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."

Explore this Story
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...
Explore this Story

Give to Carnegie

You Can Support Scientific Discovery.

Learn More

  • Global biological diversity is under enormous and increasing threat from habitat loss caused by land use and climate change. Responding to this problem requires strategies that integrate elements of governance, economics, human welfare, and other societal factors. It also requires the use of geographically explicit approaches to generate safe havens for biodiversity, both in the long-term and as immediate barriers to the ongoing extinction crisis.

    Explore this Story
  • Youtube URL: 

    For more than four decades, Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s beloved research vessel, Calypso, explored the world’s oceans. And on Monday night, we explored his journey from inventor and diving enthusiast to dedicated conservationist as we screened the U.S. premiere of the film L’Odysseé at our DC headquarters.

    “He brought the marine world into homes across the globe—including my own—and helped people understand what made these ecosystems so special and worthy of protection,” said Carnegie President Matthew Scott at the start of the evening.

    Watch This Video

For the third consecutive year, Carnegie Science is honoring our postdoctoral researchers during National Postdoc Appreciation Week September 18 - 22, 2017.  Our postdocs are crucial members of our research teams.  The successes of our postdocs, as they pursue their scientific careers after leaving Carnegie, is deeply important to the Institution and we are very proud of them.  Carnegie plant biologist Devaki Bhaya will be streaming a presentation about the history and opportunities for funding at the National Science Foundation on September 18, at 10:30 Pacific Time.

Explore this Story

Carnegie staff scientist Greg Asner has been awarded the 22nd Heinz Award for the Environment,* “ for developing ultra-high-resolution imaging technology that provides unprecedented detail on the biodiversity and health of the world’s forests and coral reefs, and the impact of deforestation, land degradation and climate change.” The annual award comes with a cash award of $250,000.

Explore this Story

New work from a team of Carnegie scientists (and one Carnegie alumnus) asked whether any gas giant planets could potentially orbit TRAPPIST-1 at distances greater than that of the star’s seven known planets. If gas giant planets are found in this system’s outer edges, it could help scientists understand how our own Solar System’s gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn formed.

Explore this Story

Stay Connected

Sign Up to Receive Carnegie Communications. 

If you are interested in receiving any of our materials, learn more

The Amgen Foundation, in partnership with Carnegie Academy for Science Education (CASE),  announced that it brings the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) to local classrooms as part of a $10.5 million investment in the longstanding science education program.

Explore this Story
The Carnegie Hubble program is an ongoing comprehensive effort that has a goal of determining the Hubble constant, the expansion rate of the universe,  to a systematic accuracy of 2%. As part of this program, astronomers are obtaining data at the 3.6 micron wavelength using the Infrared Array...
Explore this Project
The Carnegie Irvine Galaxy Survey is obtaining high-quality optical and near-infrared images of several hundred of the brightest galaxies in the southern hemisphere sky, at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory to investigate the structural properties of galaxies. For more see    http://cgs.obs....
Explore this Project
The Carnegie-Spitzer-IMACS (CSI) survey, currently underway at the Magellan-Baade 6.5m telescope in Chile, has been specifically designed to characterize normal galaxies and their environments at a distance of about 4 billion years post Big Bang, expresses by astronomers as  z=1.5. The survey...
Explore this Project
Capital Science Evening Lectures
Thursday, September 28, 2017 - 6:30pm to 7:45pm

Membrane fusion is a universal process that allows cells to deploy tiny, enclosed, fluid-filled structures called vesicles to store and release packets of active substances.  This system allows...

Explore this Event
Capital Science Evening Lectures
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 6:30pm to 7:45pm

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...

Explore this Event
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...

Explore this Event
Mark Phillips wears several hats. He is the Associate Director for Magellan, the Director for Las Campanas Observatory, and a world-renowned supernova expert. Most stars die quietly by cooling down and “turning off” when they have exhausted their nuclear fuel. But, a few stars end in a gigantic...
Meet this Scientist
Alexander F. Goncharov's analyzes materials under extreme conditions such as high pressure and temperature using optical spectroscopy and other techniques to understand how matter fundamentally changes, the chemical processes occurring deep within planets, including Earth, and to understand and...
Meet this Scientist
Looking far into space is looking back in time. Staff astronomer emeritus Alan Dressler began his career at Carnegie some years ago as a Carnegie Fellow. Today, he and colleagues use Magellan and the Hubble Space Telescope to study galaxy evolution—how galaxy structures and shapes change, the pace...
Meet this Scientist

Explore Carnegie Science

Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science,
September 20, 2017

Global biological diversity is under enormous and increasing threat from habitat loss caused by land use and climate change. Responding to this problem requires strategies that integrate elements of governance, economics, human welfare, and other societal factors. It also requires the use of geographically explicit approaches to generate safe havens for biodiversity, both in the long-term and as immediate barriers to the ongoing extinction crisis.

Prioritization of new regions for protection is often undertaken with incomplete and/or outdated information on the geography of biodiversity.  In response, Greg Asner and colleagues have created and utilized a novel capability to map

September 18, 2017

For the third consecutive year, Carnegie Science is honoring our postdoctoral researchers during National Postdoc Appreciation Week September 18 - 22, 2017.  Our postdocs are crucial members of our research teams.  The successes of our postdocs, as they pursue their scientific careers after leaving Carnegie, is deeply important to the Institution and we are very proud of them.  Carnegie plant biologist Devaki Bhaya will be streaming a presentation about the history and opportunities for funding at the National Science Foundation on September 18, at 10:30 Pacific Time.  The talk can be viewed at all Carnegie locations.  The talk will be followed by a lunch on the Global Ecology and Plant

Greg Asner Receives Heinz Award
September 14, 2017

Carnegie staff scientist Greg Asner has been awarded the 22nd Heinz Award for the Environment,* “ for developing ultra-high-resolution imaging technology that provides unprecedented detail on the biodiversity and health of the world’s forests and coral reefs, and the impact of deforestation, land degradation and climate change.” The annual award comes with a cash award of $250,000.

