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A scanning electron micrograph image of the surface of the optical element.James Whitehead/University of Washington

Manipulating light with nanoscale precision

No one has really made a device like this before with this set of capabilities.
University of Washington astrobiologist Rory Barnes and co-authors have created VPLanet, a software package that simulates multiple aspects of planetary evolution across billions of years, with an eye toward finding and studying potentially habitable worlds.ESA/Hubble, NASA

VPLanet: A virtual planet simulator for modeling distant worlds across time

Finding and studying potentially habitable worlds.
Sunspots can be seen on this image of solar radiation. Each sunspot lasts a few days to a few months, and the total number peaks every 11 years. The darker spots accompany bright white blotches, called faculae, which increase overall solar radiation. Credit: NASA/Goddard/SORCE

Plasma flow near sun’s surface explains sunspots, other solar phenomena

Understanding previously mysterious properties of the sun.

Americans prefer to drive themselves to work rather than autonomous vehicle

People considered a ride-hailing service at least 13% “less expensive.
Each cell of a developing nematode worm embryo is catalogued at the molecular level in a new paper out in Science . In this visualization of the dataset, each dot represents a single cell, its color represents the age of the embryo it came from (orange=early, green=mid, blue/red=late), and the dots are arranged so that cells with similar transcriptomes are near each other. Visualized this way, the data form various thin “trajectories” that correspond to tissues and individual cell types. (Image: Cole Trapnell)

Scientists decoded embryo development at the molecular level

Scientists characterize how every cell changes during animal embryonic development.
In the Seattle lab, the team cultured 36 species of marine microbes and then tested their ability to produce sulfonates. Each phytoplankton type has its own unique set of pigments that absorb and reflect different wavelengths of light, creating the range of colors in the test tubes.Bryndan Durham/University of Washington

Study tracks sulfur-based metabolism in the open ocean

How photosynthetic microbes and ocean bacteria use sulfur, a plentiful marine nutrient?
Residence change during early pregnancy linked to heightened premature birth risk

Residence change during early pregnancy linked to heightened premature birth risk

Residence change during the first three months of pregnancy is linked to a heightened risk of premature birth and low birth weight, as well as a slightly higher risk of a smaller-than-expected-size baby.
Corals and kelp.Soyoka Muko/Nagasaki University

Coral reefs shifting away from the equator

In spite of broad atmosphere driven reductions of coral cover on tropical reefs, little consideration has been paid to the likelihood that changes in...