UW Today

The latest news from the UW


January 6, 2016

What motivates people to walk and bike? It varies by income

The built environment influences decisions to walk or bike differently for lower- and higher-income groups, UW researchers have found. Neighborhood density, accessible destinations and fewer vehicles were associated with more walking and biking in lower-income groups, while neighborhood attractiveness was relevant for higher-income groups.

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UW climate scientists to give free talks at Mt. Baker Ski Area

UW scientists will give free talks on climate change for three consecutive Saturdays at Mt. Baker Ski Area.

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Politics, pioneers and ‘pandemonium’: 2016 History Lecture Series digs into Seattle history

Seattle’s past — from its earliest years to the turn of the 21st century — will be the topic of the Winter 2016 History Lecture Series, “Excavating Seattle’s Histories: People, Politics, Place,” running Wednesdays from Jan. 13 to Feb 3, with an additional panel discussion on Feb. 10.

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DO-IT looking for high school student scholars

DO-IT, a University of Washington program, is looking for high school students with disabilities to apply to be program scholars. Applicants must be a current high school sophomore or junior in Washington, have an aptitude and interest in attending college, have any disability, and must be motivated to participate and interested in interacting with other…

January 5, 2016

Study: College graduates often challenged with life skills, motivation for ongoing learning

Today’s college graduates tend to be highly trained and employable but often lack a key skill needed for post-college life: how to identify and ask their own questions, according to a new study.

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January 4, 2016

UW class pairs students and inmates for unique learning experience

On a rainy December afternoon, a group of students in the University of Washington’s Law, Societies & Justice program sit in a classroom discussing what elements might be included in a restorative justice program. The conversation is lively, the comments thoughtful. But this isn’t any ordinary classroom, and it isn’t your usual group of university…

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December 30, 2015

UW astronomer Eric Agol honored by Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Eric Agol, a University of Washington professor of astronomy, will receive the 2016 Lecar Prize from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The award, now in its third year, recognizes exceptional contributions to the study of exoplanets — those beyond our solar system — and theoretical astrophysics. It is named for Myron S. “Mike” Lecar, who…

December 29, 2015

#BestofUW: Top news stories of 2015

From a new president and lasers cooling liquids to spotting rare sea creatures and major collaborations, great things have happened at the University of Washington in 2015. Here’s a look back at the top stories of the year. These stories were chosen based on the total number of views they received on our website and are not in any particular order….

No easy answers in UW study of legal marijuana’s impact on alcohol use

Does legal marijuana tempt pot users to consume more alcohol — or are they likely to opt for cannabis instead of chardonnay? A University of Washington team of researchers sought to address those questions in the context of evolving marijuana policies in the United States. Their findings, published online Dec. 21 in the journal Alcoholism:…

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December 28, 2015

UW center receives $16M to work on first implantable device to reanimate paralyzed limbs

The UW’s Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering has won a $16M NSF grant to develop the first implantable device to reanimate paralyzed limbs and restore motor function in stroke or spinal cord injury patients.

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December 23, 2015

Documents that Changed the World: The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, 1896

A glance at a kitchen bookshelf gave UW Information School professor Joe Janes the idea for the latest installment of his Documents that Changed the World podcast — about the famous Boston Cooking-School Cookbook, more popularly known as the Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

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December 22, 2015

Dating historic activity at Oso site shows recurring major landslides

The large, fast-moving mudslide that buried much of Oso, Washington in March 2014 was the deadliest landslide in U.S. history. Since then it’s been revealed that this area has experienced major slides before, but it’s not known how long ago they occurred. University of Washington geologists analyzed woody debris buried in earlier slides and used…

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December 21, 2015

Rivers, lakes impact ability of forests to store carbon

Forests help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by storing it in trees, but a sizeable amount of the greenhouse gas actually escapes through the soil and into rivers and streams, a new paper finds.

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December 18, 2015

Oxygen provided breath of life that allowed animals to evolve

It took 100 million years for oxygen levels in the oceans and atmosphere to increase to the level that allowed the explosion of animal life on Earth about 600 million years ago, according to a study co-authored by two University of Washington scientists and led by the University College London.

