Environment & Climate

Climate Chameleon


Bryce Richter

A UW research facility on the west side of campus has a big secret: it can be whatever you want it to be (within terrestrial reason). Built in the 1960s by the National Science Foundation, the Biotron can simulate every climate on Earth except Antarctica. Labs spread across three floors can deliver temperatures from –4 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity from 100 percent down to nearly none. The building even features rooms tall enough for growing trees. That flexibility draws commercial clients who subject their products to extremes and benchmark their performance. It also gives academic researchers the chance to design experiments that couldn’t happen in conventional lab space.

Published in the Winter 2016 issue


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