Division of Physical Sciences News

Welcome to Autumn 2022!

November 9, 2022

The Physical Sciences Division faculty kicked off the new year by showing their Husky spirit. We are excited for the school year!

Autumn 2022 Physical Sciences Division faculty










New Sigma Pi Sigma inductees and Physics faculty awards

July 13, 2022

On May 25, four Physics students were inducted into the UWB chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma, the national physics honor society housed within the Society of Physics Students. The new inductees are Mikel Charles, Davi Lazoritz, Kyle Roman, and Alex Vong. Congratulations!

Sigma Pi Sigma inductees 2022

Photo above: Inductees signing their names in the Sigma Pi Sigma membership book. Left to right: Alex Vong, Mikel Charles, and Davi Lazoritz.

The Physics and Astronomy Club also wrapped up its year at the induction ceremony. Club members presented awards to two Physics faculty members:

  • Dr. Alanna Pawlak was recognized as Most Outstanding Teacher "in recognition of the rigor and inspiration she brings to her students, always encouraging them to expect more from themselves."
  • Dr. Paola Rodríguez Hidalgo was reconized as Most Outstanding Researcher "in recognition of the research opportunities she ceaselessly creates for her students and her passion for student mentorship."

Student awards for 2021–2022 presented at STEM Symposium

June 30, 2022

The Physical Sciences faculty presented awards to students at the Spring 2022 UW Bothell School of STEM Capstone & Symposium. Congratulations to our Chemistry and Physics award winners!

The following 2021–2022 graduates in Chemistry, Physics, and Earth System Science received awards:

Katie Thompson received the 2022 Academic Achievement Award for Chemistry (BS). Photo below: (left-right) Dr. Lori Robins and Katie Thompson.Katie-Thompson-(1).jpg

Jasmine Nguyen received the 2022 Academic Achievement Award for Biochemistry (BS). Photo below: (left-right) Dr. Lori Robins and Jasmine Nguyen.Jasmine-Nguyen-(2).jpg

Cort Thoreson received the 2022 Academic Achievement Award for Physics (BS). Photo below: (left-right) Dr. Lori Robins and Cort Thoreson.Cort-Thoreson-(1).jpg

Wendy Flor Garcia Naranjo received the 2022 Student Success Award in Physics. Photo below: (left-right) Dr. Lori Robins and Wendy Flor Garcia Naranjo.Wendy-Garcia-Naranjo-(1).jpg

Cynthia Petraccaro received the 2022 Academic Achievement Award for Earth System Science (BS). Photo below: (left-right) Dr. Lori Robins and Cynthia Petraccaro.


April Oertle received the 2022 Academic Achievement Award for Chemistry (BA).

Jason Vance received the 2022 Academic Achievement Award for Physics (BS).

Kevin Chen received the 2022 Student Success Award in Chemistry.

An award was also presented to the best peer facilitator in the Physics program: Mateo Arbelaez received the 2022 Outstanding Peer Facilitator in Physics Award. Photo below: (left-right) Dr. Lori Robins and Mateo Arbelaez.Mateo-Arbelaez-(1).jpg

The following continuing Chemistry and Physics students received 2022 Physical Sciences Division Chair's Summer Undergraduate Research Awards:

Derek Lee. He will be doing research this summer with Dr. Joey Shapiro Key.

Easton Pierce. He will be doing research this summer with Dr. Paola Rodríguez Hidalgo.

Erica Zieber. She will be doing research this summer with Dr. Hyung Kim.

At the STEM Capstone & Symposium, 10 Chemistry and Physics students gave oral presentations and 16 students presented posters.

Read more about the oral presentations at the Spring 2022 Symposium

Read more about the posters at the Spring 2022 Symposium

PSD students at the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium

June 27, 2022

On May 20, 2022, four students from the Physical Sciences Division joined with nearly 700 other undergraduates from the University of Washington at the Undergraduate Research Symposium. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the symposium and a return to in-person presentations after a two-year break.

Wendy-Garcia-Naranjo-at-UG-Research-Symposium-May-2022.jpgWendy Flor Garcia Naranjo, Physics major, presented "Finding Extremely High-Velocity Outflows in Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 16 Quasars." Her research mentor is Assistant Professor Dr. Paola Rodriguez Hidalgo.



Above: (left-right) Dr. Paola Rodriguez Hidalgo and Wendy Flor Garcia Naranjo.

Singh,-Converse,-and-Collins-at-UG-Research-Symposium-May-2022.jpgJasmine SinghAaron Converse, and Andrew Griggs Clark, all Biochemistry majors, presented "Hypochlorous Acid: Impairing Quorum Sensing Compounds and Virulence Factors in Chronic Wound Biofilms." Their research mentor is Associate Professor Dr. Lori Robins.

Above: (left to right) Dr. Lori Robins, Aaron Converse, Jasmine Singh, and Andrew Griggs Clark.

Read more about the 2022 Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Faculty receive School of  STEM Inclusivity Awards

June 21, 2022

At the spring School of STEM meeting, three Physical Sciences Division faculty were awarded a School of STEM Inclusivity Award:

Congratulations to our outstanding faculty!

Jasmine Nguyen is one of the Husky 100!

June 16, 2022

Jasmine-Nguyen.jpgWe congratulate Jasmine Nguyen, a 2022 Biochemistry graduate, as one of the Husky 100! Students recognized as part of the Husky 100 have made the most of their time at the UW and are making a difference on campus, in their communities, and for the future. Jasmine has been part of Assistant Professor Dr. Hyung Kim's research group. Well done, Jasmine!

Read more about Jasmine

Dr. Jeff Hazboun is the NANOGrav Hero of the month!

May 25, 2022

Congratulations to UW Bothell Postdoctoral Research Associate Dr. Jeff Hazboun! He is recognized by the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) as the Hero of the Month for his creative collaboration. Dr. Hazboun's primary research interest is connecting theoretical predictions of gravity to astrophysical phenomena through observational relativity.

Learn more about Dr. Hazboun's NANOGrav collaboration

Dr. Joey Key helps budding astrophysicists follow their dreams

March 21, 2022

UW Bothell Assistant Professor Dr. Joey Key has had a lifelong curiosity about the stars and astrophysics. Her interest has led her to mentor a growing community of astrophysicists. From high school students across the country to undergraduates at UW Bothell and participants attending the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) during the summer, her mentees have included students of various ages. Working together on research, they learn from each other and pursue their dreams.

Read the UWB news article about Dr. Key: "Helping students reach for the stars"

Christine Ye wins Regeneron Science Talent Search!

March 17, 2022

Christine Ye, a member of Assistant Professor Dr. Joey Key's Gravitational Wave Astronomy Research Group, won the top award in the 2022 Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS)! Her first place award carries a prize of $250,000. For her project, she analyzed the gravitational waves emitted from collisions between neutron stars and black holes. Using data from LIGO, she built a statistical model to estimate the mass of neutron stars. Her work suggests that a rapidly spinning neutron star could be extra massive, much larger than typical neutron stars.

In a recent UW Bothell news article, Dr. Key describes Ye's work with the Gravitational Wave Astronomy Research Group. Though only a high school senior, Ye has been doing research with the group for over two years.

“Christine is an amazing story because she has taken every opportunity that she could and has excelled in every one of them,” Key said. “She is extremely impressive.”

Dr. Joey Key and Christine Ye at conference January 2020

Photo: Dr. Joey Key (left) and Christine Ye at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Hawaii in January 2020

Read the press release about the 2022 competition from the Society for Science

Meet Christine Ye

Read the UWB news article "Helping students reach for the stars"

Popular Science interviews Dan Jaffe on wildfire pollution

March 11, 2022

Popular Science recently took a look at how wildfires are polluting our air. They cited research about the increase in two pollutants due to wildfires: PM2.5 (fine particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in size) and ozone. This research, conducted by Dmitri Kalashnikov, a doctoral student in environmental science at Washington State University Vancouver, found the co-occurrence of these two pollutants has increased significantly in the last 20 years in the western U.S. during July–September, as wildfires have increased.

Dan Jaffe noted that understanding the relationship between PM2.5 and ozone levels isn't straightforward. He and Jaffe Group researchers have previously found that the most extreme levels of PM2.5 and ozone tend not to occur on the same days. He says that the new paper is still "definitely a step forward."

Understanding and responding to the increase in wildfires and their unhealthy pollution are important issues for western communities and policy makers.

Read the Popular Science article

Christine Ye selected as Regeneron Science Talent Search finalist

January 31, 2022


Photo: Gravitational wave astronomy students and faculty at the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, Summer 2021. Christine Ye, bottom left; Dr. Joey Key, bottom second from left.

Christine Ye, a member of Assistant Professor Dr. Joey Key's Gravitational Wave Astronomy Research Group, has been selected as a top 40 finalist in the 2022 Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS). This science competition for high schoolers recognizes promising young scientists for the originality and creativity of their scientific research. Christine's project is titled "Inferring the Neutron Star Maximum Mass and Lower Mass Gap in Neutron Star-Black Hole Systems with Spin." She will travel to Washington, DC, in March to participate in the Finals Week competition.

Christine attends Eastlake High School in Redmond, WA. She also participated in the 2021 cohort of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) at UW Bothell.

We're cheering for you, Christine!

New chair elect of NSF Physics REU Leadership Group is Dr. Paola Rodríguez Hidalgo

December 16, 2021

NPRLG-Logo.pngAssistant Professor Dr. Paola Rodríguez Hidalgo has been elected the chair elect of the NSF Physics Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Leadership Group (NPRLG) for 2021–2022. The NPRLG describes itself as "an independent organization of REU physics site directors working with the American Physical Society (APS) to further the collective interests of physics REU programs. . . The NPRLG is committed to enhancing undergraduate student research experiences through cooperative engagement of the Physics REU site directors." UW Bothell has been a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site for the last two years and will be again in summer 2022. The REU program is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Physics REU at UW Bothell

Drs. Matthew Ninneman and Dan Jaffe publish 2 new papers on ozone

November 8, 2021

“The impact of wildfire smoke on ozone production in an urban area: Insights from field observations and photochemical box modeling”

map of California showing Bakersfield site and fire locationsIn this recently published paper, UWB postdoctoral research associate Dr. Matthew Ninneman and UWB professor Dr. Dan Jaffe examined the effect of wildfire smoke on ozone (O3) production at an urban site in Bakersfield, CA. They used data from smoky and non-smoky weekdays in summer 2018. During this period, there were several active wildfires in northern California. (See the above map showing the locations of the Bakersfield  site and the Ferguson, Natchez, Carr, Mendocino Complex, Donnell, and Hirz fires.) The authors utilized a photochemical box model to analyze the data. The box model simulations indicate that maximum O3 production rates were about two times faster on smoky weekdays compared to non-smoky weekdays. Model sensitivity tests for smoky weekdays showed that (1) O3 was sensitive to both oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and (2) aldehydes significantly affected O3 formation. Their results suggest that “a combination of anthropogenic VOC and NOx reductions will be the most effective strategy for decreasing O3 on typical non-smoky days.” However, only reductions in NOx are expected to have a significant impact on lowering O3 concentrations on typical smoky days, since VOC levels in smoke plumes are high.

Read the full paper

“Observed relationship between ozone and temperature for urban nonattainment areas in the United States”

In a second recently published paper, UWB postdoctoral research associate Dr. Matthew Ninneman and UWB professor Dr. Dan Jaffe investigated the observed relationship between ground-level ozone (O3) and temperature from 1995 to 2020 at 20 U.S. cities that violate regulatory requirements for ground-level O3. They found that the median slope of the ground-level O3 versus temperature relationship declined in all regions, and the correlation between ground-level O3 and temperature weakened over time in the eastern and midwestern U.S. In the western U.S., ground-level O3 has declined more slowly and the correlation between ground-level O3 and temperature has changed negligibly due to the combined influence of high background O3 and wildfire smoke. This suggests that meeting regulatory requirements for ground-level O3 in the western U.S. will be more challenging than in other parts of the country.

Read the full paper

2021 Physics Research Experience for Undergraduates is a success

September 15, 2021

2021 physics REU students in classroomThe 2021 Physics Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) culminated at the School of STEM Summer Capstone & Symposium where each of the 23 participants presented the results of their research.

Photo: REU students (left-right) August Muller, Cuauhtliztac Nicholas, and Kaia Smith.

Gathered in person and virtually from across the country, the students spent 10 weeks conducting research with faculty mentors. The program also offered professional development activities to expose students to research-oriented careers in physics and astronomy.

UW Bothell Assistant Professors Dr. Joey Shapiro Key and Dr. Paola Rodríguez Hidalgo applied for the NSF funding to bring the Physics REU to UW Bothell. Their focus included encouraging women and students of color in physics. “One of the things that we emphasized, both in the proposal and when we were doing all of the grant work, was diversity. We wanted women in science. We wanted a variety of backgrounds and experiences,” said Rodríguez Hidalgo.

This is the first year that UW Bothell has hosted an REU Physics program. The program is currently funded by NSF for two more years.

Read the UWB news article about the Physics REU

Learn more about the Physics REU

Meet the 2021 REU students

Air purifiers can help protect from COVID-19 and smoke

September 9, 2021

The Washington Post interviewed UW Bothell Chemistry Professor Dr. Dan Jaffe for a recent article about the benefits of air purifiers against airborne particles such as those from coronavirus and also wildfires. The article offers advice on what to look for in an air purifier and how to use one. Their advice in a nutshell: use HEPA filters, fit the purifier to the space, set it up correctly, and use the purifier in the rooms where people are. And one more thing—there is an option that is cheaper than spending $200–1000 for a purifier!  At the end of the article, they cite the Jaffe Group's research into using a standard box fan with an attached MERV-13 furnace filter to clean particulate matter from the air. Making a simple air purifier is an easy project you can do at home. The article also mentions that wearing masks is important.

Read the Washington Post article

Read the research paper about the effectiveness of low-cost filter units

Learn how to make an air purifier for your home

Creative approaches to teaching chemistry remotely

August 2, 2021

Teaching a hands-on chemistry course online presents big challenges. No longer are students able to learn about the chemical reaction between a leavening agent and an acid by making pancakes. Adjustments have to be made in a remote course and Associate Teaching Professor Dr. Charity Lovitt and Assistant Teaching Professor Dr. Brandon Finley rose to the challenge. They were able to keep course content exciting and keep students engaged throughout a challenging year. Asking students to engage in reflective writing encouraged the students to engage with the content and to think about their learning processes. The writing gave the professors insight into the students' understanding of the course material but it also provided a window into students' lives and challenges.

Read more on the UWB news site

Dr. Dan Jaffe elected to Washington State Academy of Sciences

July 22, 2021

Dan-Jaffe.jpgCongratulations to Dr. Dan Jaffe, Professor of Chemistry at UW Bothell and Physical Sciences Division chair, on his election to the Washington State Academy of Sciences (WSAS)! Dr. Jaffe was elected by members of the WSAS  and recognized "for leadership in monitoring and understanding the global transport of atmospheric pollutants from energy production, wildfire, and other sources, as well as science communication and service that has informed citizens and enhanced public policy." Dr. Jaffe has been at UW Bothell since 1997 and is also a professor at UW Seattle in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences. His research focuses on atmospheric chemistry, ozone photochemistry, wildfire smoke, and the long-range transport of pollutants. He has operated the Mt. Bachelor Observatory research station in Bend, Oregon, since 2004.

New members to the WSAS were chosen for "their outstanding record of scientific and technical achievement, and their willingness to work on behalf of the Academy to bring the best available science to bear on issues within the state of Washington," according to the WSAS press release.