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December 17, 2015

Study: Safety net fails impoverished grandmothers raising children

Increasing numbers of grandmothers across the United States are raising their grandchildren, many of them living in poverty and grappling with a public assistance system not designed to meet their needs. LaShawnDa Pittman, an assistant professor in the University of Washington’s Department of American Ethnic Studies, interviewed 77 African American grandmothers living in some of…

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December 16, 2015

UW Tacoma geoscientist tracked risks from deadly 2015 Nepal earthquake

When an earthquake struck Nepal in late April 2015, thousands of lives were lost in the initial disaster. But it was hard to assess the scale of the damage to rural areas, and still lurking were threats from unstable slopes and dammed glacier-fed lakes that could dislodge at any time to flood villages below. A…

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Composting food waste remains your best option, says UW study

A new University of Washington study confirms that composting food scraps is better than throwing them away, and also calculates the environmental benefits associated with keeping these organic materials out of landfills.

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December 15, 2015

UW conservationists celebrate new protected areas for Argentine penguins

On Dec. 3, the legislature for Argentina’s Chubut province established a new marine protected area off Punta Tombo, which would help preserve the feeding grounds for about 500,000 Magellanic penguins that make their home along this rocky stretch of Argentine coast. This is welcome news for the UW scientists who have studied these penguins for decades and advocated for their conservation.

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Fuel economy improvements in US climate commitment on par with 1970s gains

A new UW study finds that fuel efficiency improvements needed to meet U.S. climate commitments are on par with what the auto industry delivered in the 1970s and 1980s.

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New options for working parents and caregivers at the UW

University of Washington working parents and caregivers balancing responsibilities at work and home will soon have more choices. To offset the waitlists parents experience at UW’s four child care centers, new full-time care options will be available in January at designated Bright Horizons and KinderCare centers. Enrollment priority will be offered by both centers and…

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Study: Reason, not disruption, rules when growing a social movement

When campaigning for social change, disruptive protests may win a few battles but education is more likely to win the war, according to research by Abhinav Gupta, an assistant professor of strategic management at the University of Washington Foster School of Business. Gupta and co-authors studied “Rein in Russell,” a 2009 campaign by United Students…

Forefront launches suicide prevention effort in three rural Washington counties

Suicide is a tough issue to broach. How could an adult know if a child in the community might be suicidal and when to intervene? Is it appropriate to ask a friends or colleagues if they’re considering suicide? If someone is in crisis, what’s the best way to respond? Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention hopes…

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December 14, 2015

UW Board of Regents approves new Master of Science in Data Science for professionals

The UW will offer a new Master of Science in Data Science program to provide students with advanced technical expertise in managing, modeling and visualizing big data to meet the growing needs of industry and research.

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Seattle’s Ballard is ripe for green-space restoration, new report says

A University of Washington graduate student saw green-starved Ballard as an opportunity to call attention to areas in the neighborhood that have restoration potential. Her new report, the “Ballard Green Spaces Project,” identifies 55 sites that could be restored as natural areas for people and wildlife, increasing the neighborhood’s total amount of accessible green spaces.

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History meets geography: James Gregory’s collaborative digital project tracks key 20th century social movements

UW historian James Gregory’s new collaborative digital project, “Mapping American Social Movements through the 20th Century” uses data visualization and interactive maps to depict the progress of various social movements — with more to come.

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December 10, 2015

Trees either hunker down or press on in a drying and warming western U.S. climate

Two University of Washington researchers have uncovered details of the radically divergent strategies that two common tree species employ to cope with drought in southwestern Colorado. As they report in a new paper in the journal Global Change Biology, one tree species shuts down production and conserves water, while the other alters its physiology to continue growing and using water.

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December 9, 2015

Arts Roundup: UW Symphony, Maker:Market – and Handel’s ‘Messiah’

The School of Music wraps up the quarter with four back-to-back days of events, including the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic and Campus Bands, UW Symphony, and two performances of Handel’s “Messiah.” There are still a few days left to catch the School of Drama’s production of “Loot” or visit the Jacob Lawrence Gallery for “Toward a…

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Iceland volcano’s eruption shows how sulfur particles influence clouds

The long, slow 2014 eruption of Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano offers a testbed to show how sulfur emissions, from volcanoes or humans, act to brighten clouds and reflect more sunlight.

