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— Four additional members of Stanford University’s faculty have been named Honorary Adjunct Staff Scientists at Carnegie’s Department of Plant Biology. Stanford’s Dominique Bergmann has been a Carnegie adjunct since 2011, and the newly added adjunct staff brings the total number with this honorary title to five.

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Planet-hunting is an ongoing process that’s resulting in the discovery of more and more planets orbiting distant stars. But as the hunters learn more about the variety among the tremendous number of predicted planets out there, it’s important to refine their techniques.  New work led by Carnegie’s Jonathan Gagné, Caltech's Peter Gao, and Peter Plavchan from Missouri State University reports on a technological upgrade for one method of finding planets or confirming other planetary detections. 

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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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  • Washington, DC— A new study, based on the most-extensive set of measurements ever made in tide pools, suggests that ocean acidification will increasingly put many marine organisms at risk by exacerbating normal changes in ocean chemistry that occur overnight. Conducted along California’s rocky coastline, the study from Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira and Lester Kwiatkowski shows that the most-vulnerable organisms are likely to be those with calcium carbonate shells or skeletons.

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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 Carnegie Irvine Galaxy Survey is obtaining high-quality optical and near-infrared images of several hundred of the brightest galaxies in the southern hemisphere sky, at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory to investigate the structural properties of galaxies. For more see    http://cgs.obs....
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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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Astronomy Lecture Series
Monday, May 2, 2016 - 6:45pm

This is an extraordinary time in human history. While it has been only twenty years since astronomers first...

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Special Events
Monday, May 9, 2016 -
6:30pm to 8:00pm

The genome editing system called CRISPR earned Science magazine’s “2015 Breakthrough of the Year.” The advent of facile genome engineering using the bacterial RNA-guided CRISPR-Cas9...

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Special Events
Friday, May 13, 2016 -
7:00pm to 9:00pm

Three experts judge ten young scientists as they spin tall-but-true tales of climate change, a cure for cancer, the search for life elsewhere, and much more - in 3 powerpoint-free minutes each! ...

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The Donald Brown laboratory uses  amphibian metamorphosis to study complex developmental programs such as the development of vertebrate organs. The thyroid gland secretes thyroxine (TH), a hormone essential for the growth and development of all vertebrates including humans. To understand TH,...
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Joe Berry has been a Carnegie investigator since 1972. He has developed powerful tools to measure local and regional exchanges of carbon over spaces of up to thousands of square miles. He uses information at the plant scale to extrapolate the carbon balance at regional and continental scales....
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Timothy Strobel subjects materials to high-pressures to understand chemical processes  and interactions, and to create new, advanced energy-related materials. For instance, silicon is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust and a mainstay of the electronics industry. But normal...
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April 28, 2016

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. Their results, published in Science, could shed light on Earth’s early days when the core was formed through a process called differentiation—when the denser materials, like iron, sunk inward toward the center, creating the layered composition the planet has today.

Earth formed from accreted matter surrounding the young Sun. Over time, the iron in this early planetary material moved inward,

Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science
April 20, 2016

Stanford, CA— Four additional members of Stanford University’s faculty have been named Honorary Adjunct Staff Scientists at Carnegie’s Department of Plant Biology. Stanford’s Dominique Bergmann has been a Carnegie adjunct since 2011, and the newly added adjunct staff brings the total number with this honorary title to five.

“For decades, Carnegie has shared not only ideas, but also access to equipment and mentorship of bright young scientists with our Stanford neighbors,” said Carnegie President Matthew Scott. “We felt it was an appropriate time to formalize this relationship with positions that offer greater opportunities for immersive collaboration.”

All four of the new

April 18, 2016
 

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!”

More than 40 volunteers from four departments, including scientists, Carnegie Academy for Science Education educators, and administrative staff, welcomed thousands of the estimated 350,000 Festival visitors to our booth with a range of fun, interactive science. Some volunteers even brought their families along to lend a hand!

“Thank you so much to everyone at Carnegie who

April 12, 2016

Pasadena, CA— You can never predict what treasure might be hiding in your own basement. We didn’t know it a year ago, but it turns out that a 1917 image on an astronomical glass plate from our Carnegie Observatories’ collection shows the first-ever evidence of a planetary system beyond our own Sun. This unexpected find was recognized in the process of researching an article about planetary systems surrounding white dwarf stars in New Astronomy Reviews.

Here’s what happened: about a year ago, the review’s author, Jay Farihi of University College London, contacted our Observatories’ Director, John Mulchaey. He was looking for a plate in the Carnegie archive that contained a spectrum

May 2, 2016

This is an extraordinary time in human history. While it has been only twenty years since astronomers first discovered planets outside of our solar system, we are already aware of several planets that could have liquid water on their surfaces. In just ten years, we will have the technological ability to search for signs of life, like oxygen and methane, in the atmospheres of a few select exoplanets. Dr. Schlaufman will tell the story of exoplanets to date, and outline the progress we will soon see in the search for life elsewhere in our Galaxy.