The WSAS is a not-for-profit organization that provides expert scientific and technical information to inform issues and public policy making in the state of Washington. It was established in 2005 and currently has over 300 elected members, all residing in Washington State.

Dr. Ansel Neunzert recognized for inclusive teaching

July 6, 2021

Congratulations to Part-time Lecturer Dr. Ansel Neunzert on receiving the Faculty Award for Inclusive Pedagogy for the School of STEM!  Dr. Neunzert was awarded this STEM Inclusivity Award by School of STEM Dean Leslie Cornick at the all-STEM meeting on May 14, 2021. Dean Cornick described Dr. Neunzert's teaching by saying, "Dr. Neunzert brings equity education into intro physics labs, including lessons on racial & ethnic underrepresentation in physics."

Dr. Rachel Scherr awarded UW Bothell seed grant

July 5, 2021

Assistant Professor Dr. Rachel Scherr was awarded a UW Bothell Scholarship, Research, and Creative Practice (SRCP) Seed Grant in the spring 2021 funding round. She and her co-researchers, Dr. Blakely Tsurusaki (School of Educational Studies) and Dr. Rejoice Akapame (STEM and School of Educational Studies), are working on a project titled "Video lessons to support equity education for university instructional assistants in STEM".

Read more about the SRCP Seed Grant Program

New physics honor society members and Physics and Astronomy Club awards

May 28, 2021

Sigma-pi-sigma-2021-Zoom-(1).pngThe UWB chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma, the national physics honor society, inducted new members on May 28. At the same Zoom meeting, the Physics and Astronomy Club gave out student and faculty awards and the Physics faculty awarded student awards. It was an award-packed event. Congratulations to all!

New Sigma Pi Sigma inductees

Alex Benedict, Carolina Li, Chris McJunkin, Howard Oh, Alex Piloco, and Cort Thoreson

Physics and Astronomy Club student awards
  • Best Posted Meme Award—Pongpak Techagumthorn
  • Best Profile Pic Award—Wendy Garcia Naranjo
  • Block Master Award—Nicholas Edward Romer Develle
  • Student with the Biggest Impact—Kyle Gersbach
  • Exemplary Officer Award—Sam Kim
  • Mad Scientist Award—Howard Oh
  • Outstanding Member Award—Brian Ma
Physics and Astronomy Club awards to faculty
  • Best Virtual Faculty Award—Dr. Ansel Neunzert
  • Most Passionate Faculty Award—Dr. Paola Rodriguez Hidalgo
  • Best Research Faculty Award—Dr. Joey Shapiro Key
Student awards from Physics faculty
  • Peer Facilitator Award—Kalani Taladoc
  • Excellence in Experimental Physics Award—Pongpak Techagumthorn

Dr. Rachel Scherr receives Distinguished Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Award

May 20, 2021

Congratulations to Assistant Professor Dr. Rachel Scherr, the recipient of UW Bothell’s 2021 Distinguished Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Award! After just over two years at UW Bothell, Dr. Scherr was recognized for the impact she has made on campus through her research. She stated, “It’s the best welcome I have ever received. I wanted to find a university that would celebrate my research, and that’s what this award represents. I am so honored and warmed by the recognition.”

This award and a $5,000 honorarium recognize Dr. Scherr’s work on physics education and the incorporation of the core principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Dr. Scherr's research focuses on the teaching and learning of physics. She has several ongoing research projects—from working with high school teachers to help them integrate equity into their teaching to examining which factors offer the most benefit to students of color who are majoring in physics and astronomy. While at UWB, Dr. Scherr has been involved with redesigning the BA in physics degree so that students can complete the degree and a high school teaching certification in four years.

Read more on the UWB News website

Paper by Dr. Hyung Kim and UWB students describes heme protein

April 5, 2021

A recent paper published in Biochemistry highlights the research of UW Bothell undergraduates working in the research lab of Assistant Professor Dr. Hyung Kim. The paper describes the characterization of a heme protein found in the bacterium Nitrosomonas that is being increasingly recognized as a source of the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O) from ammonia fertilizers. Findings in the paper show that the protein, named cytochrome c’beta, reacts rapidly with hydrogen peroxide forming a very powerful biological oxidant called compound 2, with an iron oxidation state of Fe(IV). The work was performed by UWB students (Fong Ning Liew, Marisa A. Brandys, Joline N. Nguyen, Mustika Rahmawati, and Michael Nevala) using purification and spectroscopic techniques, and in collaboration with Hendrich Lab at Carnegie Mellon University. Work is ongoing to determine the protein’s biological function.

Read the paper here

Paper by Dr. Charity Lovitt explores using structured teams in online courses

February 23, 2021

##Teaching online Chemistry courses during the COVID-19 pandemic presents many challenges. A special issue of the Journal of Chemical Education focused on insights gained while teaching during the pandemic. Associate Teaching Professor Dr. Charity Lovitt is the lead author of a paper on using structured teams that appeared in this special issue. One of the coauthors on the paper is Dr. Rui Han, a part-time lecturer at UW Bothell.

The authors described how collaborative peer teams were used in asynchronous online Chemistry courses to support learning outcomes. Their research suggests that structured teams can be effectively used to develop social presence and communities of inquiry in asynchronous online environments.

Read the paper here

Dr. Dan Jaffe is lead author of critical review of wildland fire impacts on air quality

February 18, 2021

UW Bothell professor Dr. Dan Jaffe is the lead author on a critical review that examines the processes that influence wildfires and prescribed fires and their effects on air quality in the U.S. This review, “Wildfire and prescribed burning impacts on air quality in the United States,” is published in the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association and is a collaboration between Dan Jaffe and Susan O’Neill, Narasimhan Larkin, Amara Holder, David Peterson, Jessica Halofsky, and Ana Rappold. These coauthors each have expertise in issues related to wildland fires, and they have examined each of the processes influencing these fires and also the effects of the fires.

Large wildfires in the U.S. are becoming more common, and their emissions of particulate matter (PM) and gaseous compounds negatively impact air quality and human health. The air quality trend in the U.S. has been improving in the last decades. However, seasonal wildfires threaten to undermine this progress in parts of the country. The area burned by wildland fires has grown significantly in the last few decades due to “past forest management practices, climate change, and other human factors.” This has resulted in millions of people experiencing high levels of air pollution. As cities and towns have spread further into wildlands, costs for fire suppression (to protect human developments) and the consequences of fires have also increased significantly.

In this review, Dr. Jaffe and his coauthors describe the current state of the research and identify key data gaps. Their goal is to identify areas that are well understood and areas that need more research.

Read the paper here

Dr. Warren Buck named 1 of 1,000 inspiring Black scientists in America

February 17, 2021

Professor Emeritus Warren Buck has been recognized as 1 of 1,000 inspiring Black scientists in America by the Cell Mentor Community of Scholars. One of Cell Mentor's goals in forming this list of 1,000 was to "remove the bleach from the history books ... and to dismantle the myth that outstanding Black scientists make up a small percentage of the scientific community." Six other UW scientists are recognized on Cell Mentor's list.

Dr. Buck has been associated with UW Bothell since July 1999 when he arrived as the founding chancellor. He was instrumental in establishing  the School of STEM and the Physics degree program.

See the full Cell Mentor list of 1,000 inspiring Black scientists

Read the UW article about the 7 UW scientists on Cell Mentor's list

SPOT ambassadors to reach out to community college students

February 4, 2021

SPOT-STEM.pngSince 2016, the UW Bothell STEM Public Outreach Team (SPOT) has been spreading the love of science to local K-12 students under the leadership of UWB Assistant Professor Dr. Joey Shapiro Key. This year, SPOT ambassadors will have a different audience as they reach out to community college students. The goal of this new focus is to recruit women, ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, people with low-income backgrounds, and first-generation college students into STEM majors and fields.

spot-ambassadorsLast year, Dr. Key and Dr. Linda Simonsen, UWB Mathematics professor, received a Scholarship, Research and Creative Practice grant to use the SPOT program to recruit underrepresented groups of students into STEM fields. As part of this grant, new SPOT student ambassadors from groups underrepresented in STEM will be hired and trained to present science shows to students in science and math courses at regional community colleges.

These “near-peer role models,” will be spreading excitement about STEM and, by extension, UW Bothell, Dr. Key said. “Community college students can see in these SPOT ambassadors that UW Bothell is a good place for them. By having UW Bothell ambassadors from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in STEM talking to them about math and physics, community college students will see this is a place where they can be successful,” Dr. Key said.

Read the full article about SPOT ambassadors on the UWB website

Physics Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), summer 2021

December 31, 2020

Congratulations to the Physics faculty for securing another Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) grant for 2021!

The Physics REU program at UWB will host undergraduate research students for 10 weeks during the summer to participate in research projects, professional development activities, and an introduction to research-oriented careers in physics and astronomy. Participants will be matched with faculty mentors based on student interests and will join a cohort of students participating in weekly seminars, workshops, and an introduction to research resources and skills.

The research areas are:

  • Physics Education Research
  • Computational Physics and Astrophysics
  • Gravitational Wave Astronomy
  • Experimental Condensed Matter Physics

Applications are due on February 15, 2021.

To learn more about the program and how to apply, see the REU page.

In-person Physics lab is still necessary

December 30, 2020

Physics-lab-12-2020Remote learning in this pandemic time does not always work. Introduction to Experimental Physics (BPHYS 231), a required course for Physics majors, is one course that necessitated in-person labs. Dr. Subramanian Ramachandran, a part-time lecturer in Physics, taught the course to 21 students in autumn quarter. The hybrid course combined online lectures and in-person lab sessions. Pairs of students worked on experiments exploring foundations in physics such as the speed of light and atomic energy levels, hands-on work that cannot be done remotely.

Coronavirus precautions were still observed in the classes (e.g., mask wearing, social distancing, and scheduling adjustments to enable smaller classes). "We are being extra careful," Dr. Ramachandran stated. He went on to say, "In one sense, the spacing restrictions were advantageous. That's because having teams of two students each is better than teams of four at giving each individual the full force of participation."

Jewell Carr, a Physics major who is planning to graduate in spring 2021, said it was worth it. “While being more challenging than previous quarters, the experience of getting your hands on the equipment in a lab class is invaluable, and I am glad to have been given the opportunity.”

Read the full article about the Physics Lab on the UWB website

Physics & Astronomy Club is a Distinguished Chapter!

December 29, 2020

sps-logo-(1).jpgCongratulations to PhAst—the Physics and Astronomy Club—for recognition as a 2019–2020 Distinguished Chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS)! Recognition is based on a club's contributions and participation and involvement in a variety of activities and events.

Connect with PhAst here!

Growing an Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Alliance (IDEA) institution

November 19, 2020

In June 2020, the UW Bothell was accepted into the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance (IDEA) of the American Physical Society (APS). The alliance is a support network for physics departments and organizations to learn from each other in transforming the culture of physics. UWB has begun meeting with an IDEA cohort of similar-sized institutions. The IDEA initiative promotes faculty diversity in physics and an inclusive and welcoming environment for students.

Read more about IDEA on the UW Bothell news website

Paper by Dr. Rachel Scherr focuses on experience of Black and Latinx grad students in physics

November 10, 2020

In a recently published paper, UW Bothell Assistant Professor Dr. Rachel Scherr and her coauthors explore the isolation and connectedness of Black and Latinx graduate students in physics programs. They found that "racial or ethnic isolation may negatively impact physics graduate students’ academic and professional experience." They offer specific recommendations for how physics graduate programs can support students who are Black, indigenous, or people of color:

  • Foster a racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse environment.
  • Take supportive political positions and invite students to teach faculty how politics permeates academic life.
  • Invest resources to support student initiatives.
  • Serve different underrepresented groups according to their specific needs and interests.

Read the paper

New paper addresses reducing latrine odor and improving global sanitation

November 9, 2020

UW Bothell Associate Professor Dr. Lori Robins, UWB undergraduates, and researchers at the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences at UW Seattle and at Briotech (a Woodinville, Washington, company) took aim at the real-life problem of latrine odor. If latrines can be made more tolerable with a less offensive order, more people in developing countries may be encouraged to use them. This improvement in sanitation could help prevent the spread of viruses and disease. Researchers tested a safe form of hypochlorous acid (HOCl) manufactured by Briotech in eliminating odors. They found that HOCl does indeed reduce odors on five chemicals that give latrines an offensive smell. In addition, HOCl was found to destroy many viruses and bacteria, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

Robins said students were happy to work on research with a real-life application. “We’re trying to get more people into latrines to prevent them from getting sick. It has the potential to do a lot of good in the world.”
This research was recently published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. UWB graduates who were authors on the paper include Tim E. Dennler-Church, Jeremy C. Butz, and Joseph E. McKinley.

Read more about this research on the UW Bothell News website

Read the paper

Kick off the year with the Physics & Astronomy Club

October 29, 2020

The UWB Physics and Astronomy Club is starting off the year with a new newsletter and a full schedule of activities. Stay tuned for a new website.

October 9 Physics Astronomy newsletterThe club meets weekly on Tuesdays from 6-7 (Zoom). You can connect with the club here:

Read the Oct. 9 newsletter

Paper by Dr. Joey Key examines Space Public Outreach Team program

October 8, 2020

How to inspire today's youth and encourage them into technical careers that benefit society—that is one of the goals of the Space Public Outreach Team (SPOT) program. In a newly published paper, UW Bothell Assistant Professor Dr. Joey Shapiro Key and her coauthors describe the SPOT program and demonstrate its success. The SPOT model sends trained college students into K-12 classrooms to share current space science topics. The program has been a win-win—college students gain valuable experience, K-12 students and educators learn and are inspired, and the work and missions of the universities, organizations, and NASA are supported. 

Read the paper

The “smoke apocalypse” and indoor air quality: Media reports with Dr. Dan Jaffe

September 29, 2020

In September, Seattle and the Puget Sound region recorded the worst air quality ever. For example, in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle it was 314 on the air quality index on September 17. During our area's recent smoke apocalypse, Dr. Dan Jaffe, UW Bothell Chemistry professor,  has been a frequent media guest. He was interviewed by the Seattle Times, Crosscut, KIRO7, KOMONews, KOMOAM, KING5, and Q13Fox. Dr. Jaffe discussed his work on indoor air quality during the wildfire season and showed how to make a very effective DIY air purifier using a box fan and a MERV 13 furnace filter.

See links to all of the articles and videos along with descriptions

2020 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

August 24, 2020

The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program in the Gravitational Wave Astronomy group at UW Bothell culminated last week. The 10 student participants gave presentations about their summer research projects at the UW Bothell STEM Student Research Symposium. Over the summer, the students engaged in 10 weeks of research. Mentors for the summer research experience were Dr. Luisa T. Buchman, Dr. Joey Shapiro Key, Dr. Ansel Neunzert, and Dr. Paola Rodríguez Hidalgo of UW Bothell; Dr. Kristen Lackeos of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center; and Haley Wahl of the University of West Virginia.

