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  • WWLLN detects increasing lightning in the Arctic as Earth warms
    Thursday, December 17, 2020
    Nature magazine reports on the AGU ( American Geophysical Union) paper presented this year by ESS Professors Holzworth,and McCarthy, senior scientist Jacobson, Grad student Todd Anderson, and collaborators Dr. James Brundell and Dr. Craig Rodger of the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. The authors found that the fraction of global lightning occurring north of 65 degrees has greatly increased in the last decade, and varies with the global temperature anomaly. They predict a 100% increase in Arctic lightning by the time the Earth warms another 0.5 degrees Centigrade. Read More
  • An ice core from the roof of the world | Eos
    Monday, December 14, 2020
    An innovative National Geographic expedition collected the world's highest ice core from Mount Everest. Eric Steig, professor of Earth and space sciences at the UW, is quoted. Read More
  • How the first life on Earth survived its biggest threat -- water | Nature
    Wednesday, December 9, 2020
    Living things depend on water, but it breaks down DNA and other key molecules. So how did the earliest cells deal with the water paradox? David Catling, professor of Earth and space sciences at the UW, is quoted. Read More
  • NSF-funded deep ice core to be drilled at Hercules Dome, Antarctica
    Tuesday, December 8, 2020
    Researchers in Earth and Space Science are leading a new ice core project in Antarctica. Grad student Gemma O'Connor and ESS Chair Eric Steig are featured in UW news. Read More
  • Optical lightning superbolts: Holzworth comments on recent optical work
    Monday, December 7, 2020
    Prof. Holzworth reviews and comments on recent optical lightning papers about superbolts, pointing out that recent optical work suggesting that superbolts are all from positive cloud to ground strokes, is misleading and possibly wrong. It certainly disagrees with the RF superbolt work based on the UW managed WWLLN network. Read More
  • ArtSci Roundup: Global Challenges Discussion, Katz Lecture: Abderrahmane Sissako, and more
    Thursday, November 12, 2020

    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.

    Round Table Discussion 2: What Documents Constrain, Narrate, or Liberate Subjecthood?

    November 11, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM | Online

    Join the Henry Art Museum for a discussion on documented processes that are prescribed and enforced by official and state methods and how they can limit, if not erase, who we are, and, in doing so, lend insight into how we render persons as subjects and as legible. Round table participants include Assistant Teaching Professor of Interdisciplinary Visual Arts Dan Paz, and Assistant Professor of Law, Societies, and Justice and American Ethnic Studies Dr. Carolyn Pinedo-Turnovsky.

    Free | Register and More Info

    Katz Lecture: Abderrahmane Sissako, “In Conversation: African Worlds / World Films”

    November 12, 12:00 PM | Online

    Sponsored by the Simpson Center for the Humanities, Abderrahmane Sissako joins scholars of film andAfrican Studies for a conversation on world cinema, post-colonialism, thinking 'Africa' beyond the confines of the continent, and in particular his 2014 film Timbuktu. The conversation will be in French and English.

    Free | Register and More Info

    Global Month: A Conversation with Leela Fernandes

    November 12, 5:30 – 6:30 PM | Online

    Students and researchers are partnering across traditional boundaries to create a more equitable world. Join new Jackson School Director Leela Fernandes and Akhtar Badshah as they explore the essential role of area studies and international engagement in building a brighter future for all.

    Free | Register and More Info

    Global Challenges Discussion

    November 12, 6:00 – 7:30 PM PM | Online

    Hosted by the Honors Program, Director of UW Honors Dr. Vicky Lawson will moderate a robust conversation between three UW teachers and thought leaders whose work interacts with this topic. Part-time Lecturer in the departments of Comparative History of Ideas and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Jeanette Bushnell, Professor of Public Health Clarence Spigner, and Research Associate Professor of Earth and Space Sciences Michelle Koutnik bring perspectives from glaciology, indigenous philosophy, public health, and so much more to the first online Global Challenges/Interdisciplinary Answers event.

    Free | Register and More Info

    Jacob Dlamini: "Safari Nation: A Social History of the Kruger National Park"

    November 12, 4:00 – 5:00 PM | Online

    Jacob Dlamini‘s Safari Nation opens new lines of inquiry in the study of national parks in Africa and the rest of the world. Safari Nation details the ways in which Black people devoted energies to conservation and to the park over the course of the twentieth century. In this book talk sponsored by the Department of History and the Jackson School of International Studies, the author will discuss how Safari Nation engages both with African historiography and with ongoing debates about the "land question," democracy, and citizenship in South Africa.

    Free | Register and More Info

    ONLINE: Jeremy Denk

    November 13, 12:00 PM – November 20 11:59 PM | Online

    Jeremy Denk -- one of today's most virtuosic and imaginative pianists, a MacArthur Fellow and Avery Fisher grantee, and a thoughtful and engaging writer about music and more -- will delight Meany Center audiences with a performance that highlights and reflects on three leaders of the Romantic movement: Robert and Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms. The program features Missy Mazzoli's Bolts of Loving Thunder, composed in 2013 and inspired by what she calls the "romantic and stormy idea of Brahms."

    Free | Register and More Info

    Book Talk: State Formation in China and Taiwan with Julia Strauss

    November 13, 1:00 – 2:30 PM | Online

    University of London Professor Julia Strauss will be giving a book talk sponsored by the Taiwan Studies Program of her newly published work, State Formation in China and Taiwan: Bureaucracy, Campaign, and Performance. This book is a comparative study of regime consolidation in the 'revolutionary' People's Republic of China and the 'conservative' Republic of China (Taiwan) in the years following the communist victory against the nationalists on the Chinese mainland in 1949.

    Free | Register and More Info

    Looking for more?

