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May 23, 2024

AI headphones let wearer listen to a single person in a crowd, by looking at them just once

A closeup image on a person wearing a pair of black headphones. The person’s face is out of focus; the headphones have a small microphone attached to them with electrical tape and a button on the side.

A University of Washington team has developed an artificial intelligence system that lets someone wearing headphones look at a person speaking for three to five seconds to “enroll” them. The system then plays just the enrolled speaker’s voice in real time, even as the pair move around in noisy environments.


May 17, 2024

UW atmospheric scientist participating in field campaign to improve Western snowfall, drought forecasts

Wooden building with snow and blue skies

A UW atmospheric scientist will participate in a campaign to study winter storms and snowfall in northwestern Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Like Seattle, this area depends on winter snow for its summer water supplies, so improving mountain snow forecasts will improve projections for summer drought and wildfire risks.


May 15, 2024

Q&A: How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect older adults’ technology use?

University of Washington researchers interviewed 16 older adults in Washington and Oregon, ages 65 to 80, about how their technology use with their social support networks changed during the pandemic.


May 14, 2024

UW-led project to study ozone, atmospheric layers a finalist for next-generation NASA satellite

horizon with horizontal layers of black, red, black and blue

A project led by the University of Washington to better understand our atmosphere’s complexity is a finalist for NASA’s next generation of Earth-observing satellites. STRIVE will receive $5 million to conduct a one-year concept study, and then will hear whether it is selected for launch.


May 9, 2024

Navy Growler jet noise over Whidbey Island could impact 74,000 people’s health

Two men facing away from the camera watch a blurred jet land on an airstrip. The men are both wearing over-ear headphones.

As often as four days a week, Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island fly loops overhead as pilots practice touch-and-go landings. The noise is immense. New research from the University of Washington shows that the noise isn’t just disruptive — it presents a substantial risk to public health.


Can Wikipedia-like citations on YouTube curb misinformation?

A computer screen with the YouTube logo, a red rectangle with a triangle in it, above links to "Home" and "Trending"

University of Washington researchers created and tested a prototype browser extension called Viblio, which lets viewers and creators add citations to the timelines of YouTube videos.


May 2, 2024

Qiang Fu, Raymond Huey elected to National Academy of Sciences

Two University of Washington researchers are among the newly elected members of the National Academy of Sciences. Qiang Fu, professor of atmospheric sciences, and Raymond Huey, professor emeritus of biology, are among those recognized with one of the highest honors a scientist can achieve.


May 1, 2024

Virtual reality environment for teens may offer an accessible, affordable way to reduce stress

Three images each set in 3D animations of a snowy forest show, from left to right: a gray sign that reads “Welcome to RESeT”; a post with six small signs on with arrows and the words from top to bottom “River Boats,” “Scavenger Hunt,” “Rock Stacking,” “Rabbits,” and “Bird Search”; a red sign with an image of a bird on it and the text “FOLLOW THE SONG.”

Working with teens, UW researchers have designed RESeT: a snowy virtual world with six activities intended to improve mood. In a 3-week study of 44 Seattle-area teens, researchers found that most used the technology about twice a week without being prompted and reported lower stress levels after using the environment.


April 30, 2024

Scientists solve chemical mystery at the interface of biology and technology

A University of Washington-led study has solved a mystery about organic electrochemical transistors: Why there is a lag when they are switched on. In the process paved the way to custom-tailored OECTs for a growing list of applications in biosensing, brain-inspired computation and beyond.


April 26, 2024

New circuit boards can be repeatedly recycled

A small brown circuit board sits on a gray background. To its right are a small copper plate, sheets of glass fibers in a crosshatch pattern, small chunks of vitrimer plastic that’s been removed from a circuit board, and a computer chip.

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington developed a new PCB that performs on par with traditional materials and can be recycled repeatedly with negligible material loss. Researchers used a solvent that transforms a type of vitrimer — a cutting-edge class of polymer — into a jelly-like substance without damage, allowing solid components to be plucked out for reuse or recycling. With these “vPCBs” (vitrimer printed circuit boards), researchers recovered 98% of the vitrimer and 100% of the glass fiber.