Participating students with school affiliations were

  • Wynter Broussard (UW Bothell)
  • Hielen Enyew (UW Bothell)
  • Daniel J. Esterkin (Pennsylvania State University)
  • Andrew Evans (Sonoma State University)
  • Kyle Gersbach (UW Bothell)
  • Nathan June (UW Bothell)
  • Tim Kostersitz (UW Bothell)
  • Ruth Paras (Bellevue College)
  • Shushmitha Radjaram (UW Bothell)
  • Ava Stockman (Bellevue College)

The students engaged in the following research projects:

  • Characterizing Trends in the Atmospheres of Exoplanets—Wynter Broussard, Hielen Enyew, and Shushmitha Radjaram; faculty advisor Dr. Paola Rodríguez Hidalgo
  • Gravitational Wave Astronomy: Lines Project—Daniel J. Esterkin, Nathan June, and Ruth Paras; faculty advisor Dr. Ansel Neunzert
  • Improving on the Outer Boundary Conditions of SpEC to Reduce Spurious Reflections—Tim Kostersitz; faculty advisor Dr. Luisa T. Buchman
  • LISA Data Challenge: EMRIs—Ava Stockman; faculty advisor Dr. Joey Shapiro Key
  • Parallelizing LISA's Galactic Binary Analysis Software—Kyle Gersbach; faculty advisor Dr. Kristen Lackeos
  • Visualizing Neutron Star Neutron Star Simulation Data—Andrew Evans; faculty advisor Dr. Luisa T. Buchman

Read more about the 2020 REU program, mentors, and students

REU is a program funded by the National Science Foundation.
Learn more about the program

Division accepted into APS Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance (IDEA)

August 13, 2020

APS-IDEA-web-badge.pngThe Physical Sciences Division has been accepted into the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance (IDEA) of the American Physical Society (APS). This is a new APS initiative with the goal of empowering and supporting physics departments and organizations so they can identify and enact strategies for improving equity, diversity, and inclusion. The alliance will create a network of support and dialog for member organizations.

As the IDEA website states: "Our vision is that as a result of collective efforts, physics and related fields will become more inclusive of all social identities, with a diversity reflective of the nation, and with an equitable distribution of opportunities and resources."

Assistant Professor Dr. Paola Rodríguez Hidalgo led the application submission for the division.

Dr. Jeffrey Hazboun publishes NANOGrav paper

June 23, 2020

PSD postdoctoral research associate Dr. Jeffrey Hazboun is the lead author on a new paper in The Astrophysical Journal. The paper looks at the 11-year data release from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) and analyzes the data with a "time slicing" technique using 34 millisecond pulsars. PSD Assistant Professor Dr. Joey Key is also a coauthor on the paper.

NANOGrav is a collaboration of scientists in the United States and Canada working to detect low-frequency gravitational waves using pulsar timing arrays.

Read more about the paper

Read more about Dr. Hazboun's research

Dr. Warren Buck named special advisor for equity at  William & Mary

June 22, 2020

PSD Professor Emeritus Dr. Warren Buck was named special advisor for equity in the 21st century to William & Mary President Katherine A. Rowe. In his new role, Dr. Buck will work on special projects with the William & Mary Chief Diversity Officer, serve as a liaison between the administration and campus communities, and serve as a sounding board to university leadership on innovation and equality across the university. Previously, Dr. Buck served on the William & Mary Board of Visitors.

Student awards for 2020!

June 15, 2020

Graduating students in Physics and Chemistry were celebrated at online awards ceremonies on June 13, 2020. Seven students received end-of-year awards:

  • Colleen Miller—The Chemistry Academic Success Award, awarded to the Chemistry graduate with the highest GPA.
  • Sophie Miller —The Physics Academic Success Award, awarded to the Physics graduate with the highest GPA.
  • Wynter Broussard—Physics Student Success Award, awarded to the Physics graduate who made the greatest contribution to the Physics program through achievements in mentoring, service, scholarship, and research.
  • Clara Dixon and Kaelas Munger—Chemistry Student Success Award, awarded to the Chemistry graduates who made the greatest contribution to the Chemistry program through achievements in mentoring, service, scholarship, and research.
  • Kyle Gersbach, Colleen Miller, and Shahbaz Qureshi—PSD Chair's Summer Undergraduate Research Award, awarded to students in recognition of excellence in scientific research. Each student will receive funding to continue their research in the summer. Kyle will continue his work on gravitational wave astronomy with Dr. Joey Key. Colleen and Shahbaz will continue their atmospheric chemistry research with Dr. Dan Jaffe.

Congratulations to these award winners and all of our Chemistry and Physics graduates!

3 PSD professors receive Scholarship, Research, and Creative Practice Awards

June 8, 2020

Congratulations to three Physical Sciences Division faculty who received Scholarship, Research, and Creative Practice awards—PSD Assistant Professor Dr. Joey Key, PSD Assistant Professor Dr. Hyung Kim, and PSD Associate Professor Dr. Eric Salathé! These awards will provide them with seed grants that will support the following new research projects:

  • Dr. Joey Key, and co-PI Dr. Linda Simonsen—“Evaluating the Impact of Participation in STEM Outreach on Persistence of Diverse Students in Physics, Math, and Engineering”
  • Dr. Hyung Kim—“Lungs Generate Nitric Oxide Gas as an Immune Response and a Nasty Pulmonary Pathogen Produces a Heme Protein that Captures and Likely Detoxifies the Toxic Gas”
  • Dr. Eric Salathé—“Actionable Science: Creating local climate change information to support adaptation planning”

Dr. Paola Rodríguez Hidalgo named Diversity, Equity, & Community Engagement Fellow

May 27, 2020

PSD Assistant Professor Dr. Paola Rodríguez Hidalgo is one of UW Bothell's 2019–2020 Diversity, Equity, & Community Engagement Fellows. The purpose of this fellowship is to enhance the capacity of UWB faculty and staff to integrate diversity, equity, and community engagement into their courses, programs, or research. Dr. Rodríguez Hidalgo will be integrating a community-based learning project within the BPhys 101—Introduction to Astronomy course.

Read more about the Diversity, Equity, & Community Engagement Fellowship.

Read more about Dr. Rodríguez Hidalgo's project and the projects of the other fellows.

Critical review of wildland fire impacts on air quality by Dr. Dan Jaffe

May 19, 2020

PSD Professor Dr. Dan Jaffe is the lead author on a critical review that examines the processes that influence wildfires and prescribed fires and their effects on air quality in the U.S. This review, “Wildfire and prescribed burning impacts on air quality in the United States,” is published in the June issue of the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association. This paper is the result of a collaboration between Dan Jaffe and Susan O’Neill, Narasimhan Larkin, Amara Holder, David Peterson, Jessica Halofsky, and Ana Rappold. These coauthors have brought their range of expertise to the issues related to wildland fires and have examined each of the processes influencing these fires and also the effects of the fires, “including the natural role of wildland fire, forest management, ignitions, emissions, transport, chemistry, and human health impacts.”

US wildfire area burned and federal suppression costs 1985-2018

Total U.S. wildfire area burned (ha) and federal suppression costs for 1985–2018 scaled to constant (2016) U.S. dollars. Trends for both wildfire area burned and suppression indicate about a four-fold increase over a 30-year period. Data source: National Interagency Fire Center, Fire Information Statistics, accessed December 2, 2019, https://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_statistics.html.

Large wildfires in the U.S. are becoming more common, and their emissions of particulate matter (PM) and gaseous compounds negatively impact air quality and human health. The air quality trend in the U.S. has been improving in the last decades. However, seasonal wildfires threaten to undermine this progress in parts of the country. The area burned by wildland fires has grown significantly in the last few decades due to “past forest management practices, climate change, and other human factors.” This has resulted in millions of people experiencing high levels of air pollution. As cities and towns have spread further into wildlands, costs for fire suppression (to protect human developments) and the consequences of fires have increased significantly.

In this review, Dr. Jaffe and his coauthors describe the current state of the research and identify key data gaps. Their goal is to identify areas that are well understood and areas that need more research. They recommend eight specific areas for future research.

Read the paper here.

2 papers by Dr. Rachel Scherr examine physics teacher education programs

May 14, 2020

In two recently published papers, PSD Assistant Professor Dr. Rachel Scherr and her coauthor Dr. Stephanie Chasteen address what makes a successful physics teacher education (PTE) program. There is a national shortage of well-qualified physics teachers in the U.S. Their first paper describes the development of a measurement tool that can provide guidance to physics programs that want to address this need and provide excellent PTE. They developed the measurement tool, the Physics Teacher Education Program Analysis rubric, "by identifying common features and practices at 8 'thriving' PTE programs" in the U.S. PTE program leaders can use the rubric to strengthen their programs. In their second paper, Scherr and Chasteen present their initial research based on the rubric that describes the strengths of thriving PTE programs. Based on their application of the rubric to eight PTE programs, they found that "the most consistent strengths among thriving programs are in institutional commitment, leadership, and collaboration among partners in education and physics."

Both papers were published in Physical Review Physics Education Research.

Nathan June, Physics, recognized as one of Husky 100

May 7, 2020

0 Physics major Nathan June has been recognized as one of 2020's Husky 100. June is a fifth-year Physics major from Kansas City, Missouri. He is 1 of 13 UW Bothell students receiving this honor in 2020.

June prioritizes leadership in all areas of his life: “I believe that leaders create leadership opportunities in others. I carry this philosophy with me in every aspect of life.” Read June's Husky 100 statement here.

Each year, the UW recognizes 100 UW students from all three campuses (Bothell, Seattle, and Tacoma) who are making the most of their time at the UW. The UW Provost Mark A. Richards said there is one thing all Husky 100 share: They are leaders and innovators. “Through their coursework, research, volunteer and leadership efforts, internships and jobs, they have created their own Husky experience.”

Congratulations, Nathan!

Dr. Charity Lovitt coauthors paper on STEM residential learning communities

April 28, 2020

In a new paper published in Learning Communities Research and Practice, Dr. Charity Lovitt (UW Bothell Chemistry lecturer) and her coauthors explored how traditionally underrepresented students experience a sense of belonging in STEM residential learning communities. They created a survey to investigate students' sense of belonging, academic engagement, and self-efficacy. Their research suggests that underrepresented students experience these three constructs differently than traditionally represented students.

Read the full paper

2 new papers explore methods for measuring biomass burning pollutants

April 23, 2020

Research by Dan Jaffe Group postdoctoral scholars Dr. Boggarapu Praphulla Chandra and Dr. James Laing has resulted in two new peer-reviewed publications. Both papers examine methods used for measuring air pollutants from wildfires.

In the first paper, coauthors Dr. Boggarapu Praphulla Chandra, Dr. Crystal McClure, JoAnne Mulligan, and Dr. Daniel Jaffe evaluated the use of dual-bed thermal desorption (TD) tubes with an auto-sampler to sample volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Their paper, “Optimization of a method for the detection of biomass-burning relevant VOCs in urban areas using thermal desorption gas chromatography mass spectrometry,” appeared in the journal Atmosphere in March. For this study, the authors utilized a portable, custom-made “suitcase” sampler, which they deployed in  Boise, ID, during the summer of 2019.

The sampler continuously collected samples of VOCs on the TD tubes for up to six days without the need for continuous on-site monitoring. The tubes were later transferred to the lab for analysis using thermal desorption gas chromatography mass spectrometry (TD-GC-MS) to detect VOCs.Suitcase VOC sampler

(a) Internal view of the volatile organic compound (VOC) suitcase sampler; (b) Flow diagram of the VOC suitcase sampler; (c) Schematic diagram of the dual-bed TD tubes.

They found that “reactive and short-lived VOCs such as acetonitrile (a specific chemical tracer for biomass burning), acetone, n-pentane, isopentane, benzene, toluene, furan, acrolein, 2-butanone, 2,3-butanedione, methacrolein, 2,5- dimethylfuran, and furfural . . . can be quantified reproducibly with a total uncertainty of ≤30% between the collection and analysis, and with storage times of up to 15 days.”

Their research demonstrates the applicability of this flexible method for ambient VOC speciation and determining the influence of forest fire smoke. This sampling method offers a practical alternative for urban air quality monitoring sites because its portability does not require the installation of a complex and expensive instrument and its auto-sampling technique does not require continuous on-site monitoring.

Read the full paper by Chandra et al.

The second paper, “Comparison of filter-based absorption measurements of biomass burning aerosol and background aerosol at the Mt. Bachelor Observatory,” was recently published in Aerosol and Air Quality Research. The authors, Dr. James Laing, Dr. Daniel Jaffe, and Dr. Arthur Sedlacek, III, evaluated the upgraded aethalometer (AE33, Magee Scientific) and the new tricolor absorption photometer (TAP, Brechtel) to assess their effectiveness in measuring wildfire aerosol plumes. These instruments measure light-absorbing organic aerosols, which are emitted primarily in biomass burning. Both instruments were deployed at Mt. Bachelor Observatory (MBO) in central Oregon during the summer of 2016. Each instrument uses a similar methodology (“light extinction through an aerosol-laden filter”), but each has a unique set of corrections necessary to address filter-based bias and other issues. The coauthors found that when using the AE33 manufacturer’s recommended settings, correction factors that are larger than the manufacturer’s recommended factor are needed to calculate accurate absorption coefficients and equivalent black carbon.

Read the full paper by Laing et al.

Sigma Pi Sigma inductees and Physics award winners, Spring 2020

April 20, 2020

The UW Bothell Sigma Pi Sigma chapter inducted six new members into the national physics honor society on April 10, 2020. The 2020 UWB inductees are Jewell Carr, Bobby Duong, Kyle Gersbach, Nathan June, Tim Kostersitz, and Dr. Rachel Scherr. The UWB chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma began in 2017, joining the national Sigma Pi Sigma community to honor outstanding scholarship in physics, to encourage interest in physics, to promote service, and to provide fellowship.Sigma-Pi-Sigma UW Bothell meeting 2020

The faces of UW Bothell Sigma Pi Sigma, Zoom meeting on April 10, 2020.

The UWB Physics and Astronomy Club also recognized senior Wynter Broussard with the Student with Impact Award and faculty members Dr. Matt Gliboff with the UWB Physics Faculty Award and Dr. Matt DePies with the UWB Physics Founder Award.UWB Sigma Pi Sigma 2020 inductees' certificates

Certificates of the new Sigma Pi Sigma members, April 10, 2020.

New comic book—"Spectra: Super Special" at LIGO

April 14, 2020

Comic-Joey-Key-character.jpgIf you look closely in the newest Spectra comic book, you might find Dr. Joey Key, UW Bothell assistant professor. In "Spectra: Super Special" from PhysicsCentral and the American Physical Society, Spectra (the "original laser superhero") saves the day at LIGO—Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory.

Above: Dr. Joey Key's character. Courtesy image.

Spectra-LIGO-comic.jpgSpectra, a student with laser powers, has been saving the day and exploring the world of physics in 10 previous comic books. In "Spectra: Super Special," the 11th book, she visits the LIGO installation at Hanford, WA. This book came out of a collaboration between Spectra creator Becky Thompson and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. Dr. Joey Key received a UW Royalty Research Fund grant, which helped fund the comic's production.

Read more on the UW Bothell news page

Above: "Spectra: Super Special" LIGO edition. Courtesy image.

Wynter Broussard receives Mary Gates Research Scholarship

March 31, 2020

Senior Physics major Wynter Broussard received a Mary Gates Research Scholarship to support her research into the atmosphere of exoplanets. Broussard is working with Dr. Paola Rodríguez Hidalgo, UW BWynter-Broussard,-Paola-Rodriguez-Hidalgo-200226A-005.jpgothell assistant professor, and the Exoplanet Research Group in the search for planets outside our solar system. In January, Broussard presented her research at the American Astronomical Society annual meeting.

Read more about Broussard's research on the UW Bothell news page

Wynter Broussard, left, and Dr. Paola Rodríguez Hidalgo. Photo credit: Marc Studer

Dr. Joey Key awarded NSF CAREER award

February 10, 2020

UWB Gravitational Wave Research groupGravitational Wave Astronomy group members: (left to right) Wynter Broussard, Dr. Ansel Neunzert, Dr. Jay Howard, Dr. Joey Shapiro Key, Kyle Gersbach, Bobby Duong, Gene Ruangpongsiri, and Sandra Hughey. Photo: Marc Studer.

