Do you know how a diamond is formed? Can you name one of the craters of Mercury? Have you ever held a fossilized shark tooth? For anyone who stopped by the Carnegie booth at the USA Science & Engineering Festival this weekend, the answer to all of those questions would be a resounding “yes!”...
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    New work from an international team including Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira demonstrates that the planet’s remaining fossil fuel resources would be sufficient to melt nearly all of Antarctica if burned, leading to a 50- or 60-meter (160- to 200-foot) rise in sea level. Because so many major cities are at or near sea level, this would put many highly populated areas where more than a billion people live under water, including New York City and Washington, DC. It is published in Science Advances.

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Stanford, CA— Algae may hold the key to feeding the world’s burgeoning population. Don’t worry; no one is going to make you eat them. But because they are more efficient than most plants at taking in carbon dioxide from the air, algae could transform agriculture. If their efficiency could be transferred to crops, we could grow more food in less time using less water and less nitrogen fertilizer.

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Washington, DC— New work from a team including Carnegie’s Hanika Rizo and Richard Carlson, as well as Richard Walker from the University of Maryland, has found material in rock formations that dates back to shortly after Earth formed. The discovery will help scientists understand the processes that shaped our planet’s formative period and its internal dynamics over the last 4.5 billion years. It is published by Science.

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Washington, DC—New work from a research team led by Carnegie’s Anat Shahar contains some unexpected findings about iron chemistry under high-pressure conditions, such as those likely found in the Earth’s core, where iron predominates and creates our planet’s life-shielding magnetic field.

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Baltimore, MD—New work from Carnegie’s Allan Spradling and Lei Lei demonstrates that mammalian egg cells gain crucial cellular components at an early stage from their undifferentiated sister cells, called germ cells. This mechanism had previously only been documented in lower animals, and may be a key to understanding the egg’s unique properties. Their work is published via Science First Release.

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Starting in 2005, the High Lava Plains project is focused on a better understanding of why the Pacific Northwest, specifically eastern Oregon's High Lava Plains, is so volcanically active. This region is the most volcanically active area of the continental United States and it's relatively young....
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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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Stem cells make headline news as potential treatments for a variety of diseases. But undertstanding the nuts and bolts of how they develop from an undifferentiated cell  that gives rise to cells that are specialized such as organs, or bones, and the nervous system, is not well understood.  The...
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Special Events
Monday, June 13, 2016 -
6:45pm to 7:45pm

Twenty-five years ago, a small team of Philippine and US scientists worked feverishly to forecast what newly-awakened Mount Pinatubo might do, and to...

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The first step in gene expression is the formation of an RNA copy of its DNA. This step, called transcription, takes place in the cell nucleus. Transcription requires an enzyme called RNA polymerase to catalyze the synthesis of the RNA from the DNA template. This, in addition to other processing...
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Roiling cauldrons of liquid-laden material flow within Earth’s rocky interior. Understanding how this matter moves and changes is essential to deciphering Earth’s formation and evolution as well as the processes that create seismic activity, such as earthquakes and volcanoes. Bjørn Mysen probes...
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 Barry Madore is widely known for his work on Cepheid variables—very bright pulsating stars used to determine distances in the universe—plus his research on peculiar galaxies, and the extragalactic distance scale. He divides his time between directing science for NED, the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic...
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May 25, 2016

Washington, D.C.—The STEM Funders Network (SFN) announced last week that the DC STEM Network, a partnership of the Carnegie Academy for Science Education (CASE) and the DC Office of the State Superintendent of  Education, has been selected as one of the 10 STEM Learning Ecosystems to join the STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative, a national initiative, initially developed in 2015-16 beginning with 27 STEM Learning Ecosystems communities across the United States.

Led by the STEM Funders Network (SFN), the STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative is built on over a decade of National Academy and related research focused on how to cultivate successful STEM collaborations. The selected

May 25, 2016

The results from a suite of environmental mercury studies done by the Carnegie Amazon Mercury Project (CAMEP) was used by the Peruvian government for the decision to announce this state of emergency. This Washington Post article discusses  the declaration by Peru's president of a State of Emergency due to environmental mercury contamination in the amazonian state of Madre de Dios, Peru. 



May 23, 2016

Carnegie congratulates Mary-Claire King, one of our trustees, who last week was recognized by President Obama with the National Medal of Science for her “pioneering contributions to human genetics.”

King, who is the American Cancer Society Professor in the Departments of Genome Sciences and Medicine at the University of Washington, has made massive impacts on human health with her discovery of the hereditary nature of breast and ovarian cancer in some families. Her research has "empowered women and their doctors with science to better understand the choices that they make when it comes to their health and their future," Obama said during the awards ceremony. 

She is also a

May 17, 2016

Pasadena, CA— Carnegie’s Allan Sandage, who died in 2010, was a tremendously influential figure in the field of astronomy. His final paper, published posthumously, focuses on unraveling a surprising historical mystery related to one of his own seminal discoveries.

While preparing a centennial history of the Carnegie Observatories in the early 2000s, Sandage came across an unpublished 1944 exchange between two prominent astronomers that piqued his interest. The conversation seemed to predate by a decade Sandage’s own work on stellar evolution in the mid-1950s.

Naturally, he wanted to investigate further.

