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Andrew Carnegie understood that science is unpredictable. He created the institution to support individuals of exceptional ability and passion and gave them the independence to pursue high-risk, high-reward science.

A Carnegie-based search of nearby galaxies for their oldest stars has uncovered two stars in the Sculptor dwarf galaxy that were born shortly after the galaxy formed, approximately 13 billion years ago. The Sculptor dwarf is a small galaxy that orbits around our own Milky Way, just as the Moon orbits around the Earth. The unusual chemical content of the stars may have originated in a single supernova explosion from the first generation of Sculptor stars.  

Inside every seed is the embryo of a plant, and in most cases also a storage of food needed to power initial growth of the young seedling. If not enough food is delivered from the leaves to the seed, the seeds won’t have the energy to grow when it’s time to germinate. New work from a Carnegie-led team identifies biochemical pathways necessary for stocking the seed’s food supplies. 

Silicon dioxide, commonly called silica, is one of the most-abundant natural compounds and a major component of the Earth’s crust and mantle.  Silica’s various high-pressure forms make it an often-used study subject for scientists interested in the transition between different chemical phases under extreme conditions, such as those in the deep Earth. A Carnegie-led team was able to discover five new forms of silica under extreme pressures at room temperature.

To combat global climate change caused by greenhouse gases, alternative energy sources and other types of environmental recourse actions are needed. There are several proposals that involve using vertical ocean pipes to move seawater to the surface from the depths in order to reap a variety of different potential climate benefits. A new study from a group of Carnegie scientists determines that these types of pipes could actually increase global warming quite drastically.

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