Assistant Professor Dr. Joey Shapiro Key has been awarded an NSF CAREER award to support her gravitational wave astronomy research. This five-year award supports nontenured, early career faculty in their long-term research goals.

The award will allow Dr. Key to further the data analysis research, education, and outreach of the Gravitational Wave Astronomy group at UW Bothell. This group includes undergraduate students and other faculty members who use the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), part of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration group, to observe and analyze gravitational waves from colliding black holes and neutron stars.

Dr. Key says, “Everything we know about astronomy through human history has come from light or electromagnetic radiation—radio waves, gamma rays, X-rays. Gravitational waves are a new messenger, a new way to learn about the universe.”

Read more about Dr. Key's award here

Chemistry winter seminars—Thursdays 1:15 pm, Disc 162

February 3, 2020

The 2020 Chemistry seminars have kicked off this quarter with a group of top-notch speakers and discussions. All are welcome to attend!

Thursdays 1:15 pm, Discovery 162

Sessions begin at 1:15 pm with classroom business for students taking the seminars for credit, and then the presentations begin at 1:30 pm.

Feb 6   Physical Sciences Division advisor and Chem major panel discussion

The ins and outs of the Chemistry major at UW Bothell

Feb 13  Mengkhy Li and Yi Wen (UWB alums), Seattle Genetics (Bothell) and Cepheid (Bothell)

The life of a bench chemist

Feb 20  Dr. Thelma Madzima, UW Bothell

Epigenetic regulation of gene expression in plants

Feb 27 Dr. Mae Gustin, University of Nevada Reno

Recent developments in measurement of reactive mercury concentrations and chemistry

March 5  Dr. Hyung Kim, UW Bothell

On the origin of the laughing gas from nature: It's no laughing matter

March 12 Dr. Peter Miller, Burke Museum, Seattle

The chemistry of snake venom

Previous speakers included the following:

  • Jan 9  Dr. Ed Suzuki, supervising forensic chemist, Washington State Crime Lab, Seattle, Analytical chemistry in the forensic science lab
  • Jan 16  Dr. Dan Jaffe, UW Bothell, Atmospheric chemistry
  • Jan 23  Mustika Ramawati (UWB alum), InBios International, Seattle, Vaccine development
  • Jan 30  Dr. Peter Anderson, UW Bothell, Using computational power and artificial intelligence to select the right cancer drug for the right patient

Dr. Peter Anderson and Andrew Chong coauthor paper in Biochemistry

January 27, 2020

UWB undergraduate Andrew Chong and UWB Assistant Professor Dr. Peter Anderson recently published a paper in the peer-reviewed journal Biochemistry.  Their paper describes how they applied molecular dynamics simulations to a transcription factor called hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) in order to investigate the role played by water molecules buried deep within the core of the protein. HIFs are transcription factors "that are induced in many cancer types, promoting tumor-forming pathways" and are promising targets for anticancer drugs.

Read the paper here

Dr. Joey Key coauthors paper on the laser interferometer space antenna (LISA)

December 30, 2019

A new white paper coauthored by Dr. Joey Shapiro Key, UWB assistant professor, has been published online as part of Astro2020, a decadal survey of astronomy and astrophysics research. The paper is titled "The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna: Unveiling the Millihertz Gravitational Wave Sky." It describes the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), a gravitational wave detector consisting of three spacecraft that are separated by millions of miles. LISA will broaden gravitational wave astronomy and offers potential for discovering parts of the universe that are invisible by other means, such as black holes. This project is led by the European Space Agency with the collaboration of NASA and an international consortium of scientists.

Read the paper here

Climate simulations by Dr. Eric Salathé support "sponge city" planning

November 27, 2019

Dr. Eric Salathe, UWB associate professor, is modeling the climate of China's Pearl River basin as part of a Tsinghua University project. This densely populated area is home to Hong Kong, Macao, and Zhuhai and often experiences intense flooding during the rainy season. In a warmer climate, these storms could be even more deadly.

Dr. Salathé is developing climate simulations 50 to 100 years in the future that will be used to inform city planning decisions. Based on these simulations, stormwater systems can be designed that are more permeable and can handle downpours. “Then they can say, instead of a parking lot, let’s put in a rain garden. Instead of paving curb-to-curb, put a green strip down the middle. Or they can say, let’s make this storm drain bigger or put a tank here,” Salathé said. “So, every drop is intentionally managed.” This is the concept of "sponge cities."

Dr. Salathé has expertise in regional climate change, simulating extreme weather events, and the impacts of climate change on human and natural systems.

A news article on the UW Bothell website describes Dr. Salathe's work on this project in more detail.

Read the UW Bothell news article

Observing our universe with light and gravity—new article by Dr. Joey Key

November 21, 2019

In the summer of 2017, scientists observed both gravitational waves and light from the same cosmic event for the first time. In a new article, Dr. Joey Shapiro Key, UWB assistant professor, describes for a younger audience this exciting event and the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. On August 17, 2017, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo, two gravitational wave observatories, detected gravitational wave signals from what appeared to be the collision of two neutron stars. NASA’s Fermi satellite detected a gamma-ray burst of light occurring less than 2 seconds after the LIGO and Virgo signals. LIGO and Virgo scientists immediately alerted astronomers around the world to search the sky for this event. A new bright light source was identified by a handful of telescopes. Over the next few weeks, astronomers continued to observe this area of the sky using telescopes measuring different kinds of light. They discovered the light source was a kilonova, “a bright short-lived event caused by the collision of two neutron stars.” Scientists watched this part of the sky with X-ray and radio telescopes to better understand the collision.

This significant discovery and the knowledge gained were made possible by scientific collaborations. Dr. Joey Shapiro Key is involved in international gravitational wave astronomy collaborations including LIGO, the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational waves (NANOGrav), and the NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission.

This article was published on Frontiers for Young Minds, an online scientific journal for kids.

Read the full article

Physics seminars, Wednesdays 3:30pm

November 18, 2019

The 2019 Physics seminars have been going strong every Wednesday this quarter with a full slate of outstanding speakers.

Wednesdays at 3:30pm, UW2-131

Don't miss out on the final two seminars on November 20 & December 4!

Nov 20  Dr. Andrew Boudreaux

Western Washington University, A cognitive science-based intervention to support mathematical flexibility in physics

Dec 4  Corey Gray

LIGO Hanford Observatory, A Wrinkle in Spacetime

The full seminar schedule for 2019 is as follows:

  • Sept 25  UWB summer student researchers: Presentations by Jake Ballard, Wynter Broussard, and Sophie Miller.
  • Oct 2      Dr. Paula R. L. Heron, University of Washington, "Thinking like a physicist" about physics education
  • Oct 9      Dr. Marjorie Olmstead, University of Washington, Transparent Conducting Oxides: Oxymoron or Interesting Physics?
  • Oct 16    Dr. Salwa Al-noori, University of Washington Bothell, Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Applications in Research and Teaching
  • Oct 23    Dr. Joshua Kas, University of Washington Bothell, Theory and Application of X-ray Spectroscopy
  • Oct 30    Dr. Amy Spivey, University of Puget Sound, Solar energy and a collaborative effort to increase the efficiency of photovoltaic energy conversion
  • Nov 6     Dr. Dimitri Dounas-Frazer, Western Washington University, Student ownership of projects: what is it, and how can we design for it?
  • Nov 13   Dr. Evan Goetz, University of British Columbia, Challenges in gravitational wave astronomy
  • Nov 20   Dr. Andrew Boudreaux, Western Washington University, A cognitive science-based intervention to support mathematical flexibility in physics
  • Dec 4      Corey Gray, LIGO Hanford Observatory, A Wrinkle in Spacetime

ChemMagic Demo Day—Nov 22

November 18, 2019

Join chemistry students as they display their chemistry magic. Pop in on your lunch hour to take in their fun demos. All are welcome!

  • Friday, November 22
  • 12:30–1:45 pm
  • Discovery 061

Dr. Dan Jaffe selected as EPA subject matter expert on PM & O3

November 5, 2019

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected Dr. Dan Jaffe, UW Bothell chemistry professor, as one of 12 subject matter experts supporting the Chartered Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASC) in its review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM) and ozone (O3).  The pool of experts will provide technical expertise to the CASC as it reviews the US EPA’s NAAQS for PM and O3. The CASC will in turn provide the EPA administrator with independent advice on the technical basis for the NAAQS.

“This appointment represents an opportunity to use my scientific expertise to support the EPA’s decision-making,” Jaffe said. “The long-term goal should be that our environmental laws, rules and regulations be based on the best available science and be designed to protect public health with an adequate margin of safety.”

Read the news release by the EPA

Read a news release by UW Bothell

Dr. Charity Lovitt coauthors chapter on MythBusters course

October 24, 2019

UW Bothell chemistry lecturer Dr. Charity Lovitt, along with Avery Shinneman (School of IAS) and Kara Adams (Office of Community Engagement), authored a chapter in the recently published book Communication in Chemistry . The chapter, "Building Scientific Communication Skills through MythBusters Videos and Community Engagement," presents an overview of the popular first-year UWB course MythBusters, which was inspired by the TV program of the same name. "This course was created to support the development of scientific communication skills and college readiness for first-year STEM-interested students." In the chapter, the UWB coauthors describe the course design, learning outcomes and activities, assessments, and more.

Read the chapter abstract here.

Chemistry Open House—October 24

October 21, 2019

UWB Chemistry open house flyerJoin Chemistry faculty and students at the UWB Chemistry Open House! There will be games, snacks, a chance to meet Chemistry faculty and majors, and the opportunity to learn more about the Chemistry major.

  • October 24, 4–6 pm
  • Discovery Hall, MakerSpace (1st floor)

Alex Margarito and Rebecca Rickett help Seattle research wildfires' impact on air quality

July 31, 2019

The last two years in Seattle were the worst on record for wildfire smoke and its impact on air quality. As the area is bracing for what could be another high wildfire, and smoke, year, the city of Seattle has undertaken a project to provide residents with a place to go to get out of smoke-filled air. City officials in Seattle have invested in 5 facilities with free clean and cool air for residents if and when wildfires fill local skies with smoke this summer. Seattle is retrofitting 5 facilities that had central cooling with advanced air filtration systems. These systems will be able to filter out microscopic particulates of 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller (PM2.5), which are especially dangerous for children, elderly people, and those with heart or respiratory conditions.

Seattle smoke August 21, 2018Seattle Seattle experienced the worst smoke ever (PM2.5 of 110 μg/m3) on August 21, 2018. This level is well above what the EPA considers "unhealthy for all" (PM2.5 = 55 μg/m3). Photo courtesy of Dan Jaffe.

Low-cost air quality sensors will also be installed at these and other city facilities to measure the air quality both inside and outside. Alex Margarito, a 2019 UW Bothell Chemistry graduate, and Rebecca Rickett, a UW Bothell Biochemistry major, are working with Seattle Parks and Recreation along with Dr. Dan Jaffe to monitor and analyze the air quality. This research will give Seattle better information about the benefits of enhanced air filtration during smoke events.

Joelle Hammerstad, sustainable operations manager at Seattle Parks and Recreation, is pleased that the city is working with Dr. Jaffe, Margarito, and Rickett on analyzing the data from the low-cost sensors. “I had no idea how complex that process was,” Hammerstad said. “I’m bowled over by how intelligent, hardworking and passionate those young people are, and I’m so excited that Dr. Jaffe is open to partnering with us.”

Read more on the UW Bothell website.

Read more on the Washington Post website.

New research by Dr. Peter Anderson and Alex Lind predicts drug activity against cancer cells

July 16, 2019

Predicting the best drug therapy for individual cancer patients is often difficult. Because cancer cells vary genomically, it is hard to know how one person’s cancer cells will respond to specific drugs. The recently published research of Dr. Peter Anderson and UWB recent graduate Alex Lind offers a well-needed method for accurately matching drugs to specific patients.

They integrated recent screening data and machine learning to generate models that accurately predict the activities of small-molecule drugs against cancer cells based on a limited quantity of genomic mutation data. By leveraging the large quantity of publicly available screening data, they were able to develop computational models that “(i) are applicable to a broad range of cancer types, (ii) require only a minimal amount of experimental data to train and apply, and (iii) involve a non-parametric, well-validated machine learning technique that is simple to implement 'out of the box' for clinicians and researchers.” The random forests model they used accurately predicts the activities of drugs against a specific cancer cell line if the mutation status of at least the 50 most relevant oncogenes (a mutated form of a gene involved in cell growth, which can cause the growth of cancer cells) of the cell line has been determined.

This research has enormous potential for use in personalized oncology medicine, drug repurposing, and drug discovery.

Read the paper in PLOS here.

Student end-of-year awards for 2019!

June 7 2019

Physical science division student awards 2019Physical Sciences Division student awards ceremony, June 7, 2019. Pictured (left to right): Dr. Dan Jaffe, division chair; Joline Nguyen, Marisa Brandys, Mikkie Musser, James Bensen, UWB Chancellor Bjong Wolf Yeigh, Alex Margarito-Lopez, and Sukhjit Kaur.

Graduating students in Physics and Chemistry were celebrated at an awards ceremony on July 7, 2019. Seven students received end-of-year awards:

  • James Bensen and Alex Lind—The Physics and Chemistry graduates, respectively, with the highest academic-year GPA for 2019 graduates in their program.
  • Marisa Brandys, Alex Margarito-Lopez, and Mikkie Musser—Graduates who made a positive impact on the Chemistry and Physics programs through achievements in areas such as mentoring, service, scholarship, and research.
  • Sukhjit Kaur and Joline Nguyen—PSD Chair's Summer Undergraduate Research Award winners, who will receive funding to continue their research in the summer. Sukhjit will continue her work on gravitational wave astronomy with Dr. Joey Key. Joline will continue her chemistry research with Dr. Hyung Kim.

NANOGrav for Kids article edited by Dr. Joey Key

June 7, 2019

If you need a basic introduction to NANOGrav (North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational waves) and the future of gravitational wave astronomy, check out the new article on Frontiers for Young Minds. Written by Dr. Stephen R. Taylor of the California Institute of Technology and edited by UW Bothell's Dr. Joey Shapiro Key, you can learn about all things NANOGrav—from neutron stars and black holes to pulsar-timing arrays.

Read the full article here: Catching Gravitational Waves with a Galaxy-Sized Net of Pulsars

It's Astronomy Day! May 30, 6pm Discovery Vista

May 30, 2019

Astronomy-Day-poster.jpgThe Introduction to Astronomy Students are throwing an astronomy party and all are invited! Come learn about everything astronomy from the solar system to black holes.

Astronomy Day—Thursday May 30, 6-7:30 pm

Discovery Hall Vista and Room 162

Awards ceremony—June 7, 3:30pm, Makerspace

May 29, 2019

Join us as we celebrate the end of the year and award winners in chemistry and physics. Awards will be given out to 5 graduating seniors:

  • Marisa Brandys, Alex Margarito-Lopez, and Mikkie Musser—Graduates who have made a positive impact on the Chemistry and Physics programs through achievements in areas such as mentoring, service, scholarship, and research.
  • James Bensen—The Physics graduate with the highest academic year GPA among 2019 Physics graduates.
  • Alex Lind—The Chemistry graduate with the highest academic year GPA among 2019 Chemistry graduates.

Two undergraduates will also receive research awards:

  • Joline Nguyen and Sukhjit Kaur—PSD Chair's Summer Undergraduate Research Award winners. They will receive funding that will enable them to continue their research in the summer.

