Wednesday, March 6, 2013
A team of astronomers including Carnegie’s Ian Thompson have managed to improve the measurement of the distance to our nearest neighbor galaxy and, in the process, refine an astronomical calculation that helps measure the expansion of the universe.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
New theoretical modeling by Carnegie’s Alan Boss provides clues to how the gas giant planets in our solar system—Jupiter and Saturn—might have formed and evolved. His work was published recently by The Astrophysical Journal.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Mineral evolution is a new way to look at our planet’s history. It’s the study of the increasing diversity and characteristics of Earth’s near-surface minerals, from the dozen that arrived on interstellar dust particles when the Solar System was formed to the more than 4,700 types existing today. New research on a mineral called molybdenite by a team led by Robert Hazen at Carnegie’s Geophysical Laboratory provides important new insights about the changing chemistry of our planet as a result of geological and biological processes.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Solar geoengineering is a proposed approach to reduce the effects of climate change due to greenhouse gasses by deflecting some of the sun’s incoming radiation. This type of proposed solution carries with it a number of uncertainties, however, including geopolitical questions about who would be in charge of the activity and its goals. New modeling work from Carnegie’s Katharine Ricke and Ken Caldeira shows that if a powerful coalition ever decided to deploy a geoengineering system, they would have incentive to exclude other countries from participating in the decision-making process.
Monday, February 11, 2013
A team of scientists, led by researchers at Carnegie’s Department of Global Ecology, has determined that the recent widespread die-off of Colorado trembling aspen trees is a direct result of decreased precipitation exacerbated by high summer temperatures. The die-off, triggered by the drought from 2000-2003, is estimated to have affected up to 17% of Colorado aspen forests. In 2002, the drought subjected the trees to the most extreme growing season water stress of the past century.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Type II supernovae are formed when massive stars collapse, initiating giant explosions. It is thought that stars emit a burst of mass as a precursor to the supernova explosion. If this process were better understood, it could be used to predict and study supernova events in their earliest stages. New observations from a team of astronomers including Carnegie's Mansi Kasliwal show a remarkable mass-loss event about a month before the explosion of a type IIn supernova.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Until now it has not been clear how salt, a scourge to agriculture, halts the growth of the plant-root system. A team, led by José Dinneny and Lina Duan, found that not all types of roots are equally inhibited. They discovered that an inner layer of tissue in the branching roots is sensitive to salt and activates a stress hormone, which stops root growth. The study is a boon for understanding the stress response and for developing salt-resistant crops.
Friday, January 18, 2013
Researchers still have much to learn about the volcanism that shaped our planet’s early history. New evidence from a team led by Carnegie’s Frances Jenner demonstrates that some of the tectonic processes driving volcanic activity, such as those taking place today, were occurring as early as 3.8 billion years ago.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Richard A. Meserve, the president of the Carnegie Institution, has been invited to be an “international adviser” to the Japanese Nuclear Regulatory Authority (JNRA). As a result of the Fukushima Daiichi accident, the Japanese government established the JNRA in order to provide independent oversight of the nuclear industry. During his time in Japan, President Meserve also gave a keynote address at a Fukushima Ministerial Conference.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
In 2004 a very popular study aimed to address climate change by deploying wedges of different existing energy technologies or approaches. According to the study by Robert Socolow and Stephen Pacala, each wedge would avoid one billion tons of carbon (1 GtC) emissions per year after 50 years. The study showed that, at that time, seven wedges could stabilize carbon dioxide emissions relative to what would happen if things remained “business-as-usual.” A new perspective paper from a group including Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira uses the wedge approach to estimate the size of the energy challenge posed by climate change today.