Asner was hired in 2001 as the Department of Global Ecology’s first staff scientist. Since coming to Carnegie, Asner has pioneered new methods for investigating tropical deforestation, degradation, ecosystem diversity, invasive species, carbon emissions, climate change, and much more using satellite and

Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science, NASA/JPL-Caltech
September 5, 2017

Washington, DC— New work from a team of Carnegie scientists (and one Carnegie alumnus) asked whether any gas giant planets could potentially orbit TRAPPIST-1 at distances greater than that of the star’s seven known planets. If gas giant planets are found in this system’s outer edges, it could help scientists understand how our own Solar System’s gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn formed.

Earlier this year, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope thrilled the world as it revealed that TRAPPIST-1, an ultra-cool dwarf star in the Aquarius constellation, was the first-known system of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a single star. Three of these planets are in the so-called habitable zone—

September 28, 2017

Membrane fusion is a universal process that allows cells to deploy tiny, enclosed, fluid-filled structures called vesicles to store and release packets of active substances.  This system allows the organs in the body to use hormones to communicate with each other and for the brain to use neurotransmitters to send messages.  Similar vesicle packets distribute proteins within a cell, enabling the specialized organelles contained in each cell to function properly and to propagate in cell division.  Imbalances in these pathways contribute to diabetes and cancer, as well as immune and neurological diseases.

Dr. James E. Rothman, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine & Kavli

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

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

The NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) Carnegie Team focuses on life’s chemical and physical evolution, from the interstellar medium, through planetary systems, to the emergence and detection of life by studying extrasolar planets, Solar System formation, organic rich primitive planetary bodies, prebiotic molecular synthesis through catalyzing with minerals, and the connection between planetary evolution to the emergence, and sustenance of biology. This program attempts to integrate the sweeping narrative of life’s history through a combination of bottom-up and top-down studies. On the one hand, this team studies processes related to chemical and physical evolution in plausible prebiotic

Anna Michalak’s team combined sampling and satellite-based observations of Lake Erie with computer simulations and determined that the 2011 record-breaking algal bloom in the lake was triggered by long-term agricultural practices coupled with extreme precipitation, followed by weak lake circulation and warm temperatures. The bloom began in the western region in mid-July and covered an area of 230 square miles (600 km2). At its peak in October, the bloom had expanded to over 1930 square miles (5000 km2). Its peak intensity was over 3 times greater than any other bloom on record. The scientists predicted that, unless agricultural policies change, the lake will continue to experience

The recent discovery that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate has profoundly affected physics. If the universe were gravity-dominated then it should be decelerating. These contrary results suggest a new form of “dark energy”—some kind of repulsive force—is driving the universe. To get a grasp of dark energy, it is extremely important that scientists get the most accurate measurements possible of Type Ia supernovae. These are specific types of exploring stars with exceptional luminosity that allow astronomers to determine distances and the acceleration rate at different distances. At the moment, the reality of the accelerating universe remains controversial because of

Revolutionary progress in understanding plant biology is being driven through advances in DNA sequencing technology. Carnegie plant scientists have played a key role in the sequencing and genome annotation efforts of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and the soil alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Now that many genomes from algae to mosses and trees are publicly available, this information can be mined using bioinformatics to build models to understand gene function and ultimately for designing plants for a wide spectrum of applications.

 Carnegie researchers have pioneered a genome-wide gene association network Aranet that can assign functions to genes for which no function had

Like some other Carnegie astronomers, staff associate Jeffrey Crane blends science with technology. His primary interests are instrumentation, the Milky Way and the neighboring Local Group of galaxies, in addition to extrasolar planets. In 2004, then-research associate Crane joined Steve Shectman, Ian Thompson, and the Carnegie team to design the Planet Finder Spectrograph (PFS), now installed and operational on the Magellan Clay telescope.

Radial velocities are the speeds and directions of stars moving away from or toward the Earth.  Extrasolar planet hunters use them to detect the telltale wobbles of stars that are gravitationally tugged by orbiting planets. Astronomical

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 Doppler velocities, from 300 meters per second in the 1980s to 1 meter a second in the 2010s to detect planets around other stars. The ultimate goal is to find planets that resemble the Earth.

Butler designed and built the iodine absorption cell system at Lick Observatory, which resulted in the discovery of 5 of the first 6 known extrasolar planets.  This instrument has become the de facto

What sets George Cody, acting director of the Geophysical Laboratory,  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 to analyzing the organic processes that alter sediments as they mature into rock inside the Earth and the molecular structure of extraterrestrial organics.

Wondering about where we came from has occupied the human imagination since the dawn of consciousness. Using samples from comets and meteorites, George Cody tracks the element carbon as it

Juna Kollmeier’s research is an unusual combination—she is as observationally-oriented theorist making predictions that can be compared to current and future observations. Her primary focus is on the emergence of structure in the universe. She combines cosmological hydrodynamic simulations and analytic theory to figure out how the tiny fluctuations in density that were present when the universe was only 300 thousand years old, become the galaxies and black holes that we see now, after 14 billion years of cosmic evolution. 

 She has a three-pronged approach to unravelling the mysteries of the universe. On the largest scales, she studies the intergalactic medium (IGM)—the tenuous