UW News

The latest news from the UW


December 27, 2016

Year in review: 2016 news from the University of Washington

The research happening here at the University of Washington — across all three campuses — is exceptional and selecting only a handful of stories to feature from the hundreds, if not thousands, that came out this year is a monumental task. Using UW Today’s page view data, social media reach and news coverage, we have narrowed it down to these highlights showcasing the impact and ambition of the UW’s work regionally and around the world — listed here in chronological order.

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December 22, 2016

New UW law course focuses on presidential power in the Trump era

Donald Trump’s promises on the campaign trail have generated confusion and consternation around the country, as many wonder not only what the president-elect actually intends to do, but what is within his power to accomplish. Will Trump follow through on his threat to deport millions of undocumented immigrants? Could he pull the U.S. out of…

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December 21, 2016

Documents that Changed the World: Sir Ronald Fisher defines ‘statistical significance,’ 1925

Joe Janes’ latest Documents that Changed the World podcast is about Sir Ronald Fisher, the man who set the mark of “statistical significance” for ages afterward at 5 percent, no more no less.

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Study: Children can ‘catch’ social bias through nonverbal signals expressed by adults

Most conscientious adults tend to avoid making biased or discriminatory comments in the presence of children. But new research from the University of Washington suggests that preschool-aged children can learn bias even through nonverbal signals displayed by adults, such as a condescending tone of voice or a disapproving look. Published Dec. 21 in the journal…

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December 20, 2016

Researchers model how ‘publication bias’ does — and doesn’t — affect the ‘canonization’ of facts in science

In an article published Dec. 20 in the journal eLife, researchers present a mathematical model that explores whether “publication bias” — the tendency of journals to publish mostly positive experimental results — influences how scientists canonize facts. Their results offer a warning that sharing positive results comes with the risk that a false claim could be canonized as fact. But their findings also offer hope by suggesting that simple changes to publication practices can minimize the risk of false canonization.

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December 19, 2016

UW researcher pursues synthetic ‘scaffolds’ for muscle regeneration

Miqin Zhang, a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Washington, is looking for ways to help the body heal itself when injury, disease or surgery cause large-scale damage to one type of tissue in particular: skeletal muscle. Her goal is to create a synthetic, porous, biologically compatible “scaffold” that mimics the normal extracellular environment of skeletal muscle — onto which human cells could migrate and grow new replacement fibers.

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Investing in fisheries management improves fish populations

Research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that successful fisheries management can be best achieved by implementing and enforcing science-based catch or effort limits.

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$5 million will expand UW-developed technology to help West Coast children and families

Technology developed at the University of Washington to improve service delivery in child welfare, foster care and homeless youth systems will soon be expanded to other states through $5 million in new funding. The grant will allow Oliver — a social service management solution developed by Partners for Our Children, an organization in the UW…

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December 16, 2016

What makes influential science? Telling a good story

Researchers from the University of Washington have found that scientific papers written in a more narrative style were more influential among peer-reviewed studies in the climate change literature. Their results were published Dec. 15 in the journal PLOS ONE.

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December 15, 2016

Underwater volcano’s eruption captured in exquisite detail by seafloor observatory

The cracking, bulging and shaking from the eruption of a mile-high volcano where two tectonic plates separate has been captured in more detail than ever before. A University of Washington study published this week shows how the volcano behaved during its spring 2015 eruption, revealing new clues about the behavior of volcanoes where two ocean…

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December 14, 2016

In Stockholm ceremony, UW professor emeritus David Thouless receives Nobel Physics Prize

On Dec. 10 in Stockholm, David James Thouless, University of Washington professor emeritus of physics, received the Nobel Prize in Physics from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

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Dozens of projects aimed at efficiency are on track as part of the Transforming Administration Program

Provost Jerry Baldasty kicked off the Transforming Administration Program in Spring 2015 with a key goal of creating one administration, one university with an enhanced culture of service ultimately serving faculty and staff to achieve the University of Washington’s teaching, research and service missions. The program aims to make administrative departments more efficient and effective, and eliminate silos.

Businesses shape international law through ‘astroturf activism,’ paper finds

The furor over the 2010 Citizens United decision drew intense scrutiny to the role of corporate money in U.S. politics and raised questions about the influence of businesses in American lawmaking. But corporate interests also play a powerful role in international legal processes, sometimes by covertly creating or co-opting non-governmental organizations to lobby lawmakers on…

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December 13, 2016

Studies of vulnerable populations get a ‘bootstrapped’ boost from statisticians

In a paper published online Dec. 7 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, University of Washington researchers report on a statistical approach called “tree bootstrapping” can help social scientists study hard-to-reach populations like drug users.

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UW is founding member of alliance to expand access and opportunity for 50,000 students from lower- and middle-income families

The University of Washington joins 30 of the nation’s most respected colleges and universities Tuesday in a new initiative to substantially expand the number of talented low- and moderate-income students at America’s top-performing undergraduate institutions with the highest graduation rates.

December 12, 2016

UW welcomes Joe Dacca as new state relations director

The University of Washington announced staffing changes in the Office of State Relations on Monday, naming Joe Dacca director of state relations.

Practical, personal thoughts on storytelling in Charles Johnson’s latest book, ‘The Way of the Writer’

Charles Johnson, University of Washington professor emeritus of English, discusses his latest book, “The Way of the Writer: Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling.”

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Mountain glaciers are showing some of the strongest responses to climate change

A University of Washington study addresses controversies over the cause of mountain glacier retreat, and finds that for most glaciers the observed retreat is more than 99 percent likely due to climate change.

