element of academic life, from college lecture halls to elementary classrooms: the group assignment. Dreaded by some, loved by others, group projects typically aim to build teamwork and accountability while students learn about a topic. But depending on the assignment and the structure of the groups, a project…


September 21, 2017

Scott Montgomery makes case for nuclear power in new book ‘Seeing the Light’

"Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century," by the UW's Scott L. Montgomery with Thomas Graham Jr., was published in September by Cambridge University Press. Story is a Q and A with Montgomery.

Scott L. Montgomery of the UW Jackson School of International Studies discusses his new book, “Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear power in the 21st Century.”


Hacking a pressure sensor to track gradual motion along marine faults

closeup of instrument tip

University of Washington oceanographers are working with a local company to develop a simple new technique that could track seafloor movement in earthquake-prone coastal areas.


September 20, 2017

Wave Glider surfs across stormy Drake Passage in Antarctica

yellow board on ship deck

A hardy ocean drone made a first-ever attempt to surf across Antarctica’s stormy Drake Passage gathering data about ocean mixing.


September 18, 2017

Catching a diversity of fish species — instead of specializing — means more stable income for fishers

The industrial croaker fishery off the coast of Uruguay is one of the fisheries where management strategies are being implemented in strong cooperation among fishers, managers and scientists. Credit: Sebastián Jiménez /DINARA

Researchers analyzed nearly 30 years of revenue and permitting records for individuals fishing in Alaskan waters and tracked how their fishing choices, in terms of permits purchased and species caught, influenced their year-to-year income volatility.


September 14, 2017

Old fish few and far between under fishing pressure

head of old halibut fish

A new study by University of Washington scientists has found that, for dozens of fish populations around the globe, old fish are greatly depleted — mainly because of fishing pressure. The paper, published online Sept. 14 in Current Biology, is the first to report that old fish are missing in many populations around the world.


People of color exposed to more pollution from cars, trucks, power plants during 10-year period

In columns A and B, red identifies locations where NO2 concentrations were higher for nonwhites than whites; blue indicates that NO2 concentrations were higher for whites than nonwhites; and white means they were equal. In column C, red indicates that the absolute difference in NO2 concentration between nonwhites and whites increased over time; blue indicates that difference decreased over time; and white indicates no change.

A new nationwide study finds that the U.S. made little progress from 2000 to 2010 in reducing relative disparities between people of color and whites in exposure to harmful air pollution emitted by cars, trucks and other combustion sources.


September 13, 2017

Climate change challenges the survival of fish across the world

john day river

  Climate change will force many amphibians, mammals and birds to move to cooler areas outside their normal ranges, provided they can find space and a clear trajectory among our urban developments and growing cities. But what are the chances for fish to survive as climate change continues to warm waters around the world? University…


UW team shatters long-range communication barrier for devices that consume almost no power

In the long-range backscatter system developed by UW researchers, this sensor uses reflected radio waves to encode and communicate information using almost zero power. It can “talk” to a receiver up to 2.8 km away.

UW researchers have demonstrated for the first time that devices that run on almost zero power can transmit data across distances of up to 2.8 kilometers — breaking a long-held barrier and potentially enabling a vast array of interconnected devices.


September 7, 2017

Ship exhaust makes oceanic thunderstorms more intense

lightning over dark sea

More than a decade of lightning strikes over the Indian Ocean shows for the first time that ship exhaust along major shipping routes alters thunderstorm intensity.


Land-sea experiment will track earthquakes, volcanoes along Alaska Peninsula

map of Alaska Peninsula

The National Science Foundation is funding the largest marine seismic-monitoring effort yet along the Alaska Peninsula, a region with frequent and diverse earthquake and volcanic activity. Involving aircraft and ships, the new Alaska Amphibious Community Seismic Experiment will be led by Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, with partners at the University of Washington and…


September 6, 2017

PupilScreen aims to allow parents, coaches, medics to detect concussion, brain injuries with a smartphone

photo of pupilscreen in use

University of Washington researchers are developing a smartphone app that is capable of objectively detecting concussion and other traumatic brain injuries in the field, which could provide a new level of screening for athletes and accident victims.


Earth as hybrid planet: New classification scheme places Anthropocene era in astrobiological context

bwhi1apicaaamlo.jpg_large

A team of researchers including the UW’s Marina Alberti has devised a new classification scheme for the evolutionary stages of worlds based on “non-equilibrium thermodynamics” — a planet’s energy flow being out of synch, as the presence of life could cause.


August 31, 2017

Q&A: How Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and Yellowstone National Park are confronting climate change

barn with mountains in the back

A new book focuses on climate change risks in the Northern Rocky Mountains, and how managers of public lands can prepare.



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