UW Today

Science


March 27, 2017

15 years of success for UW center in recruiting, supporting female STEM faculty

a sunny day

In the 15 years since the ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change opened its doors, the UW has nearly doubled the number of female faculty across 19 science, technology, engineering and math departments.


March 23, 2017

UW Chemistry to establish a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship thanks to $12 million commitment from professor emeritus Larry Dalton and Nicole Boand

campus-TILE

Building upon a long legacy of supporting scientific innovation and education, professor emeritus Larry Dalton and his wife, Nicole Boand, have committed $12 million to the UW Department of Chemistry.


March 21, 2017

Hans Dehmelt — Nobel laureate and UW professor emeritus — has died at age 94

Hans Dehmelt in 1989.

Hans Georg Dehmelt, Nobel physics laureate and professor emeritus at the University of Washington, died in Seattle on March 7, 2017 at age 94. Dehmelt was a celebrated scientist who, in a research career spanning more than half a century, developed methods to isolate atoms and subatomic particles and measure their fundamental properties with high accuracy.


March 15, 2017

How to conserve polar bears — and maintain subsistence harvest — under climate change

Polar bear testing the ice thickness

A new analysis shows a properly-managed subsistence harvest of polar bears can continue under climate change.


Adrian Raftery receives Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Day Medal for contributions to statistics

UW professor Adrian Raftery.

On March 15 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., Prime Minister Enda Kenny of Ireland honored Adrian Raftery, a professor of statistics and sociology at the University of Washington, for his diverse contributions to the field of statistics. Kenny presented Raftery with the St. Patrick’s Day Medal, which is awarded each year by Science Foundation…


March 14, 2017

In times of plenty, penguin parents keep feeding their grown offspring

A juvenile Galapagos penguin being fed by an adult.

A research team led by University of Washington biology professor Dee Boersma reports that fully grown Galapagos penguins who have fledged — or left the nest — continue to beg their parents for food. And sometimes, probably when the bounty of the sea is plentiful, parents oblige and feed their adult offspring.


March 13, 2017

Rapid decline of Arctic sea ice a combination of climate change and natural variability

a photo of Arctic sea ice as seen from an ice breaker

Dramatic declines in Arctic sea ice during the past four decades are due to a mixture of global warming and a natural decades-long hot spot over Greenland.


March 7, 2017

‘Black swan’ events strike animal populations

black swan in nature

A new analysis by the University of Washington and Simon Fraser University is the first to document that black swan events also occur in animal populations and usually manifest as massive, unexpected die-offs.


Round 2 of UW cherry blossom season is underway

Cherry trees in full bloom last spring.

Full bloom for the iconic cherry trees in the UW’s Quad is expected the week of March 26, 2017.


March 3, 2017

‘Poor writing makes for poor science’: Scott Montgomery publishes new edition of popular ‘Guide to Communicating Science’

The second edition of "The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science" by Scott L. Montgomery, published in February 2017 by University of Chicago Press Books.

Scientific research that doesn’t get communicated to the public may as well not have happened at all, says Scott Montgomery in the second edition of “The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science.”


March 1, 2017

Polar Science Weekend attractions range from old-fashioned ice sled to future NASA satellite

Polar Science Weekend poster

University of Washington polar scientists are holding the 12th annual Polar Science Weekend, Friday through Sunday, March 3-5, at Pacific Science Center in Seattle. This year’s lineup includes a simulation from NASA of its new ICESat-2 instrument. Visitors can get scanned by an instrument above their head that measures a person’s height using an infrared…


Singing posters and talking shirts: UW engineers turn everyday objects into FM radio stations

photo of poster broadcasting music

A new technique pioneered by University of Washington engineers enables “singing” posters and “smart” clothing to send audio or data directly to your car’s radio or your smartphone by piggybacking on ambient FM radio signals.


February 23, 2017

University of Washington named a ‘top producer’ of Fulbright scholars, students

Bronze W

Twenty-one UW undergraduate and graduate students received a Fulbright award and six scholars from the UW were awarded Fulbright grants for 2016-17.


February 22, 2017

UW astronomer Eric Agol assists in new seven-planet NASA discovery using ‘distracted driving’ technique

This artist's concept shows what the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system may look like, based on available data about the planets’ diameters, masses and distances from the host star. UW astronomer Eric Agol assisted with the big new discovery.

