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An image of the Hubble Space Telescope floating against the background of space courtesy of NASA.

A team of collaborators from Carnegie and the University of Chicago used red giant stars that were observed by the Hubble Space Telescope to make an entirely new measurement of how fast the universe is expanding, throwing their hats into the ring of a hotly contested debate. Their result—which falls squarely between the two previous, competing values—will be published in The Astrophysical Journal.

A $2.7 million multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional NSF-Frontiers of Earth Science grant has been awarded to a team led by Carnegie’s Lara Wagner to study an active flat slab in Colombia. A flat slab is produced when a tectonic plate descends to depths of about 30 to 60 miles (~50-100 km) then flattens and travels horizontally for hundreds of miles before descending farther into Earth’s mantle. Flat slabs are unlike standard subduction, in which a tectonic plate descends more steeply beneath another plate directly into the Earth. 

One analogy for understanding the mathematical structure of the team's work is to think of it as foam being simplified into a single bubble by progressively merging adjacent bubbles.

In humans, the gut microbiome is an ecosystem of hundreds to thousands of microbial species living within the gastrointestinal tract, influencing health and even longevity. As interest in studying the microbiome continues to increase, understanding this complexity will give us predictive power to engineer it. A research team led by Carnegie’s Will Ludington built a rigorous mathematical framework that describes the ecology of a microbiome coupled to its host.

Public domain image of power plant with smokestacks

If power plants, boilers, furnaces, vehicles, and other energy infrastructure is not marked for early retirement, the world will fail to meet the 1.5-degree Celsius climate-stabilizing goal set out by the Paris Agreement, but could still reach the 2-degree Celsius goal, says the latest from the ongoing collaboration between the University of California Irvine’s Steven Davis and Carnegie’s Ken Caldeira.

the sea anemone Aiptasia pallida that is hosting the algae, which are responsible for the red fluorescence spots observed in the body of the animal.  Image courtesy of Tingting Xiang.

What factors govern algae’s success as “tenants” of their coral hosts both under optimal conditions and when oceanic temperatures rise? A Victoria University of Wellington-led team of experts that includes Carnegie’s Arthur Grossman investigates this question.

Meredith Wilson, a postdoctoral associate in Steve Farber’s lab at the Department of Embryology, has been awarded Carnegie’s thirteenth Postdoctoral Innovation and Excellence Award. These prizes are given to postdocs for their exceptionally creative approaches to science, strong mentoring, and contributing to the sense of campus community. The nominations are made by the departments and are chosen by the Office of the President. 

The planet Earth on April 17, 2019, courtesy NOAA/NASA EPIC Team.

A system of categorization that reflects not just a mineral’s chemistry and crystalline structure, but also the physical, chemical, or biological processes by which it formed, would be capable of recognizing that nanodiamonds from space are fundamentally different to diamonds formed in Earth’s depths.

Illustration of a thymus in a human chest courtesy of Navid Marvi.

Aging-related inflammation can drive the decline of a critical structural protein called lamin-B1, which contributes to diminished immune function in the thymus, according to research from Carnegie’s Sibiao Yue, Xiaobin Zheng, and Yixian Zheng.Each of our cells is undergirded by a protein-based cellular skeleton. And each of our tissues is likewise supported by a protein matrix holding the cells that comprise it together. These protein scaffolds or structures are necessary for organs and tissues to be constructed during development. The research team set out to determine whether age-related deterioration of architectural proteins would contribute to the degeneration of an organ as a whole.

A teosinte plant growing in a corn field on the Stanford University campus, courtesy of Yongxian Lu.

Determining how one species becomes distinct from another has been a subject of fascination dating back to Charles Darwin. New research led by Carnegie’s Matthew Evans and published in Nature Communications elucidates the mechanism that keeps maize distinct from its ancient ancestor grass, teosinte.

Plant cells under microscope. Shutterstock.

Palo Alto, CA—Photosynthesis makes our atmosphere oxygen-rich and forms the bedrock of our food supply.

The Office of the President has selected two new Carnegie Venture Grants. Peter Driscoll of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism and Sally June Tracy of the Geophysical Laboratory were awarded a venture grant for their proposal Carbon-rich Super-Earths: Constraining Internal Structure from Dynamic Compression Experiments. Plant Biology’s Sue Rhee and Global Ecology’s Joe Berry and Jen Johnson were awarded a Venture Grant for their project Thermo-adaptation of Photosynthesis in Extremophilic Desert Plants.

The Carnegie Institution for Science Board of Trustees unanimously elected former president and chief executive officer of chip maker Intel Corporation, Craig Barrett, as Chairman of the Carnegie Board of Trustees. David Thompson, former president and chief executive officer of the global aerospace and defense company Orbital ATK, was unanimously elected as Vice Chair.

This cartoon courtesy of Anthony Piro illustrates three possibilities for the origin of the mysterious hydrogen emissions from the Type IA supernova called ASASSN-18tb that were observed by the Carnegie astronomers.

Detection of a supernova with an unusual chemical signature by a team of astronomers led by Carnegie’s Juna Kollmeier—and including Carnegie’s Nidia Morrell, Anthony Piro, Mark Phillips, and Josh Simon—may hold the key to solving the longstanding mystery that is the source of these violent explosions. Observations taken by the Magellan telescopes at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile were crucial to detecting the emission of hydrogen that makes this supernova, called ASASSN-18tb, so distinctive.   

On April 26, 2019, the American Philosophical Society (APS) awarded former Carnegie fellow and current trustee Sandra Faber the 2018 Magellanic Premium medal. The APS also awarded trustee Mary-Claire King the Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Science.

Artist’s impression of the surface of the planet Proxima b courtesy of ESO/M. Kornmesser.

Which of Earth’s features were essential for the origin and sustenance of life? And how do scientists identify those features on other worlds? A team of Carnegie investigators with array of expertise ranging from geochemistry to planetary science to astronomy published this week in Science an essay urging the research community to recognize the vital importance of a planet’s interior dynamics in creating an environment that’s hospitable for life.

Steve Farber photo by Navid Marvi, courtesy of the Carnegie Institution for Science

This week Carnegie’s Steve Farber will be recognized by New England Biolabs Inc. with its Passion in Science Award in the category of Mentorship and Advocacy. Farber co-founded a non-profit STEM education program called BioEYES, which gives K-12 students hands-on experience studying the life cycles of zebrafish. Participants learn about genetics and the cardiovascular system. They also bolster their science literacy with first-hand experience asking questions and designing experiments to probe for answers.  

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