UW News

Science


March 11, 2019

Black and Hispanic Americans bear a disproportionate burden from air pollution

industry smokestacks at sunrise

Black and Hispanic Americans bear a disproportionate burden from air pollution generated mainly by non-Hispanic white Americans, according to new research from a team led by the University of Washington and the University of Minnesota.


March 5, 2019

FASER detector at the Large Hadron Collider to seek clues about hidden matter in the universe

A computer image of a device that will detect particles in the Large Hadron Collider.

On March 5, the CERN research board approved a new experiment at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva to search for evidence of fundamental dark matter particles. UW scientists are part of this endeavor, the Forward Search Experiment — or FASER — which seeks to answer one of the outstanding questions in particle physics: What is dark matter made of?


March 4, 2019

Mystery of green icebergs may soon be solved

green iceberg on blue background

Research by UW’s Stephen Warren suggests that some icebergs are green because they contain frozen, iron-rich seawater from certain regions of East Antarctica.


February 28, 2019

Polar science, climate change and, yes, dance mix this weekend at Pacific Science Center

Laidre in blue parka with polar bear cubs

Exhibits and events happening Friday through Sunday showcase the latest in polar science, much of it from the University of Washington.


February 27, 2019

Return of the wolves: How deer escape tactics help save their lives

two gray wolves

As gray wolves return to eastern Washington, a new study finds that one species of deer is changing its behavior to spend more time away from roads, at higher elevations and in rockier landscapes.


February 25, 2019

It’s all in the twist: Physicists stack 2D materials at angles to trap particles on the nanoscale, creating a unique platform to study quantum optical physics

A depiction of single-layer semiconductors.

In a paper published Feb. 25 in the journal Nature, a University of Washington-led team of physicists report that it has developed a new system to trap individual excitons — bound pairs of electrons and their associated positive charges. Their system could form the basis of a novel experimental platform for monitoring excitons with precision and potentially developing new quantum technologies.


February 20, 2019

New study: How to save a seabird

albatross birds

A new study outlines more than a decade of success in reducing seabird bycatch in Alaska’s longline fisheries, and where there’s still room for improvement


February 13, 2019

Parents don’t pick favorites, at least if you’re a Magellanic penguin

A penguin feeding one of its chicks.

Researchers at the University of Washington wanted to know how Magellanic penguin parents in South America balance the dietary demands of multiple chicks. As they report in a paper published Jan. 23 in the journal Animal Behaviour, when a Magellanic penguin parent returns to its nest with fish, the parent tries to feed each of its two chicks equal portions of food, regardless of the youngsters’ differences in age or size.


February 12, 2019

Assessing riverside corridors — the ‘escape routes’ for animals under climate change — in the Northwest

river through brown canyon

A study led by the University of Washington pinpoints which riverside routes in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and western Montana will be the most important for animals trying to navigate a changing climate.


February 11, 2019

Many Arctic lakes give off less carbon than expected

lakes in yukon flats

New research by the University of Washington and U.S. Geological Survey suggests many lakes pose little threat to global carbon levels, at least for now.


February 8, 2019

‘Underwater forecast’ predicts temperature, acidity and more in Puget Sound

colored cross-section of Puget Sound

A new University of Washington computer model can predict underwater conditions in Puget Sound and off the coast of Washington three days into the future.


February 7, 2019

All the data in the sky, alerted via UW eyes

An image of a galaxy.

The Zwicky Transient Facility, based at the Palomar Observatory, has identified over a thousand new objects and phenomena in the night sky, including more than 1,100 new supernovae and 50 near-Earth asteroids. University of Washington scientists are part of the ZTF team and led the development of the collaboration’s alert system, which informs science teams of possible new objects or changes to known objects in the sky.


February 4, 2019

Early spring rain boosts methane from thawing permafrost by 30 percent

The landscape surrounding a thaw bog in Alaska

A UW-led team has found that early spring rainfall warms up a thawing permafrost bog in Alaska and promotes the growth of plants and methane-producing microbes.


January 31, 2019

Iguana-sized dinosaur cousin discovered in Antarctica, shows how life at the South Pole bounced back after mass extinction

An illustration of a forest in Antarctica 250 million years ago, showing reptiles that lived there.

