President Matthew Scott on Kristine McDivitt Tompkins' 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

"Steadfast in her commitment, Ms. Tompkins, together with her husband, acquired and donated millions of acres of unspoiled new parklands to Chile and Argentina. This achievement rendered the couple the most successful park-oriented conservationists in history."

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Washington, DC—Rock samples from northeastern Canada retain chemical signals that help explain what Earth’s crust was like more than 4 billion years ago, reveals new work from Carnegie’s Richard Carlson and Jonathan O’Neil of the University of Ottawa. Their work is published by Science.   There is...
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On August 17, a team of four Carnegie astronomers provided the first-ever glimpse of two neutron stars colliding, opening the door to a new era of astronomy. Along with colleagues at UC Santa Cruz, the team used the Swope telescope at Las Campanas Observatory to discover the light produced by the merger, pinpointing the origin of a gravitational wave signal less than 11 hours after it was detected. Their discovery, named Swope Supernova Survey 2017a (or SSS17a), is published in a quartet of Science papers.

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There is considerable opportunity for generating wind power in the open ocean, particularly the North Atlantic, according to new research from Carnegie’s Anna Possner and Ken Caldeira. In the winter, North Atlantic wind farms could provide sufficient energy to meet all of civilization’s current needs, in the summer such wind farms could merely generate enough power to cover the electricity demand of Europe, or possibly the United States alone.

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Science News magazine has selected José Dinneny, of Carnegie’s Department of Plant Biology, as one of ten young scientists to watch in 2017. The researchers were selected because they are likely to make big discoveries. The investigators are spotlighted in the October 14 edition of Science News available online today at www.sciencenews.org/SN10.

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In 2015, a star called KIC 8462852 caused quite a stir in and beyond the astronomy community due to a series of rapid, unexplained dimming events seen while it was being monitored by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope. The latest findings from Carnegie’s Josh Simon and Benjamin Shappee and collaborators take a longer look at the star, going back to 2006—before its strange behavior was detected by Kepler.  Astronomers had thought that the star was only getting fainter with time, but the new study shows that it also brightened significantly in 2007 and 2014.  These unexpected episodes complicate or rule out nearly all the proposed ideas to explain the star’s observed strangeness.

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Fifty years ago, Americans led the world in math and science, claiming some of the most important inventions and technological breakthroughs of the 20th century.  Today, American 15-year-olds rank 25th in math compared to their peers worldwide.  Math ƒor America DC strives to reclaim America’s...
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The fund supports a postdoctoral fellowship in astronomy that rotates between the Carnegie Science departments of Terrestrial Magnetism in Washington, D.C., and the Observatories in Pasadena California. 
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Carnegie Academy for Science Education
Scientific literacy is now recognized to be crucial for our nation's progress in the 21st century. The Carnegie Institution, a pre-eminent basic research organization, has fostered the development of scientific knowledge since the early 20th century. For many years, this meant the training of...
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Capital Science Evening Lectures
Broad Branch Road Neighborhood Lectures
Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science,
Thursday, October 26, 2017 - 6:30pm to 7:45pm

We all live on a planet, and planets represent the best places to look for life elsewhere in the universe. This makes planets uniquely interesting objects, both for astronomers, and for everyone...

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Broad Branch Road Neighborhood Lectures
Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science,
Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 6:30pm to 7:45pm

If you enjoyed this summer’s spectacular total solar eclipse, you have the Moon to thank for it! But Earth’s only natural satellite and closest cosmic neighbor does a lot more than occasionally...

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Anthony Piro is the George Ellery Hale Distinguished Scholar in Theoretical Astrophysics at the Carnegie Observatories. He is a theoretical astrophysicist studying compact objects, astrophysical explosions, accretion flows, and stellar dynamics. His expertise is in nuclear physics, thermodynamics,...
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Geochemist Steven Shirey is researching how Earth's continents formed. Continent formation spans most of Earth's history, continents were key to the emergence of life, and they contain a majority of Earth’s resources. Continental rocks also retain the geologic record of Earth's ancient geodynamic...
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Junior investigator Zhao Zhang joined Carnegie in November 2014. He studies how elements with the ability to “jump” around the genome, called transposons, are controlled in egg, sperm, and other somatic tissues in order to understand how transposons contribute to genomic instability and to...
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October 17, 2017

The Venture Grant to Juna Kollmeier and Guillermo Blanc of the Observatories will allow them to collaborate with others to apply a new astronomical data extraction technique to optical astronomy data sets that are currently inaccessible. The new techniques will allow superior visualization and analysis of distant astronomical objects. The Geophysical Lab’s Alex Goncharov and Terrestrial Magnetism’s Peter van Keken were awarded a Venture Grant to apply a novel flash-heating method for high- pressure/high-temperature experiments to measure the thermal conductivity of Mars. They will then develop new models to understand why that planet cooled so fast and early.

