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September 21, 2023

NSF funds internet-connected ocean observatory through 2028

map of Juan de Fuca plate

The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Washington $52.4 million over five years to continue operating the Regional Cabled Array, a cabled deep-ocean observatory about 300 miles offshore from Newport, Oregon. The grant is part of a $220 million total investment that will fund the internet-connected ocean observatory, known as the Ocean Observatories Initiative, through 2028.


UW team’s shape-changing smart speaker lets users mute different areas of a room

The seven robotic microphones sit in their charging station

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington has developed system of robotic self-deploying microphones, which lets users control sound in a room, muting certain areas and creating “active zones” in others.


September 15, 2023

Polar experiments reveal seasonal cycle in Antarctic sea ice algae

sea ice with greenish underside

The frigid ocean surrounding Antarctica is home to much of the region’s photosynthetic life. A new University of Washington study provides the first measurements of how sea-ice algae and other single-celled life handle dramatic seasonal swings, offering clues to how this ecosystem might adapt to climate change.


September 13, 2023

Battery-free robots use origami to change shape in mid-air

A hand holding tweezers that are holding a yellow square with circuits on it

UW researchers developed small robotic devices that can change how they move through the air by “snapping” into a folded position during their descent.


September 8, 2023

UW a lead partner on new NSF-funded earthquake research center

tsunami evacuation sign

The University of Washington is a lead partner on a new multi-institution earthquake research center that will study the Cascadia subduction zone and bolster earthquake preparedness in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.


September 7, 2023

UW assessment finds fentanyl and methamphetamine smoke linger on public transit vehicles

Two years ago, as life regained its rhythm and public transit once again filled with people, train and bus operators spotted a troubling trend. Some operators reported instances of people smoking drugs on their vehicles, and worried that the haze it created could linger, potentially affecting workers’ physical and mental health.  Spurred by operators’ concerns,…


September 6, 2023

A tax on menthol cigarettes would work better than statewide bans, UW study finds

Used cigarettes in an ashtray.

New research from Simha Mummalaneni and Ali Goli, assistant professors of marketing in the University of Washington Foster School of Business, finds that a menthol cigarette tax is a preferable policy to scattered statewide bans.


August 31, 2023

Study connects greenhouse gas emissions to polar bear population declines, enabling greater protections under Endangered Species Act

polar bear torso looking at camera

A new paper from the UW and Polar Bears International quantifies the relationship between greenhouse gas emissions and the survival of polar bear populations. The paper combines past research and new analysis to provide a quantitative link between greenhouse gas emissions and polar bear survival rates.


August 29, 2023

Researchers prefer same-gender co-authors, UW study shows

A group of people at a table with papers and water bottles.

A new study from the University of Washington and Cornell University shows researchers more likely to write scientific papers with co-authors of the same gender, a pattern that can’t be explained by varying gender representations across scientific disciplines and time.


August 28, 2023

UW research links wildfire smoke to increased risk of emergency room visits for people of all ages

Taken together, the two papers’ findings suggest that wildfire smoke poses a risk to people of all ages, not just young children and older adults.


August 21, 2023

REBURN: A new tool to model wildfires in the Pacific Northwest and beyond

Researchers with the University of Washington and the U.S. Forest Service have developed a new tool, REBURN, that can simulate large forest landscapes and wildfire dynamics over decades or centuries under different wildfire management strategies. The model can simulate the consequences of extinguishing all wildfires regardless of size, which was done for much of the 20th century and has contributed to a rise in large and severe wildfires, or of allowing certain fires to return to uninhabited areas to help create a more “patchwork” forest structure that can help lessen fire severity. REBURN can also simulate conditions where more benign forest landscape dynamics have fully recovered in an area.


August 14, 2023

These organizational changes can shake up company hierarchy

A group of co-workers sit on and around a desk during a meeting.

How people initially react to organizational change depends on their placement within their work groups’ status hierarchy, according to new research from Elijah Wee, assistant professor of management in the University of Washington Foster School of Business.


UW bioengineering researchers help create a roadmap to diversify faculty hiring

A biochemistry lab bench with pipettes and bottles of liquid. A microcentrifuge and a Bunsen burner sit to the right

A team of biomedical researchers has developed a new method for hiring engineering professors. The primary goal is to actively recruit a more diverse group of applicants and improve the rate that doctoral students from historically excluded groups go on to become faculty members.


August 10, 2023

Muon g-2 doubles down with latest measurement, explores uncharted territory in search of new physics

A particle physics experiment decades in the making — the Muon g-2 experiment — looks increasingly like it might set up a showdown over whether there are fundamental particles or forces in the universe that are unaccounted for in the current Standard Model. On Aug. 10, the international team of scientists behind Muon g-2 — pronounced “g minus 2” — released the world’s most precise measurement yet of the anomalous magnetic moment of the muon. Calculating the muon’s magnetic moment at a high precision will indicate whether it is interacting solely with the particles and forces known today, or if unknown particles or forces are out there.


