UW Today

The latest news from the UW


December 4, 2015

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…

December 1, 2015

Washington state home prices up, sales down in third quarter of 2015

Home sale prices increased but sales themselves were fewer in Washington state in the third quarter of 2015, according to the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies in the UW’s College of Built Environments.

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UW roboticists learn to teach robots from babies

A collaboration between University of Washington developmental psychologists and computer scientists has demonstrated that robots can “learn” much like babies – by experiencing the world and eventually imitating humans.

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November 30, 2015

UW researchers estimate poverty and wealth from cell phone metadata

In developing or war-ravaged countries where government censuses are few and far between, gathering data for public services or policymaking can be difficult, dangerous or near-impossible. Big data is, after all, mainly a First World opportunity. But cell towers are easier to install than telephone land lines, even in such challenged areas, and mobile or…

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UW sociology professors part of White House, DOJ events on criminal justice reform

President Obama has been leading the charge for criminal justice reform in recent months, calling for sweeping changes to reduce mass incarceration and commuting sentences for non-violent offenders. This week, the White House and Department of Justice are bringing together researchers, legal system practitioners and advocacy organizations at events focused on criminal justice system reform…

November 25, 2015

UW law student researches industry gender inequity, calls for reforms

Women routinely outperform men in university classrooms across the United States and are invited more often than men to join student honors societies — yet women continue to be paid far less than similarly qualified male colleagues. Adding to that inequity, women also fare poorly when suing to recover damages for workplace sex and gender…

University of Washington receives gold sustainability rating from STARS

The University of Washington is among the most sustainable schools in North America, according to the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS).

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Documents that Changed the World: FDR’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1939

The U.S. Senate voted to set Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November on Dec. 9, 1941, two days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. You’d think they would have had more important things to talk about. Not Nov. 26, as George Washington had it or the last Thursday in the month as Lincoln…

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The spillover effect: Good teaching doesn’t stop at the classroom door

Effective teachers don’t just impact their own students’ achievement, they can significantly improve the performance of their fellow teachers’ students, new research shows.

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November 23, 2015

Public talk Nov. 24 urges solidarity with Syrian refugees

Interested in the Syrian refugee crisis? A public discussion at the University of Washington Tuesday, Nov. 24 aims to provide information about how local residents and communities can help advocate for Syrian refugees. Sponsored by UW Law’s Immigrant Families Advocacy Project, the “Social Justice Tuesday” event will be held from 12:30 to 1:20 p.m. in…

AAAS names four UW researchers as fellows

Four University of Washington researchers are among 347 new fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for 2015.

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November 20, 2015

Last chance to donate: UW Combined Fund Drive ends Dec. 4

Faculty and staff have until Dec. 4 to contribute to this year’s UW Combined Fund Drive, the UW’s workplace giving campaign. Donors can pledge a one-time donation or give all year through payroll deduction to support local programs and global nonprofits. There are more than 5,000 vetted organizations to choose from, and donations are tax…

November 19, 2015

After Nobel win, neutrino endeavors snag Breakthrough Prize in Physics

Neutrinos may be small, but when it comes to prizes, they pack quite a punch. In October, it was announced that two scientists who headed international projects to study these miniscule, seemingly ephemeral subatomic particles will share the Nobel Prize in Physics. On Nov. 8, these same scientists joined five of their colleagues from other…

Sequencing algae’s genome may aid biofuel production

University of Washington scientists have sequenced the complete genetic makeup of a species of ecologically important algae, which may aid in biofuel production.

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November 18, 2015

University of Washington signing White House climate pledge

The University of Washington has joined schools across the country in signing on to a White House climate pledge. The pledge is part of the Nov. 19 White House and Higher Education Climate Day of Action. The White House and the State Department will bring together leaders from higher education institutions to call for action…

Arts Roundup: DXARTS, improv – and pianist Yulianna Avdeeva

Don’t miss DXARTS’ fall concert – a chance to immerse yourself in groundbreaking electroacoustic music. The School of Drama opens two new productions: dark farce “Loot” and improv show “Beginnings: First Breath.” At Meany Hall, enjoy performances by pianist Yulianna Avdeeva and the University Chorale & Chamber Singers, or head over to Brechemin Auditorium to…

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Popular Science names ‘Power Over Wi-Fi’ one of the year’s game-changing technologies

The Power Over Wi-Fi (PoWiFi) system developed by UW engineers is one of the most innovative and game-changing technologies of the year, according to Popular Science, which included it in the magazine’s annual “Best of What’s New” awards announced this week.

