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May 5, 2021

Ice core data show why, despite lower sulfur emissions in U.S. and Western Europe, air pollution is dropping more slowly

graphic of Earth with chemical pathways

Ice core data from Greenland shows why air pollution is dropping more slowly than sulfur emissions reductions. As cloud droplets become less acidic, the chemical reaction that turns sulfur dioxide into sulfate aerosol gets more efficient. The new results can improve the models that project air quality and climate change.


FASER is born: new experiment will study particles that interact with dark matter

The newest experiment at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is now in place at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. FASER, or Forward Search Experiment, was approved by CERN’s research board in March 2019. Now installed in the LHC tunnel, this experiment, which seeks to understand particles that scientists believe may interact with dark matter, is now undergoing tests before data collection commences next year.


May 3, 2021

Earthquake early warnings launch in Washington, completing West Coast-wide ShakeAlert system

hand holding phone with alert

The U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Washington-based Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, and state emergency managers on Tuesday, May 4, will activate the system that sends earthquake early warnings throughout Washington state. This completes the rollout of ShakeAlert, an automated system that gives people living in Washington, Oregon and California advance warning of incoming earthquakes.


Genetically engineered grass cleanses soil of toxic pollutants left by military explosives, new research shows

Grasses growing in tubes in the foreground. Two people stand behind them. Another person standing to the right.

A team, which includes researchers from the University of Washington, demonstrated that over the course of three years, a genetically engineered switchgrass could break down an explosive chemical in plots of soil at a military range.


April 28, 2021

People of color hardest hit by air pollution from nearly all sources

A picture of power lines at sunset. Everything is hazy.

A new study from researchers at multiple universities, including the UW, shows that exposure disparities among people of color and white people are driven by nearly all, rather than only a few, emission source types.


April 27, 2021

Thousands of baby sea stars born at UW lab are sign of hope for endangered species

adult sea stars eating mussels

Scientists at the University of Washington, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, are raising sunflower sea stars in captivity, with the goal of learning more about this species and exploring eventual reintroduction to the wild, if determined to be advisable.


April 22, 2021

UW biology professors Jeffrey Riffell, David Perkel awarded research grants from Human Frontier Science Program

UW biology professors Jeffrey Riffell and David Perkel have received grants from the Human Frontier Science Program.


April 21, 2021

A growing problem of ‘deepfake geography’: How AI falsifies satellite images

satellite photo of Tacoma using geospatial data from Beijing, with shadows cast from most buildings

Using satellite photos of three cities and drawing upon methods used to manipulate video and audio files, a team of researchers led by the University of Washington set out to identify new ways of detecting fake satellite photos and warn of the dangers of falsified geospatial data.


April 20, 2021

How lessons from past emergencies could improve the pandemic response

bottle of hand sanitizer, gloves and a mask on a table

The federal government, in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, could learn from how the nation responded to Hurricane Katrina, 9/11 and the H1N1 swine flu, a new University of Washington study found.


April 19, 2021

Arguing on the internet: UW researchers studying how to make online arguments productive

A person looking shocked at what they are seeing on their phone

UW researchers worked with almost 260 people to understand online disagreements and to develop potential design interventions that could make these discussions more productive and centered around relationship-building.


April 14, 2021

Faculty/staff honors: Guggenheim fellowship, Fulbright award, cybersecurity policy advocate

Recent honors and achievements for UW faculty and staff include a Guggenheim fellowship in film history, a Fulbright fellowship for bioethics research in South Africa and membership in a new state cybersecurity team formed by the National Governors Association.


April 13, 2021

Deep earthquakes within the Juan de Fuca plate produce few aftershocks

cracked pavement on highway

In the Cascadia subduction zone, medium- and large-sized “intraslab” earthquakes, in which the slip happens within the oceanic plate and below the continental plate, will likely produce only a few detectable aftershocks, according to a new study from the University of Washington and the U.S. Geological Survey.


April 7, 2021

First results from Muon g-2 experiment strengthen evidence of new physics

A picture of the giant magnetic ring at the heart of a particle physics experiment

The first results from the Muon g-2 experiment hosted at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory show fundamental particles called muons behaving in a way not predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics. These results confirm an earlier experiment of the same name performed at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Combined, the two results show strong evidence that our best theoretical model of the subatomic world is incomplete. One potential explanation would be the existence of undiscovered particles or forces.