Congratulations to the award winners! Please come to cheer on your fellow students and celebrate everyone's success.

  • Physical Sciences Division End-of-Year Awards Ceremony
  • June 7, 3:30pm
  • MakerspaceDiscovery Hall, 1st floor, Room 152
  • Refreshments will be served.

Dr. Rachel Scherr becomes PhysTEC Fellow

May 6, 2019

##Dr. Rachel E. Scherr, Assistant Professor of Physics, has been named as a fellow of the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC), to recognize and support her efforts with a team of colleagues to create a physics and physical science teacher preparation program at UW Bothell. As a PhysTEC Fellow, Scherr will participate in a national network of faculty creating and improving physics teacher education at their own institutions.

“High school physics teaching is a terrific career: It connects you to students and your community, it’s intellectually very challenging, and there is tremendous demand for it,” says Scherr. According to the U.S. Department of Education, physics, biology, chemistry, and earth and space science are all Teacher Shortage Areas for the state of Washington.

Scherr is collaborating with Drs. Antony Smith and Carrie Tzou in the School of Educational Studies as they create UWB’s new secondary science teacher education program. This program will include a pathway for UWB students to obtain both a physics major and teacher certification as undergraduates. UWB will be one of the only institutions in the greater Seattle area to offer such a cost-effective option. Another pathway to physics teacher certification will be a flexible post-baccalaureate program for science majors.

Dr. Scherr has been deeply engaged with research and evaluation of physics teacher education programs at the national level for several years. She also has a long history working directly with current and future physics teachers in summer professional development courses. Scherr is also the creator of Periscope, a widely used online resource to support physics educator development.

NEW Earth System Science major launches!

April 23, 2019

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the joint School of STEM–School of IAS Earth System Science degree program beginning Autumn 2019! ESS-Major-Flyer.jpg This interdisciplinary major is an ideal fit for students who want to explore the intersection of critical geophysical, biogeochemical, and socio-environmental processes that address the challenges of living on a rapidly changing planet.

Find out more on the ESS website and check out courses now listed under the new B Earth designation in the Time Schedule (more courses will be transitioning to this prefix soon).

Dr. Rachel Scherr named Outstanding Referee by American Physical Society

March 28, 2019

The American Physical Society has honored Dr. Rachel E. Scherr, UWB Assistant Professor of Physics, with the designation of Outstanding Referee for her exceptional work in the assessment of manuscripts published in the Physical Review journals. This lifetime award, presented annually to selected current referees, recognizes the efforts of these individuals to maintain the high standards of the journals and help authors improve the quality and readability of their articles. Dr. Scherr is recognized for her outstanding service to the physics community.

The American Physical Society is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy and international activities.  APS represents over 55,000 members, including scientists and professionals in physics-related disciplines in academia, national laboratories, government, and industry in the United States and throughout the world. 

Quasars at McMenamins Pub Night, March 26

March 11, 2019

Join Dr. Paola Rodríguez Hidalgo, assistant professor of Physics, to learn about quasars at McMenamins Pub Night Talk, Anderson School, Bothell, March 26. Learn how researchers are using data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to better understand these luminous objects and the universe.

Learn more here.

Engaging the public through a science-art festival—Learn more in this new paper

March 5, 2019

Dr. Joey Shapiro Key, assistant professor of Physics, is a coauthor of  "Facilitating scientific engagement through a science-art festival," a new paper published in the International Journal of Science Education. In this paper, Dr. Key and her coauthors, Dr. Irene Grimberg and Dr. Kathryn Williamson, describe the impact of three Celebrating Einstein festivals held in different regions of the US in 2013. Their results indicate that participants' knowledge of and interest in science significantly increased through the science-art format of these festivals.

Read the paper here

UWB Women in Physics and Astronomy club receives grant

February 6, 2019

UWB Women in Physics and Astronomy logoThe UW Bothell Women in Physics and Astronomy (WiPA) club has received a monetary grant from the American Physics Society! The grant was awarded by the APS’s Committee on the Status of Women in Physics and provides support to selected undergraduate groups geared towards recruiting and supporting women students of physics.

Plan to attend the WiPA's next meeting—February 14, 2pm, Discovery Hall 368.

Learn more about the Women in Physics and Astronomy (WiPA) club

Physics students and faculty at the American Astronomical Society annual meeting

January 18, 2019

Gravitational Wave Astronomy student outreach event at AASUWB Physics students (standing, center) Wynter Broussard, Andrew Clark, and Hannah Preisinger led gravitational wave astronomy activities at a student outreach event at the American Astronomical Society annual meeting.

UWB Physics students and faculty presented research, organized sessions, and led workshops at the American Astronomical Society annual meeting in Seattle, January 6-10, 2019.

Presentations by UWB students and faculty included (persons from UWB are in bold):

  • A Noise Model Portrait of PSR J1944+0907 in the NANOGrav 11yr Dataset, Min Young Kim; Jeffrey S. Hazboun
  • Bayesian Monitoring of Solar Electron Density using NANOGrav Data Sets, Jeffrey S. Hazboun
  • Recipe for a Pulsar: Using the NANOGrav Pulsar Signal Simulator as a Teaching Tool, Kyle Gersbach; Jeffrey S. Hazboun
  • An Acoustical Analogue of a Galactic-scale Gravitational-Wave Detector, Michael T. Lam; Joseph D. Romano; Joey S. Key; Marc Normandin; Jeffrey S. Hazboun
  • Extreme Mass Ratio Inspiral (EMRI) Search Techniques for the LISA Mission, Joey S. Key
  • NANOGrav Space Public Outreach Team (SPOT), Joey S. Key; Tyson Littenberg; Jessica Page
  • Gravitational Waves from Cosmic String Cusps and Kinks, Andrew Clark; Joey S. Key
  • Searching for Trends in Atmospheric Compositions of Extrasolar Planets, Kassandra Weber; Paola Rodríguez Hidalgo
  • Extremely High Velocity Outflows in Quasars, Paola Rodríguez Hidalgo

Workshops hosted by UWB students and faculty included (persons from UWB are in bold):

  • Adding LISA to Your Astronomy Tool Box, Shane Larson; Joey S. Key; Jeffrey S. Hazboun; Quentin S. Baghi; Kelly Holley-Bockelmann
  • Gravitational Wave Astronomy activities for the local student outreach event, Hannah Preisinger; Wynter Broussard; Andrew Clark; Quentin S. Baghi

Welcome to Physics faculty Dr. Rachel Scherr!

January 10, 2019

Dr. Rachel Scherr, UWB Physics assistant professorWelcome to our newest faculty member, Dr. Rachel Scherr, Assistant Professor in Physics Education Research! Dr. Scherr comes to UWB from Seattle Pacific University. We have a feeling she is a Husky at heart, having received her PhD in physics from the University of Washington in 2001. She has been studying the teaching and learning of physics for over 20 years and was recently made a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

What excites you about coming to UW Bothell? I am excited to be at a lively, fast-growing place with so many new colleagues and opportunities for collaboration. I especially look forward to teaching and doing research with undergraduates, since for many years I have only worked with grad students. My goal is to create and study great physics learning experiences in collaboration with plenty of fascinating colleagues, both faculty and students. And I love the crows!

What would you like students to know about you? To me, learning is a process of growth through which the “seeds” of early ideas mature to become more sophisticated. A good class is one that provides favorable conditions for ideas to grow. It is not about loading students with information, and it is not about sorting students into who is and is not fit for physics. I would like students to know that we’re all there to help learning happen for each other.

What was your most memorable experience while you were in college? For my senior thesis I did a year-long physics experiment in which the goal was to create controlled chaos (that’s a technical term) in a tiny little ball that bounced on a vibrating surface. Very late in the year, my advisor and I realized together that the particular thing we were trying to do was theoretically impossible. Instead of panicking, my advisor guided me to rewrite my thesis to describe what we had accomplished – never mind that it was not what we had originally intended to accomplish. The biggest change was the title of my thesis! To this day I am so grateful to my advisor, not only for preventing me from feeling like a failure, but for what turned out to be an extremely valuable research lesson. I now have quite an extensive research history and to be honest, there have been very few projects in which I have done what I originally set out to do. I now know to ask myself very openly: What have we learned? What have we demonstrated? What has been worthwhile about this work? If I’m surprised by the answers, so much the better.

What is your favorite book or the last good one you read? I read for fun, I read when there’s something I want to learn, and I read when I want to expand my perspective. Right now I’m reading a young-adult adventure novel that my kid is reading for school, a book that applies the principles of the Slow Food movement to academia, and a memoir of a homeschooled survivalist who decides to become educated. I love young adult fiction and keep a list of the really great YA fiction I’ve read.

How can students get involved in doing research with you? Please come talk to me! Physics education is a terrific area for undergraduate research. There’s a wonderful sense of purpose in making physics learning better for students like yourself. Participating in physics education research deepens your physics knowledge, so that you are better prepared for upper-division classes or high-stakes exams. You may get the chance to teach the course you are studying, which enriches the research experience as well as providing the benefits of learning about teaching. Finally, physics education research is a rich context in which to practice identifying a good research question or claim; recognizing what kinds of evidence would answer that question or address that claim: distinguishing observation from inference; and assembling a strong case out of appropriate evidence. I love research collaboration, including positive, growth-oriented feedback on abstracts, blog posts, slides, posters, and short papers that students produce.

Dr. Scherr's office is located in UW 2 Room 332. Her email is rescherr@uw.edu.

Winter 2019 Seminar series, Wednesdays 3:45 pm

January 8, 2019

The Physical Sciences Division Winter Seminar series begins on January 9. Please join us in UW 2 Room 221!

Winter 2019 UW Chem seminar Dr. Suzuki flyerDr. Ed Suzuki, Supervising Forensic Scientist at the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, Seattle, will be the first speaker. He will describe chemistry applications in a forensic science laboratory in the “real world” and present several case examples, including some high profile local and national cases.



Full seminar schedule

UW2 Room 221    Wednesdays  3:45 pm

  • Jan 9  Dr. Ed Suzuki, Supervising Forensic Scientist, Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory, Analytical chemistry in the forensic science laboratory
  • Jan 16  Dr. Dan Jaffe, Professor UWB, atmospheric chemistry
  • Jan 23 Dr. Lori Robins, Associate Professor UWB, biochemistry
  • Jan 30 Kathryn Corp, UW Seattle PhD candidate in Chemistry, exploring the excited state manifold of organic photocatalysts using pump-push-probe spectroscopy
  • Feb 6 Bob Bucher, Senior Waste Water Engineer, Office of Sustainability and Innovation Technology Assessment Program, King County Wastewater Treatment Division
  • Feb 13 Student Presentations, presentations by UWB students working in faculty research labs
  • Feb 20 Michael Nevala, chemist, UWB Class of 2016, Veolia Nuclear Solutions, Hanford site cleanup: Unique chemistry challenges
  • Feb 27 Dr. Peter Anderson, Assistant Professor UWB, computational chemistry
  • March 6 Dr. Joel Thornton, Professor UW Seattle, College of the Environment, atmospheric science
  • March 13 Dr. Hakan Gurleyuk, Brooks Applied Labs

Marisa Brandys awarded ACS scholarship

January 7, 2019

Marisa Brandys ACS scholarship winner 2018UWB Biochemistry major Marisa Brandys received an American Chemical Society (ACS) Scholar award. Marisa's faculty mentor is Chemistry professor Dr. Hyung Kim. This $5,000 scholarship is awarded based on academic record, career objective, leadership, school activities and research, and community service. Well done, Marisa!

The ACS awards renewable scholarships to 350 students annually as part of its ACS Scholars Program. These scholarships support underrepresented minority students majoring in chemistry-related fields who are intending to pursue careers in chemistry.

New paper by Dr. Camas Key explores the conductivity of bismuth telluride

December 18, 2018

Dr. Camas Key, UWB Physics part-time lecturer, and his coauthors recently published a paper on the conductivity of mechanically activated bismuth telluride ( Bi2Te3) in the Journal of Electronic Materials. Their research demonstrates that by using mechanical treatment the Seebeck coefficient for bismuth telluride can be tuned. They also described how the physical properties of bismuth telluride (e.g., particle size, crystal structure, and electrical and thermal conductivity) are impacted by mechanical activation of Bi2Te3.

Read the paper on the journal website

How scientists search for gravitational waves

October 25, 2018

Dr. Joey Shapiro Key, assistant professor, and Dr. Jeffrey Hazboun, post-doctoral research associate, along with other members of the NANOGrav Collaboration, describe how scientists are trying to detect gravitational waves in a new paper in the American Journal of Physics. Scientists use the observed millisecond pulses of pulsars as a way to measure time very precisely and accurately. Pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars, which emit narrow beams of radio waves. From years of observations, astronomers have developed models of radio-pulse arrival times to predict when pulses from a pulsar will arrive at the Earth. By looking at the correlation of radio-pulse arrival times between sets of pulsars, scientists can detect when low-frequency gravitational waves pass by the Earth or the pulsars.

To illustrate the techniques used to search for and detect gravitational waves, the authors developed an educational demonstration using metronomes and a microphone. The paper includes detailed instructions for replicating this demonstration in the classroom.

Read about the Pulsar Timing Array Metronome Demo

Read the paper in the American Journal of Physics

Gravitational wave astronomy headed to new level

October 16, 2018

Dr. Joey Shapiro Key, UWB Physics assistant professor, and Dr. Tyson Littenberg, NASA astrophysicist, describe the exciting growth of gravitational wave astronomy in a new article in American Scientist. Gravitational wave astronomy is only in its infancy—the first detection of gravitational waves and the first observation of the collision and merger of black holes occurred in 2015. The field is growing rapidly with the addition of new detectors and new data handling systems. The twin Laser
Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO)
detectors, which made the initial gravitational wave detection in 2015, will be joined by new detectors such as the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). Beginning in the 2030s, LISA will use laser interferometry in space to observe gravitational waves. These detectors, along with others in Europe, Japan, and India, have placed astrophysicists on the brink of new discoveries of gravitational wave sources.

Read the full article to learn more about gravitational wave astronomy

Introducing Dr. Paola Rodríguez Hidalgo, Assistant Professor of Physics

October 4, 2018

New UW Bothell Physics Assistant Professor Dr. Paola Rodríguez HidalgoIn September, the Physics faculty grew with the welcome addition of Dr. Paola Rodríguez Hidalgo. And now's your chance to get to know our newest faculty member!

What would you like students to know about you? My favorite part of my job is working together with students. I love teaching and learning in all environments: in large and small classes, one-on-one during office hours, and in research groups. I love learning together with my students.

What was your most memorable experience while you were in college? Doing research for the first time. I went to Canary Islands for the last part of my undergraduate program (specialization in Astrophysics) and I loved taking classes with real researchers in the field. During my first visit to the telescopes where we carried out research I realized this was it, this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

What are you excited about living in Seattle/Bothell? Everything! Meeting new people, exploring everything the city has to offer, and getting to know the community at Bothell.

How do you get to campus? I live downtown in Seattle. Some days I drive, some days I take the bus. I love public transportation, and I try to take it as much as possible.

Do you have a favorite new restaurant? I love Szechuan food, but I haven't found my favorite restaurant here yet... I am taking any suggestions...!

Do you follow a sport or sports team? Fútbol! I follow mostly the world cup and the UEFA Euro championship. During the world cup, if you want to watch a game, let me know!

