Published: Dec. 16, 2022

In 2022, researchers at CU Boulder continued to excite the imagination, probe the deepest mysteries of the universe and gain new insight about our planet and ourselves. This year alone, scientists at the university attracted $658 million in funding. They helped to unearth the lost history of the transatlantic slave trade. They sent trillions of cells of humble baker's yeast on a voyage to the moon and back, and they asked, "What's really in your weed?"

Take a look back at a year of groundbreaking science at CU Boulder.

Inspired by palm trees, scientists develop hurricane-resilient wind turbines

Just off of Highway 93, engineers at CU Boulder, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and their partners are testing out lighter designs for wind turbines—which, like tropical trees, can bend and flex in gusty conditions.

What’s in your weed? The label doesn't tell you much, study suggests

Researchers analyzed 90,000 samples of cannabis, including commercial strains with names like Girl Scout Cookies and Gorilla Glue. They're calling for a weed labeling system akin to the nutrition facts panels you find on bags of chips and other snacks.

Interactive map gets closer to pinpointing African origins erased during slave trade

Few records exist of where people in Africa lived before they were forced onto slave ships in the 19th Century. Now, CU Boulder historians and statisticians are going back in time to better understand the legacy of slavery on the continent. 

Yeast bound for moon will provide clues on how radiation impacts astronauts

In November 2022, NASA's Orion spacecraft blasted off for the moon as part of the historic Artemis 1 mission. Tucked under a seat in the capsule were trillions of unlikely hitchhikers: microscopic cells of humble baker's yeast.

Exposure to great outdoors reduced risk of depression, anxiety during pandemic

New research from CU Boulder suggests that cities and states should strive, whenever possible, to keep their neighborhood parks and other green spaces open—especially during times of "extraordinary stressors."

Theater-based vocal empowerment programs increase self-authorship, civic engagement

In 2018, one CU Boulder researcher traveled to the cities of Alexandria and Aswan in Egypt. There, she led groups of women through exercises that helped them speak more freely, and come up with solutions for the problems they cared about.

Colorado's quantum revolution turning state into new Silicon Valley

Welcome to the world of quantum physics—where electrons can exist in several places at once, particles tunnel through solid matter and hop out the other side and atoms tick like tiny pendulums quadrillions of times per second. 

To study impacts of longer, hotter summers, ecologists haul 5,000 pounds of sand up a mountain

For five years, a small team of scientists has hiked up to the 10,000-feet-high Niwot Ridge near Nederland, Colorado, where they are pursuing a critical question: How will mountain ecosystems fare in a changing climate?

Ocean currents have sheltered the Galápagos from global warming. Now it’s time to protect them

The Galápagos Islands are home to giant tortoises, penguins and marine iguanas. So far, they've also been protected from the worst impacts of climate change—but this oasis won't last forever. 

How pollution changes a baby’s gut, and why it matters

A first-of-its kind study by CU Boulder researchers finds that exposure to air pollution in infancy impacts a child's developing gut microbiome in ways that boost risk of allergies, obesity and diabetes and may influence brain development.