August 9, 2023

In the Field: UW team to spend six weeks visiting deep-ocean observatory

ship by dock in morning sun

Twenty-five undergraduates are among the participants on a 41-day cruise off the Oregon coast aboard the UW’s large research vessel, the R/V Thomas G. Thompson. Principal investigator Deborah Kelley, professor of oceanography, answers questions about the expedition to visit and maintain the cabled ocean observatory.


July 31, 2023

New algorithm ensnares its first ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid

An asteroid discovery algorithm — designed to uncover near-Earth asteroids for the Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s upcoming 10-year survey of the night sky — has identified its first “potentially hazardous” asteroid, a term for space rocks in Earth’s vicinity that scientists like to keep an eye on. The roughly 600-foot-long asteroid, designated 2022 SF289, was discovered during a test drive of the algorithm with the ATLAS survey in Hawaii. Finding 2022 SF289, which poses no risk to Earth for the foreseeable future, confirms that the next-generation algorithm, known as HelioLinc3D, can identify near-Earth asteroids with fewer and more dispersed observations than required by today’s methods. That is important because, though scientists know of more than 2,000 near-Earth asteroids, they estimate that another 3,000 await discovery!


July 24, 2023

With a new app, smart devices can have GPS underwater

A scuba diver swims in dark water.

A team at the University of Washington has developed the first underwater 3D-positioning app for smart devices. When at least three divers are within about 98 feet of each other, the app tracks each user’s location relative to the leader.


July 19, 2023

Researchers put a new twist on graphite

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington reports that it is possible to imbue graphite — the bulk, 3D material found in No. 2 pencils – with physical properties similar to graphite’s 2D counterpart, graphene. Not only was this breakthrough unexpected, the team also believes its approach could be used to test whether similar types of bulk materials can also take on 2D-like properties. If so, 2D sheets won’t be the only source for scientists to fuel technological revolutions. Bulk, 3D materials could be just as useful.


July 18, 2023

Learning from superheroes and AI: UW researchers study how a chatbot can teach kids supportive self-talk

a smart speaker sits beside school supplies

Researchers at the University of Washington created a new audio chatbot, Self-Talk with Superhero Zip, aimed to help children speak positively to themselves. This chatbot is “a ‘Sesame Street’ experience for a smart speaker.”


July 10, 2023

New biodegradable plastics are compostable in your backyard

A person is holding up a cube and looking at it

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington has developed new bioplastics that degrade on the same timescale as a banana peel in a backyard compost bin.


UW-developed dental lozenge could provide permanent treatment for tooth sensitivity 

The solution builds new mineral microlayers that penetrate deep into the tooth to create effective, long-lasting natural protection. It could provide easily accessible relief for the millions of adults worldwide who suffer from tooth sensitivity. 


July 6, 2023

Marine heat waves caused mass seabird die-offs, beach surveys show

dead seabirds lined up on a beach for measurements

New research led by the University of Washington uses data collected by coastal residents along beaches from central California to Alaska to understand how seabirds have fared in recent decades. The paper, published July 6 in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series, shows that persistent marine heat waves lead to massive seabird die-offs months later.


July 5, 2023

Research led by UW undergrad shows ultrafine air pollution reflects Seattle’s redlining history

The most comprehensive study yet of long-term ultrafine particle exposure found that concentrations of this tiny pollutant reflect the city’s decades-old racial and economic divides.  


June 27, 2023

Researchers make a quantum computing leap with a magnetic twist

This artistic depiction shows electron fractionalization — in which strongly interacting charges can “fractionalize” into three parts — in the fractional quantum anomalous Hall phase.

A team led by scientists and engineers at the University of Washington has announced a significant advancement in developing fault-tolerant qubits for quantum computing. In a pair of papers published June 14 in Nature and June 22 in Science, they report that, in experiments with flakes of semiconductor materials — each only a single layer of atoms thick — they detected signatures of “fractional quantum anomalous Hall” (FQAH) states. The team’s discoveries mark a first and promising step in constructing a type of fault-tolerant qubit because FQAH states can host anyons — strange “quasiparticles” that have only a fraction of an electron’s charge. Some types of anyons can be used to make what are called “topologically protected” qubits, which are stable against any small, local disturbances.


June 26, 2023

New report, tool suggest how Washington can better protect against extreme heat

report cover with silhouettes on skyline

Two years after the Pacific Northwest heat dome — the deadliest weather-related disaster in state history — a collaborative effort has drawn up recommendations for how people and groups across the state could prevent future heat-related illness and save lives. The effort involves a report led by the UW Climate Impacts Group and an interactive risk-mapping tool led by the UW Center for Health and the Global Environment,


June 21, 2023

An app can transform smartphones into thermometers that accurately detect fevers

A researcher holds a phone to a patient's forehead.

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington has created an app called FeverPhone, which transforms smartphones into thermometers without adding new hardware.


