Vera Rubin at Lowell Observatory, courtesy of Carnegie Institution for Science.

As we commemorate the extraordinary life of Vera Rubin—who forever altered how we understand the universe—on what would have been her 93rd birthday, I keep coming back to a legendary moment in her transformative career and what it can teach us about our present moment.

Cover of Vera Rubin: A Life, published by Belknap Press (2021)

Earlier this year, Carnegie sat down (via Zoom) with Jacqueline and Simon Mitton, authors of Vera Rubin: A Life, the first biography of the legendary Carnegie scientist Vera Rubin, whose work on the rotation curves of galaxies confirmed the existence of dark matter. 

Artist's concept of hydrogen fuel production. Purchased from Shutterstock.

Designing future low-carbon energy systems to use power generated in excess of the grid’s demands to produce hydrogen fuel could substantially lower electricity costs, according to new from Carnegie’s Tyler Ruggles and Ken Caldeira.

 

Artist's conception of this research project courtesy of Navid Marvi

Carnegie’s Steven Farber was awarded nearly $500,000 over three years by The G. Harold & Leila Y. Mathers Foundation to identify the chemical components of cinnamon oil that show effectiveness against cardiovascular disease-causing fats.

Carnegie's William Ludington

Carnegie William Ludington’s quest to understand the community ecology of our gut microbiome was this spring awarded nearly $1 million over three years from the National Science Foundation. He was also selected as one of 14 researchers to receive $55,000 from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement for its inaugural Scialog: Microbiome, Neurobiology, and Disease initiative.

Botryococcus braunii by © Karl Bruun posted on the AlgaeBase website.

Carnegie’s Arthur Grossman and Stanford University’s Ellen Yeh were awarded a $900, 000 grant this spring from the university’s public-private partnership Strategic Energy Alliance to research the synthesis of biofuels from a species of green microalgae called Botryococcus braunii.

The scope of Earth and Planets Laboratory science courtesy of Katherine Cain.

Carnegie’s Earth and Planets Laboratory welcomes two new staff scientists whose expertise spans from terrestrial planet interiors to the atmo

3D reconstruction of an Arabidopsis embryo courtesy George W. Bassel.

Dehydrated plant seeds can lay dormant for long periods—over 1,000 years in some species—before the availability of water can trigger germination. This protects the embryonic plant inside from a variety of environmental stresses until conditions are favorable for growth and survival. However, the mechanism by which the baby plant senses water and reactivates cellular activity has remained a mystery until now.

A team of Carnegie astronomers was awarded $1.4 million from the Heising-Simons Foundation to develop an ambitious and versatile infrared spectrograph for the Magellan telescopes at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile that will enable breakthroughs in understanding cosmology, galaxy evolution, and exoplanet atmospheres.

Carnegie’s Anat Shahar is the lead investigator on an interdisciplinary, multi-institution research team that this spring was awarded nearly $1.5 million from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to understand the chemical makeup of our galaxy’s most common planets with a goal of developing a framework for detecting chemical signatures of life on distant worlds. 

Photograph of an offshore wind farm purchased from Shutterstock.

Washington, DC—Location, location, location—when it comes to the placement of wind turbines, the old real estate adage

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.”

Embedded deep in the brain's temporal lobe, the hippocampus plays a major role in learning and memory. Dr.

Join us to learn from Carnegie Earth and Planets Laboratory astronomer Dr.