How can students get involved in doing research with you? Please approach me! I have several research groups that I am getting ready for UWB students: in one we study quasars and how super-massive black holes might interact with their host galaxies, in another extrasolar planets' atmospheres looking for trends and biosignatures, and in the last one we study how we can improve Astronomy education through service learning. There is room for all kind of students: from first year to senior, both Physics and non-Physics majors, knowledgeable in computers and newbies. Besides learning to carry out Astronomy research, you will learn a myriad of important skills that are essential in any kind of future job.

Learn more about Dr. Paola Rodríguez Hidalgo on her UWB faculty page

Register now—Pauling Medal Award Symposium, Nov 17

October 3, 2018

Registration for the Pauling Medal Award Symposium ( November 17 at UW Bothell) is now open. The symposium and following reception are free and open to the public. At the event, Dr. Geraldine Richmond of the University of Oregon will be presented with the Pauling Medal for her outstanding achievement in chemistry. The Symposium will include student poster presentations and presentations by featured speakers:

Please register by November 9.

Register for the Symposium and/or purchase Banquet tickets

2018 Linus Pauling Medal Award website

Research by Dr. Raquel Lorente-Plazas and Dr. Eric Salathé describes the effects of atmospheric rivers on regional precipitation

September 26, 2018

Postdoctoral research associate Dr. Raquel Lorente-Plazas and Associate Professor Dr. Eric Salathé investigated how atmospheric rivers, elongated regions of water-vapor transport over the ocean, affect precipitation in the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. These regions are close to each other but approximately one-third of the time do not experience the same extreme precipitation events. Their findings complicate the simple argument that climate change yields a direct increase in heavy precipitation with warming. This research has important implications for climate change projections and local planning directed at reducing flood risk.

This research was recently published in the Journal of Hydrometeorology and will also be featured as a paper of note in an upcoming issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS).

Read the full paper on the journal website.

Summary of the paper (to appear in BAMS):

Local Enhancement of Extreme Precipitation during Atmospheric Rivers as Simulated in a Regional Climate Model

Flooding from heavy precipitation poses significant threats to public health, ecosystems, and economic resources. Globally, extreme precipitation is projected to increase with climate change at about the same rate as global means water vapor following the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship. Atmospheric rivers are an important weather pattern for heavy precipitation and flood risk. These events are elongated regions of water-vapor transport over the ocean occurring in many regions worldwide. As for the global mean, recent modeling studies find that heavy precipitation during atmospheric rivers is likely to become more intense with climate change. However, observational studies find many characteristics of atmospheric rivers affect the regional precipitation distribution. At the decision-making scale, the connection between extreme precipitation, weather systems, and climate is less clear, and for a local planning, it may not be adequate to assert that flooding associated with atmospheric rivers is projected to increase with climate change. The details – how heavy precipitation is distributed across a region for a particular atmospheric river event – could substantially alter this narrative.

To better understand the ways terrain affects the distribution of heavy precipitation, we analyzed regional climate model simulations of the recent past for the U.S. Pacific Northwest.  Our first step was to apply objective clustering to identify regions with distinct timing of precipitation within the domain. We found that daily precipitation in the Pacific Northwest is characterized by many small regions of coherent variability. These regions reflect a primary north-south clustering from the atmospheric rivers and finer disaggregation around the terrain. In particular, precipitation events on windward and lee slopes of mountain ranges have distinct timing.

To better understand the mechanisms contributing to these contrasts, we selected one pair of clusters, the Olympic mountains and Puget Sound, to analyze in detail. Of the days with strongest precipitation, approximately 2/3 coincided while 1/3 were unique to each location. Days with coincident heavy precipitation were classic atmospheric river events with substantial integrated water vapor transport extending from the subtropical Pacific. Days with heavy precipitation only over the Olympics were also atmospheric rivers, but weaker and with a less stable vertical column, yielding a stronger rainshadow effect—enhanced uplift and descent passing over the terrain—than the more stable common events. In contrast, days with heavy precipitation only over Puget Sound occurred with more zonal flow and greater stability than typical atmospheric rivers.

Thus, while moisture was comparable for all events, the winds and vertical profile resulted in heavy precipitation in very different regions. This result has important implications for climate change projections since it complicates the simple argument that climate change yields a direct increase in heavy precipitation with warming. In fact, changes in the vertical structure of the atmosphere or in the orientation of storms, which are a reasonable expectation with climate change, may have an important impact on the places most susceptible to heavy precipitation during large-scale events like atmospheric rivers.


Autumn Seminar series, Wednesdays 3:30 pm

September 25, 2018

The Physical Sciences Division 2018 Seminar series kicks off on September 26 with presentations by UWB student researchers. Elyssa Roeder, Anchala Krishnan, and Mikkie Musser will share about the research projects they worked on during the summer. Please join us!

SSG Conservatory    Wednesdays  3:30 pm

  • Sept 26  Student summer research: Elyssa Roeder—Studying Surface Defects Within Niobium-Doped Strontium Titanate Thin Films; Anchala Krishnan—Post-critically Finite Self-similar Sets; and Mikkie Musser—Student Research Physics Lab
  • Oct 3  Natalie Klco, UW
  • Oct 10  Meredith Fore, UW
  • Oct 17  Kimberly Schlesinger, RealSelf
  • Oct 24  Jeff Kissel, LIGO Hanford Observatory
  • Oct 31  Erin Hill, UWB
  • Nov 7  Gianpaolo Carosi, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Nov 14  Jomardee Perkins, EOSpace
  • Nov 21  Paola Rodriguez Hidalgo, UWB
  • Nov 28  Tyson Littenberg, Marshall Space Flight Center
  • Dec 5  Jeff Hazboun, UWB

Dr. Lori Robins lab addresses global sanitation

August 31, 2018

Dr. Lori Robins and students and Briotech employees review research results

Robins Lab researchers and Briotech employees reviewing research results. From left: David Shur (UWB student), Lori Robins, Joseph McKinley (UWB student), Jeff Williams (Briotech), and Dan Terry (Briotech). (Photo by Marc Studer)

A new Robins lab research project takes aim at the foul odors given off by pit toilets. This work developing a disinfectant that reduces odors could improve sanitation around the world. Earlier this year, Dr. Robins, associate professor of chemistry, received a grant from the National institute of Health to study how to use hypochlorous acid produced by Briotech to target this issue.

Read more about this research on the UW Bothell News website

Research by Dr. Crystal McClure and Dr. Dan Jaffe shows US air quality improves except in wildfire-prone Northwest

August 7, 2018

Recent research published by Dr. Crystal McClure and Dr. Dan Jaffe shows how wildfire smoke is eroding our air quality gains in the Northwest US. Their paper, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), analyzed particulate matter (PM2.5) data from rural monitoring sites across the contiguous US for 1988–2016. They found a decreasing trend in PM2.5, and cleaner air, around the country except for in the Northwest, where there is a positive PM2.5 trend. This positive trend is associated with total carbon, a marker for wildfires.

The figure below shows trends in PM2.5 for 1988–2016 for the 98th quantile, that is, the seven highest days. In most of the Northwest (red and orange areas), these days are getting worse, while most of the country has improving air quality trends (purple, blue, and green areas).

##The 98th Quantile Regression of PM2.5 trends. Observed PM trends for 1988–2016 (calculated using QR methods) from IMPROVE sites are shown by black dots with corresponding values in µg·m−3·y−1. Krige-interpolated values (calculated from observed data) are shown by the color ramp. Solid black lines with arrows (indicating direction) show the boundary where the Krige-interpolated PM2.5 trends within have a 90% probability of being positive or negative. Of the 157 sites, 92 show statistical significance (8 positive/84 negative).

This new research has been garnering a lot of press since its publication:

Read the paper's abstract on the PNAS website

Dr. Crystal McClure was a member of the Jaffe Research Group at UW Bothell and recently completed her PhD in Atmospheric Sciences at UW Seattle. She is now postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Davis, where she continues research on wildfire chemistry. Dr. Dan Jaffe is a professor at UW Bothell and chair of the Physical Sciences Division in the School of STEM.

The Pauling Medal winner is announced!

July 30, 2018

The 2018 Pauling Medal Award winner is Professor Geraldine Richmond (http://richmondscience.uoregon.edu/) of the University of Oregon. The 2018 Pauling Medal Award Symposium will take place on Saturday, November 17, 2018, on the campus of the University of Washington Bothell. More details and registration to follow in September.

The Linus Pauling Medal recognizes outstanding achievement in chemistry and is presented annually by the PortlandPuget Sound, and Oregon Sections of the American Chemical Society. The award is named after Dr. Linus Pauling, a native of the Pacific Northwest, because of the inspiration of his example. Information on past Pauling Medal recipients can be found on The Pauling Blog.

See Professor Richmond's website

Research by Andrew Collins and Dr. Peter Anderson reveals binding-folding pathways of intrinsically disordered proteins

July 23, 2018

A new paper in Biochemistry by Andrew Collins, a 2018 UW Bothell graduate in Biochemistry, and Dr. Peter Anderson, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, describes how they used computer simulations to study the binding-folding pathways of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs). The pathways of IDPs are difficult to study using experimental methods but Collins and Dr. Anderson were able to study them at high resolution using molecular dynamics simulations and Markov state modeling. They were able to map the complete binding-folding pathway of a model IDP, the 59-residue C-terminal portion of the DNA binding domain of D. melanogaster nuclear repressor Brinker (BrkDBD).



Individual top five BrkDBD binding−folding pathways from the 70-macrostate Markov state model (MSM). The top five pathways account for 71% of the total folding flux. The numbers on the bottom indicate pathway numbers and flux for each pathway. Blue numbers indicate state numbers within the MSM.

Read the paper's abstract in the journal Biochemistry

Graduates shoot for the stars

July 15, 2018

UW Bothell graduates 2018On June 10, the amazing Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physics graduates  of 2018 celebrated their commencement with 1,919 fellow graduates at Safeco Field. This year's graduates numbered:

Biochemistry 21 (an increase of 11 from 2017)

Chemistry 4 (double the number from 2017)

Physics 10 (a fivefold increase from 2017)

Hats and caps off to these outstanding graduates! We wish you great success as you shoot for the stars.

Physics graduate Jomardee Perkins shows off her cap with Mechanical Engineering graduate Urooj Qureshi. (Jomardee will be putting her Physics training to use as a test engineer at EOSPACE!)

Capstone presentations 2018

July 5, 2018

Capstone Physics student presenters and advisor 2018Physics Capstone presenters and Physics advisor

North Creek Events Center was crowded with poster displays and oral presentations could be heard all over campus for the School of STEM Spring Capstone Symposium on June 8, 2018. The Capstone Symposium is a venue for STEM students to present the results of their research projects.

Capstone Chemistry presenters and facultyChemistry Capstone presenters along with Chemistry faculty and advisor

Research posters were presented by 28 Chemistry and Physics students. Ten Chemistry and Physics students gave oral presentations:

  • Toxic secret (I): the hunt for carbon monoxide in bull kelp of the PNW, Arielle Benyo, Amy Eunson, Christine Lee, and Melissa Tse; Dr. Hyung Kim, faculty advisor
  • Toxic secret (II): exploring for the source of carbon monoxide in the bull-whip kelp of the PNW, Brandon Shibuya and Alex Sullivan; Dr. Hyung Kim, faculty advisor
  • Health effects of air pollutants, Rachel McCue; Dr. Daniel Jaffe, faculty advisor
  • Trends in air PM2.5 air pollution, Yat Cheung Wu; Dr. Daniel Jaffe, faculty advisor 
  • European model of pancreaticoduodenectomy procedure validation, Andrew Collins; Dr. Daniel Jaffe, faculty advisor
  • The NANOGrav Space Public Outreach Team, Darren Hunt; Dr. Joey Shapiro Key, faculty advisor

Dr. Lori Robins researches an innovative way to improve global health

July 3, 2018

Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Lori Robins has received a grant from the National Institute of Health to develop a remedy for one of the reasons people are reluctant to use toilets and latrines—foul odors. She and her research students will focus on the development of a safe and effective disinfectant that reduces these foul odors and, thereby, encourages the use of toilets and latrines.

Poor sanitation in developing countries contributes to the transmission of human noroviruses. This is due to a lack of toilet and pit latrines in developing countries, the cultural acceptance of open defecation, and the prevailing reluctance to use toilets and pit latrines as a result of foul odors. Human noroviruses are the major cause of non-bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide. Transmission of human noroviruses can occur from person-to-person or via contact with contaminated surfaces, water, food, or airborne processes caused by toilet flushing or bodily excretions. 

To date, there are no effective treatments for human noroviruses, which are resistant to common disinfectants and are challenging targets for the development of vaccines. To prevent the transmission of human noroviruses and improve global health, there is an urgent need for a safe and effective disinfectant.  Dr. Robins and her undergraduate researchers are working to encourage the use of toilets and pit latrines in developing countries by means of modification of the malodorous compounds found near toilets and latrines by aerosolized hypochlorous acid. This measure will also reduce user exposure to infectious disease hazards and improve and sanitation worldwide.

Outstanding Chemistry graduates

June 28, 2018

Chemistry graduate awards 2018

The Chemistry faculty with outstanding Chemistry graduates (front row, left to right) Arielle Nicole Benyo, Andrew Collins, and Fong N. Liew.

Chemistry graduate award winner Fatima ElwalidThe Chemistry faculty honored four outstanding Chemistry majors from the 2018 graduating class at the Capstone Symposium on June 8, 2018. Fong N. Liew was recognized for outstanding academics for the highest GPA in the Chemistry graduating class. Arielle Nicole Benyo, Andrew Collins, and Fatima Elwalid were honored as outstanding graduates in Chemistry in recognition of their excellence in scholarship and service. Hats off to Andrew, Arielle, Fatima, and Fong!

Fatima Elwalid, outstanding Chemistry graduate

Chair's 2018 summer undergraduate research awards

June 15, 2018

The 2nd annual Physical Sciences Division Chair's Summer Undergraduate Research Awards have been presented to 3 excellent undergraduates. These grants will enable the students to pursue research over the summer. Congratulations to these outstanding students!

Dr. Hyung Kim and Marisa BrandysMarisa Brandys, a Biochemistry major mentored by Dr. Hyung Kim, will work on the biochemical characterization of cytochromes involved in the electron transport chain of the nitrification cycle using spectroscopic techniques.


Dr. Joey Shapiro Key and Mikkie MusserMikkie Musser, a Physics major mentored by Dr. Joey Shapiro Key, will measure the coefficient of thermal expansion for materials using the laser interferometer. She will master the basics of laser interferometry and connect her work to laser interferometer gravitational wave detector techniques, LIGO, and the UWB Gravitational Wave Astronomy research group.


Dr. Lori Robins and Tim XuTim Xu, a Biochemistry major mentored by Dr. Lori Robins, will overexpress and purify homing endonucleases for gene targeting. He will look at enzyme activity and DNA strand specificity for a variety of wildtype and variant homing endonucleases.


Physics major Jomardee Perkins awarded Founders Fellow Research Scholarship

May 2018

Jomardee-Perkins-5-2018-(3).jpgJomardee Perkins, a senior Physics major, was awarded a 2018 Founders Fellow Research Scholarship. Ms. Perkins's research project is entitled Classifying Transient Noise in LIGO Data Using Detector Characterization Tools. She is mentored by Dr. Joey Shapiro Key.

The Founders Fellows Research Scholarships recognize undergraduate research students at UWB and allow recipients to focus more time and attention on their research, scholarship, and creative activity.