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Cousteau’s ‘Acid Apocalypse’ to feature Washington youth in ocean acidification project

Ocean acidification is top of mind for many Pacific Northwest scientists, shellfish farmers and even seafood chefs, but a new initiative seeks to know how an unsuspecting audience — kids and teenagers in the Northwest’s urban and rural areas — is impacted by this issue. EarthEcho International, Philippe Cousteau, Jr.’s environmental education and youth leadership…

November 17, 2015

Availability of Final Environmental Impact Statement: North Campus Student Housing Project

Project Name: North Campus Student Housing Project Proponent: University of Washington Description of Proposal: The proposed North Campus Student Housing Project represents Phase IV of development identified in the Comprehensive Housing Master Program and would include the replacement of McCarty and Haggett Halls with four new student residence halls, as well as the development of…

Charles Johnson’s story ‘The Weave’ chosen for 2016 Pushcart anthology

Ieesha, the young African-American woman at the center of Charles Johnson’s short story “The Weave,” takes an unusual action in response to her abrupt, sneeze-caused dismissal from Sassy Hair Salon and Beauty Supplies in Seattle’s Central District — where hair is straightened as well as styled and cut. “The Weave” has been selected for the…

New report outlines Puget Sound region’s future under climate change

A new report by the University of Washington synthesizes all the relevant research about the future of the Puget Sound region to paint a picture of what to expect in the coming decades, and how to prepare.

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November 16, 2015

UW team refrigerates liquids with a laser for the first time

Since the first laser was invented in 1960, they’ve always given off heat. University of Washington researchers are the first to solve a decades-old puzzle — figuring out how to make a laser refrigerate water and other liquids.

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Microbes that are key indicators of Puget Sound’s health in decline

Paleontologists with the University of Washington’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture find that tiny organisms called foraminifera have a big story to tell about the health of Puget Sound. Two recent studies about the health of Bellingham Bay and inlets in the Bremerton area found the diversity and number of foraminifera — single-celled marine organisms that live on the sea floor — deteriorated significantly. The decline of these microscopic organisms is consistent with the deterioration of snails and other larger marine animals, even though analysis showed a reduction of chemical pollutants in Bellingham Bay and Bremerton over the same period of time.

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November 13, 2015

Industry leaders gather at first ever University of Washington Innovation Summit in Shanghai

The University of Washington held its first ever Innovation Summit today in Shanghai, China. The event brought together industry leaders from China and the United States, who discussed how they are turning ideas into impact, connecting academia to industry and helping solve the world’s most pressing problems.

November 12, 2015

David Shields addresses New York Times coverage in new book ‘War is Beautiful’

War photography in The New York Times entranced David Shields for years as a daily reader, but that attraction in time evolved into “a mixture of rapture, bafflement and repulsion,” he writes in the introduction to his latest book, “War is Beautiful: The New York Times Pictorial Guide to the Glamour of Armed Conflict.” “Over…

UW Regents approve contract for President Ana Mari Cauce

At its regular meeting today, the University of Washington Board of Regents approved a five-year contract for president Ana Mari Cauce.

Pacific Lutheran University signals intent to sell KPLU 88.5 FM to UW’s KUOW

Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Washington announced today PLU’s intent to sell its broadcasting rights and facilities associated with KPLU to KUOW.

Oceans — and ocean activism — deserve broader role in climate change discussions

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…

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From garden to gut: New book from UW’s David Montgomery explores an unfolding scientific revolution

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…

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‘Pale orange dot’: Early Earth’s haze may give clue to habitability elsewhere in space

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.

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November 11, 2015

UW, NASA measure rain and snowfall to gauge new precipitation satellite

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.

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November 10, 2015

Arts Roundup: Akram Khan Dance Company, meet the mammals – and Beethoven back-to-back

Get your fill of Beethoven in three back-to-back days of concerts at the School of Music – and in a recital by cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, newly appointed artist-in-residence. DXARTS presents its fall concert of electroacoustic music, and the Henry hosts two public lectures. Plus, don’t miss three nights of Indian classical dance with the Akram…

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UW School of Music talents, influence featured in book ‘Classical Seattle’

Melinda Bargreen is a Seattle-based freelance arts writer who spent 31 years as classical music critic for The Seattle Times. She is the author of “Classical Seattle: Maestros, Impresarios, Virtuosi, and Other Music Makers,” published this fall by University of Washington Press. Bargreen is a University of Washington alumna, with a bachelor of arts in…

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UW psychology professor Anthony Greenwald receives award for social cognition work

University of Washington psychology professor Anthony Greenwald is one of two researchers chosen to receive the most prestigious award of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Greenwald and Mahzarin Banaji, a social psychologist at Harvard University, recently were named joint recipients of the 2016 Kurt Lewin Award for distinguished research on social issues….

November 9, 2015

Documents that Changed the World: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 1982

The Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., is many things to many people. To Joe Janes of the Information School, the son of a World War II veteran and creator of the Documents that Changed the World podcast series, the memorial, the discussions it sparked and the hearts it helps heal — “the totality of the wall” he says – together comprise an important document.

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