    Check out UWAA’s Stronger Together web page for more digital engagement opportunities.

    Read More
  • WWLLN and Superbolts in AGU Press Release
    Thursday, November 12, 2020
    Prof. Robert Holzworth was interviewed by AGU regarding some new research by Los Alamos National Lab scientists concerning superbolts from two optical instruments on satellites. Our ESS World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN) is mentioned as the source of data for last years superbolt paper published by Dr. Holzworth, and that paper is also linked in the press release. Read More
  • UW Space Policy and Research Center brings researchers, policymakers together for online symposium Nov. 6.
    Thursday, October 29, 2020

    Even as residents of Earth grapple with a global pandemic, our work in space continues. At the University of Washington, the Space Policy and Research Center -- SPARC for short -- brings together researchers, policymakers and industry professionals each year to discuss the challenges of human presence and endeavors in space.

    The SPARC 2020 symposium is free for those in the UW community to attend.
    Register online.

    The daylong 2020 SPARC Symposium will be held online on Nov. 6 and will feature introductory remarks by UW President Ana Mari Cauce and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell as well as Major Gen. John Shaw of the U.S. Space Command. The symposium’s many participants come from academia, government and the aerospace industry in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

    The symposium’s theme will be Autonomous Operations in Space: Tech & Policy. In the concluding session, UW law professor Ryan Calo and physicist Tim Elam will talk with “The Martian” author Andy Weir and others in a panel on “Building our Future in Deep Space.”

    The co-directors of SPARC are Kristi Morgansen, UW professor and chair of aeronautics and astronautics, and Saadia Pekkanen, professor of international studies. UW Notebook connected with Pekkanen over email with a few questions about this year’s symposium.

    First, as a general overview, what is the mission of SPARC and its annual symposium?

    Saadia Pekkanen, co-director of SPARC

    Saadia Pekkanen

    Saadia Pekkanen: SPARC’s mission is to bring together science, technology, and policy in a way that speaks across manydisciplines. We seek to advance collaborative research as well as the education, training and networks of the next generation of space professionals.

    Space entrepreneurship will be a key topic, as in years past. How is the Pacific Northwest faring as a growing hub for the space industry?

    S.P.: One of the key trends we are now seeing is that more established and well-known companies are also in the space startup business, so to speak. Many of our large local players are now tailoring some part of their operations to get into the space business, particularly focused on the hardware and data from operational satellites.

    Amazon, for example, says it will invest $10 billion in a satellite constellation. Known as Project Kuiper, it will launch over 3,200 satellites to provide broadband internet access worldwide. Microsoft has recently announced a partnership with SpaceX to go after the cloud computing business focused on commercial, government and military space customers.

    UW law professor Bill Covington, director of the UW Technology Law and Public Policy Clinic, will moderate a panel on protecting Earth from orbital debris and near-Earth objects. We hear of low-Earth orbit being cluttered and of “near-misses” in the news. What is the current danger level from space debris?

    About SPARC:
    The Space Research and Policy Center (SPARC) is organized by the William E. Boeing Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics and the Jackson School of International Studies.

    The center includes research and initiatives from the UW Astrobiology Program, the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, the Information School, UW Medicine, the Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation and the School of Law as well as several departments, including astronomy, Earth and space sciences, mechanical engineering, materials science, human-centered design, electrical engineering, computer science, math, and environmental sciences.

    ESS professor Kristi Morgansen is co dorector o SPARC

    Kristi Morgansen

    S.P.: I would say the levels for both accidental and deliberate threats are high. In both cases, the conditions enabling a runaway chain reaction of collision and more debris, called the Kessler syndrome, are concerning. There are about 2,700 known operational satellites in orbit, more than half of which belong to U.S. civilian, commercial and military stakeholders. If the number of small satellites surpasses the 100,000 mark as it is projected to the chances for accidental collisions increases.

    Deliberate threats such as those posed by debris-creating anti-satellite (ASAT) tests carried out by many countries are even more concerning. All this comes at a time when the U.S has named both Russia and China as great power competitors, and these national rivalries have extended openly to outer space. We should be working on restoring diplomacy to strengthen norms and rules, which is the only way to deal with a problem at the nexus of technology and politics.

    COVID remains a global challenge and menace. How has the coronavirus affected the space industry? Have projects or plans been delayed?

    S.P.: I think we will probably be assessing the impact with real data sometime next year. Right now, I imagine that most companies, especially smaller ones or new startups, are scrambling to adjust and float.Once again, the impact of the entry of the established companies may have a positive impact on the stability of supply chains and smaller startups as the competition moves forward.

    What goals do you have for the Space Policy and Research Center in the next few years?

    S.P.: We want to position as a premier university-centered think tank, which is seen as a trusted resource by audiences in government, business, education, media, and the nonprofit sector worldwide.

    We also want to build out a truly interdisciplinary space studies curriculum for our students, speaking to technology, law and regional policies. We believe that such activities will bring together STEM, social sciences and humanities in the common enterprise of preserving peaceful prospects in outer space.

    Read More
  • Simple actions can help people survive landslides | Eos
    Tuesday, October 27, 2020
    New research provides practical advice to minimize landslide risk for individuals before, during, and after an event. William Pollock, a doctoral student in civil and environmental engineering at the UW, and David Montgomery, professor of Earth and space sciences at the UW, are quoted. Read More
  • Get on up: In a landslide, it might save your life | KUOW
    Monday, October 26, 2020
    Such simple actions are key to whether a landslide claims lives or merely does property damage, according to a study of landslide disasters around the world from geotechnical engineers at the University of Washington. William Pollock, a doctoral student in civil and environmental engineering at the UW, and David Montgomery, professor of Earth and space sciences at the UW, are quoted. Read More