In 1903 the Carnegie Institution established a Desert Laboratory to explore the properties of desert plants. From that humble stone building in Tucson, Arizona, eventually emerged our spectacular Department of Plant Biology on the Stanford University campus and, by descent, our Department of Global...
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    With the New Horizons historic flyby of Pluto next week, imagine how excited we were a few weeks ago to unearth a set of plates from 1925 in our vault that include Pluto--five years before Pluto was discovered. This unexpected find led to a bit of historical detective work to uncover the story of these unusual astronomical plates. This short video tells the tale of our digging and what we learned from it, and highlights the amazing work done by astronomers of an earlier, pre-digital era. You never know what you might find in your own archives!

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Stanford, CA—Wolf B. Frommer, Director of Carnegie’s Department of Plant Biology, has been elected as a member of the German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, one of the world’s oldest national academies.

Leopoldina has a membership of about 1,500 outstanding scientists from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and other nations. The organization is “dedicated to the advancement of science for the benefit of humankind and to the goal of shaping a better future.”

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Washington, DC— New work from Carnegie’s Alan Boss offers a potential solution to a longstanding problem in the prevailing theory of how rocky planets formed in our own Solar System, as well as in others. The snag he’s untangling: how dust grains in the matter orbiting a young protostar avoid getting dragged into the star before they accumulate into bodies large enough that their own gravity allows them to rapidly attract enough material to grow into planets.

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Alexander Goncharov's experiment on noble gases could give new insight into the interiors of gas giant planets says Scientific American. More

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Baltimore, MD—Carnegie’s BioEYES K-12 science educational program launches a new center sponsored by the University of Utah, Department of Pediatrics, Pediatric Research Enterprise. The new program manager and educator of BioEYES Utah, Judith Neugebauer, will use her zebrafish research experience to introduce students to the scientific method with a hands-on learning opportunity to watch live, transparent, zebrafish embryos develop.

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Along with Alycia Weinberger and Ian Thompson, Alan Boss has been running the Carnegie Astrometric Planet Search (CAPS) program, which searches for extrasolar planets by the astrometric method, where the planet's presence is detected indirectly through the wobble of the host star around the center...
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The Fan laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms that govern mammalian development, using the mouse as a model. They use a combination of biochemical, molecular and genetic approaches to identify and characterize signaling molecules and pathways that control the development and maintenance of...
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Carbon plays an unparalleled role in our lives: as the element of life, as the basis of most of society’s energy, as the backbone of most new materials, and as the central focus in efforts to understand Earth’s variable and uncertain climate. Yet in spite of carbon’s importance, scientists remain...
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Capital Science Evening Lectures
Thursday, September 17, 2015 - 6:45pm to 8:00pm

Modern tomatoes lack the intense flavor of heirloom, grown in your back yard varieties. What exactly is “tomato flavor”? Where did it go and what can we do about it? We believe that better flavor...

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Special Events
Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - 6:45pm to 8:00pm

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first discovery of exoplanets, Carnegie Institution for Science and NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program are hosting a special program, highlighting...

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Capital Science Evening Lectures
Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 6:45pm to 8:00pm

The financial collapse of 2009 brought with it major changes in the economic, political, as well as media landscape. This talk will explore how these ongoing changes have affected the public’s...

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Viktor Struzhkin develops new techniques for high-pressure experiments to measure transport and magnetic properties of materials to understand aspects of geophysics, planetary science, and condensed-matter physics. Among his goals are to detect the transition of hydrogen into a high-temperature...
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Juna Kollmeier’s research is an unusual combination—she is as observationally-oriented theorist making predictions that can be compared to current and future observations. Her primary focus is on the emergence of structure in the universe. She combines cosmological hydrodynamic simulations and...
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Erik Hauri studies how planetary processes affect the chemistry of the Earth, Moon and other objects. He also uses that chemistry to understand the origin and evolution of planetary bodies. The minerals that are stable in planetary interiors determine how major elements such as silicon, magnesium,...
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July 30, 2015

Stanford, CA—Wolf B. Frommer, Director of Carnegie’s Department of Plant Biology, has been elected as a member of the German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, one of the world’s oldest national academies.

Leopoldina has a membership of about 1,500 outstanding scientists from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and other nations. The organization is “dedicated to the advancement of science for the benefit of humankind and to the goal of shaping a better future.”

Frommer, who joined Carnegie in 2003 and has been Plant Biology Director since 2007, has had a distinguished career in plant sciences in both Germany and the United States. His work provides the foundation for increasing

July 28, 2015

Washington, D.C.—Carnegie investigator Greg Asner has been elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). He is one of 60 new members. The honor is given “to individual AGU members who have made exceptional scientific contributions and attained acknowledged eminence in the fields of Earth and space sciences.”

Asner was hired as the Department of Global Ecology’s first addition in 2001. He has pioneered new methods for investigating tropical deforestation, degradation, ecosystem diversity, invasive species, carbon emissions, climate change, and much more using satellite and airborne instrumentation, coupled with on-ground fieldwork. His innovative techniques measure the

July 22, 2015

Washington, D.C.—Chris Field, the founding director of Carnegie Science’s Department of Global Ecology, will be awarded the fifth annual Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication by Climate One at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. Field has been a pioneer in developing new approaches to understand the large-scale function of Earth’s ecological systems for more than 20 years, making major contributions to physiological ecology, ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, and climate science. 

