UW News

The latest news from the UW


September 24, 2020

Colleges with primarily in-person instruction leading to thousands of COVID-19 cases per day in US

As universities and colleges struggle to find the right combination of in-person and online classes combined with protective measures to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, a new study by researchers from four institutions has reached a troubling conclusion. Reopening university and college campuses with primarily in-person instruction is associated with a significant…

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Age restrictions for handguns make little difference in homicides as US deals with ‘de facto availability’ of firearms

In the United States, individual state laws barring 18- to 20-year-olds from buying or possessing a handgun make little difference in the rate of homicides involving a gun by people in that age group, a new University of Washington study has found. “The central issue is that there’s a very high degree of informal access…

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September 23, 2020

Video: UW students move into residence halls

Around 4,000 students are moving into the residence halls at the University of Washington this week. This number is less than half the UW’s normal residence hall capacity. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of special precautions are being taken to ensure minimal contact and proper physical distancing during the move-in process.

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Some polar bears in far north are getting short-term benefit from thinning ice

The small subpopulation of polar bears in Kane Basin were doing better, on average, in recent years than in the 1990s. The bears are experiencing short-term benefits from thinning and shrinking multiyear sea ice that allows more sunlight to reach the ocean surface, which makes the system more ecologically productive.

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September 22, 2020

Soundbites & B-roll: UW students move into residence halls

University of Washington students living in residence halls began moving in on Tuesday, and about 4,000 students total will move in this week. This number is less than half the UW’s normal residence hall capacity.

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UW Podcasts: ‘Coastal Café’ explores marine, shoreline issues — and ‘Voices Unbound’ on racism in COVID-19 responses

A talk with the hosts of Washington Sea Grant’s “Coastal Café” podcast, which is also a radio show. And EarthLab’s podcast “Voices Unbound” releases a new season of timely topics.

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Muslims, atheists more likely to face religious discrimination in US

A new study led by the University of Washington found that Muslims and atheists in the United States are more likely than those of Christian faiths to experience religious discrimination. Researchers focused on public schools and tested how principals responded to an individual’s expression of religious belief.

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ArtSci Roundup: Community and Solidarity on the Frontlines, Election 2020, and More

During this time of uncertainty and isolation, find solace in digital opportunities to connect, share, and engage. Each week, we will share upcoming events that bring the UW, and the greater community, together online.  Many of these online opportunities are streamed through Zoom. All UW faculty, staff, and students have access to Zoom Pro via UW-IT.  Community…

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September 17, 2020

Watching over whales: Online tool detects whales and ships in California’s Santa Barbara Channel in near real-time

Whale Safe — an online tool launched Sept. 17 by scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the University of Washington and other partner institutions — allows users to detect and better protect these endangered animals in the Santa Barbara Channel. It is a mapping and analysis tool to help prevent ships from running into whales.

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Environmental health professor emeritus Sverre Vedal serves on committee studying respiratory effects of Southwest Asia military service

Dr. Sverre Vedal, UW professor emeritus of environmental and health sciences, served on an expert committee for the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine studying the long-term respiratory health impacts of military service in Southeast Asia.

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September 16, 2020

Most landslides in western Oregon triggered by heavy rainfall, not big earthquakes

Researchers at the University of Washington, Portland State University and the University of Oregon have shown that deep-seated landslides in the central Oregon Coast Range are triggered mostly by rainfall, not by large offshore earthquakes. The open-access paper was published Sept. 16 in Science Advances. “Geomorphologists have long understood the importance of rainfall in triggering…

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Marine animals live where ocean is most ‘breathable,’ but ranges could shrink with climate change

New research shows that a wide variety of marine animals — from vertebrates to crustaceans to mollusks — already inhabit the maximum range of breathable ocean that their physiology will allow. The findings provide a warning about climate change: Since warmer waters will harbor less oxygen, some stretches of ocean that are breathable today for a given species may not be in the future.

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September 15, 2020

The University of Washington mourns the loss of Bill Gates Sr.

Though Bill Gates, Sr., may have graduated from the University of Washington nearly 70 years ago, in many ways he never really left.