June 14, 2023

Phosphate, a key building block of life, found on Saturn’s moon Enceladus

gray planet in cross-section with white plumes escaping from surface

An international team including a UW scientist found that the water on one of Saturn’s moons harbors phosphates, a key building block of life. The team used data from NASA’s Cassini space mission to detect evidence of phosphates in particles ejected from the ice-covered global ocean of Saturn’s moon Enceladus.


June 13, 2023

Employee approval can make or break CEOs, UW research shows

People sitting at a table with computers while a man presents at a white board.

New research from Bruce Avolio, professor of management in the University of Washington Foster School of Business, finds that employee approval greatly influences whether a board of directors will retain or dismiss a chief executive officer.


June 6, 2023

UW research shows real-world value of strategy courses for MBA students

Interior wall with the University of Washington logo and "Foster School of Business"

A new study from Mana Heshmati, assistant professor of strategy and entrepreneurship in the University of Washington Foster School of Business, found that strategy courses in MBA programs improve decision-making abilities, boost the amount of attention paid to broader industry concerns and expand the depth of mental representations.


May 26, 2023

What’s in a name? Sometimes, the climate

By analyzing records from the U.S. Social Security Administration, two scientists at the University of Washington and Ohio University have discovered that the popularity of certain month and season names for girls varies by geographic region in the continental United States. The name April dominates monthly names in southern states where spring arrives early in the year. June is more popular in northern states where spring blooms later. Autumn is also more prevalent in the northern U.S., a region known for its brilliant fall foliage.


May 23, 2023

Q&A: Have a favorite food memory? How technology can help take you back

A hand holding a spring roll open in the palm. Inside the spring roll are noodles and finely chopped vegetables. Behind the hand is a plate containing more vegetables.

Danli Luo, a UW doctoral student of human centered design and engineering, developed a toolkit of sensors and controllers that helped her re-create three dishes from growing up in China: rice wine, tofu and spring roll wrappers.


May 18, 2023

Out of the frying pan: Coyotes, bobcats move into human-inhabited areas to avoid apex predators — only to be killed by people

New research shows that in Washington state, the presence of two apex predators — wolves and cougars — does indeed help keep populations of two smaller predators in check. But by and large the apex predators were not killing and eating the smaller predators, known as mesopredators. Instead, they drove the two mesopredator species — bobcats and coyotes — into areas with higher levels of human activity. And people were finishing the job.


May 16, 2023

School of Dentistry researchers to expand upon study into how and why our gums swell

Researchers collect a sample of oral bacteria from a study subject. Photo credit: Dr. Shatha Bamashmous.

Gingivitis research could also deepen our understanding of inflammation in the rest of the body, which can be difficult to study in real time.  


May 1, 2023

Prolonged power outages, often caused by weather events, hit some parts of the U.S. harder than others

New research found that Americans already bearing the brunt of climate change and health inequities are most at risk of impact by a lengthy power outage.


April 27, 2023

Video: Tiny, fierce hummingbirds are also an evolutionary delight for UW, Burke researcher

Close up of hummingbird at a feeder

Many of us are familiar with the hummingbirds that visit feeders, plants and gardens around us. But these small creatures are unusual in the ways they push the limits of biology, says Alejandro Rico-Guevara, UW assistant professor biology and curator of ornithology at the Burke Museum. He and his students study hummingbirds and other birds…


April 19, 2023

Q&A: Two ways UW researchers are studying marine microplastics

microplastics seen in a water tank

Two University of Washington researchers are using very different methods to investigate the issue of marine microplastics. For Earth Day, UW News asked them to discuss their research.


April 18, 2023

Q&A: County-scale climate mapping tool helps Washington agencies prepare for the future

map of Washington colored red on right portion and around Puget Sound

The UW Climate Impacts Group created an interactive tool that lets state agencies and local governments see what climate scientists project for their county and what they might want to consider when developing their districts’ comprehensive plans through 2100.


April 13, 2023

Africa’s grassy habitats emerged 10+ million years earlier than previously thought

A pair of studies published April 14 in the journal Science paint a new picture about apes, ancient Africa and the origins of humans. Many scientists had once hypothesized that the first apes to evolve in Africa more than 20 million years ago ate primarily fruit and lived within the thick, closed canopy of a nearly continent-wide forest ecosystem. Instead, the new research indicates that early apes ate a leafy diet in a more arid ecosystem of varyingly open woodlands with abundant grasses.


April 10, 2023

Warm liquid spewing from Oregon seafloor comes from Cascadia fault, could offer clues to earthquake hazards

green seafloor with five bubble columns

UW oceanographers discovered warm, chemically distinct liquid shooting up from the seafloor about 50 miles off Newport. They named the unique underwater spring “Pythia’s Oasis.” Observations suggest the spring is sourced from water 2.5 miles beneath the seafloor at the plate boundary, regulating stress on the offshore subduction zone fault.


April 6, 2023

Washington state’s 2021 heat wave contributed to 159 excess injury deaths over three weeks

A record-breaking heat wave that baked Washington state in 2021 contributed to 159 excess injury deaths, according to research led by a UW professor.



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