Washington, DC— Brown dwarfs are sometimes called failed stars. They’re stars’ dim, low-mass siblings and they fade in brightness over time. They’re fascinating to astronomers for a variety of reasons, but much about them remains unknown. New work from a Carnegie-led team reports the distances of a...
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  • Astronomers have believed since the 1960s that a galaxy dubbed UGC 1382 was a relatively boring, small elliptical galaxy. Now, using a series of multi-wavelength surveys, astronomers, including Carnegie’s Mark Seibert, Barry Madore and Jeff Rich, have discovered that it is really a colossal Giant Low Surface Brightness disk galaxy that rivals the champion of this elusive class—a galaxy known as Malin 1. Malin 1 is some 7 times the diameter of the Milky Way.

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    Plants have tiny pores on their leaves called stomata—Greek for mouths—through which they take in carbon dioxide from the air and from which water evaporates. New work from the lab of Dominique Bergmann, honorary adjunct staff member at Carnegie’s Department of Plant Biology and professor at Stanford University, reveals ways that the systems regulating the development of stomata in grasses could be harnessed to improve plant efficiency and agricultural yield.

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Stanford, CA— With a growing world population and a changing climate, understanding how agriculturally important plants respond to drought is crucial. New work from a team led by Carnegie’s José Dinneny discovers a strategy employed by grasses in drought conditions that could potentially be harnessed to improve crop productivity.

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Washington, DC— New work from Carnegie’s Peter Driscoll suggests Earth’s ancient magnetic field was significantly different than the present day field, originating from several poles rather than the familiar two. It is published in Geophysical Research Letters.

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Washington, DC— Hydrogen is the most-abundant element in the universe. It’s also the simplest—sporting only a single electron in each atom. But that simplicity is deceptive, because there is still so much we have to learn about hydrogen.

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Baltimore, MD— As we age, the function and regenerative abilities of skeletal muscles deteriorate, which means it is difficult for the elderly to recover from injury or surgery. New work from Carnegie’s Michelle Rozo, Liangji Li, and Chen-Ming Fan demonstrates that a protein called b1-integrin is crucial for muscle regeneration. Their findings, published by Nature Medicine, provide a promising target for therapeutic intervention to combat muscle aging or disease.

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The Marnie Halpern laboratory studies how left-right differences arise in the developing brain and discovers the genes that control this asymmetry. Using the tiny zebrafish, Danio rerio, they explores how regional specializations occur within the neural tube, the embryonic tissue that develops into...
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Carnegie is renowned for its post-doctoral and graduate student fellowship programs, which operate on each of the Carnegie campuses. Our fellows participate fully in the institution’s vigorous intellectual life, and have complete access to the laboratory instruments and facilities at the...
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Superdeep diamonds are  tiny time capsules carrying unchanged impurities made eons ago and providing researchers with important clues about Earth’s formation.  Diamonds derived from below the continental lithosphere, are most likely from the transition zone (415 miles, or 670km deep) or the top of...
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Seismic waves flow through Earth’s solid and liquid material differently, allowing Earth scientists to determine various aspects of the composition of the Earth’s interior. Broadband seismology looks at a broad spectrum of waves for high-resolution imaging. Lara Wagner collects this data from...
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Ken Caldeira has been a Carnegie investigator since 2005 and is world renowned for his modeling and other work on the global carbon cycle; marine biogeochemistry and chemical oceanography, including ocean acidification and the atmosphere/ocean carbon cycle; land-cover and climate change; the long-...
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François Schweizer studies galaxy assembly and evolution by observing nearby galaxies, particularly how collisions and mergers affect their properties. His research has added to the awareness that these events are dominant processes in shaping galaxies and determining their stellar and gaseous...
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July 19, 2016

Washington, DC— It is imperative that society learn more about how climate change contributes to episodic and very severe water quality impairments, such as the harmful algal bloom that caused Florida to declare a state of emergency earlier this month, says Carnegie’s Anna Michalak in a commentary published by Nature.

“The scientific community has made remarkable progress in understanding the role of climate in the occurrence and intensity of droughts, storms, and other extreme events relating to water quantity,” Michalak writes. “It is time for a similar examination of extremes in water quality.”

