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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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 Ecology at the same site.

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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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Carnegie scientists participate in NASA's Kepler missions, the first mission capable of finding Earth-size planets around other stars. The centuries-old quest for other worlds like our Earth has been rejuvenated by the intense excitement and popular interest surrounding the discovery of hundreds of...
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The Giant Magellan Telescope will be one member of the next class of super giant earth-based telescopes that promises to revolutionize our view and understanding of the universe. It will be constructed in the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Commissioning of the telescope is scheduled to begin in...
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Anna Michalak’s team combined sampling and satellite-based observations of Lake Erie with computer simulations and determined that the 2011 record-breaking algal bloom in the lake was triggered by long-term agricultural practices coupled with extreme precipitation, followed by weak lake circulation...
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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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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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Seminars / Conferences
Monday, November 9, 2015 - 8:00am to Friday, November 13, 2015 - 3:00pm

About:

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...

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Integrity of hereditary material—the genome —is critical for species survival. Genomes need protection from agents that can cause mutations affecting DNA coding, regulatory functions, and duplication during cell division. DNA sequences called transposons, or jumping genes (discovered by Carnegie’s...
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Alycia Weinberger wants to understand how planets form, so she observes young stars in our galaxy and their disks, from which planets are born. She also looks for and studies planetary systems. Studying disks surrounding nearby stars help us determine the necessary conditions for planet formation....
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Ronald Cohen primarily studies materials through first principles research—computational methods that begin with the most fundamental properties of a system, such as the nuclear charges of atoms, and then calculate what happens to a material under different conditions, such as pressure and...
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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

July 9, 2015

The Amazon rainforest might seem like a massive expanse of monotonous green. However, recent work from Carnegie's Greg Asner has found that within this monotony lies a kaleidoscope of chemicals unique to all the different plant species of the forest, Mongabay reports. 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 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
About:

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

November 12, 2015

Earth's 4.5 billion year history is a complex tale of deterministic physical and chemical processes, as well as "frozen accidents". Most models of life's origins also invoke chance and necessity. Recent research adds two important insights to this discussion. First, chance versus necessity is an inherently false dichotomy--a range of probabilities exists for many natural events. Second, given the astonishing combinatorial chemical richness of early Earth, events that are extremely rare may, nevertheless, be deterministic on time scales of a billion years.

Robert Hazen, Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution for Science

 

The MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) mission to orbit Mercury following three flybys of that planet is a scientific investigation of the planet Mercury. Understanding Mercury, and the forces that have shaped it is fundamental to understanding the terrestrial planets and their evolution. This is the first orbital mission around the innermost planet. It took years of planning and complex trajectory to reach Mercury. Carnegie scientists have led the way revealing results that have redefined what we thought we knew about Mercury and the other rocky planets. For more information see http://messenger.jhuapl.edu/

The Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO), developed by GregAsner, is a fixed-wing aircraft that sweeps laser light across the vegetation canopy to image it in brilliant 3-D. The data can determine the location and size of each tree at a resolution of 3.5 feet (1.1 meter), a level of detail that is unprecedented. By combining field surveys with this airborne mapping and high-resolution satellite monitoring the team has been able to detail myriad ecological features of forests around the world.

As one example, Carnegie scientists with the Peruvian Ministry of Environment mapped the true extent of gold mining in the biologically diverse region of Madre de Dios in the Peruvian Amazon.

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. None of the accepted paradigms explain why the magmatic and tectonic activity extend so far east of the North American plate margin. By applying numerous techniques ranging from geochemistry and petrology to active and passive seismic imaging to geodynamic modeling, the researchers examine an assemblage of new data that will provide key information about the roles of lithosphere structure,

Chris Field is a co-principal investigator of the Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve in northern California. The site, designed to exploit grasslands as models for understanding how ecosystems may respond to climate change, hosts a number of studies of the potential effects from elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide, elevated temperature, increased precipitation, and increased nitrogen deposition. The site houses experimental plots that replicate all possible combinations of the four treatments and additional sampling sites that control for the effects of project infrastructure. Studies focus on several integrated ecosystem responses to the

Dave Mao’s research centers on ultra-high pressure physics, chemistry, material sciences, geophysics, geochemistry and planetary sciences using diamond-anvil cell techniques that he has pioneered. He is also director of the Energy Frontier Research in Extreme Environments (EFree) center at the Geophysical Laboratory and he is director of the High Pressure Synergitic Center (HPSynC) and the High Pressure Collaborative Access Team (HPCAT) at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory, IL.

Mao pioneered the diamond anvil cell, an instrument designed to subject materials to high pressures and temperatures by squeezing matter between two diamond tips. Over the years Mao

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

Plants are not as static as you think. David Ehrhardt combines confocal microscopy with novel visualization methods to see the three-dimensional movement  within live plant cells to reveal the other-worldly cell choreography that makes up plant tissues. These methods allow his group to explore cell-signaling and cell-organizational events as they unfold.

These methods allow his lab to investigate plant cell development and structure and molecular genetics to understand the organization and dynamic behaviors of molecules and organelles. The group tackles how cells generate asymmetries and specific shapes. A current focus is how the cortical microtubule cytoskeleton— an interior

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