November 12, 2015
When President Barack Obama visited the shrinking Exit Glacier in September, he pointed to a very obvious sign of our warming planet literally at his feet. Less visible, but perhaps more indelible, signs of changing climate lie in the oceans. A University of Washington researcher argues in the journal Science that people — including world…
A new book by University of Washington geologist David Montgomery weaves history, science and personal challenges into an exploration of humanity’s tangled relationship with microbes, perhaps the least loved and most misunderstood creatures on Earth — and in you. “The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health” comes out Nov. 16…
An atmospheric haze around a faraway planet — like the one which probably shrouded and cooled the young Earth — could show that the world is potentially habitable, or even be a sign of life itself.
November 11, 2015
With high-tech weather radars, weather balloons, ground instruments and NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory, scientists will be watching rain and snow storms on Washington’s famously wet Olympic Peninsula.
November 3, 2015
A report from the interdisciplinary UW Tech Policy Lab on the challenges of augmented reality suggests such systems should be adaptable to change, resistant to hacking and responsive to the needs of diverse users.
November 2, 2015
By age 5 children have a sense of self-esteem comparable in strength to that of adults, according to a new study by University of Washington researchers.
October 29, 2015
In science, decades can pass between a proposed theory and its real-world application. That is precisely what University of Washington mathematics professor Gunther Uhlmann was expecting when he and three colleagues proposed a means to develop an electromagnetic wormhole in a 2007 paper in Physical Review Letters. Their theoretical wormhole — an invisible tube for…
A nearby exoplanet has an atmosphere that might be similar to Earth’s before life evolved. In an attempt to simulate the structure of this exoplanet’s atmosphere, UW researchers became the first to simulate three-dimensional exotic clouds on another world.
October 28, 2015
A new study in Ecology shows that Alaskan Dolly Varden trout, once they reach about 12 inches in length, can retire permanently from going to sea. They rely on digestive organs that can massively expand and contract and a unique relationship with sockeye salmon.
October 22, 2015
By more accurately predicting how variations in DNA sequences affect gene splicing, a new UW model and publicly available Web tool can help narrow down which genetic mutations cause disease and which have little effect on a person’s health.
October 21, 2015
The equipment used to farm geoducks, including PVC pipes and nets, might have a greater impact on the Puget Sound food web than the addition of the clams themselves. That’s one of the findings of the first major scientific study to examine the broad, long-term ecosystem effects of geoduck aquaculture in Puget Sound.
October 20, 2015
A UW graduate student’s research paper is the first serious study of whether climate change is likely to cause human migration to the Puget Sound region.
October 19, 2015
A Nov. 7 concert in Seattle’s Benaroya Hall promises to offer the audience a decidedly stellar musical experience. The event, “Origins: Life and the Universe,” will pair live performances of new compositions with video and slideshow scenes depicting cosmic events like the Big Bang, as well as scenes from distant worlds and Earth’s own life-filled…
October 16, 2015
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation has named the University of Washington’s Brandi Cossairt, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, as one of 18 Packard Fellows for 2015.
October 14, 2015
In a study published this week in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers have used new high-performance computing methods and comprehensive data on the distribution of thousands of species to map the threat that climate change poses to birds, mammals and amphibians across the Western Hemisphere. They found that although Arctic areas have experienced the most rapid warming to date, climate-related threats to the Amazon basin’s biodiversity will eclipse those in other regions by the year 2100.
The location of bubble plumes off the Pacific Northwest coast supports the idea that gradual ocean warming at about a third of a mile depth may be releasing frozen methane in the seafloor, causing it to bubble up as a gas.
October 7, 2015
A group of young marine-disease researchers from around the country has contributed key information about sea stars’ immune response when infected with a virus that is thought to cause a deadly wasting disease. It’s the first time researchers have tracked how genes behave when encountering this naturally occurring pathogen, which could help explain how sea stars attempt to fight the virus and why they develop lesions and appear to melt.
October 6, 2015
Alfred Nobel is remembered for the annual prizes given in his name. But were it not for his confused but effective will, we might remember him as the inventor of dynamite, who grew rich inventing and developing lethal explosives.
October 5, 2015
Astronomers with the University of Washington’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory have created the “habitility index for transiting planets” to rank exoplanets to help prioritize which warrant close inspection in the search for life beyond Earth.
October 1, 2015
The first simulation of the individual crystals in volcanic mush, a mix of liquid magma and solid crystals, shows the mixing to help understand pressure buildup deep inside a volcano.
September 30, 2015
A new report published Tuesday documents all of the fishes that live in the Salish Sea. In total, 253 fish species have been recorded, and that’s about 14 percent more than in the last count.
September 28, 2015
Earth-like planets around small stars likely have protective magnetic fields, aiding chance for life
Earth-like planets orbiting close to small stars probably have magnetic fields that protect them from stellar radiation and help maintain surface conditions that could be conducive to life, according to research by UW astronomers.
A team of scientists at the University of Washington and the biotechnology company Illumina have created an innovative tool to directly detect the delicate, single-molecule interactions between DNA and enzymatic proteins. Their approach provides a new platform to view and record these nanoscale interactions in real time. As they report Sept. 28 in Nature Biotechnology, this tool should provide fast and reliable characterization of the different mechanisms cellular proteins use to bind to DNA strands — information that could shed new light on the atomic-scale interactions within our cells and help design new drug therapies against pathogens by targeting enzymes that interact with DNA.
September 24, 2015
The Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory — or Fermilab — announced that a 680-ton superconducting magnet is secure in its new home and nearly ready for a new era of discovery in particle physics. This achievement follows the delicate, 3,200-mile transport of the magnet’s 17-ton, 50-foot-wide housing ring to the U.S. Department of Energy facility outside Chicago two years ago. The fully assembled magnet will drive high-energy particle experiments as part of an international partnership among 34 institutions, of which the University of Washington is a leading contributor.
September 23, 2015
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 17, 2015
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
September 3, 2015
Observations of nitrogen in Earth’s atmosphere by a NASA spacecraft 17 million miles away are giving astronomers fresh clues to how that gas might reveal itself on faraway planets, thus aiding in the search for life.
August 26, 2015
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
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
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.
August 20, 2015
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 17, 2015
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…
August 13, 2015
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.
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…
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