These severe and periodic water quality issues are a growing problem around

Carnegie, Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution for Science, plant biology, crown roots, Jose Sebastian
July 11, 2016

Stanford, CA— With a growing world population and a changing climate, understanding how agriculturally important plants respond to drought is crucial. New work from a team led by Carnegie’s José Dinneny discovers a strategy employed by grasses in drought conditions that could potentially be harnessed to improve crop productivity. It is published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Plants obtain most of their water through their roots. But there are different kinds of roots in different kinds of plants. This study focused on grasses, a family that includes maize, sorghum, and sugarcane and also represents key species used for human food, animal feed, and renewable

July 11, 2016

Pasadena, CA—Astronomers have believed since the 1960s that a galaxy dubbed UGC 1382 was a relatively boring, small elliptical galaxy. Ellipticals are the most common type of galaxy and lack the spiral structure of disks like the Milky Way we call home. Now, using a series of multi-wavelength surveys, astronomers, including Carnegie’s Mark Seibert, Barry Madore and Jeff Rich, have discovered that it is really a colossal Giant Low Surface Brightness disk galaxy that rivals the champion of this elusive class—a galaxy known as Malin 1. Malin 1 is some 7 times the diameter of the Milky Way. The research is published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Giant Low Surface Brightness galaxies

July 6, 2016

Pasadena, CA— The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) has announced that the Carnegie Observatories’ postdoctoral associate Rachael Beaton will receive the 2016 Robert J. Trumpler Award. In addition, the Observatories’ Carnegie-Princeton Fellow Eduardo Bañados received the Otto Hahn Medal from Germany’s Max Planck Society. Beaton’s Trumpler Ward is for a recent Ph.D. thesis “considered unusually important to astronomy.” The Otto Hahn Medal honors young researchers for outstanding scientific achievements. 

Beaton studies the structure of galaxies to probe their evolution and formation. In particular she investigates the outer halos of galaxies because they are billions of

ASP Press Release
Astronomical Society of the Pacific Honors Dr. Sandra Moore Faber with Prestigious Bruce Gold Medal Award
May 30, 2012
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), one of the oldest and most respected astronomy societies in the U.S., has announced that Dr. Sandra Moore Faber is the 2012 recipient of its Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal. Dr. Faber, of the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), is recognized for her lifetime achievements in astronomical research.
Dr. Faber earned her bachelor's degree in physics at Swarthmore College in 1966 and her Ph.D. in astronomy at Harvard University in 1972. Since 1972, she has

Stanford, CA—Soil is a microscopic maze of nooks and crannies that hosts a wide array of life. Plants explore this environment by developing a complex branched network of roots that tap into scarce resources such as water and nutrients. How roots sense which regions of soil contain water and what effect this moisture has on the architecture of the root system has been unclear.

New research from a team led by Carnegie’s José Dinneny focuses on how physical properties of a root’s local environment control root branching and through which developmental pathways these signals act. Their findings, published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, describe a novel

Stanford, CA—The Earth’s jet streams, the high-altitude bands of fast winds that strongly influence the paths of storms and other weather systems, are shifting—possibly in response to global warming. Scientists at the Carnegie Institution determined that over a 23-year span from 1979 to 2001 the jet streams in both hemispheres have risen in altitude and shifted toward the poles. The jet stream in the northern hemisphere has also weakened. These changes fit the predictions of global warming models and have implications for the frequency and intensity of future storms, including hurricanes.


Cristina Archer and Ken Caldeira of the

Pasadena, CA— Astronomers have found the first clear evidence of a binary quasar within a pair of actively merging galaxies. Quasars are the extremely bright centers of galaxies surrounding super-massive black holes, and binary quasars are pairs of quasars bound together by gravity. Binary quasars, like other quasars, are thought to be the product of galaxy mergers. Until now, however, binary quasars have not been seen in galaxies that are unambiguously in the act of merging.  But images of a new binary quasar from the Carnegie Institution’s Magellan telescope in Chile show two distinct galaxies with “tails” produced by tidal forces from their mutual

