Illustration of Neptune's interior purchased from Shutterstock
Washington, DC—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...
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Peter van Keken
Washington, DC— 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...
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Carnegie Earth and Planets Laboratory isotope geochemist Anat Shahar
Washington, DC—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...
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Diana Roman collecting samples, courtesy of Anna Barth, LDEO.
Washington, DC—Our planet provides ample research opportunities for scientists like Diana Roman, who has devoted her career to understanding the geologic forces that shape volcanic eruptions....
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Lara Wagner and Diana Roman the inaugural Harry Oscar Wood Chairs of Seismology
Washington, DC—Carnegie has named Earth and Planets Laboratory Staff Scientists Diana Roman and Lara Wagner as the inaugural Harry Oscar Wood Chairs of Seismology.  Roman's work...
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Asteroid 2021 PH27 courtesy Katherine Cain/ Carnegie Institution for Science.
Washington, DC—The Sun has a new neighbor that was hiding in plain twilight. An asteroid that orbits the Sun in just 113 days—the shortest known orbital period for an asteroid and second...
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Magellan-TESS Survey logo, courtesy of Sharon Wang.
Washington, DC—A Carnegie-led survey of exoplanet candidates identified by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanets Satellite Survey  (TESS) is laying the groundwork to help astronomers...
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Vera Rubin at Lowell Observatory, courtesy of Carnegie Institution for Science.
A Statement From Carnegie President Eric Isaacs: As we commemorate the extraordinary life of Vera Rubin—who forever altered how we understand the universe—on what would have been her 93rd...
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Established in June of 2016 with a generous gift of $50,000 from Marilyn Fogel and Christopher Swarth, the Marilyn Fogel Endowed Fund for Internships will provide support for “very young budding scientists” who wish to “spend a summer getting their feet wet in research for the...
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The WGESP was charged with acting as a focal point for research on extrasolar planets and organizing IAU activities in the field, including reviewing techniques and maintaining a list of identified planets. The WGESP developed a Working List of extrasolar planet candidates, subject to revision. In...
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The Anglo-Australian Planet Search (AAPS) is a long-term program being carried out on the 3.9-meter Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) to search for giant planets around more than 240 nearby Sun-like stars. The team, including Carnegie scientists,  uses the "Doppler wobble" technique...
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While the planets in our Solar System are astonishingly diverse, all of them move around the Sun in approximately the same orbital plane, in the same direction, and primarily in circular orbits. Over the past 25 years Butler's work has focused on improving the measurement precision of stellar...
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Peter Driscoll studies the evolution of Earth’s core and magnetic field including magnetic pole reversal. Over the last 20 million or so years, the north and south magnetic poles on Earth have reversed about every 200,000, to 300,000 years and is now long overdue. He also investigates...
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What sets George Cody apart from other geochemists is his pioneering use of sophisticated techniques such as enormous facilities for synchrotron radiation, and sample analysis with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to characterize hydrocarbons. Today, Cody  applies these techniques...
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Audio Washington, D.C.— Around 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period, there was a mass extinction so severe that it remains the most traumatic known species die-off in Earth’s...
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A team of scientists including Carnegie’s Michael Ackerson and Bjørn Mysen revealed that granites from Yosemite National Park contain minerals that crystallized at much lower...
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Washington, D.C. —A key to understanding Earth’s evolution is to look deep into the lower mantle—a region some 400 to 1,800 miles (660 to 2,900 kilometers) below the surface, just above the core....
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Explore Carnegie Science

Illustration of Neptune's interior purchased from Shutterstock
October 14, 2021

Washington, DC—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. 

As all school children learn, water molecules are made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom—H20. As the conditions in which water exists change, the organization and properties of these molecules are affected. We can see this in our everyday lives when liquid water is boiled

Peter van Keken
September 30, 2021

Washington, DC— 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.

The AGU is an international nonprofit scientific association with 60,000 members in 137 countries. Only one out of every thousand members are selected each year. The 2021 cohort was chosen for their “outstanding achievements and contributions by pushing the frontiers of our science forward,” according to AGU, as well as for embodying the organization’s “shared vision of a thriving, sustainable, and equitable future for all powered by discovery, innovation, and

Carnegie Earth and Planets Laboratory isotope geochemist Anat Shahar
September 10, 2021

Washington, DC—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.  

In honor of its namesake’s contributions to understanding the forces that shaped our planet, recipients for this recognition are selected for exemplifying excellence in the geosciences.

Earth and Planets Laboratory Staff Scientist Anat Shahar, also the institution’s Associate Science Deputy, uses a combination of isotope geochemistry and high-pressure, high-temperature experiments to

Diana Roman collecting samples, courtesy of Anna Barth, LDEO.
September 1, 2021

Washington, DC—Our planet provides ample research opportunities for scientists like Diana Roman, who has devoted her career to understanding the geologic forces that shape volcanic eruptions. She just needs to be on standby to seize them when they arrive.