Gates was a standout Husky — as a Regent for 15 years, leader of ground breaking philanthropic campaigns and a recipient of numerous accolades, including the Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus Award in 2013. He loved Husky football and cheered on from Husky Stadium, Row K, Seat 32.

Gates died Monday. He was 94.

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UW political scientist Megan Ming Francis named one of 12 grant-supported ‘Freedom Scholars’ for work on economic and social equity

Megan Ming Francis, University of Washington associate professor of political science, has been named one of 12 grant-supported “Freedom Scholars” in a new $3 million initiative by the Marguerite Casey Foundation and Group Health Foundation, working together.

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Wildfire smoke disproportionally harms poorer communities, remedies necessary to address health inequity

With most of the Northwest blanketed by wildfire smoke, public officials and health experts suggest staying inside as much as possible to reduce exposure to the significant health risks of wildfire smoke. However, inequity in our communities means not every home provides great protection and many workers in disadvantaged populations can’t afford to stay home,…

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Video: How to make your own home air purifier

With wildfire smoke blanketing most of the western U.S. this week, public health experts suggest staying inside as much as possible to protect yourself from smoky air. If you don’t have air conditioning or an air purifier in your home, it’s possible to make your own inexpensive purifier. Here’s how.

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September 14, 2020

UW announces COVID-19 testing program for students, faculty and staff across all three campuses

The University of Washington on Monday announced a comprehensive COVID-19 fall quarter testing program in advance of some students, faculty and staff returning to the Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma campuses later this month.

September 11, 2020

‘Dancing in the sky’: UW professor Cecilia Aragon tells of beating fear, becoming competitive pilot in memoir ‘Flying Free’

A conversation with UW professor Cecilia Aragon about her new memoir, “Flying Free: My Victory Over Fear to Become the First Latina Pilot on the US Aerobatic Team”

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Evans School interim dean receives $2M NSF grant to study ‘megafires’

Alison Cullen, professor and interim dean of the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Washington, will study “megafires” with a new $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

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September 10, 2020

Four UW professors win 2021 Breakthrough Prize — so-called ‘Oscars of Science’

Four University of Washington professors were among the winners of the 2021 Breakthrough Prize, which recognizes groundbreaking achievements in the life sciences, fundamental physics and mathematics.

David Baker, a professor in the UW School of Medicine’s department of biochemistry, won the prize for life sciences, while a team of UW physics professors, including Eric Adelberger, Jens Gundlach and Blayne Heckel, earned the prize for fundamental physics.

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September 9, 2020

English Department discusses coronavirus, ‘politics of care’ in ‘Literature, Language, Culture’ podcasts, videos — plus Devin Naar of Sephardic Studies interviewed on two podcasts

The Department of English has introduced its new “Literature, Language, Culture” Dialogue Series, a series of podcasts and YouTube videos — and Devin Naar of Sephardic Studies is interviewed on two podcasts

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UW joins Public Interest Technology University Network

The University of Washington has joined forces with schools across the country to be part of the Public Interest Technology University Network, or PIT-UN.

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September 8, 2020

How birth control, girls’ education can slow population growth

Education and family planning have long been tied to lower fertility trends. But new research from the University of Washington analyzes those factors to determine, what accelerates a decline in otherwise high-fertility countries.

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ArtSci Roundup: Re/frame at the Henry, Coexisting with COVID-19, and more

During this time of uncertainty and isolation, find solace in digital opportunities to connect, share, and engage. Each week, we will share upcoming events that bring the UW, and the greater community, together online.  Many of these online opportunities are streamed through Zoom. All UW faculty, staff, and students have access to Zoom Pro via UW-IT.  Re/frame:…

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September 4, 2020

Mask mandates delayed by nearly a month in Republican-led states, UW study finds

Political science researchers at the University of Washington examined the factors associated with statewide mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic. When controlling for other factors, states with Republican governors delayed imposing broad indoor mask requirements by nearly a month.

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Rankings: UW is among the best in the nation, world according to three news outlets

Three new rankings out this month place UW among the best schools in the nation and the world.

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UW political science expert on the value of mail-in voting

Jake Grumbach, assistant professor of political science at the University of Washington, answers questions about mail-in voting.

