UW named America’s fourth ‘coolest’ school by Sierra magazine

August 14, 2012

The University of Washington again has been ranked among the coolest schools in America, placing fourth this year.

Sierra Magazine, the official publication of the Sierra Club, once again placed the University of Washington in the top echelon in the country for its initiatives to operate sustainably and limit its contributions to global warming. This is the fifth year the UW has been among the top-ranked schools; it was first last year.

The complete list of “cool schools” is available at http://www.sierraclub.org/coolschools.

Got milk? Climate change means stressed cows in southern U.S. may have less

July 11, 2012

“Cows are happy in parts of Northern California and not in Florida” is a good way to sum up the findings of new research from the University of Washington, said Yoram Bauman, best known as the “stand-up economist.”

Bauman and colleagues found that the decline in milk production due to climate change will vary across the U.S., since there are significant differences in humidity and how much the temperature swings between night and day across the country. For instance, the humidity and hot nights make the Southeast the most unfriendly place in the country for dairy cows.


Braving the Swarm

July 10, 2012

With as much nonchalance as one picking a crumb up off the table, Dr. Evan Sugden reached down onto the beehive frame and picked up a live bee to show the class. He explained the bee’s anatomy while the students around him observed the creature in his fingers. Then he dropped it back onto the bee-covered hive.

Saving Trees and Work Hours with New Online Application Review

July 10, 2012

A math problem: The University of Washington receives more than 30,000 applications to its 122 graduate programs each year. Each application has, on average, 25 pages of information — including essays, transcripts and letters of recommendation. If each application were printed five times so that faculty members could review hardcopies and decide which applicants to accept, it would amount to 3.75 million pieces of paper. At a cost of 6 cents per page to print, how much would the University pay in printing alone?

$225,000. That’s how much.

New twist on old chemical process could boost energy efficiency

June 7, 2012

Chemical reactions on the surface of metal oxides, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, are important for applications such as solar cells that convert the sun's energy to electricity. Now University of Washington scientists have found that a previously unappreciated aspect of those reactions could be key in developing more efficient energy systems.

Such systems could include, for example, solar cells that would produce more electricity from the sun's rays, or hydrogen fuel cells efficient enough for use in automobiles, said James Mayer, a UW chemistry professor.