Cecilia Bitz and Abigail Swann receive 2019 AGU section and named lecture awards

Cecilia Bitz and Abigail Swann

Congratulations to Cecilia Bitz and Abigail Swann for receiving awards from the American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest earth and space society. This year, the AGU recognized 82 scientists for their “sustained and unique contributions to advancing our understanding of Earth, its atmosphere and oceans, and planets and astral bodies beyond our own”. Cecilia Bitz is a professor and chair of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences who studies the role that sea ice plays in shaping the climate in high latitudes. 

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What motivates people to join — and stick with — citizen science projects?

Dead seabirds

From searching for extraterrestrial life to tracking rainfall, non-experts are increasingly helping to gather information to answer scientific questions. One of the most established hands-on, outdoor citizen science projects is the University of Washington-based Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, COASST, which trains beachgoers along the West Coast, from California to Alaska, to monitor their local beach for dead birds. With about 4,500 participants in its 21-year history and roughly 800 active participants today, COASST’s long-term success is now the subject of scientific study in its own right. 

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How to consider nature’s impact on mental health in city plans

Cherry tree blossoms in full bloom in the University of Washington Quad in Seattle, Washington.

Almost one in five adults in the U.S. lives with a mental illness. That statistic is similar worldwide, with an estimated 450 million people currently dealing with a mental or neurological disorder. Of those, only about a third seek treatment. Interacting with nature is starting to be recognized as one way to improve mental health. A number of scientific studies have shown that nature experiences may benefit people’s psychological well-being and cognitive function. 

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Atmospheric Sciences' Qiang Fu awarded AMS Jule Charney Medal

Qiang Fu

Congratulations to Atmospheric Sciences‘ Professor Qiang Fu, who was recently awarded the Jule G. Charney Medal from the American Meteorological Society. This top honor is granted to individuals in recognition of highly significant research or development achievement in the atmospheric or hydrologic sciences. The citation will read, “For pioneering contributions to the theory and practice of atmospheric radiative transfer and its critical linkages to climate and climate change.” On a nice summer day, clouds can look soft and fluffy and benign, or wispy and thin. 

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UW hosts student robotics challenge Friday to mark 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing

A Lego Mindstorms robot, with a plastic astronaut strapped to the front, approaches the lunar lander.

This Saturday will mark a half century since the Apollo 11 mission landed on the moon and two U.S. astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, walked its surface. At the University of Washington, the NASA-funded Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline, or NEESP, is marking the occasion with a robotics challenge for middle and high school students from across the state. 

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