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Design meets health: UW College of Built Environments, School of Public Health chosen for national architect association’s design and research consortium

The University of Washington College of Built Environments and School of Public Health have been selected as part of a national initiative seeking to translate research on how design impacts public health into architectural practice. The two UW schools have been selected to join the American Institute of Architects’ multi-school Design & Health Research Consortium….

December 8, 2015

Hour of Code: UW President Ana Mari Cauce gets schooled in coding

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce joined a small group of UW students Monday morning to get a crash course in coding as part of Code.org‘s Hour of Code event during Computer Science Education Week. Cauce worked with Sukhdeep Singh, a freshman at UW who hopes to double major in business and computer science, in the Hour of Code Monday….

Treasured faculty member and theater professional, Sarah Nash Gates, loses battle with cancer

The College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Washington is saddened to lose one of its most prominent faculty members and a longtime leader in the Seattle theater community, Sarah Nash Gates. Gates passed away on Friday evening, December 4, surrounded by family and close friends.

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Culture wars, Christianity at heart of UW political scientist Mark Smith’s book ‘Secular Faith’

Mark A. Smith is a University of Washington professor of political science and adjunct professor of comparative religion. He is the author of “Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics,” published in September by University of Chicago Press. He answered a few questions about his book for UW Today. What’s the concept…

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December 7, 2015

What makes Tom Hanks look like Tom Hanks?

UW researchers have reconstructed 3-D models of celebrities such as Tom Hanks from large Internet photo collections. The model can deliver speeches that the real actor never performed – one step toward developing fully interactive digital personas of people from family or historic photo collections.

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December 4, 2015

UW Sephardic Studies Program holds third annual Ladino Day festivities Dec. 6

The University of Washington Sephardic Studies Program will host its third annual International Ladino Day, celebrating Sephardic language and culture, in a free event at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, in Room 130 of Kane Hall. The event will be followed by a kosher reception. This year’s featured speakers are members of Los Ladineros, a…

UW project focuses on fines and fees that create ‘prisoners of debt’

Criminals are meant to pay their debts to society through sentencing, but a different type of court-imposed debt can tie them to the criminal justice system for life and impact their ability to move forward with their lives. Though debtors’ prisons were eliminated in the United States almost two centuries ago, a modern-day version exists…

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December 3, 2015

Award honors hundreds of citizen scientists who search for Washington’s rarest plants

Each year, hundreds of volunteers spread across Washington’s forests and grasslands to look for the state’s rarest, most sensitive plant species. Many of these endangered populations live in remote valleys or along unseen slopes and haven’t been seen in a decade or more. That’s where the University of Washington’s Rare Plant Care and Conservation program…

Citizen-science climate project adds logs from historic Arctic whaling ships

A citizen science project that asks volunteers to transcribe historic ships’ logbooks to uncover data about past Arctic climate has added logbooks from hundreds of whaling ships. The hunters’ handwritten logs will provide new clues about the history of Arctic climate and sea ice.

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December 2, 2015

Vessel speed biggest factor in noise affecting killer whales

The speed of vessels operating near endangered killer whales in Washington is the most influential factor – more so than vessel size – in how much noise from the boats reaches the whales, according to a new study published today in the online journal PLOS ONE.

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Arts Roundup: Drama, Modern Music – and CarolFest

December is off to a busy start for the arts on campus. The School of Drama has two productions running this week, and UW World Series wraps up the calendar year with a performance by acapella ensemble Anonymous 4. The School of Music is brimming with events, from medieval holiday music and CarolFest to modern…

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Book by UW’s Jackson School faculty among New York Times 100 most notable of 2015

The New York Times has named a recent book by two faculty members in the UW’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies to its list of 100 Most Notable Books of 2015. “The Shape of the New: Four Big Ideas and How They Built the Modern World,” by Scott L. Montgomery and Daniel Chirot…

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