UW astronomy professor Eric Agol is part of the large team of researchers that has just announced confirmation of several Earth-sized, potentially habitable planets orbiting a star about 40 light-years away.


Large-scale experiment on the rural Olympic Peninsula to test innovations in forest management

stream

Scientists at the University of Washington and the state Department of Natural Resources intend to test a management approach that mimics natural disturbance patterns and processes across a large portion of the Olympic Peninsula, an area known for having the most rainfall in the lower 48 states, high tree-growth rates and old-growth forests, part of which remain today.


UW’s Kristin Laidre awarded Pew marine fellowship to study effects of climate change, subsistence hunting on polar bears

Kristin Laidre

A new, two-part project led by the UW’s Kristin Laidre aims to explore the interacting effects of climate change and subsistence hunting on polar bears, while also illuminating the cultural value of the species to indigenous peoples and the role they play in conservation.


February 21, 2017

Winners, losers among fish when landscape undergoes change

fish swimming underwater

A new study by the University of Washington and Simon Fraser University finds that some fish lose out while others benefit as urban and agricultural development encroaches on streams and rivers across the United States.


Three UW scientists awarded Sloan Fellowships for early-career research

campus-TILE

Three 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. 21, include Ali Farhadi, assistant professor of computer science and engineering; Emily Levesque, assistant professor of astronomy; and John Tuthill, assistant professor of physiology and biophysics.


February 16, 2017

New clean energy facility accelerates testing of cleantech innovations and launching of companies

Photo by Katherine Turner.

Cleantech Businesses and Academic Researchers can Prototype and Test Clean Energy Devices, Software and Systems at the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds A new facility for accelerating the clean energy innovation cycle opened in Seattle Feb. 16. The Clean Energy Institute, a research unit at the University of Washington, created the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds to…


Immune cell serves as an essential communications link for migrating cells

Two cells under a microscope

Scientists at the University of Washington have discovered that a common type of cell in the vertebrate immune system plays a unique role in communication between other cells. It turns out that these cells, called macrophages, can transmit messages between non-immune cells.


February 15, 2017

Early Earth as exoplanet: NASA highlights just-published UW Virtual Planetary Laboratory research

When haze built up in the atmosphere of Archean Earth, billions of years ago, the young planet might have looked like this artist's interpretation - a pale orange dot. A team of astronomers including members of the UW's Virtual Planetary Laboratory thinks the haze was self-limiting, cooling the surface by about 36 degrees Fahrenheit – not enough to cause runaway glaciation. The team’s modeling suggests that atmospheric haze might be helpful for identifying earthlike exoplanets that could be habitable.

Recently published research from the UW’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory (VPL) using ancient Earth as a stand-in for hypothetically habitable exoplanets has been highlighted by NASA in a feature article. Leading the research was Giada Arney, who was a UW astronomy doctoral student when doing the work and is now with NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center.


Predicting autism: Researchers find autism biomarkers in infancy

Two people looking at a computer

By using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the brains of infants who have older siblings with autism, scientists were able to correctly identify 80 percent of the babies who would be subsequently diagnosed with autism at 2 years of age.


‘The blob’ of abnormal conditions boosted Western U.S. ozone levels

equipment on chairlift

Ozone levels in June 2015 were significantly higher than normal over a large swath of the Western U.S. Analysis ties this air quality pattern to the abnormal conditions in the northeast Pacific Ocean, nicknamed “the blob.”


February 10, 2017

Laser-based camera developed at UW improves view of the carotid artery to assess stroke and heart attack risk

endoscope

A unique application of a medical camera developed by a University of Washington mechanical engineer could one day help physicians know who is at risk for stroke or heart attack by providing a better view of potential problem areas.


February 8, 2017

Hidden lakes drain below West Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier

topography of lakes

Drainage of four interconnected lakes below Thwaites Glacier in late 2013 caused only a 10 percent increase in the glacier’s speed. The glacier’s recent speedup is therefore not due to changes in meltwater flow along its underside.


February 6, 2017

‘Overwhelming’ response, global press attention for new UW Information School course, ‘Calling BS’

It’s almost unheard-of for a university class to spark global press attention — and offers of book deals — before instruction even begins. But such is the case with the UW Information School’s new course, “Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data.”