So he enlisted Steven Majewski of the University of Virginia,

Washington, DC—The Carnegie Institution announced today that it is a grant recipient of the Grand Challenges Explorations initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Wolf B. Frommer, director of Carnegie’s Department of Plant Biology, jointly with Bing Yang from Iowa State University and Frank White from Kansas State University, proposed the innovative global health and development research project entitled “Transformative Strategy for Controlling Rice Disease in Developing Countries.”


“My team and I are very excited that Grand Challenges Explorations is funding this work,” remarked Frommer: “The program funds individuals who are tackling some of the

"What is most astonishing about rare minerals is that the processes that ultimately forms most of them comes from biology," Bob Hazen tells the Los Angeles Times. "As life changes near the surface of our planet, it creates new conditions that leads to the creation of thousands of new minerals." More

Washington, D.C. — A team of scientists led by Carnegie’s Lin Wang has observed a new form of very hard carbon clusters, which are unusual in their mix of crystalline and disordered structure. The material is capable of indenting diamond. This finding has potential applications for a range of mechanical, electronic, and electrochemical uses. The work is published in Science on August 17.

   Carbon is the fourth-most-abundant element in the universe and takes on a wide variety of forms—the honeycomb-like graphene, the pencil “lead” graphite, diamond, cylindrically structured nanotubes, and hollow spheres called fullerenes.

   Some forms of carbon are crystalline, meaning

"I started to wonder if I could design a course that encouraged freshmen to recognize the beauty and wealth of trees on campus? Could I meld my curiosity about the trees and rejuvenate my rusty background in botany to help create a resource for the community?" Devaki Bhaya writes in Pacific Horticulture about her experience designing and teaching a class on the trees of the Stanford University campus. More 

In March 2014, a technical support unit (TSU) of ten, headquartered at Global Ecology, had successfully completed a herculean management effort for the 2000-page assessment Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, including two summaries. They were issued by the United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Working Group II co-chaired by Chris Field, Global Ecology director, with science co-directors Katie Mach and Mike Mastrandrea managing the input of over 190 governments and nearly 2,000 experts from around the world.

The IPCC, established in 1988, assesses information about climate change and its impacts. In September 2008, Field was

The Gall laboratory studies all aspects of the cell nucleus, particularly the structure of chromosomes, the transcription and processing of RNA, and the role of bodies inside the cell nucleus, especially the Cajal body (CB) and the histone locus body (HLB).

Much of the work makes use of the giant oocyte of amphibians and the equally giant nucleus or germinal vesicle (GV) found in it. He is particularly  interested in how the structure of the nucleus is related to the synthesis and processing of RNA—specifically, what changes occur in the chromosomes and other nuclear components when RNA is synthesized, processed, and transported to the cytoplasm.

The DC STEM Network unites community partners to help inspire and prepare all DC youth to succeed, lead, and innovate in STEM fields and beyond. The Network connects educators, industry experts, community organizations, and colleges to support STEM learning across the city. The Network was formed in October 2014 through a partnership between Carnegie Science’s Carnegie Academy for Science Education and the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education.  Over 200 community partners have already engaged in the effort to enhance STEM learning opportunities for DC students and teachers within the classroom, outside of the classroom and in the workplace.

This past year, the

Fifty years ago, Americans led the world in math and science, claiming some of the most important inventions and technological breakthroughs of the 20th century.  Today, American 15-year-olds rank 25th in math compared to their peers worldwide.  Math for America strives to reclaim America’s reputation for scientific greatness by recruiting and supporting the very best secondary education math teachers.

Here in Washington DC, the majority of secondary school students are not math proficient.  Only about two thirds of secondary school math teachers are fully certified.Our goals follow:

Recruit candidates with strong math knowledge and teaching aptitude, which enhances the

Roiling cauldrons of liquid-laden material flow within Earth’s rocky interior. Understanding how this matter moves and changes is essential to deciphering Earth’s formation and evolution as well as the processes that create seismic activity, such as earthquakes and volcanoes. Bjørn Mysen probes this hidden environment in the laboratory and, based on his results, models can help explain what goes on in this remote realm.

Mysen investigates changes in the atomic properties of molten silicates at high pressures and temperatures that pervade the interior Earth. Silicates comprise most of the Earth's crust and mantle. He uses devices, such as the diamond anvil cell, to subject melts

It’s common knowledge that light is essential for plants to perform photosynthesis—converting light energy into chemical energy by transforming carbon dioxide and water into sugars for fuel. Plants maximize the process by bending toward the light in a process called phototropism, which is particularly important for germinated seedlings to maximize light capture for growth. Winslow Briggs has been a worldwide leader in unraveling the molecular mechanisms behind this essential plant process.

Over a decade ago Briggs and colleagues discovered and first characterized the photoreceptor family that mediates this directional response and named the two members phototropin 1 and

Alexander F. Goncharov's analyzes materials under extreme conditions such as high pressure and temperature using optical spectroscopy and other techniques to understand how matter fundamentally changes, the chemical processes occurring deep within planets, including Earth, and to understand and develop new materials with potential applications to energy.

In one area Goncharov is pursuing the holy grail of materials science, whether hydrogen can exist in an electrically conducting  metallic state as predicted by theory. He is also interested in understanding the different phases materials undergo as they transition under different pressure and temperature conditions to shed light

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