Carnegie Science

Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science,
October 14, 2017

Washington, DC— On August 17, a team of four Carnegie astronomers provided the first-ever glimpse of two neutron stars colliding, opening the door to a new era of astronomy.  

Along with colleagues at UC Santa Cruz, the team used the Swope telescope at Las Campanas Observatory to discover the light produced by the merger, pinpointing the origin of a gravitational wave signal less than 11 hours after it was detected.  They also obtained the earliest spectra of the collision, which may allow them to explain how many of the universe’s heavy elements were created—a decades old question for astrophysicists.

Their discovery, named Swope Supernova Survey 2017a (or SSS17a), is

Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science, Shutterstock
October 9, 2017

Washington, DC— There is considerable opportunity for generating wind power in the open ocean, particularly the North Atlantic, according to new research from Carnegie’s Anna Possner and Ken Caldeira. Their work is published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Because wind speeds are higher on average over ocean than over land, wind turbines in the open ocean could in theory intercept more than five times as much energy as wind turbines over land. This presents an enticing opportunity for generating renewable energy through wind turbines. But it was unknown whether the faster ocean winds could actually be converted to increased amounts of electricity.

“Are

October 4, 2017

Science News magazine has selected José Dinneny, of Carnegie’s Department of Plant Biology, as one of ten young scientists to watch in 2017. The researchers were selected because they are likely to make big discoveries. The investigators are spotlighted in the October 14 edition of Science News available online today at www.sciencenews.org/SN10.

Dinneny looks at the mechanisms plants use to sense water availability and survive stressful conditions such as drought and high salinity. He investigates developmental pathways and molecular genetic mechanisms involved in shaping the plant to suit the environment. His work has included the processes of water-stress responses in plants at

October 25, 2017

What does it mean to be a habitable planet? How can we find life if it’s truly “alien” and different from life on Earth? And what techniques can we use to search for life on worlds orbiting distant stars? Drs. Arney and Domagal-Goldman will discuss the science behind these questions and the future telescopes that may provide the answers.

Drs. Giada Arney and Shawn Domagal-Goldman, Astrobiologists, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

#OtherEarths

The Capital Science Evenings are made possible with support from Margaret & Will Hearst and Whole Earth Films.

Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science,
October 26, 2017

We all live on a planet, and planets represent the best places to look for life elsewhere in the universe. This makes planets uniquely interesting objects, both for astronomers, and for everyone who is interested in our origins and our place in the cosmos. The Sun’s planets are a diverse bunch, with a wide variety of orbits, sizes, compositions, atmospheres, and climates. Newly discovered planets orbiting other stars are even more varied, and many of these planetary systems are very different than our own. How did this diversity arise? In this lecture, we will explore how planets form and why they look the way they do. We will see how scientists have pieced together the story so far, and

Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science,
November 16, 2017

If you enjoyed this summer’s spectacular total solar eclipse, you have the Moon to thank for it! But Earth’s only natural satellite and closest cosmic neighbor does a lot more than occasionally block out the Sun in dramatic fashion. It controls ocean tides, gives us stable seasons and climates, and in 4 million years it will finally eliminate the need for February 29th! Eclipses may be the Moon’s most-theatrical display, but to a scientist the real treasure is what the Moon can tell us about Solar System history. Have you ever wondered what you’re looking at when you look at the Moon in the night sky? Is the Moon’s forever-hidden far side different? Does the Moon have the same types of

December 13, 2017

There are an estimated 150 million children living with disabilities worldwide. Thanks to recent advances in robotics, therapeutic intervention protocols using robots are now ideally positioned to make an impact on this issue.  Dr. Howard will discuss the role of robotics and related technologies for therapy and highlight methods that bring us closer to the goal of integrating robots more fully into our lives.