April 24, 2024

Q&A: How TikTok’s ‘black box’ algorithm and design shape user behavior

A hand holds a smartphone with the TikTok app open.

Franziska Roesner, a University of Washington associate professor, and collaborators will present two papers that mine real-world data to help understand TikTok’s personalized its recommendation algorithm and its impact.


April 23, 2024

Q&A: UW research shows neural connection between learning a second language and learning to code

Closeup of woman with glasses looking at code. The code is reflected in her glasses.

New research from the University of Washington shows the brain’s response to viewing errors in both the syntax (form) and semantics (meaning) of code appeared identical to those that occur when fluent readers process sentences on a word-by-word basis, supporting a resemblance between how people learn computer and natural languages.


April 17, 2024

Ice age climate analysis reduces worst-case warming expected from rising CO2

four woolly mammoths on frozen ground

A detailed reconstruction of climate during the most recent ice age, when a large swath of North America was covered in ice, provides information on the relationship between CO2 and global temperature. Results show that while most future warming estimates remain unchanged, the absolute worst-case scenario is unlikely.


April 15, 2024

Q&A: How claims of anti-Christian bias can serve as racial dog whistles

A brown, leather Bible on its side with the spine facing the camera. The background is white.

A new University of Washington study showed that white and Black Christians perceived a politician concerned about anti-Christian bias as caring more about anti-white bias, being more willing to fight for white people and as less offensive than one concerned about anti-white bias.


April 10, 2024

New report ‘braids’ Indigenous and Western knowledge for forest adaptation strategies against climate change

treated forest

Forests could also be potential bulwarks against climate change. But, increasingly severe droughts and wildfires, invasive species, and large insect outbreaks — all intensified by climate change — are straining many national forests and surrounding lands. A report by a team of 40 experts outlines a new approach to forest stewardship that “braids together” Indigenous knowledge and Western science to conserve and restore more resilient forestlands. Published March 25, the report provides foundational material to inform future work on climate-smart adaptive management practices for USDA Forest Service land managers.


April 8, 2024

Everyday social interactions predict language development in infants

A woman sits with a baby facing her on her lap. The woman is talking to the baby using hand gestures. The baby is watching her.

In a study published April 8 in Current Biology, University of Washington researchers found that when the adult talked and played socially with a 5-month-old baby, the baby’s brain activity particularly increased in regions responsible for attention — and the level of this type of activity predicted enhanced language development at later ages.


April 5, 2024

Q&A: The growing trend of environmental, social and governance assurances in corporate America

A pen sitting on top of a business report. Behind, a laptop screen shows graphs.

Voluntary reports that discuss environmental, social and governance issues — or ESG issues — have become a major trend in corporate America over the past decade. Shawn Shi, University of Washington assistant professor of accounting in the Foster School of Business, is conducting ongoing research on the topic.


April 4, 2024

What four decades of canned salmon reveal about marine food webs

University of Washington researchers have shown that levels of anisakid worms — a common marine parasite — rose in two salmon species in the Gulf of Alaska and Bristol Bay over a 42-year period. The team discovered this by studying salmon caught, killed and canned from 1979 to 2021. Since anisakid worms have a complex life cycle involving multiple types of hosts, the researchers interpret their rising numbers as a potential sign of ecosystem recovery, possibly driven by rising numbers of marine mammals thanks to the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act.


In the Field: UW researchers traveling to capture total solar eclipse

orange orb on black background

Baptiste Journaux, a UW faculty member in Earth and space sciences, and four graduate students will travel to Arkansas on Monday to view the total solar eclipse. They will use a special telescope to capture images of solar features that can be viewed most clearly during an eclipse. 


April 3, 2024

Q&A: UW researchers on the unseen community effects of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders

In the foreground, purple block letters "UW." In the background, a young student works at a laptop on a kitchen table.

