Megan Ruffley

Carnegie’s Megan Ruffley was awarded a prestigious Plant Genome Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology from the National Science Foundation to study the genetics underpinning a plant’s ability to adapt to a changing climate.

Close up of a leaf, courtesy of Pixabay

he fact that photosynthesis uses sunlight and atmospheric carbon dioxide to produce sugars has been known for more than a century. But how photosynthesis manages to maintain sugar production through variations in the availability of sunlight and carbon dioxide has remained a mystery until now. New work from Carnegie’s Jennifer Johnson and Joseph Berry reveals that an enigmatic enzyme called the cytochrome b6f complex coordinates the process of capturing sunlight and carbon dioxide.

NG4321 galaxy. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/PHANGS, S. Dagnello (NRAO)

A team of astronomers, including Carnegie’s Guillermo Blanc, used the  Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to complete the first census of molecular clouds in the nearby universe, revealing that contrary to previous scientific opinion, these stellar nurseries do not all look and act the same. In fact, they’re as diverse as the people, homes, neighborhoods, and regions that make up our own world. 

Silicon in the periodic table courtesy of Shutterstock

A team led by Carnegie’s Thomas Shiell and Timothy Strobel developed a new method for synthesizing a novel crystalline form of silicon with a hexagonal structure that could potentially be used to create next-generation electronic and energy devices with enhanced properties that exceed those of the “normal” cubic form of silicon used today.

Carnegie mineralogist Robert Hazen

Carnegie Mineralogist Robert Hazen—who advanced the concept that Earth’s geology was shaped by the rise and sustenance of life—will be honored with the 2022 International Mineralogical Association’s Medal for Excellence. The prize recognizes “outstanding scientific publication in the field of mineralogical sciences.”

 Photo of inclusions in a super-deep diamond by Evan Smith/© 2021 GIA

The cause of Earth’s deepest earthquakes has been a mystery to science for more than a century, but a team of Carnegie scientists may have cracked the case. New research published provides evidence that fluids play a key role in deep-focus earthquakes—which occur between 300 and 700 kilometers below the planet’s surface. The research team includes Carnegie scientists Steven Shirey, Lara Wagner, Peter van Keken, and Michael Walter, as well as the University of Alberta’s Graham Pearson.

Midwestern farm purchased from Shutterstock

Models of the carbon cycle that are used to understand the effects of climate change in North America need to do a better job of accounting for the carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere by Midwestern agricultural crops during the growing season, according to new work led by Carnegie’s Wu Sun and Department of Global Ecology Director Anna Michalak.  Their work, published in AGU Advances, has implications for scientists as well as policymakers. 

Toxic "red tide" algal bloom. Image purchased from Shutterstock.

New work from a Stanford University-led team of researchers including Carnegie’s Arthur Grossman and Tingting Xiang unravels a longstanding mystery about the relationship between form and function in the genetic material of a diverse group of algae called dinoflagellates. Their findings, published in Nature Genetics, have implications for understanding genomic organizational principles of all organisms.

A violent stellar flare erupting on Proxima Centauri. Credit: NRAO/S. Dagnello.

Washington, DC— A team of astronomers including Carnegie’s Alycia Weinberger and former-Carnegie postdoc Meredith MacG

"Vartan was a very good friend to Carnegie Science and to me, personally, as I know he was to many of you.  Among his many remarkable accomplishments, Vartan's commitment to the Carnegie family of organizations stands out,"  said Carnegie Science President Eric D. Isaacs

Lava deposits in Leilani Estates (Credit: B. Shiro, USGS)

The 2018 eruption of Kīlauea Volcano in Hawai‘i provided scientists with an unprecedented opportunity to identify new factors that could help forecast the hazard potential of future eruptions.

CLIPPIR diamonds by Robert Weldon, copyright GIA, courtesy Gem Diamonds Ltd.

Diamonds that formed deep in the Earth’s mantle contain evidence of chemical reactions that occurred on the seafloor. Probing these gems can help geoscientists understand how material is exchanged between the planet’s surface and its depths.

Mars mosaic courtesy of NASA

Carnegie’s Yingwei Fei is the namesake of an iron-titanuim oxide mineral discovered in a meteorite that originated on Mars. Caltech’s Chi Ma announced the find this week at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Called Feiite with a composition of Fe3TiO5, the mineral formed during a violent impact on the Red Planet that sent the rock hurtling into space. 

Lizard Island National Park sign. Courtesy Ken Caldeira.

Algae colonizing dead coral are upending scientists’ ability to accurately assess the health of a coral reef community, according to new work from a team of marine science experts led by Carnegie’s Manoela Romanó de Orte and Ken Caldeira. “It’s long been thought that measuring calcium carbonate production could be linked directly to the health of a coral community,” Romanó de Orte said. “But our findings show that as algae increasingly succeed in overgrowing dead coral, it is going to be more difficult to rely on a once tried-and-true method for assessing whether a reef community is thriving.”

This artist's impression of the quasar P172+18. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser.

The Magellan Baade telescope at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory played an important role in the discovery of the most-distant known quasar with a bright radio emission, which was announced by a Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg and European Southern Observatory-led team and published in The Astrophysical Journal. One of the fastest-growing supermassive black holes ever observed, it is emitting about 580 times the energy as the entire Milky Way galaxy.

The Moon. Credit: Lick Observatory/ESA/Hubble

Volcanic rock samples collected during NASA’s Apollo missions bear the isotopic signature of key events in the early evolution of the Moon, a new analysis found. Those events include the formation of the Moon’s iron core, as well as the crystallization of the lunar magma ocean—the sea of molten rock thought to have covered the Moon for around 100 million years after the it formed. 

Join us to learn about materials physics from Carnegie scientist Sally Tracy.