Roman, recently named a Harry Oscar Wood Chair of Seismology at the Carnegie Institution for Science, wasn’t initially planning to travel to Iceland to get a look at the Fagradalsfjall “baby” volcano—in Geldingadalir—which erupted onto the scene in the Reykjanes Peninsula just this past March, mesmerizing the world with images of its cascading lava and “science fair”-style cone.

October 28, 2021

Join us to learn from Carnegie Earth and Planets Laboratory astronomer Dr. Alycia Weinberger about an exciting new instrument in development for the telescopes of Carnegie's Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. 

In their youth, stars are surrounded by a rotating disk of gas and dust from which planets are born. Weinberger observes young stars and their surrounding disks and searches for and studies new and known planetary systems. Young disks contain the raw materials for building planets and the ultimate architecture of planetary systems depends on the distribution of these materials as the system evolves. Studying the disks surrounding nearby

High-elevation, low relief surfaces are common on continents. These intercontinental plateaus influence river networks, climate, and the migration of plants and animals. How these plateaus form is not clear. Researchers are studying the geodynamic processes responsible for surface uplift in the Hangay in central Mongolia to better understand the origin of high topography in continental interiors.

This work focuses on characterizing the physical properties and structure of the lithosphere and sublithospheric mantle, and the timing, rate, and pattern of surface uplift in the Hangay. They are carrying out studies in geomorphology, geochronology, thermochronology, paleoaltimetry,

The Anglo-Australian Planet Search (AAPS) is a long-term program being carried out on the 3.9-meter Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) to search for giant planets around more than 240 nearby Sun-like stars. The team, including Carnegie scientists,  uses the "Doppler wobble" technique to search for these otherwise invisible extra-solar planets, and achieve the highest long-term precision demonstrated by any Southern Hemisphere planet search.

Superdeep diamonds are  tiny time capsules carrying unchanged impurities made eons ago and providing researchers with important clues about Earth’s formation.  Diamonds derived from below the continental lithosphere, are most likely from the transition zone (415 miles, or 670km deep) or the top of the lower mantle. Understanding diamond origins and compositions of the high-pressure mineral phases has potential to revolutionize our understanding of deep mantle circulation.

Carnegie's Paul Butler has been leading work on a multiyear project to carry out the first reconnaissance of all 2,000 nearby Sun-like stars within 150 light-years of the solar system (1 lightyear is about 9.4 trillion kilometers). His team is currently monitoring about 1,700 stars, including 1,000 Northern Hemisphere stars with the Keck telescope in Hawaii and the UCO Lick Observatory telescope in California, and 300 Southern Hemisphere stars with the Anglo-Australian telescope in New South Wales, Australia. The remaining Southern Hemisphere stars are being surveyed with Carnegie's new Magellan telescopes in Chile. By 2010 the researchers hope to have completed their planetary

Anat Shahar is pioneering a field that blends isotope geochemistry with high-pressure experiments to examine planetary cores and the Solar System’s formation, prior to planet formation, and how the planets formed and differentiated. Stable isotope geochemistry is the study of how physical and chemical processes can cause isotopes—atoms of an element with different numbers of neutrons-- to separate (called isotopic fractionation). Experimental petrology is a lab-based approach to increasing the pressure and temperature of materials to simulate conditions in the interior Earth or other planetary bodies.

Rocks and meteorites consist of isotopes that contain chemical

Andrew Steele uses traditional and biotechnological approaches for the detection of microbial life in the field of astrobiology and Solar System exploration. Astrobiology is the search for the origin and distribution of life in the universe. A microbiologist by training, his principle interest is in developing protocols, instrumentation, and procedures for life detection in samples from the early Earth and elsewhere in the Solar System.

Steele has developed several instrument and mission concepts for future Mars missions and became involved in the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory mission as a member of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) team. For  a number of years he journeyed to

Volcanologist Diana Roman is interested in the mechanics of how magma moves through the Earth’s crust, and in the structure, evolution, and dynamics of volcanic conduit systems. Her ultimate goal is to understand the likelihood and timing of volcanic eruptions.

Most of Roman’s research focuses on understanding changes in seismicity and stress in response to the migration of magma through volcanic conduits, and on developing techniques and strategies for monitoring active or restless volcanoes through the analysis of high-frequency volcanic seismicity.

Roman is also interested in understanding the seismicity at quiet volcanoes, tectonic and hidden volcanic

Scientists simulate the high pressures and temperatures of planetary interiors to measure their physical properties. Yingwei Fei studies the composition and structure of planetary interiors with high-pressure instrumentation including the multianvil apparatus, the piston cylinder, and the diamond anvil cell. 

The Earth was formed through energetic and dynamic processes. Giant impacts, radioactive elements, and gravitational energy heated the  planet in its early stage, melting materials and paving the way for the silicate mantle and metallic core to separate.  As the planet cooled and solidified geochemical and geophysical “fingerprints” resulted from