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December 8, 2016

New study traces the marsupial origins in N. America, finds mammals during Age of Dinosaurs packed a powerful bite

A new study by paleontologists at the Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture and the University of Washington describes an early marsupial relative called Didelphodon vorax that lived alongside dinosaurs and had, pound-for-pound, the strongest bite force of any mammal ever recorded.

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Frequently asked questions: odontoma in a gorgonopsian

Answers to frequently asked questions about a 255-year-old tumor in a ‘pre-mammal.’

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Fossilized evidence of a tumor in a 255-million-year-old mammal forerunner

University of Washington paleontologists have discovered a benign tumor made up of miniature, tooth-like structures embedded in the jaw of an extinct ‘mammal-like’ gorgonopsian. Known as a compound odontoma, this type of tumor is common to mammals today. But this animal lived 255 million years ago, before mammals even existed.

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December 7, 2016

Arts Roundup: Curator Talk, Jonathan Biss – and An Appalachian Christmas

The quarter ends with performances of classical piano, jazz and Appalachian holiday music. The School of Drama concludes its final production of the quarter. Visit the Jacob Lawrence Gallery for the final days of Utopia Neighborhood Club and join Henry Art Gallery’s Luis Croquer for a curator talk at the Henry. Jazz Innovations Part II…

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Volunteers hack toys for children with disabilities at UW Dec. 11

At the Hack for Access: Holiday Toy event on Dec. 11 and the UW, community volunteers will disassemble and rewire toys to make them more accessible for children with disabilities.

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December 6, 2016

Put people at the center of conservation, new study advises

People must be part of the equation in conservation projects to increase local support and effectiveness, according to a new study by the University of Washington and other institutions.

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USDOT awards $14M for mobility research at UW-led transportation center

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded approximately $14 million over five years to a multi-university, regional transportation center led by the University of Washington to fund research aimed at improving the mobility of people and goods across the Pacific Northwest.

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December 5, 2016

No peeking: Humans play computer game using only direct brain stimulation

UW researchers have published the first demonstration of humans playing a simple, two-dimensional computer game using only input from direct brain stimulation — without relying on any usual sensory cues from sight, hearing or touch.

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December 1, 2016

The many worlds of UW astronomer — and astrobiologist — Woody Sullivan

UW astronomer and astrobiologist Woody Sullivan discusses recent work and future plans in a multifaceted career that’s changing gears, but far from winding down.

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For the first time, scientists catch water molecules passing the proton baton

Water conducts electricity, but the process by which this familiar fluid passes along positive charges has puzzled scientists for decades. But in a paper published in the Dec. 2 in issue of the journal Science, an international team of researchers has finally caught water in the act — showing how water molecules pass along excess charges and, in the process, conduct electricity.

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November 30, 2016

Arts Roundup: CarolFest, Harry Partch, and The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G

December brings a full slate of arts events on campus.  The School of Drama kicks off a production about a playwright interacting with his own characters. The School of Music showcases the Harry Partch instrument collection and presents a night of Caribbean music and dance. Robin McCabe opens a three-part series exploring music and literature,…

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What makes Bach sound like Bach? New dataset teaches algorithms classical music

MusicNet is the first publicly available large-scale classical music dataset designed to allow machine learning algorithms to tackle everything from automated music transcription to listening recommendations based on the structure of music itself.

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November 29, 2016

In one-two punch, researchers load ‘nanocarriers’ to deliver cancer-fighting drugs and imaging molecules to tumors

In a paper published Sept. 27 in the journal Small, scientists at the University of Washington describe a new system to encase chemotherapy drugs within tiny, synthetic “nanocarrier” packages, which could be injected into patients and disassembled at the tumor site to release their toxic cargo.

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November 28, 2016

Statement from UW President Ana Mari Cauce regarding Nov. 15 attack on Muslim student

“Our university is and will always be a welcoming place for people of every race and faith, including our Muslim students, faculty and staff.”

Our closest worm kin regrow body parts, raising hopes of regeneration in humans

A new study of one of our closest invertebrate relatives, the acorn worm, reveals that regenerating body parts might one day be possible.

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Undergraduate Theater Society takes on Shakespeare — all of it! — in fast-paced show Dec. 1-11

The UW Undergraduate Theater Society will perform the high-energy parody “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised],” Dec. 1-11 in the Cabaret Theatre in Hutchinson Hall.

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November 22, 2016

UW has 29 faculty on list of ‘highly cited researchers’ for 2016

Twenty-nine University of Washington faculty members are among a list of the year’s most highly cited researchers in the natural and social sciences.

New grasses neutralize toxic pollution from bombs, explosives and munitions

UW engineers have developed the first transgenic grass species that can take up and destroy RDX — a toxic compound that has been widely used in explosives since World War II and contaminates military bases, battlegrounds and some drinking water wells.

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November 21, 2016

Ocean acidification study offers warnings for marine life, habitats

Acidification of the world’s oceans could drive a cascading loss of biodiversity in some marine habitats, according to research published Nov. 21 in Nature Climate Change.

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How to monitor global ocean warming – without harming whales

Tracking the speed of internal tides offers a cheap, simple way to monitor temperature changes throughout the world’s oceans.

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November 18, 2016

Q&A: Harry Stern discusses historical maps, the Northwest Passage and the future of Arctic Ocean shipping

See also: “How Capt. James Cook’s intricate 1778 records reveal global warming today in Arctic” Seattle Times, Nov. 16 Harry Stern, a polar scientist at the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory, has been studying the Arctic Ocean for decades, and sailed part of the Northwest Passage in 2009. Stern’s latest work uses the earliest…

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November 17, 2016

Trump and foreign policy: UW Jackson School faculty speak out

Several Jackson School of International Studies faculty members comment on the geopolitical possibilities of the coming Donald Trump administration.

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