Dr. Ayanna Howard, Professor, Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Endowed Chair, School of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology; Chief Technology Officer, Zyrobotics

#PediatricRobotics

The Capital Science Evenings are made possible with

The Earthbound Planet Search Program has discovered hundreds of planets orbiting nearby stars using telescopes at Lick Observatory, Keck Observatory, the Anglo-Australian Observatory, Carnegie's Las Campanas Observatory, and the ESO Paranal Observatory.  Our multi-national team has been collecting data for 30 years, using the Precision Doppler technique.  Highlights of this program include the detection of five of the first six exoplanets, the first eccentric planet, the first multiple planet system, the first sub-Saturn mass planet, the first sub-Neptune mass planet, the first terrestrial mass planet, and the first transit planet.Over the course of 30 years we have improved the

CALL FOR PROPOSALS

Following Andrew Carnegie’s founding encouragement of liberal discovery-driven research, the Carnegie Institution for Science offers its scientists a new resource for pursuing bold ideas.

Carnegie Science Venture grants are internal awards of up to $100,000 that are intended to foster entirely new directions of research by teams of scientists that ignore departmental boundaries. Up to six adventurous investigations may be funded each year. The period of the award is two years,

The Geophysical Laboratory has made important advances in the growth of diamond by chemical vapor deposition (CVD).  Methods have been developed to produce single-crystal diamond at low pressure having a broad range of properties.

Until now, computer models have been the primary tool for estimating photosynthetic productivity on a global scale. They are based on estimating a measure for plant energy called gross primary production (GPP), which is the rate at which plants capture and store a unit of chemical energy as biomass over a specific time. Joe Berry was part of a team that took an entirely new approach by using satellite technology to measure light that is emitted by plant leaves as a byproduct of photosynthesis as shown by the artwork.

The plant produces fluorescent light when sunlight excites the photosynthetic pigment chlorophyll. Satellite instruments sense this fluorescence yielding a direct

The first step in gene expression is the formation of an RNA copy of its DNA. This step, called transcription, takes place in the cell nucleus. Transcription requires an enzyme called RNA polymerase to catalyze the synthesis of the RNA from the DNA template. This, in addition to other processing factors, is needed before messenger RNA (mRNA) can be exported to the cytoplasm, the area surrounding the nucleus.

Although the biochemical details of transcription and RNA processing are known, relatively little is understood about their cellular organization. Joseph G. Gall has been an intellectual leader and has made seminal breakthroughs in our understanding of chromosomes, nuclei and

The mouse is a traditional model organism for understanding physiological processes in humans. Chen-Ming Fan uses the mouse to study the underlying mechanisms involved in human development and genetic diseases. He concentrates on identifying and understanding the signals that direct the musculoskeletal system to develop in the mammalian embryo. Skin, muscle, cartilage, and bone are all derived from a group of progenitor structures called somites. Various growth factors—molecules that stimulate the growth of cells—in the surrounding tissues work in concert to signal each somitic cell to differentiate into a specific tissue type.

The lab has identified various growth factors that

Joe Berry has been a Carnegie investigator since 1972. He has developed powerful tools to measure local and regional exchanges of carbon over spaces of up to thousands of square miles. He uses information at the plant scale to extrapolate the carbon balance at regional and continental scales.

According to ISI's Web of Science, two of Joe Berry's papers passed extremely high, rarefied citation milestones. The 1980  paper “A biochemical model of photosynthetic CO2 assimilation in leaves of C3 species,” has had over 1,500th citations. His 1982 paper “On the relationship between carbon isotope discrimination and the intercellular carbon dioxide concentration in leaves” passed its 1,

 Barry Madore is widely known for his work on Cepheid variables—very bright pulsating stars used to determine distances in the universe—plus his research on peculiar galaxies, and the extragalactic distance scale. He divides his time between directing science for NED, the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database, and research at Carnegie. His Carnegie work is to resolve discrepancies between observations of galaxies at different wavelengths, with what is happening during galactic evolution.

 Distant and older galaxies appear to be more ragged and disorganized than closer, younger ones. These appearances could be legitimate features, or the effects from the expansion of the universe, which