Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 3:25pm
Mineral diversity clue to early Earth chemistry
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, May 29, 2014 - 11:26am
Fertility: Sacrificing eggs for the greater good
A woman’s supply of eggs is a precious commodity because only a few hundred mature eggs can be produced throughout her lifetime and each must be as free as possible from genetic damage. Part of egg production involves a winnowing of the egg supply during fetal development, childhood and into adulthood down from a large starting pool. New research offers fresh insights into the earliest stages of egg selection, which may have broad implications for women’s health and fertility.
Monday, August 11, 2008 - 11:32am
Maelstrom quashes jumping genes
Scientists have known for decades that genes called transposons can jump around the genome, but it can be dangerous, especially in cells that produce eggs and sperm. To ensure the integrity of these cells, nature developed a mechanism to quash this genetic scrambling, but how it works has remained a mystery. Now a team of scientists, including researchers at the Department of Embryology, has identified a key protein that suppresses jumping genes in mice and found that the protein is vital to sperm formation.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008 - 12:15pm
Wandering Poles Left Scars on Europa
Curved features on Jupiter’s moon Europa may indicate that its poles have wandered by almost 90°, report scientists from the Carnegie Institution, Lunar and Planetary Institute, and University of California, Santa Cruz in the 15 May issue of Nature. Such an extreme shift suggests the existence of an internal liquid ocean beneath the icy crust, which could help build the case for Europa as possible habitat for extraterrestrial life.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 4:31pm
Modeling Jupiter and Saturn’s possible origins
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.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 10:45am
Climate warming may not drive net losses of soil carbon from tropical forests
The planet’s soil releases about 60 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year, which is far more than that released by burning fossil fuels. This happens through a process called soil respiration. Short-term warming studies have documented that rising temperatures increase the rate of soil respiration. As a result, scientists have worried that global warming would accelerate the decomposition of carbon in the soil, and decrease the amount of carbon stored there. If true, this would release even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, where it would accelerate global warming.
Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 11:23am
Fingering the Culprit that Polluted the Solar System
For decades it has been thought that a shock wave from a supernova explosion triggered the formation of our Solar System. According to this theory, the shock wave also injected material from the exploding star into a cloud of dust and gas, and the newly polluted cloud collapsed to form the Sun and its surrounding planets. New work provides the first fully three-dimensional (3-D) models for how this process could have happened.
Monday, November 19, 2012 - 5:13pm
Martian history: Finding a common denominator with Earth’s
A team of scientists, including Carnegie's Conel Alexander and Jianhua Wang, studied the hydrogen in water from the Martian interior and found that Mars formed from similar building blocks to that of Earth, but that there were differences in the later evolution of the two planets. This implies that terrestrial planets, including Earth, have similar water sources--chondritic meteorites. However, unlike on Earth, Martian rocks that contain atmospheric volatiles such as water, do not get recycled into the planet’s deep interior.
Friday, September 26, 2008 - 9:27am
Oldest Known Rocks Discovered
Canadian bedrock more than four billion years old may be the oldest known section of the Earth’s early crust. Scientists at the Carnegie Institution used geochemical methods to obtain an age of 4.28 billion years for samples of the rock, making it 250 million years more ancient than any previously discovered rocks.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 11:34pm
Meteorite holds clues to organic chemistry of the early Earth
Carbonaceous chondrites are a type of organic-rich meteorite that contain samples of the materials that took part in the creation of our planets nearly 4.6 billion years ago, including materials that were likely formed before our Solar System was created and may have been crucial to the formation of life on Earth. The complex suite of organic materials found in carbonaceous chondrites can vary substantially from meteorite to meteorite. New research from Carnegie's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism and Geophysical Laboratory shows that most of these variations are the result of hydrothermal activity that took place within a few million years of the formation of the Solar System, when the meteorites were still part of larger parent bodies, likely asteroids.
Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 3:08pm
Pressure probing potential photoelectronic manufacturing compound
Molybdenum disulfide is a compound often used in dry lubricants and in petroleum refining. Its semiconducting ability and similarity to the carbon-based graphene makes molybdenum disulfide of interest to scientists as a possible candidate for use in the manufacture of electronics, particularly photoelectronics. New work reveals that molybdenum disulfide becomes metallic under intense pressure.
Monday, June 3, 2013 - 4:33pm
Dense Hydrogen in a New Light
Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. The way it responds under extreme pressures and temperatures is crucial to our understanding of matter and the nature of hydrogen-rich planets. New work from Carnegie scientists using intense infrared radiation shines new light on this fundamental material at extreme pressures and reveals the details of a surprising new form of solid hydrogen.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 9:45am
Solar radiation management is a class of theoretical concepts for manipulating the climate in order to reduce the risks of global warming caused by greenhouse gasses. But its potential effectiveness and risks are uncertain, and it is unclear whether tests could help narrow these uncertainties. A team composed of Caltech's Doug MacMynowski, Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira and Ho-Jeong Shin, and Harvard's David Keith used modeling to determine the type of testing that might be effective in the future.
Monday, August 6, 2012 - 2:25pm
Possible muscle disease therapeutic target found
The study of muscular system protein myostatin has been of great interest to researchers as a potential therapeutic target for people with muscular disorders. Although much is known about how myostatin affects muscle growth, there has been disagreement about what types of muscle cells it acts upon. New research from a team including Carnegie's Chen-Ming Fan and Christoph Lepper narrows down the field to one likely type of cell.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - 2:38pm
How pathogens hijack host plants
Infestation by bacteria and other pathogens result in global crop losses of over $500 billion annually. A research team led by the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Plant Biology developed a novel trick for identifying how pathogens hijack plant nutrients to take over the organism. They discovered a novel family of pores that transport sugar out of the plant. Bacteria and fungi hijack the pores to access the plant sugar for food.
Monday, April 30, 2012 - 8:10am
Old Star, New Trick
For the first time, astronomers have detected the presence of arsenic and selenium, neighboring elements near the middle of the periodic table, in an ancient star in the faint stellar halo that surrounds the Milky Way. Arsenic and selenium are elements at the transition from light to heavy element production, and have not been found in old stars until now.