Scientists have just discovered a dinosaur relative that lived in Antarctica 250 million years ago. The iguana-sized reptile’s genus name, Antarctanax, means “Antarctic king.”


January 30, 2019

UW-based group launches national challenge to recreate first moon landing — with drones and Lego robots

robot with lunar lander

A UW-based group is launching a national student challenge to mark the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo moon landing.


January 23, 2019

One year into the mission, autonomous ocean robots set a record in survey of Antarctic ice shelf

yellow instrument with ice in background

A team of ocean robots developed at the UW is the first group of self-guided ocean instruments to travel under an ice sheet and come back to report long-term observations.


First-of-its-kind center hosts tools to analyze the effects of natural disasters

A researcher watches the z boat

A center housed at the University of Washington offers a new way for scientists to get their hands on state-of-the-art equipment to study the effects of natural disasters. The RAPID Facility, which is the first of its kind in the world, contains over 300 instruments that are available for researchers around the world to use.


January 16, 2019

Three awards from US Department of Energy to fuel UW solar cell research

Photo by Katherine Turner.

Three teams led by University of Washington researchers — Scott Dunham, Hugh Hillhouse and Devin MacKenzie — have received competitive awards totaling more than $2.3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office for projects that will advance research and development in photovoltaic materials, which are an essential component of solar cells and impact the amount of sunlight that is converted into electricity.


For 35 years, the Pacific Ocean has largely spared West’s mountain snow from effects of global warming

snowy mountain

A new study has found that since the early 1980s, a pattern of ocean temperatures and atmospheric circulation has offset most of the impact of warming on the West’s mountain snowpack.


January 14, 2019

UW, partners reach milestone in program using robots to monitor world’s oceans

researchers in lab

The UW is part of an international program that has revolutionized ocean measurements. This fall, the program made its 2 millionth measurement, reporting temperature and salinity in the top mile of the world’s oceans.


January 10, 2019

Astronomers find signatures of a ‘messy’ star that made its companion go supernova

An image of a galaxy in outer space, with a bright supernova visible at its outer edge.

On Jan. 10 at the 2019 American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle, an international team of astronomers announced that they have identified the type of companion star that made its partner in a binary system, a carbon-oxygen white dwarf star, explode. Through repeated observations of SN 2015cp, a supernova 545 million light years away, the team detected hydrogen-rich debris that the companion star had shed prior to the explosion.


January 8, 2019

Triangulum Galaxy shows stunning face in detailed Hubble portrait

An image of a nearby galaxy called M33.

As part of a University of Washington-led project, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has produced a stunningly detailed portrait of the Triangulum Galaxy, displaying a full spiral face aglow with the light of nearly 25 million individually resolved stars.


January 2, 2019

The number of single male Magellanic penguins is rising at this breeding colony. Here’s why.

A curious Magellanic penguin looking into the camera lens

Female Magellanic penguins are more likely to die at sea as juveniles, which has caused a skewed sex ratio of nearly three adult males to every female, as well as population decline of more than 40 percent since 1987 at one of their largest breeding colonies — Punta Tombo in Argentina.


How economic theory and the Netflix Prize could make research funding more efficient

campus-TILE

In a paper published Jan. 2 in PLOS Biology, two scientists at the University of Washington and North Carolina State University use the economic theory of contests to illustrate how the competitive grant-application system has made the pursuit of research funding inefficient and unsustainable — and that alternative methods, such as a partial lottery to award grants, could relieve pressure on professors and free up time for research.


December 24, 2018

New global migration estimates show rates proportionally steady since 1990, high rate of return migration

People waiting at an airport

Two University of Washington scientists have unveiled a new statistical method for estimating migration flows between countries. They show that rates of migration are higher than previously thought, but also relatively stable, fluctuating between 1.1 and 1.3 percent of global population from 1990 to 2015. In addition, since 1990 approximately 45 percent of migrants have returned to their home countries, a much higher estimate than other methods.


December 19, 2018

Researchers develop a new houseplant that can clean your home’s air

a scientist puts a plant into a glass tube

Researchers at the University of Washington have genetically modified a common houseplant to remove chloroform and benzene from the air around it.