Dr. Kevin Schlaufman
Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University
Carnegie-Princeton Fellow

May 9, 2016

The genome editing system called CRISPR earned Science magazine’s “2015 Breakthrough of the Year.” The advent of facile genome engineering using the bacterial RNA-guided CRISPR-Cas9 system in animals and plants is transforming biology. In this talk, CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna presents a brief history of CRISPR biology from its initial discovery through the elucidation of the CRISPR-Cas9 enzyme mechanism, providing the foundation for remarkable developments using this technology to modify, regulate, or visualize genomic loci in a wide variety of cells and organisms. These results highlight a new era in which genomic manipulation is no longer a bottleneck to experiments, paving the way

May 13, 2016

Three experts judge ten young scientists as they spin tall-but-true tales of climate change, a cure for cancer, the search for life elsewhere, and much more - in 3 powerpoint-free minutes each! 

And while the judges deliberate, we'll be treated to stories about alien life…on and beyond Earth by Andrew Steele of the Carnegie Institution for Science.

Come cheer on these brave souls – vote for your favorite – and journey with them to the cutting edge of exploring Earth and beyond!

Reception to follow the main event. Find more information about the finalists and program here.

  More about the halftime show featuring Andrew Steele Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie
May 16, 2016

The Hubble sequence of galaxies resembles a simple classification chart, yet underneath the neatly aligned shapes and colors lie complex and violent histories. Through radio, infrared, UV and optical astronomy, today we can deduce these histories – and the future. Nearby examples of every stage in the Hubble sequence provide living galactic fossils that reveal their 10 billion years of evolution. Dr. Alatalo will tour the Hubble sequence, exploring three avenues to galactic transi- tions: the quiet, slow fade; the violent merger; and the quietly violent evolution of a galaxy, likely due to a supermassive black hole in its center. By exploring how each piece of the puzzle fits with every

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 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, and within three months they are ready to reproduce. They are also prolific breeders. Most importantly the embryos are transparent, allowing scientists to watch the nervous system develop and to

The Carnegie-Spitzer-IMACS (CSI) survey, currently underway at the Magellan-Baade 6.5m telescope in Chile, has been specifically designed to characterize normal galaxies and their environments at a distance of about 4 billion years post Big Bang, expresses by astronomers as  z=1.5.

The survey selection is done using the Spitzer Space Telescope Legacy fields, which provides as close a selection by stellar mass as possible.

Using the IMACS infrared camera, the survey goal is to study galaxies down to low light magnitudes. The goal is to reduce the variance in the density of massive galaxies at these distances and times to accurately trace the evolution of the galaxy mass

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

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

Director Emeritus, George Preston has been deciphering the chemical evolution of stars in our Milky Way for a quarter of a century. He and Steve Shectman started this quest using a special technique to conduct a needle-in-the-haystack search for the few, first-generation stars, whose chemical compositions sketch the history of element formation in the galaxy. These earliest stars are very rare and they are characteristically low in heavy metals because of their age. They were made of Big Bang material, mostly hydrogen and helium. It was only later that heavier elements were formed in the nuclear furnaces of newer stars.

 In their first study, Preston and Shectman compiled a list

Plants are essential to life on Earth and provide us with food, fuel, clothing, and shelter.  Despite all this, we know very little about how they do what they do. Even for the best-studied species, such as Arabidopsis thaliana --a wild mustard studied in the lab--we know about less than 20% of what its genes do and how or why they do it. And understanding this evolution can help develop new crop strains to adapt to climate change.  

Sue Rhee wants to uncover the molecular mechanisms underlying adaptive traits in plants to understand how these traits evolved. A bottleneck has been the limited understanding of the functions of most plant genes. Rhee’s group is building genome-wide

For three decades, Chris Field has pioneered novel approaches to ecosystem research to understand climate and environmental changes. He is the founding director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology on the Stanford University campus—home to a small, but remarkably productive team of researchers who investigate the basics of climate change. Field has authored more than 200 scientific publications and is cochair of the U. N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 2. The IPCC Fourth Assessment, for which Field was a coordinating author, was published in 2007. He was coeditor of the March 2012 IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme

Luis Ho is a world-renowned black hole expert. Using the Hubble Space Telescope, Ho and colleagues have discovered most of the known black holes in nearby galaxies. Once thought rare, Ho and team instead established that black holes are so common they are integral galactic components. Indeed, black-hole formation appears to be an inevitable consequence of galaxy formation. Understanding why and how this phenomenon occurs is one of the dominant themes of observational and theoretical research. Ho’s particular focus is to understand the energetic events and physical processes associated with matter accreting onto these objects, and the broader connection between black hole formation and