Starting in the earliest days of the 2020 outbreak, a team of researchers at the University of Washington conducted real-time surveys of King County residents, asking what measures people had taken to protect themselves, how their daily lives had been affected and what worried them most.  


March 28, 2024

Q&A: How to train AI when you don’t have enough data

A drawing of dots connected to lines

As researchers explore potential applications for AI, they have found scenarios where AI could be really useful but there’s not enough data to accurately train the algorithms. Jenq-Neng Hwang, University of Washington professor of electrical and computer and engineering, specializes in these issues.


Q&A: UW researcher discusses the vital role of Indigenous librarians

Shelves of library books are out of focus, except for a few books in the center of the frame. Behind them, a window sheds bright light.

Sandy Littletree, a UW assistant professor in the Information School, discusses the importance of working Indigenous ways of knowing into libraries, archives and data repositories.


March 22, 2024

Signs of life detectable in single ice grain emitted from extraterrestrial moons

illustration of gray planet spewing white mist on black background

Could life be found in frozen sea spray emitted from moons orbiting Saturn or Jupiter? New research finds that life can be detected in a single ice grain containing one bacterial cell or portions of a cell. The results suggest that if life similar to that on Earth exists on these planetary bodies, this life should be detectable by instruments launching in the fall.


March 19, 2024

Citizen scientist group finds 15 rare ‘active asteroids’

In 2021, Colin Orion Chandler started Active Asteroids Citizen Science, a partnership between NASA, Zooniverse, astronomers and thousands of citizen scientist volunteers. The initiative is searching for so-called “active asteroids,” which have comet-like tails and could hold clues to the formation of our solar system, among other cosmic mysteries. Chandler, now a University of Washington researcher, and his team recently announced they have discovered 15 active asteroids, and are continuing the search for more of these unusual and rare objects.


March 14, 2024

UW researchers taught kids to code with cultural research and embroidery machines

University of Washington researchers taught a group of high schoolers to code by combining cultural research into various embroidery traditions with “computational embroidery.” The method teaches kids to encode embroidery patterns on a computer through a coding language called Turtlestitch.


March 13, 2024

Q&A: UW expert on the rising rates of immunosuppression among U.S. adults

A woman with long dark hair adjusting a white face mask.

A new UW study places the prevalence of immunosuppression at around 6.6% of American adults — more than twice as high as previously understood. That rise could have broad implications for how we navigate the late stages of COVID-19 and prepare for future pandemics.  


March 12, 2024

AI analysis of historical satellite images show USSR collapse in 1990s increased methane emissions, despite lower oil and gas production

buildings with mountains in background

An AI-powered analysis of 25 years of satellite images yields the surprising finding that methane emissions in Turkmenistan, a former Soviet republic and major oil-producing region, actually increased in the years following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.


March 6, 2024

Scientists CT-scanned thousands of natural history specimens, which you can access for free

Natural history museums have entered a new stage of discovery and accessibility — one where scientists around the globe and curious folks at home can access valuable museum specimens to study, learn or just be amazed. This new era follows the completion of openVertebrate, or oVert, a five-year collaborative project among 18 institutions to create 3D reconstructions of vertebrate specimens and make them freely available online. The team behind this endeavor, which includes scientists at the University of Washington and its Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture, published a summary of the project March 6 in the journal BioScience, offering a glimpse of how the data can be used to ask new questions and spur the development of innovative technology.


February 28, 2024

80 mph speed record for glacier fracture helps reveal the physics of ice sheet collapse

drawing of glacier partly above and partly below water

New research documents the fastest-known large-scale breakage along an Antarctic ice shelf. In 2012, a 6.5-mile crack formed in about 5 and a half minutes, showing that ice shelves can effectively shatter, though the speed of breakage is reduced by seawater rushing in. These results can help improve ice-sheet models and projections for future sea level rise.


Vision Zero road safety projects in Seattle are unlikely to have negative impacts on local business sales, UW study finds

Two bicycle lanes painted on a strip of asphalt, with painted bicycle icons marking each lane.