December 18, 2018

February’s big patch of open water off Greenland? Not global warming, says new analysis

map of open water

New analysis shows that odd winds, not warming, caused the unusual patch of open water north of Greenland last February.


Salmon may lose the ability to smell danger as carbon emissions rise

adult coho salmon

New research shows that the powerful sense of smell Pacific salmon rely on for migration, finding food and avoiding predators might be in trouble as carbon emissions continue to be absorbed by our ocean.


December 14, 2018

UW glaciologist gets first look at NASA’s new measurements of ice sheet elevation

Antarctic map and blue line

UW glaciologist Ben Smith shared a first look at the NASA ICESat-2 satellite’s view of Greenland and Antarctic glaciers at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.


December 13, 2018

Underwater sensors for monitoring sea life (and where to find them)

lowering the wave-powered AMP frame into the water

A UW team created a mechanical eye under the ocean’s surface that could live near renewable-energy sites and use a series of sensors to watch nearby animals. On Dec. 13, the researchers put the newest version of the AMP into the waters of Seattle’s Portage Bay for two weeks of preliminary testing before a more thorough analysis is conducted in Sequim, Washington.


Hark! UW talents — on page and disc — for the good Dawgs on your holiday shopping list

collage of books and CD covers

As the year comes to a close and festivities abound, some UW faculty creations can make great gifts for the thinking Dawg on your giving list.


December 12, 2018

Teens get more sleep, show improved grades and attendance with later school start time, researchers find

Photo by Katherine Turner.

In 2016, Seattle Public Schools pushed back the start times for the district’s 18 high schools by 55 minutes, from 7:50 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. And as hoped, teenagers used the extra time to sleep in.


December 10, 2018

Ancient whale named for UW paleontologist Elizabeth Nesbitt

person with bones

A new species of whale discovered in 33-million-year-old Oregon rock has been named for Elizabeth Nesbitt, a curator at the Burke Museum and faculty member in the UW’s Department of Earth and Space Sciences.


December 6, 2018

Two-dimensional materials skip the energy barrier by growing one row at a time

Picture of how small protein molecules interact with one another.

A new collaborative study led by a research team at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Washington could provide engineers new design rules for creating microelectronics, membranes and tissues, and open up better production methods for new materials.


Biggest extinction in Earth’s history caused by global warming leaving ocean animals gasping for breath

orange and red ocean with fossil images

New research from the University of Washington and Stanford University combines models of ocean conditions and animal metabolism with published lab data and paleoceanographic records to show that the Permian mass extinction in the oceans was caused by global warming that left animals unable to breathe. As temperatures rose and the metabolism of marine animals sped up, the warmer waters could not hold enough oxygen for them to survive.


November 30, 2018

UW professors Terrance Kavanagh, Jay Shendure elected as fellows of the AAAS

Photo by Katherine Turner.

Two University of Washington researchers, Terrance Kavanagh and Jay Shendure, are among the 416 new fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, announced in November.


November 29, 2018

Forests, human health, Northwest outlook: UW researchers involved in Fourth National Climate Assessment

cover of Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume II showing wildfires

University of Washington researchers contributed to the Fourth National Climate Assessment that considers impacts, risks and adaptation across the United States.


November 28, 2018

UW-led philosophy team receives $1.5M grant to study the ethics of neurotechnology research

A UW postdoc works with Center for Neurotechnology Young Scholars Program participant on a sensory device.

University of Washington researchers in the Center for Neurotechnology are studying how brain-computer interfaces affect whether patients feel they are in charge of their own actions.


November 27, 2018

Threatened tropical coral reefs form complex, ancient associations with bacteria, researchers say

Fish swimming in a coral reef.

In a comprehensive study of healthy corals published Nov. 22 in the journal Nature Communications, a team of scientists from the University of Washington Bothell, Pennsylvania State University and Oregon State University report that coral bacteria are a surprisingly diverse bunch — and that different sections of the coral body can host unique communities of bacteria.


November 26, 2018

UW, Tableau create interactive tool to explore more than a century of Pacific Northwest weather observations

graph with upward trend

A new, free tool with temperature and precipitation records across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and western Montana as far back as 1881 lets users play around to discover significant trends. It also includes historical snow records for Washington state.



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