The WGESP was charged with acting as a focal point for research on extrasolar planets and organizing IAU activities in the field, including reviewing techniques and maintaining a list of identified planets. The WGESP developed a Working List of extrasolar planet candidates, subject to revision. In most cases, the orbital inclination of these objects is not yet determined, which is why most should still be considered candidate planets. The WGESP ended its six years of existence in August 2006, with the decision of the IAU to create a new commission dedicated to extrasolar planets as a part of Division III of the IAU. The founding president of Commission 53 is Michael Mayor, in honor of

Chris Field is a co-principal investigator of the Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve in northern California. The site, designed to exploit grasslands as models for understanding how ecosystems may respond to climate change, hosts a number of studies of the potential effects from elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide, elevated temperature, increased precipitation, and increased nitrogen deposition. The site houses experimental plots that replicate all possible combinations of the four treatments and additional sampling sites that control for the effects of project infrastructure. Studies focus on several integrated ecosystem responses to the

The Energy Frontier Research in Extreme Environments Center (EFree) was established to accelerate the discovery and synthesis of kinetically stabilized, energy-related materials using extreme conditions. Partners in this Carnegie-led center include world-leading groups in five universities—Caltech, Cornell, Penn State, Lehigh, and Colorado School of Mines—and will use facilities built and managed by the Geophysical Laboratory at Argonne, Brookhaven, and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. Nine Geophysical Laboratory scientists will participate in the effort, along with Russell Hemley as director and Tim Strobel as associate director.

To achieve their goal, EFree personnel synthesize

Revolutionary progress in understanding plant biology is being driven through advances in DNA sequencing technology. Carnegie plant scientists have played a key role in the sequencing and genome annotation efforts of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and the soil alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Now that many genomes from algae to mosses and trees are publicly available, this information can be mined using bioinformatics to build models to understand gene function and ultimately for designing plants for a wide spectrum of applications.

 Carnegie researchers have pioneered a genome-wide gene association network Aranet that can assign functions to genes for which no function had

Distant galaxies offer a glimpse of the universe as it was billions of years ago. Understanding how the Milky Way and other galaxies originated provides a unique perspective on the fundamental physics of cosmology, the invisible dark matter, and  repulsive force of dark energy. Patrick McCarthy uses the facilities at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory to explore the early formation and evolution of galaxies. He is also director of the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization, an international consortium that is building the next generation giant telescope.  

Galaxy formation is driven by the interplay between the large-scale distribution of dark matter—that non-luminous unidentified

Andrew Newman works in several areas in extragalactic astronomy, including the distribution of dark matter--the mysterious, invisible  matter that makes up most of the universe--on galaxies, the evolution of the structure and dynamics of massive early galaxies including dwarf galaxies, ellipticals and cluster. He uses tools such as gravitational lensing, stellar dynamics, and stellar population synthesis from data gathered from the Magellan, Keck, Palomar, and Hubble telescopes.

Newman received his AB in physics and mathematics from the Washington University in St. Louis, and his MS and Ph D in astrophysics from Caltech. Before becomming a staff astronomer in 2015, he was a

We are all made of stardust. Almost all of the chemical elements were produced by nuclear reactions in the interiors of stars. When a star dies a fraction of the elements is released into the inter-stellar gas clouds, out of which successive generations of stars form.

 Astronomers have a basic understanding of this chemical enrichment cycle, but chemical evolution and nulceosynthesis are still not fully understood. Andrew McWilliam measures the detailed chemical composition of Red Giant stars, which are about as old as the galaxy and retain their original chemical composition.  He is seeking answer to questions such as: What are the sites of nucleosynthesis? What modulates element

Like some other Carnegie astronomers, staff associate Jeffrey Crane blends science with technology. His primary interests are instrumentation, the Milky Way and the neighboring Local Group of galaxies, in addition to extrasolar planets. In 2004, then-research associate Crane joined Steve Shectman, Ian Thompson, and the Carnegie team to design the Planet Finder Spectrograph (PFS), now installed and operational on the Magellan Clay telescope.

Radial velocities are the speeds and directions of stars moving away from or toward the Earth.  Extrasolar planet hunters use them to detect the telltale wobbles of stars that are gravitationally tugged by orbiting planets. Astronomical