April 1, 2021

New system that uses smartphone or computer cameras to measure pulse, respiration rate could help future personalized telehealth appointments

A person holding a phone in front of their face

A UW-led team has developed a method that uses the camera on a person’s smartphone or computer to take their pulse and breathing rate from a real-time video of their face.


March 31, 2021

Thicker-leaved tropical plants may flourish under climate change, which could be good news for climate

tropical forest

As carbon dioxide continues to rise, multiple changes in the leaves of tropical plants may help these ecosystems perform better under climate change than previous studies had suggested.


March 25, 2021

Tasty options as researchers tap a new forestry product

Maple syrup is being poured on a round waffle on a white plate.

Scientists from the University of Washington are testing the viability of making maple syrup in the Pacific Northwest. Long associated with Canada or Vermont, this sweet forest product that has graced many a breakfast table may be part of this region’s future.


March 22, 2021

Warming temperatures tripled Arctic lightning strikes over the past decade

Lightning strike

Lightning strikes in the Arctic tripled from 2010 to 2020, a finding University of Washington researchers attribute to rising temperatures due to human-caused climate change. The results, researchers say, suggest Arctic residents in northern Russia, Canada, Europe and Alaska need to prepare for the danger of more frequent lightning strikes.


March 19, 2021

‘A turning point’: UW Population Health Initiative’s pandemic grants changed how the university works

Rainier horizon

A year ago, seemingly overnight, streets emptied, shops boarded up, grocery shelves were cleared, schools closed and the University of Washington led universities nationwide in moving all instruction online. Nearly all of us disappeared inside, stunned and staring out at a world suddenly paralyzed by something we’d only seen in movies or read about in books:…


March 18, 2021

‘By-the-wind sailor’ jellies wash ashore in massive numbers after warmer winters

jellies washed on shore.

Thanks to 20 years of observations from thousands of citizen scientists, University of Washington researchers have discovered distinct patterns in the mass strandings of by-the-wind sailor jellies. Specifically, large strandings happened simultaneously from the northwest tip of Washington south to the Mendocino coast in California, and in years when winters were warmer than usual.


March 17, 2021

How five global regions could achieve a successful, equitable ‘Blue Economy’

three colored world maps

The future of an equitable and sustainable global ocean, or “Blue Economy,” depends on more than natural or technological resources. A new study finds that socioeconomic and governance conditions such as national stability, corruption and human rights greatly affect different regions’ ability to achieve a Blue Economy — one that is socially equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically viable.


March 15, 2021

New Stroum Center podcast series ‘Jewish Questions’ explores anti-Semitism, features UW faculty

“Jewish Questions,” a podcast from the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies, explores issues of Jewish life, politics, history and culture


March 12, 2021

Role of solvent molecules in light-driven electron transfer revealed

An artistic depiction of small molecules moving within a solvent

In a study published Feb. 15 in Nature Chemistry, a research team led by Munira Khalil, professor and chair of chemistry at the University of Washington, has captured the rapid motions of solvent molecules that impact light-driven electron transfer in a molecular complex for the first time. This  information could help researchers learn how to control energy flow in molecules, potentially leading to more efficient clean energy sources.


March 10, 2021

Helpful behavior during pandemic tied to recognizing common humanity

Woman gives a box of masks to a donation drive at a UW parking lot.

A new University of Washington study finds that an identification with all humanity, as opposed to identification with a geographic area like a country or town, predicts whether someone will engage in “prosocial” behaviors particular to the pandemic, such as donating extra masks or coming to the aid of a sick person.


March 9, 2021

Alexa, do I have an irregular heart rhythm? First AI system for contactless monitoring of heart rhythm using smart speakers

A small white box on a table and a person sitting in front of it (their back is to the camera)

UW researchers have developed a new skill for a smart speaker that for the first time monitors both regular and irregular heartbeats without physical contact.


March 4, 2021

A year with COVID-19: A chronology of how the UW adapted — and responded — to the pandemic

collage of photos in a timeline format

On March 6, 2020, the University of Washington became the first university in the U.S. to announce a move to remote instruction and work in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Here’s a look back at the past year, from the perspectives of how the UW community adapted and the impact the…


Can’t solve a riddle? The answer might lie in knowing what doesn’t work

Scrabble tiles forming a word with one tile missing

With the help of about 200 human puzzle-takers, a computer model and functional MRI images, University of Washington researchers have learned more about the processes of reasoning and decision making, pinpointing the brain pathway that springs into action when problem-solving goes south.