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September 3, 2020

First responders get training on how to decontaminate masks

A University of Washington-led team has developed a box that can decontaminate N95 respirator masks using ultraviolet light.

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Fighting fire with fire in the Methow Valley

Agencies that are well practiced in putting out wildfires are now learning a new skill: how to set the spark and fan the flames. That’s the case for the state Department of Natural Resources, which is starting to use prescribed burning as part of its strategy for fighting wildfires.

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September 2, 2020

UW Books: Climate change meets restoration science in ‘Anticipating Future Environments’; ‘Building Reuse’ in paperback — and Anu Taranath’s ‘Beyond Guilt Trips’ named a Washington State Book Award finalist

Recent news about UW-authored books includes a UW Press book on salmon habitat restoration amid climate change and a paperback edition of a book on building reuse. Also, Anu Taranath’s “Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World” is a Washington State Book Award finalist.

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September 1, 2020

UW launches Institute for Foundations of Data Science

The University of Washington will lead a team of institutions in establishing an interdisciplinary research institute that brings together mathematicians, statisticians, computer scientists and engineers to develop the theoretical foundations of a fast-growing field: data science.

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August 31, 2020

ArtSci Roundup: “From Ours to Alien: The Journey of Polish OBCY” lecture, MELTED RIOT: RGB performance, and more

During this time of uncertainty and isolation, find solace in digital opportunities to connect, share, and engage. Each week, we will share upcoming events that bring the UW, and the greater community, together online.  Many of these online opportunities are streamed through Zoom. All UW faculty, staff, and students have access to Zoom Pro via UW-IT.  Lecture:…

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B-roll: UW Health Sciences Education Building breaks ground

UW Health Sciences leadership and Washington state legislators celebrated the start of construction of the Health Sciences Education Building with a small, physically distanced groundbreaking ceremony Aug. 27.

UW receives NSF funds for investment in an interdisciplinary quantum future

The National Science Foundation has awarded $3 million to establish a NSF Research Traineeship at the University of Washington for graduate students in quantum information science and technology. The new traineeship — known as Accelerating Quantum-Enabled Technologies, or AQET — will make the UW one of just “a handful” of universities with a formal, interdisciplinary QIST curriculum.

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August 28, 2020

UW breaks ground on the future of health sciences education and improving our health

The future of our health and the health of the communities we live in relies, in many ways, on students in the health sciences. The education and experiences that future doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, social workers and public health experts receive will to a large degree shape how those professionals work and work together when…

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August 27, 2020

Frequently asked questions: torpor in Antarctic Lystrosaurus

This FAQ discusses evidence for a hibernation-like condition in Lystrosaurus, a mammal relative that lived in the Antarctic portion of Pangea about 250 million years ago. This discovery was enabled by high-resolution of incremental growth marks preserved in the tusks of Lystrosaurus.

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Weathering the tough times: Fossil evidence of ‘hibernation-like’ state in 250-million-year-old Antarctic animal

University of Washington scientists report evidence of a hibernation-like state in Lystrosaurus, an animal that lived in Antarctica during the Early Triassic, some 250 million years ago. The fossils are the oldest evidence of a hibernation-like state in a vertebrate, and indicate that torpor — a general term for hibernation and similar states in which animals temporarily lower their metabolic rate to get through a tough season — arose in vertebrates even before mammals and dinosaurs evolved.

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August 26, 2020

Faculty from Allen School, Evans School tapped for NSF institutes on artificial intelligence

The National Science Foundation has announced five new institutes devoted to AI research and based at universities around the country. Six University of Washington faculty will be affiliated with the institutes.

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Mount Everest summit success rates double, death rate stays the same over last 30 years

A new study led by researchers at the University of Washington and the University of California, Davis, finds that the success rate of summiting Mount Everest has doubled in the last three decades, even though the number of climbers has greatly increased, crowding the narrow route through the dangerous “death zone” near the summit. However, the death rate for climbers has hovered unchanged at around 1% since 1990.

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Global ranking: UW is No. 16 in the world

The University of Washington is No. 16 in the world — No. 3 among U.S. public universities — on the 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities, released this month.

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