Fullerene C60 purchased from Shutterstock

Researchers use multi-anvil press to turn fullerene C60 into diamond glass, similar to the process of converting graphite to diamond in high-pressure apparatus. Image by Yingwei Fei.

Alycia Weinberger

Carnegie’s Alycia Weinberger and collaborators from the University of Texas at Austin and the Korean Astronomy and Space Science Institute received last month a $1.2 million grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation to develop an instrument for the Magellan telescopes at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile that will enable breakthroughs in our understanding of the planet formation process.

Margaret McFall-Ngai

Pioneering microbiome specialist Margaret McFall-Ngai has been named the inaugural director of Carnegie’s newly launched research division focused on life and environmental sciences, which will deploy an integrated, molecular-to-global approach to tackling the challenges of sustainability, resilience, and adaptation to a changing climate. McFall-Ngai will join the institution in January, 2022, from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, where she is a professor at the Pacific Biosciences Research Center’s Kewalo Marine Laboratory and the center’s director emerita.

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—was elected last month a fellow of the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life – The International Astrobiology Society.

Ho-kwang "Dave" Mao

The first-ever silicate mineral recovered from the Earth’s lower mantle has been named after emeritus Carnegie scientist Ho-kwang “Dave” Mao, an experimental geophysicist whose work redefined our understanding of how materials behave under the extreme pressure and temperature conditions found inside Earth and other planets.

Rendering of the Giant Magellan Telescope courtesy of the GMTO.

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Thursday ranked the U.S. Extremely Large Telescope program as a top strategic priority, recommending federal support for the final construction stages of the Giant Magellan Telescope, which is being built at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. The Academies’ highly anticipated report, Pathways to Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 2020s, was the result of its survey of the astronomy and astrophysics community regarding strategic goals and initiatives for the next 10 years.  The recommendation detailed that building an extremely large telescope “is absolutely essential if the United States is to maintain a position as a leader in ground-based astronomy.”

Rose rust on plant leaves. Image purchased from Shutterstock.

New work led by Carnegie’s Kangmei Zhao and Sue Rhee reveals a new mechanism by which plants are able to rapidly activate defenses against bacterial infections. This understanding could inspire efforts to improve crop yields and combat global hunger. “Understanding how plants respond to stressful environments is critical for developing strategies to protect important food and biofuel crops from a changing climate,” Rhee explained. 

Illustration of Neptune's interior purchased from Shutterstock

A layer of “hot,” electrically conductive ice could be responsible for generating the magnetic fields of ice giant planets like Uranus and Neptune. New work from Carnegie and the University of Chicago’s Center for Advanced Radiation Sources reveals the conditions under which two such superionic ices form. Their findings are published in Nature Physics. 

Carnegie’s Devaki Bhaya is part of a Rice University led team that was recently awarded $2.8 million from the National Science Foundation for a five-year project to define the social order of naturally occurring microbial communities.

Peter van Keken

Carnegie geophysicist and geodynamicist Peter van Keken, whose work reveals Earth’s thermal and chemical evolution, was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.

Former Carnegie Staff Associate Martin Jonikas, now at Princeton University, was named one of 33 new Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators (HHMI). HHMI recognized Jonikas for his research on photosynthetic algae, which could revolutionize agriculture and biofuels by making crop plants better at converting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into usable energy sources such as sugars. Each member of the cohort will receive roughly $9 million over a seven-year term. They were selected for “diving deep into tough questions that span the landscape of biology and medicine.”

Anna Michalak

Carnegie Department of Global Ecology Director Anna Michalak will be honored with the American Geophysical Union’s Simpson Medal. It will be presented at the organization’s annual meeting in December.

Carnegie Earth and Planets Laboratory isotope geochemist Anat Shahar

Carnegie geochemist Anat Shahar, who probes the formation, evolution, and interior dynamics of Earth and other rocky planets, has been selected to give the Reginald Daly Lecture at the American Geophysical Union’s annual Fall Meeting in December.  

Art and science exhibit at Morgan State University

All year round, our lives are shaped by events that were made possible by the often underrecognized work of Black plant scientists. From the refreshment of enjoying a cool scoop of vanilla ice cream on a hot summer day, to the thrill of peering through a microscope on the first day of school, we have Black scientists to thank for these and so many more of the experiences that enrich our minds and nourish our bodies.

Plant Cell Atlas logo

The world’s population is growing, and global climate change will reshape our maps—shifting locations where human settlements can sustainably exist and thrive. Plant science can help us understand and mitigate the coming challenges, including fighting hunger, promoting renewable energy, and sequestering carbon pollution from the atmosphere. But in order to meet the moment, the scientific enterprise must prepare to leap ahead in its understanding of how plant cells function and respond to their environmental conditions. And to successfully advance plant science, the scientific community must foster the next generation of researchers and to ensure that a premium is placed on inclusivity and diversity in laying this foundation for the future.

Astronomer Ana Bonaca, for whom the Milky Way galaxy is laboratory to explore the evolution of the universe, has joined the Carnegie Observatories as a Staff Scientist. “Over the next decade, we will be able to understand our galaxy in unprecedented detail and I plan to use this avalanche of data to turn the Milky Way into a cosmological laboratory,” she said. “Having access to the facilities at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, as well as to the computational resources of the Carnegie Theoretical Astrophysics Center, makes this the perfect home to advance my research goals.”

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