March 2, 2021

Rating tornado warnings charts a path to improve forecasts

funnel cloud on dark background

A new method to rate tornado warnings shows that nighttime tornadoes in the U.S. have a lower probability of detection and a higher false-alarm rate than other events. Summertime tornadoes, occurring in June, July or August, also are more likely to evade warning.


Faculty/staff honors: Field research grant, staffer’s play streams, cartoon remembrance

Recent honors and achievements by UW faculty and staff include a grant for field research in the Middle East, a staffer’s play being streamed by a Seattle theater and a professor’s cartoon remembrance of a relative lost to COVID-19.


February 24, 2021

Record-high Arctic freshwater will flow through Canadian waters, affecting marine environment and Atlantic ocean currents

Colored map of the North Atlantic and Arctic

The Arctic Ocean’s Beaufort Sea has increased its freshwater content by 40% over the past two decades. When conditions change this freshwater will travel to the Labrador Sea off Canada, rather than through the wider marine passageways that connect to seas in Northern Europe. This has implications for local marine environments and global ocean circulation.


Scientists describe earliest primate fossils

An artistic rendering of an ancient primate eating fruit in a tree shortly after the extinction of the dinosaurs

A new study published Feb. 24 in the journal Royal Society Open Science documents the earliest-known fossil evidence of primates. These creatures lived less than 150,000 years after the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction event that killed off non-avian dinosaurs and saw the rise of mammals.


February 23, 2021

Logging change in Puget Sound: Researchers use UW vessel logbooks to reconstruct historical groundfish populations

historical photo of the research vessel Commando

To understand how Puget Sound has changed, we first must understand how it used to be. But unlike most major estuaries in the U.S., long-term monitoring of Puget Sound fish populations did not exist until 1990. Now researchers have discovered an unconventional method to help fill in gaps in the data: old vessel logbooks.


February 19, 2021

‘Small moon’ shapes allow DNA devices to attach in precise orientations

A black image with a white circle in the center. The circle has a hole that is slightly off center.

A team of engineers, including one at the University of Washington, has developed a technique that allows for the precise placement of molecules formed from folded DNA in not only a specific location but also in a specific orientation


Vice Provost for Research Mary Lidstrom stepping down after 15 years

portrait of mary lidstrom

After more than 15 years serving as Vice Provost for Research, Mary Lidstrom will step down from her position on Aug. 31, 2021, with plans to return full time to the faculty, concentrate on her research, and establish mentoring and diversity, equity and inclusion programs.


February 16, 2021

UW books in brief: Historian Anand Yang explores British ‘penal transportation’; world music textbooks by Patricia Shehan Campbell

Historian Anand Yang writes about the British history of shipping of convicted criminals to other continents; and new world music education books from ethnomusicologist Patricia Shehan Campbell.


February 10, 2021

Online tool displays Pacific Northwest mountain snow depth

colored lines sloping upward to Feb. 1

How’s the snow on Northwest mountains this year? Overall a little deeper than normal, but it depends where you look. A new collaboration between the University of Washington, the Northwest Avalanche Center lets you see how the current snow depth compares to past years for nine sites in Washington and two in Oregon.


February 9, 2021

Limiting warming to 2 C requires emissions reductions 80% above Paris Agreement targets

Even if all countries meet their Paris Agreement goals for reducing emissions, Earth has only a 5% chance of staying below 2 C warming this century, a previous study showed. But reductions about 80% more ambitious, or an average of 1.8% drop in emissions per year rather than 1% per year, would be enough to meet the Paris Agreement’s temperature goal.


February 5, 2021

New nationwide survey shows MAGA supporters’ beliefs about the pandemic, the election and the insurrection

New data from the University of Washington, collected just before and after the Capitol riot, reveals fervent Trump voters’ opinions about race, gender, the pandemic and the 2020 election.


February 4, 2021

‘Audeo’ teaches artificial intelligence to play the piano

A hand pressing a piano key

A UW team created Audeo, a system that can generate music using only visual cues of someone playing the piano.


Global warming found to be culprit for flood risk in Peruvian Andes, other glacial lakes

rooftops in front of glacier

Human-caused warming is responsible for increasing the risk of a glacial outburst flood from Peru’s Lake Palcacocha, threatening the city below. This study is the first to directly link climate change with the risk of flooding from glacial lakes, which are growing in number and size worldwide.


February 2, 2021

‘Making Amends’ podcast explores remorse, intention among men at Oregon prison

outside of prison, surrounded by razor-wire fence

“Making Amends,” a new podcast by University of Washington professor Steve Herbert, explores themes of atonement among men incarcerated at the Oregon State Penitentiary.



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