February 3, 2017

New digital collection from UW Libraries: Glaciers and Landforms

ridged ice

Thousands of photos of glaciers, volcanoes, rivers and other natural phenomena are now easily viewed by the public through the University of Washington Libraries. UW Libraries’ Special Collections this fall released a new Glacier and Landforms Photograph Collection. The collection is designed to provide online access to photos of glaciers, geology and related subjects. At…


January 30, 2017

Artists in the lab: Talk will highlight a creative partnership between art and science

a work of art

Jennifer Nemhauser leads a research laboratory of scientists, all immersed in the complex world of plant hormones. But last year, the University of Washington professor of biology boosted her lab’s roster with some unexpected talent. Claire Cowie — an artist, UW alumna and lecturer — spent three months in 2016 as a part-time artist-in-residence in Nemhauser’s lab….


January 25, 2017

Monsoons to mosquitoes: UW researchers attend national weather conference in Seattle

satellite image of clouds

Researchers from across the UW are presenting their work at the American Meteorological Society’s annual meeting this week in Seattle.


‘Protective’ DNA strands are shorter in adults who had more infections as infants

chromosomes on a slide

New research indicates that people who had more infections as babies harbor a key marker of cellular aging as young adults: the protective stretches of DNA which “cap” the ends of their chromosomes are shorter than in adults who were healthier as infants.


January 24, 2017

Prized fossil find — the oldest, most complete iguanian in the Americas — illuminates the lives of lizards in the Age of Dinosaurs

A drawing of lizards eating wasps.

Paleontologists picking through a bounty of fossils from Montana have discovered something unexpected — a new species of lizard from the late dinosaur era, whose closest relatives roamed in faraway Asia.


Predator or not? Invasive snails hide even when they don’t know

invasive snail feeding on an oyster

The specific cues that trigger an animal’s natural defense vary depending on the species and its history in the ecosystem, a new University of Washington study finds.


January 18, 2017

Listen to the Earth smash another global temperature record

upward-sloping line

The year 2016 was officially the hottest in recent history, beating previous records in 2014 and 2015. UW scientists let you hear the data speak for itself.


Climate change prompts Alaska fish to change breeding behavior

Three-spine stickleback.

A new University of Washington study finds that one of Alaska’s most abundant freshwater fish species is altering its breeding patterns in response to climate change, which could impact the ecology of northern lakes that already acutely feel the effects of a changing climate.


Vitamin B-12, and a knockoff version, create complex market for marine vitamins

instrument over ocean

Vitamin B-12 exists in two different, incompatible forms in the oceans. An organism thought to supply the essential vitamin B-12 in the marine environment is actually churning out a knockoff version.


January 17, 2017

Conditions right for complex life may have come and gone in Earth’s distant past

A 1.9-billion-year-old stromatolite — or mound made by microbes that lived shallow water — called the Gunflint Formation in northern Minnesota. The environment of the oxygen "overshoot" described in research by Michael Kipp, Eva Stüeken and Roger Buick may have included this sort of oxygen-rich setting that is suitable for complex life.

Conditions suitable to support complex life may have developed in Earth’s oceans — and then faded — more than a billion years before life truly took hold, a new University of Washington-led study has found.


Diversification key to resilient fishing communities

Fishing boats in Juneau, Alaska.

Fishing communities can survive ― and even thrive ― as fish abundance and market prices shift if they can catch a variety of species and nimbly move from one fishery to the next, a new University of Washington study finds.


When it comes to mating, fruit flies can make rational choices

Fruit flies

In a paper published Jan. 17 in the journal Nature Communications, researchers report that fruit flies — perhaps the most widely studied insect in history — show signs of rational decision-making when choosing a mate.


January 12, 2017

Ocean acidification to hit West Coast Dungeness crab fishery, new assessment shows

Dungeness crab.

The acidification of the ocean expected as seawater absorbs increasing amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will reverberate through the West Coast’s marine food web, but not necessarily in the ways you might expect, new research shows.


LATTICE connects women engineers in early academic careers with peers, support

LATTICE logo

A new national program at the UW — LATTICE — aims to diversify the national engineering faculty population by building supportive communities during the critical transition from graduate studies to permanent tenure-track positions.



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