The $15,000 Schneider Award is given to a natural or social scientist who has made extraordinary scientific contributions and communicated that knowledge to a

July 9, 2015

Slate's Bad Astronomy says a photo of Orion's M43 nebula by Carnegie's Yuri Beletsky and Igor Chilingarian of the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics might be the deep-sky astrophoto of the year. More

September 17, 2015

Modern tomatoes lack the intense flavor of heirloom, grown in your back yard varieties. What exactly is “tomato flavor”? Where did it go and what can we do about it? We believe that better flavor leads directly to better, healthier food choices. So we have systematically taken apart the chemistry and genetics of flavor in order to understand and restore it to its former glory. Along the way we’ve learned some amazing things about the way we taste and smell that have major implications for foods.

Dr. Harry Klee, University of Florida, Horticultural Sciences Department

October 21, 2015

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first discovery of exoplanets, Carnegie Institution for Science and NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program are hosting a special program, highlighting prominent scientists connected to the discovery and our understanding of exoplanets. Please join us for an interactive exhibit, followed by a panel discussion concerning the past, present, and future of exoplanet research.

Speakers TBA

Co-hosted by the Carnegie Institution for Scinece and the National Aeronautics ans Space Administration.

October 28, 2015

The financial collapse of 2009 brought with it major changes in the economic, political, as well as media landscape. This talk will explore how these ongoing changes have affected the public’s perception of climate change as well as discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the United States as world leaders gather in Paris later this year for United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-21). One of those challenges will require creating new models for science journalism and one of those opportunities may require a redefinition of what it means to be a scientist.

Dr. Heidi Cullen, Chief Scientist, Climate Central

November 9, 2015
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Physics and chemistry have arrived at a deep understanding of the non-living world. Can we expect to reach similar insights, integrating concepts and quantitative explanation, in biology? Life at its origin should be particularly amenable to discovery of scientific laws governing biology, since it marks the point of departure from a predictable physical/chemical world to the novel and history-dependent living world. The origin of life problem is difficult because even the simplest living cell is highly evolved from the first steps toward life, of which little direct evidence remains. The conference aims to explore ways to build a deeper understanding of the nature of biology, by

Coral reefs are havens for marine biodiversity and underpin the economies of many coastal communities. But they are very sensitive to changes in ocean chemistry resulting from greenhouse gas emissions, as well as to pollution, warming waters, overdevelopment, and overfishing. Reefs use a mineral called aragonite, a naturally occurring form of calcium carbonate, CaCO3, to make their skeletons.  When carbon dioxide, CO2, from the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean, it forms carbonic acid—the same stuff that makes soda fizz--making the ocean more acidic and thus more difficult for many marine organisms to grow their shells and skeletons and threatening coral reefs globally.

Ken

CDAC is a multisite, interdisciplinary center headquartered at Carnegie to advance and perfect an extensive set of high pressure and temperature techniques and facilities, to perform studies on a broad range of materials in newly accessible pressure and temperature regimes, and to integrate and coordinate static, dynamic and theoretical results. The research objectives include making highly accurate measurements to understand the transitions of materials into different phases under the multimegabar pressure rang; determine the electronic and magnetic properties of solids and fluid to multimegabar pressures and elevated temperatures; to bridge the gap between static and dynamic

Together with Dr. Jamie Shuda, Steve Farber created a Science Outreach Program, Project BioEYES, that incorporates life science and laboratory education using zebrafish. The outreach program has two main components: educating students and community members through hands-on tours of a Zebrafish Facility, and bringing the zebrafish to 4-12th grade classrooms for hands-on experiments. The program teaches students about science literacy, genetics, the experimental process and the cardiovascular system through the use of live zebrafish.

The mission of the Science Outreach Program is to foster an enthusiasm for science education, promote interest for future participation in a biology-

The recent discovery that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate has profoundly affected physics. If the universe were gravity-dominated then it should be decelerating. These contrary results suggest a new form of “dark energy”—some kind of repulsive force—is driving the universe. To get a grasp of dark energy, it is extremely important that scientists get the most accurate measurements possible of Type Ia supernovae. These are specific types of exploring stars with exceptional luminosity that allow astronomers to determine distances and the acceleration rate at different distances. At the moment, the reality of the accelerating universe remains controversial because of

Steroids are important hormones in both animals and plants. They bulk up plants just as they do human athletes, but the pathway of molecular signals that tell the genes to boost growth and development is more complex in plant cells than in animal cells. Unlike animals, plants do not have glands to produce and secrete hormones. Rather, each plant cell has the ability to generate hormones. Another difference is that animal cells typically have receptor molecules that respond to select steroids located within a cell's nucleus. In plants, steroid receptors are anchored to the outside surface of a cell’s outer membrane—the membrane that delineates a cell as a single unit.

Zhiyong Wang

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

What sets George Cody, acting director of the Geophysical Laboratory,  apart from other geochemists is his pioneering use of sophisticated techniques such as enormous facilities for synchrotron radiation, and sample analysis with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to characterize hydrocarbons. Today, Cody  applies these techniques to analyzing the organic processes that alter sediments as they mature into rock inside the Earth and the molecular structure of extraterrestrial organics.

Wondering about where we came from has occupied the human imagination since the dawn of consciousness. Using samples from comets and meteorites, George Cody tracks the element carbon as it

There is a lot of folklore about left-brain, right-brain differences—the right side of the brain is supposed to be the creative side, while the left is the logical half. But it’s much more complicated than that. Marnie Halpern studies how left-right differences arise in the developing brain and discovers the genes that control this asymmetry.

Using the tiny zebrafish, Danio rerio, Halpern explores how regional specializations occur within the neural tube, the embryonic tissue that develops into the brain and spinal cord. The zebrafish is ideal for these studies because its basic body plan is set within 24 hours of fertilization. By day five, young larvae are able to feed and swim