An analysis of seven safety projects across Seattle found they had no negative impact on the annual revenues of nearby businesses for three years after construction began.


February 27, 2024

Q&A: Decline in condom use indicates need for further education, awareness

Two red condom wrappers on a light purple background

New research from Steven Goodreau, University of Washington professor of anthropology, shows that condom use has been trending downward among younger gay and bisexual men over the last decade, even when they aren’t taking pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.


February 16, 2024

Video: Bringing stars back to the sea 

A clear box suspended deep in the water holds a few sea stars and mussel shells.

Scientists at Friday Harbor Laboratories, a University of Washington facility in the San Juan Islands, are working to help sunflower stars — a type of sea star — grow and thrive once again after their populations along the West Coast were devastated by a mysterious disease called sea star wasting syndrome.


February 15, 2024

First-ever atomic freeze-frame of liquid water

In an experiment akin to stop-motion photography, an international team co-led by University of Washington scientists has isolated the energetic movement of an electron in a sample of liquid water — while “freezing” the motion of the much larger atom it orbits.


Q&A: What is the best route to fairer AI systems?

Two people's hands gesture to pieces of paper between two laptops on a desk.

Mike Teodorescu, a University of Washington assistant professor in the Information School, proposes that private enterprise standards for fairer machine learning systems would inform governmental regulation.


February 8, 2024

Foul fumes pose pollinator problems

Scientists at the University of Washington have discovered that nighttime air pollution — coming primarily from car exhaust and power plant emissions — is responsible for a major drop in nighttime pollinator activity. Nitrate radicals (NO3) in the air degrade the scent chemicals released by a common wildflower, drastically reducing the scent-based cues that its chief pollinators rely on to locate the flower. The findings, published Feb. 9 in Science, are the first to show how nighttime pollution creates a chain of chemical reactions that degrades scent cues, leaving flowers undetectable by smell. The researchers also determined that pollution likely has worldwide impacts on pollination.


February 7, 2024

Q&A: Helping robots identify objects in cluttered spaces

A shelf in a lab. The shelf contains the following items: a pitcher on its side, a bowl in front of a bottle of Soft Scrub, a mug on a plate and a spoon balanced on the plate. Everything except the plate has a green box around it. The plate has a red box around it.

Robots in warehouses and even around our houses struggle to identify and pick up objects if they are too close together, or if a space is cluttered. This is because robots lack what psychologists call “object unity,” or our ability to identify things even when we can’t see all of them. Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a way to teach robots this skill.


UW-developed smart earrings can monitor a person’s temperature

The temperature sensing earring is shown attached to a person’s ear. The portion touching the earlobe has a gemstone on it. Dangling a few centimeters below it is a small circular circuit board.

University of Washington researchers introduced the Thermal Earring, a wireless wearable that continuously monitors a user’s earlobe temperature. Potential applications include tracking signs of ovulation, stress, eating and exercise. The smart earring prototype is about the size and weight of a small paperclip and has a 28-day battery life.


February 6, 2024

Parents’ conversational approaches about Black Lives Matter differ by race

Signs and people marching for Black Lives Matter

A new study from the University of Washington professor Andrew Meltzoff and Northwestern University showed key differences in the language Black parents and white used to explain Black Lives Matter.


January 29, 2024

Q&A: How ‘slow slip’ earthquakes may be driven by deep hydraulic fracturing

gray rock with lines through it

New research confirms the cause of slow slip along the Cascadia Subduction Zone and other faults that is accompanied by intermittent tremors or “pops” at the surface. Co-authors Marine Denolle and Joan Gomberg discuss the role of fluid-driven fracturing deep underground.


January 22, 2024

Shallow soda lakes show promise as cradles of life on Earth

people walking across large white surface

Field observations from an unusual lake show that in environments known as “soda lakes” phosphate can concentrate at the very high levels needed for the basic molecules of life to emerge. A shallow, salty lake in western Canada gives new support to Charles Darwin’s idea that life could have emerged in a “warm little pond.”



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