Read about the 2018 UWB Founders Fellows

New Sigma Pi Sigma (physics honor society) inductees

May 14, 2018

Sigma Pi Sigma induction certificates May 2018Seven outstanding UW Bothell Physics majors were inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma, the honor society for physics students, on April 23, 2018. The new inductees are Gogo Huang, Cheng Qian, Matthew Marriott, Tija Tippett, Daniel McKnight, Ernie Enkhzaya, and Jomardee Perkins. They are shown in the photo below, along with UWB Physics Lecturer Dr. Erin Hill, who was also inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma.

The UWB chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma began in 2017. Sigma Pi Sigma exists to honor outstanding scholarship in physics, to encourage interest in physics, to promote service, and to provide fellowship.

Sigma Pi Sigma new inductees May 2018(Photo, left to right) Gogo Huang, Cheng Qian, Matthew Marriott, Tija Tippett, Daniel McKnight, Ernie Enkhzaya, Dr. Erin Hill, and Jomardee Perkins

Job openings for Chemistry graduates at Brooks Applied Labs

May 1, 2018

Brooks Applied Labs in Bothell has new openings for entry-level chemists. If you are a Chemistry or Biochemistry graduate or graduating senior with an interest in analytical or environmental chemistry, this is a great opportunity for you. Brooks is particularly interested in hiring qualified UWB graduates. 

Physics students attend Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics

April 25 2018

Students and assistant professor Joey Shapiro Key at CUWiP 2018Four UW Bothell students were inspired at the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP), January 12-14, 2018, at the University of Oregon. The goal of CUWiP, a program of the American Physical Society, is to help guide undergraduate women in physics with the professional skills, knowledge and support they need about graduate school and professions within the field.

Photo, left to right:  Jemini Abides, Elyssa Roeder, Assistant Professor Dr. Joey Shapiro Key, Jomardee Perkins, and Layla Amin

Jemini Abides, Layla Amin, Jomardee Perkins, and Elyssa Roeder participated in poster sessions, panel discussions, and workshops on topics such as how to success in graduate school and overcoming impostor syndrome in a male dominant field. “The most lasting impression from the conference came from the repeated topic of impostor syndrome,” said Abides. “I became more aware of the significance of impostor syndrome in the field of physics and learned new skills to press forward from the fear.”

At the conference, Perkins presented a poster on her research—“Characterizing Transient Noise in LIGO Data.” She summed up the conference: “Throughout this conference, I’ve gained many skills that’ll help me overcome barriers in physics. One is to never stop networking when the opportunity comes. This is why this conference was made for women in such a competitive field, to give women a little bit of courage, empowerment and confidence to know that we too can succeed in science.”

Dr. Dan Jaffe's research group kicks off 2018 with 3 new papers

March 13, 2018

The research group of Chemistry Professor Dr. Dan Jaffe started off 2018 with the publication of 3 new papers in peer-reviewed journals:

March 27—Join Dr. Joey Key at McMenamins to learn about LIGO, black holes & the universe

March 7, 2018

UWB Physics Assistant Professor Dr. Joey Key will be giving the  March Pub Night Talk at McMenamins, Bothell. This free event is open to the public and for all ages. Come and learn about peering deeper into the cosmos than ever before!

  • Tuesday March 27, 6 pm doors open, 7 pm program
  • McMenamins Anderson School, Haynes' Hall
  • 18607 Bothell Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011

Dr. Charity Lovitt, keynote speaker at STEM education conference

March 1, 2018

Chemistry lecturer Charity Lovitt with students

Dr. Charity Lovitt meeting with students. (Photo: Marc Studer)

Chemistry Lecturer Dr. Charity Lovitt will take the podium as the keynote speaker at the 2018 Washington Industrial Technology Education Association (WITEA) conference on March 8 in Wenatchee. This year's "for Teachers by Teachers" spring conference is titled "Get Your STEM On." The conference is a venue for teachers to improve their skills and develop new ideas. Lovitt will discuss student engagement in some of the science courses she teaches at UW Bothell.

The WITEA is a professional development organization for teachers in STEM, technology education, industrial technology, and related disciplines. 

Learn more about the WITEA conference

Collaboration between Robins lab and industry partners is a win-win

February 27, 2018

The research of Chemistry Associate Professor Dr. Lori Robins has had a solid boost from Jeff Williams at OxiScience and Briotech. For over 3 years, the support from these local companies has enabled Robins to develop a high-performing team of student researchers. In turn, some of their research explores the chemistry underlying the companies' products. "The collaboration is an outstanding example of our school's commitment to engaging undergraduate students in research," says Dr. Elaine Scott, dean of the School of STEM at UW Bothell.

Read more in the UW Bothell magazine (see "Great Chemistry")

Chemistry major Anna Kirchan receives Gates Research Scholarship

February 20, 2018

Anna Kirchan and Professor Seungkeun Choi

Anna Kirchan and Dr. Seungkeun Choi in the research lab. (Photo: Marc Studer)

Anna Kirchan, a Chemistry and Electrical Engineering double major, received a Mary Gates Research Scholarship to support her biotechnology research with Dr. Seungkeun Choi. Kirchan's combination of skills has enabled her to work with Choi on developing small sensors that could monitor glucose in a diabetic's sweat.

"I didn't know organic chemistry and electrical engineering intersected at all. It was really cool to see the two fields I'm interested in being put together in a way I hadn't thought of before . . . It's been the most fun I've had at Bothell—being able to do research—because its really what I want to do with my degrees," said Kirchan.

Learn more about Kirchan's research

Learn more about the Mary Gates Research Scholarship

Dr. Joey Key named 1 of 5 inspiring women in STEM at UWB on Her Campus

February 16, 2018

Physics Assistant Professor Dr. Joey Shapiro Key is named 1 of 5 inspiring women in STEM at UW Bothell on Her Campus at UW Bothell.  The authors mention that students find "her classes are fun!" The content on the Her Campus website is written entirely by college journalists.

Read about all 5 inspiring women in STEM at UWB

Learn about the Her Campus club at UWB

Dr. Hyung Kim receives Royalty Research Fund grant

February 14, 2018

Chemistry Assistant Professor Dr. Hyung Kim received a UW Royalty Research Fund grant to support his research on the effects of protein-protein interactions on the electrochemical properties of heme co factors. This research will use spectroelectrochemistry to analyze protein assemblies involved in the microbial process of nitrification, which has implications in the global nitric oxide flux to the atmosphere. Lessons learned in this research can be extended to electron-transfer networks in other organisms. Working with Kim on this project are Fong Liew, a recent UWB chemistry graduate, and Marisa Kemper, a junior chemistry major.

The Royalty Research Fund (RRF) is funded from royalty and licensing fee income generated by the University's technology transfer program. The purpose of the program is to advance new directions in research.

Learn more about the Royalty Research Fund

Physics major Jomardee Perkins receives travel grant

January 22, 2018

Jomardee Perkins was awarded a Gerald A. Soffen Memorial Fund student travel grant. In March she will be using her grant to attend the LIGO collaboration meeting at Sonoma State University.

Physics & Chemistry majors participate in UWB Research Symposium

January 16, 2018

Physics professor Dr. Joey Key and Physics majors Connor Leupold, Jomardee Perkins, and Katherine Reyes

Assistant Professor Dr. Joey Key and Physics majors Connor Leupold, Jomardee Perkins, and Katherine Reyes at the December UWB Research Symposium

Four Physics majors and two Chemistry majors presented their research at the UW Bothell STEM Autumn Research Symposium on December 15, 2017.

  • Saeed Alzahrani, "Discovery of novel inhibitor of Plasmepsin V from Plasmodium vivax to treat malaria," Chemistry, Faculty advisor Dr. Peter Anderson
  • Jacob Hesse, "Pulsar signal simulator," Physics, Faculty advisor Dr. Joey Key
  • Connor Leupold, "Characterizing LIGO supernova signals," Physics, Faculty advisor Dr. Joey Key
  • Fong Liew, "Cloning, expression and purification of a newly discovered cytochrome: Characterization of its spectroscopic properties," Chemistry, Faculty advisor Dr. Hyung Kim
  • Jomardee Perkins, "Classifying transient noise in LIGO data using detector characterization tools," Physics, Faculty advisor Dr. Joey Key
  • Katherine Reyes, "Detection and characterization of non-gravitational wave noise transients in LIGO data using BayesWave," Physics, Faculty advisor Dr. Joey Key

Dr. Eric Salathé predicts effect of climate change on flooding using UW supercomputer

January 4, 2018

A new article from UW Information Technology highlights UW Bothell associate professor Dr. Eric Salathé's work predicting flood risk in the next century in the Pacific Northwest. He teamed with Dr. Guillaume Mauger of the UW Climate Impacts Group to develop a model that can create regional climate scenarios. This data-intensive work relied on Hyak, the UW's shared cluster supercomputer, to run complex climate simulations that incorporate regional climate dynamics.

King County asked the scientists to use their model to run simulations of precipitation extremes so the county can understand the risk of flooding over the next 150 years. Salathé and Mauger want to use their model to help the county answer tough questions such as how high levees need to be to protect homes in floodplains.

Learn more in A crystal ball for climate change

Student summer research opportunities—Deadlines in Jan/Feb 2018!

December 21, 2017

The National Science Foundation funds student summer research with its Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU). The REU provides support for students to work at hundreds of outstanding research universities and sites around the country and world, providing stipends (pay) and often housing and travel. There are a wealth of opportunities for Chemistry and Physics students.

To find an opportunity, see the NSF's list of all research sites by category using the following link: Search for an REU site

Deadlines are fast approaching! You need to apply to a specific site, and most applications are due in January or February 2018.

UWB to host Pauling Medal Award Symposium in 2018

December 20, 2017

In 2018 UW Bothell will be hosting the Linus Pauling Medal Award Symposium. This annual award recognizes outstanding achievement in chemistry and is presented by the Pacific Northwest sections of the American Chemical Society. On November 18, 2017, Dr. Dan Jaffe and Dr. Charity Lovitt attended the 2017 Pauling Medal Award Symposium at Portland State University. Stay tuned for more information!

2018 Linus Pauling Medal website

UWB Society of Physics Students is recognized as an Outstanding Chapter

December 1, 2017


UW Bothell physics students at the Inspire STEM festival, April 2017. (Photo: Marc Studer)

Because of their accomplishments during the 2016-17 year, the UW Bothell Society of Physics Students (SPS) earned the designation of an SPS Outstanding Chapter from the SPS national office. This is the highest level of distinction that an SPS chapter can achieve, and less than 10% of SPS chapters receive the honor.

Some of the activities of UWB SPS during the past school year included attending the regional SPS meeting at Central Washington University and volunteering at the UWB Inspire STEM festival.

If you would like to get involved with the campus SPS chapter, consider attending the Physics Club—Mondays at 3:15pm , Discovery 368.

Society of Physics Students website

UW Bothell students share in cosmic discoveries

October 26, 2017

UWB Physics Professor Joey Key working with students

Dr. Joey Key, left, shows Jomardee Perkins and Paul Marsh a model interferometer that splits a green laser beam. (Photo: Marc Studer)

Two UWB students experienced the excitement of major astronomical discoveries through their summer research with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). Paul Marsh, an electrical engineering graduate student, and  Jomardee Perkins, a senior physics major, are part of the UW Bothell LIGO Scientific Collaboration Group led by Dr. Joey Shapiro Key, assistant professor of physics. Both Paul and Jomardee worked closely with LIGO this summer--Paul as a LIGO fellow and Jomardee as a Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium intern.

On August 14, LIGO had its fifth detection of a merger of two black holes. For the first time, this discovery was confirmed  by the Virgo observatory in Italy. Three days later on August 17, LIGO made an amazing discovery--the collision of two neutron stars. This discovery was confirmed by visible light telescopes. "This is what we call multimessenger astrophysics," said Key. "Really, it's new science."

LIGO, the Virgo detector, and partners at other observatories announced this scientific feat on October 16.  Key is one of three UW faculty who are part of the LIGO-Virgo collaboration. "Today's announcement marks the first time that we have detected gravitational waves from the merger of two neutron stars," said Key. "In addition, this is the first time that other observatories detected electromagnetic waves emanating from the astronomical event that generated these gravitational waves." Key and the UWB LIGO Scientific Collaboration Group analyze data from these detection events.

Read more about UWB students' work with LIGO

Read more about LIGO's detection of the collision of neutron stars on UWNews

PSD Seminar series, Wednesdays at 3:30

September 28, 2017

The Physical Sciences Division 2017 Seminar series kicked off yesterday with excellent presentations by 3 student researchers. Please join us each upcoming Wednesday for more chemistry and physics presentations that will inform and excite you. All are welcome!

PSD 2017 Seminar Schedule
Wednesdays at 3:30 pm
UW2 Room 211--New Room!
Refreshments after the presentations
  • Sept 27—Student summer research presentations
  • Oct 4—Gwynne Crowder, Bellevue College: Gravitational Wave Stochastic Background
  • Oct 11—Paul Marsh, UWB Electrical Engineering: LIGO Control Systems
  • Oct 18—Rachel Scherr, Seattle Pacific University: Fixed and growth mindsets in physics graduate admissions
  • Oct 25—Krishna Venkateswara, University of Washington: Experimental Gravity
  • Nov 1—Jeff Hazboun, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley: Pulsar Signal Simulator
  • Nov 8—Holly Gummelt, Planetary Resources: Asteroid Mining
  • Nov 15—Michael Park, University of Washington: Large Hardon Collider (LHC)
  • Nov 22—Kiyo Masui, University of British Columbia: Large-scale Structure of the Universe
  • Nov 29—Dan Jaffe, UWB: Direct Demonstration of the CO2 Greenhouse Effect
  • Dec 6—Subramanian Ramachandran, UWB: Experimental Physics Research

Student summer research presentations, September 27

September 21, 2017

Learn about the summer research projects of 3 Physics and Chemistry students at the Physical Sciences Division (PSD) seminar series kickoff. This is a great opportunity to learn about the student research that takes place on campus, meet other students and faculty, and enjoy snacks. All students are invited! PSD students and faculty are especially encouraged to attend.

September 27, Wednesday
3:30 pm
Discovery Hall Room 368
Refreshments after the presentations

The student presenters and their topics are:

  • Anchala Krishnan  Persistent Homology and Random Models of Gaussian Primes
  • Katherine Reyes  Detection and Characterization of Non-Gravitational Wave Noise Transients in LIGO Data Using BayesWave
  • Jomardee Perkins  Characterization of Transient Noise in LIGO

The seminar series will continue each Wednesday at 3:30pm in Discovery 368. Everyone is welcome!

First Physics graduates

June 13, 2017

The UW Bothell class of 2017 includes two graduates in Physics. We celebrate these graduates and this milestone in the new Physics degree program. "The best part about building a new physics program at UW Bothell is working with our inspiring physics students," said Dr. Joey Shapiro Key, assistant professor in physics. Our two stellar grads, Josh Christensen and Holly Gummelt, have truly left their mark on campus and in the Physics program. Congrats, Holly and Josh!

Read more about Josh and Holly on the UWB News page

Dr. Erin Hill, Physics, recognized for innovative use of technology in the classroom

June 8, 2017

Dr. Erin Hill, Physics lecturer, was recognized as an "Innovator among Us" in the UW provost's latest edition on teaching with technology. In her classroom, Hill has focused on using technology to help students learn how to learn. She has incorporated the use of Doceri, an interactive whiteboard app, in her classes. Doceri has improved students' classroom experience. It allows Hill to move throughout the classroom, interacting with students, and displaying their work, as well as her notes and examples, in real time. As the Innovators article states, "For Hill, the tool is doing exactly what she hoped. Hill finds that when she can easily interact with students in this way, she is effectively using their learning processes to teach the course material. 'It shifts the dynamic,' she said, 'to put the emphasis more on the learner than on the teacher—and learning begins and ends with the learner.'"

