Press Releases

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

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Earth’s magnetic field is crucial for our existence, as it shields the life on our planet’s surface from deadly cosmic rays. It is generated by turbulent motions of liquid iron in Earth’s core. Iron is a metal, which means it can easily conduct a flow of electrons that makes up an electric current. New findings show that a missing piece of the traditional theory explaining why metals become less conductive when they are heated was needed to complete the puzzle that explains this field-generating process. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

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Fast radio bursts are quick, bright flashes of radio waves from an unknown source in space. They are a mysterious phenomenon that last only a few milliseconds, and until now they have not been observed in real time. An international team of astronomers, including three from the Carnegie Observatories, has for the first time observed a fast radio burst happening live. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The MESSENGER Education and Public Outreach (EPO) Team is reminding interested parties that the competition to name five impact craters on Mercury closes on January 15, 2015. The contest, open to everyone except members of the mission’s EPO team, was launched on December 15, 2014.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

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Lake Erie just can’t catch a break. The lake has experienced harmful algal blooms and severe oxygen-depleted “dead zones” for years, but now a team of researchers led by Carnegie’s Anna Michalak and Yuntao Zhou has shown that the widespread drought in 2012 was associated with the largest dead zone since at least the mid-1980s. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

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Hydrogen is the most-abundant element in the cosmos. With only a single electron per atom, it is deceptively simple. As a result, hydrogen has been a testing ground for theories of the chemical bond since the birth of quantum mechanics a century ago. Understanding the nature of chemical bonding in extreme environments is crucial for expanding our understanding of matter over the broad range of conditions found in the universe.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Recent advances in our understanding of the quantities, movements, forms and origin of carbon in Earth are summarized in a just-published report. The research represents fast-paced progress on the depths of the biosphere, Earth, what erupts from volcanoes and leaks from sea floors, what descends back into Earth’s great depths, and the nature of carbon-bearing materials within planets.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The MESSENGER Education and Public Outreach (EPO) Team, led by Julie Edmonds, is launching a competition this week to name five impact craters on Mercury. The contest is open to all Earthlings, except for members of the mission’s EPO team. The contest runs from December 15, 2014, to January 15, 2015.

Monday, December 15, 2014

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We would not expect a baby to join a team or participate in social situations that require sophisticated communication. Yet, most developmental biologists have assumed that young cells, only recently born from stem cells and known as “progenitors,” are already competent at inter-communication with other cells. New research shows that infant cells have to go through a developmental process that involves specific genes before they can take part in the group interactions that underlie normal cellular development and keep our tissues functioning smoothly.   

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

This image was selected as our holiday card for 2014. Milky Way -- Image Courtesy: Consuelo González, Carnegie Institution for Science, The Observatories

Monday, December 8, 2014

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Natural gas power plants produce substantial amounts of gases that lead to global warming. Replacing old coal-fired power plants with new natural gas plants could cause climate damage to increase over the next decades, unless their methane leakage rates are very low and the new power plants are very efficient.