Read more about Dr. Hill's use of technology here

Read the June 2017 edition of Innovators among Us

Aerobiology workshop organized by Jaffe Group

May 4, 2017

Aerobiology workshop participants, May 2017The Jaffe Group (specifically, Dr. Dan Jaffe and Dee Ann Lommers-Johnson) along with Dr. Andrew C. Schuerger of the University of Florida, Space Life Sciences Lab, organized a NASA-funded workshop in Bend, Oregon, at the beginning of May. This workshop gathered researchers from several universities and agencies to discuss a future experiment in "Aerobiology." This is the study of the transport and biology of microbes in the atmosphere. Researchers plan to use Mt. Bachelor as a key sampling location to study the long-range transport of microbes in the global atmosphere. Dr. David Smith, now at NASA Ames Research Center, was one of the workshop participants. He is a UW alum (PhD Biology) and previously did ground-breaking work on aerobiology at Mt. Bachelor Observatory (see his publications in 2011-2013). Look for a future project studying microbes in the sky!

In addition to PI Andrew Schuerger, David Smith, and Dan Jaffe, other participants were Co-PI Dr. Dale W. Griffin (US Geological Survey), Dr. Susannah M. Burrows (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory), Dr. Brent C. Christner (University of Florida), Dr. Cristina Gonzalez-Martin (University of La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain), Dr. Erin K. Lipp (University of Georgia), Dr. David G. Schmale (Virginia Tech), Dr. Boris Wawrik (University of Oklahoma), and Dr. Hongbin Yu (University of Maryland and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center).

Mt. Bachelor Observatory is a UWB research site on the summit of Mt. Bachelor in central Oregon. It was started in 2004 by UWB Professor Dan Jaffe.

Learn more about Mt. Bachelor Observatory.

New UWB physics honor society inducts 4 students

May 1, 2017

New Sigma Pi Sigma inductees

The newest chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society housed within the Society of Physics Students, was installed at UW Bothell. Sigma Pi Sigma exists to honor outstanding scholarship in physics, to encourage interest in physics, to promote service, and to provide fellowship. Dr. William DeGraffenreid, past president of Sigma Pi Sigma and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at California State University, Sacramento, participated in the installation ceremony. While at UW Bothell, DeGraffenreid also gave a research talk titled "Cavity Ring Down Spectroscopy: Kilometer Pathlengths on a Tabletop."

The four outstanding physics majors who were inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma are Tyler Gilbert, Holly Gummelt, Connor Leupold, and Katherine Reyes.

Tyler Gilbert, UW Bothell 2017 Sigma Pi Sigma inductee

Tyler Gilbert signing his name in the membership book.





Professor Emeritus Warren Buck with Holly Gummelt, UW Bothell 2017 Sigma Pi Sigma inductee


Holly Gummelt with UW Bothell Professor Emeritus Dr. Warren Buck.

Professor Joey Key and UW Bothell 2017 Sigma Pi Sigma inductee Connor LeupoldProfessor Bill DeGraffenreid and UW Bothell 2017 Sigma Pi Sigma inductee Katherine Reyes






Connor Leupold is congratulated by UW Bothell Assistant Professor Dr. Joey Key.






Katherine Reyes with Dr. William DeGraffenreid, past president of Sigma Pi Sigma.

Division Chair's Summer Undergraduate Research Award winners

April 12, 2017

Three outstanding undergraduates in the UWB Physical Sciences Division received a Physical Sciences Division Chair's Summer Undergraduate Research award. These awards of $2000 each will support the students' summer research. Congratulations to these remarkable students!

Fong Liew, a Biochemistry major, will be working with Dr. Hyung Kim on a project titled "Protein-protein interactions on Heme cofactors.”

Fong Liew undergraduate research award winner

Ryan Peffer, a Chemistry major with Math and Physics minors, will be working with Dr. Lori Robins on a project titled “Kinetic isotope effects in Thiolactones.”

Ryan Peffer undergraduate research award winner

Katherine Reyes, a Physics major, will be working with Dr. Joey Key on a project titled “Identification and characterization of glitches in LIGO data.”

Katherine Reyes undergraduate research award winner

New research maps Glucose-6-Phosphate Isomerase—A Rheumatoid Arthritis autoantigen

April 10, 2017

In a newly published paper in Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics, UWB Assistant Professor Dr. Peter Anderson and his German colleagues describe how antibodies bind to glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (GPI), a known antigen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. In collaboration with a research group at the University of Rostock (Germany), Anderson's research group combined computational and experimental work to map the epitope regions on GPI for two specific monoclonal antibodies, 11H3 and 46H9. The computational and experimental results of the research groups agree well with one another and provide insight into a fundamental immunological process with clinical significance.

Read the paper here

Cartoon view of the immune complex

Cartoon view of the immune complex. A murine GPI dimer (yellow and green for A- and B-chain) is simultaneously decorated with GPI-specific monoclonal antibodies 46H9 (left) and 11H3 (right), showing the molecular dimensions of the antigen-antibody complexes. Red and violet: light chains. Blue and cyan: Heavy chains. The molecular dimensions of GPI are given (solid lines) and the distance of the Fc parts of the antibodies is indicated (dotted line).

American Chemical Society Undergraduate Research Symposium at UW Bothell on April 29

February 27, 2017

ACS undergraduate research symposium flyerThis year's Undergraduate Research Symposium of the American Chemical Society Puget Sound chapter will be held at UW Bothell on Saturday, April 29, 2017. Plan to attend!

  • The deadline to submit a research abstract is March 31, 2017.
  • The registration deadline is April 7, 2017.

Registration and abstract submission form

Download a flyer here

New research describes how a "blob" of warm seawater increased ozone levels

February 15, 2017

In a new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters, UWB Professor Dr. Dan Jaffe and postdoctoral researcher Dr. Lei Zhang describe how a "blob" of unusually warm seawater influenced air quality in the western US. Their research shows how this strong offshore pattern led to elevated ozone levels at Mount Bachelor Observatory, a University of Washington research site, and other monitoring sites in the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Dan Jaffe describes the blob as "the most unusual meteorological event we’ve had in decades."

Read more on UW Today

Read the paper here

figure with ozone measurements

Top: The June 2015 measurement of ozone at the summit of Mount Bachelor (red dot) was significantly higher than any of the previous measurements. Middle: Differences from average ozone levels in June 2015, when the "blob” was creating unusual conditions along the West Coast. The star shows the location of Mount Bachelor Observatory. Bottom: Typical June ozone concentration across the US.


Physics major Holly Gummelt awarded Founder's Fellow Research Scholarship

February 2017

Holly Gummelt Founder's Fellow Research Scholarship winner and her research posterHolly Gummelt, a junior Physics major, was awarded a Founder's Fellow Research Scholarship for 2016-17. Ms. Gummelt's research project is entitled Stochastic Radiation in Gravitational Wave Astronomy. She is mentored by Dr. Joey Key.

The Founder's Fellow Research Scholarships recognize undergraduate research students at UWB and allow recipients to focus more time and attention on their research, scholarship and creative activity.

Read about the 2017 UWB undergraduate scholars awards

New book by UWB Chemistry lecturer Dr. Kim Gunnerson

January 2017

Gunnerson book coverDr. Kim Gunnerson, UWB Chemistry lecturer, is a coauthor of a new laboratory manual for general chemistry, Exploring General Chemistry in the Laboratory. This lab manual has the goal of simplifying an often challenging subject with applications to students' everyday lives. Because of her years of experience teaching the general chemistry sequence at UWB, Gunnerson possesses a solid knowledge of how to successfully teach introductory chemistry. When not in a general chemistry classroom, she can be found teaching introductory-level computer courses or enjoying the outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

New faces of Physics at UWB

December 2016

Dr. Joey Key, Physics professor at UWB"Some people have never looked in a telescope before," says Dr. Joey Key as she displays one in a UW Bothell lab. "To see the rings of Saturn, that's big because they're really beautiful."

Like a master tour guide, she mentions other visible highlights of the solar system: the polar ice caps on Mars, Venus in a crescent phase, the Great Red Spot on Jupiter and its four biggest moons – the ones first seen by Galileo.

"Astronomy is great because people who might think they don't like science might still like astronomy. Space is cool," says Key, assistant professor in the School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics.

The astrophysicist who came to UW Bothell in September also has her eyes on the sky through one of the biggest science projects in the 21st century, LIGO (pronounced LY'-go) or the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory. Key is one of the hundreds of researchers on the project that made headlines in February 2016 when it announced the detection of a gravitational wave from the collision of two black holes. The discovery proved Einstein's general theory of relativity.

Read the full UW Bothell news article

New book by UWB Chemistry lecturer Dr. Charity Lovitt

November 2016

Lovitt Book cover

UWB Chemistry lecturer Dr. Charity Lovitt is one of the editors of Integrating Information Literacy into the Chemistry Curriculum, a new book in the American Chemical Society Symposium Series. This book was a collaboration between Lovitt and librarians from the Colorado School of Mines and James Madison University. To quote from the book's preface, "information literacy, the ability to find, evaluate, and use information resources, is an important skill for future chemists." This collection provides concrete ways that Chemistry instructors can incorporate the teaching of information literacy in their courses in ways that also advance chemistry content knowledge. The book includes case studies of Chemistry instructors teaching information literacy and provides examples of assignments that teach information literacy skills as a key component of the curriculum.

In addition to teaching, Lovitt is faculty advisor to the Science and Technology Living Learning Community and was a 2015-16 UWB fellow in Community-Based Learning and Research, helping to develop partnerships between the School of STEM and the Pacific Science Center.

Students aid in breakthrough against dementia

September 2016

Lori Robins and students in lab

Students Luis Contreras and Virkamal Dhaliwal in the lab with Associate Professor Dr. Lori Robins

University of Washington Bothell biochemistry professor Dr. Lori Robins and two of her students share in the credit for ground-breaking research on dementia disorders. Their research helped Briotech, a local bio-tech company, prove that its product, HOCl or hypochlorous acid, is effective in destroying prions, the proteins that cause dementia disorders. These findings contribute to the research to prevent and treat disorders such as mad cow disease, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's. Research conducted for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) confirmed the results in mice. The research findings were recently published in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

Read the full UW Bothell news article

Read the full journal article in PLOS Pathogens

UWB joins LIGO Scientific Collaboration

September 2016

LIGO Hanford Observatory

The University of Washington Bothell (UWB) is a new member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), joining 83 institutions in 15 countries working to observe gravitational waves with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO). UWB Assistant Professor of Physics Dr. Joey Shapiro Key serves as the Principal Investigator for the group with new LSC members Physics Lecturer Dr. Matthew DePies and Physics major Holly Gummelt.

Celebrating Dr. Warren Buck

August 2016

Warren Buck with President Obama

Dr. Warren Buck meets President Obama

Everything will change. Nothing's permanent. Warren Buck

This quote is true for the School of STEM as Dr. Warren Buck moved from Professor to retired Professor Emeritus. In June, Dr. Warren Buck was recognized for his tireless work for the university and our students as he began his retirement. Buck began his long service to UWB as Chancellor and Dean in 1999. Later he became Chancellor Emeritus and then returned to the classroom full time as a Professor to share his love of science and the beauty of physics. Buck was instrumental in making the Physics degree at UWB a reality.

In November 2014, Buck was honored as a History Maker—one of a select group of African Americans who have made substantive contributions in their fields. His oral life story is permanently housed at the Library of Congress.
See his History Maker video and read more about him

Among other things, Buck will be devoting some of his free time to serve on the Board of Visitors of his alma mater, The College of William and Mary. He also won't be able to keep his passion out of the classroom and will continue to teach some physics classes, as well as assist with some committee work, at UWB.

We are grateful for his service to UWB and for instilling passion in the future generation of scientists.

Warren Buck receives retirement gift

Celebrating Buck's love of art, science, and collaboration

In recognition of his service to UWB, the School of STEM declared May 2016 the Warren Buck Physics and Arts Month. During the culminating celebration, Buck was presented with an art piece that incorporated bark taken from felled trees on campus. Designed and created by Ni Nguyen and Ivan Owen, this art contains fractal patterns created with high-voltage electricity and laser engravings of images significant to Buck. It unites three of Warren's passions—art, science, and collaboration.

New Society of Physics Students chapter on campus

August 2016

Society of Physics Students logo Physics students at UW Bothell will now be able to participate in the activities and events of the new Society of Physics Students (SPS) chapter on campus. Students will be able to connect with the broader physics community through SPS and the activities and resources it provides. SPS, an organization of the American Institute of Physics, offers career resources, publications, and events, including regular conferences and meetings. PhysCon, the 2016 Quadrennial Physics Congress, will take place November 3-5, 2016, in the Silicon Valley.
Learn more about SPS

First global model of atmospheric arsenic uses data from Mt. Bachelor Observatory

June 2016

The intercontinental transport of arsenic is the focus of a new paper published by Drs. Wai, Wu, Li, Jaffe and Perry in Environmental Science & Technology. This paper used data from Mt. Bachelor Observatory (MBO), a central Oregon research site of UWB Chemistry Professor Dr. Dan Jaffe. In this groundbreaking research, the authors developed the first global model of atmospheric arsenic in order to understand intercontinental transport of arsenic, an extremely toxic pollutant. They used the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model to simulate the concentrations of atmospheric arsenic and compared the model results with arsenic measurements from MBO and other sites.  In order to reduce global arsenic pollution it is essential to understand its sources and transport. Wai et al. found that arsenic emissions from Asia are the dominant source of atmospheric arsenic in the Northern Hemisphere, contributing 38% of total arsenic deposition over North America. Arsenic measurements from the MBO figure prominently in the paper.
See the full paper here.

This figure shows arsenic concentrations measured at MBO for Spring 2011 compared with the results predicted from the model.

Paws-On Science exhibit inspires third grader's science fair project

May 2016

UWB Chemistry lecturer Dr. David Sommerfeld, along with other UWB Physical Sciences Division faculty, staff and students, guided young scientists through an experiment on ocean acidification at the UW Paws-On Science weekend at the Pacific Science Center. Participants blew through a straw into a cup filled with water and a few drops each of sodium hydroxide and bromothymol blue (a pH indicator). After a few seconds of blowing, they could see the liquid change from blue to yellow. The liquid changes color because CO2 in breath combines with the water to form a weak acid. In a similar manner, CO2 in the air mixes with water in the ocean to make ocean water more acidic. Ocean acidification stresses marine life, especially shell-forming species, and makes it more difficult for them to grow and reproduce. The cause of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is humans' use of fossil fuels.

When one of the Paws-On Science participants needed a project for her school science fair, she jumped on the idea of ocean acidification and recreating the blowing-in-water experiment. Her mom contacted Dr. David Sommerfeld, and he gladly shared the recipe for recreating the experiment and some leftover ingredients. Her science fair project was a hit!
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Dr. Eric Salathé serves on editorial board of new magazine

May 2015

UWB Climate Science Associate Professor Dr. Eric Salathé is serving as one of the founding editorial board members for Northwest Climate Magazine, a new publication devoted to climate issues in our region.
See the inaugural issue here.

UWB Chemistry student wins ACS scholarship!

May 20, 2015

Scholarship winner Taryn Meacham UWB Chemistry student Taryn Meacham won a scholarship at the annual  Undergraduate Research Symposium of the Puget Sound chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Four UWB students also presented the results of their research in Biochemistry and Environmental Chemistry at the symposium.

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