Carnegie announces retirement of president

The Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Institution for Science has announced that President Matthew P. Scott will retire at the end of this year. 

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  • New research on oxygen and iron chemistry under the extreme conditions found deep inside the Earth could explain a longstanding seismic mystery called ultralow velocity zones. Published in Nature, the findings could have far-reaching implications on our understanding of Earth’s geologic history, including life-altering events such as the Great Oxygenation Event, which occurred 2.4 billion years ago.

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We’ve all seen the photos. Long panel tables full of people from around the globe hashing out the intricacies of how to best fight climate change for endless grueling hours.

But what’s it like to be in the room?

Carnegie’s Geeta Persad is there and checking in with us regularly with an insider’s look at the 3rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change—or COP 23 for short—in Bonn, Germany.

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The Sloan Digital Sky Survey has been one of the most-successful and influential surveys in the history of astronomy, creating the most-detailed three-dimensional maps of the universe ever made. The next generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-V), directed by Carnegie’s Juna Kollmeier, will move forward with mapping the entire sky following a $16 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The grant will kickstart a groundbreaking all-sky spectroscopic survey for a next wave of discovery, anticipated to start in 2020.

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Reservoirs of oxygen-rich iron between the Earth’s core and mantle could have played a major role in Earth’s history, including the breakup of supercontinents, drastic changes in Earth’s atmospheric makeup, and the creation of life, according to recent work from an international research team led by Carnegie's Ho-kwang "Dave" Mao. 

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It’s the celestial equivalent of a horror movie villain—a star that wouldn’t stay dead. An international team of astronomers including Carnegie’s Nick Konidaris and Benjamin Shappee discovered a star that exploded multiple times over a period of 50 years. The finding completely confounds existing knowledge of a star’s end of life, and Konidaris’ instrument-construction played a crucial role in analyzing the phenomenon. 

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  • The Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) announced that it has initiated the casting of the fifth of seven mirrors that will form the heart of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). The mirror is being cast at the University of Arizona's Richard F. Caris Mirror Laboratory, the facility known for creating the world’s largest mirrors for astronomy. The 25-meter diameter GMT will be sited at Carnegie's Las Campanas Observatory in the Chilean Andes and will be used to study planets around other stars and to look back to the time when the first galaxies formed. The process of “casting” the giant mirror involves melting nearly 20 tons of glass in a spinning furnace. Once cooled, the glass disk will be polished to its final shape using state-of-the-art technology developed by the University of Arizona.

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Starting in 2005, the High Lava Plains project is focused on a better understanding of why the Pacific Northwest, specifically eastern Oregon's High Lava Plains, is so volcanically active. This region is the most volcanically active area of the continental United States and it's relatively young....
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The Marnie Halpern laboratory studies how left-right differences arise in the developing brain and discovers the genes that control this asymmetry. Using the tiny zebrafish, Danio rerio, they explores how regional specializations occur within the neural tube, the embryonic tissue that develops into...
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CDAC is a multisite, interdisciplinary center headquartered at Carnegie to advance and perfect an extensive set of high pressure and temperature techniques and facilities, to perform studies on a broad range of materials in newly accessible pressure and temperature regimes, and to integrate and...
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Special Events
Monday, December 4, 2017 - 6:30pm to 7:45pm

The great challenge of our time is to build and nurture sustainable communities, designed in such a manner that their ways of life, physical structures, and technologies do not interfere with...

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Capital Science Evening Lectures
Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 6:30pm to 7:45pm

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...

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Capital Science Evening Lectures
Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 6:30pm to 7:45pm

Charles Darwin said evolution was too slow to be observed, but modern studies have corrected this assertion. The Grants will discuss their decades of work studying Darwin’s finches on the...

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Gwen Rudie studies the chemical and physical properties of very distant, so-called  high-redshift galaxies and their surrounding circumgalactic medium. She is primarily an observational astronomer working on the analysis and interpretation of high-resolution spectroscopy of high-redshift Quasi...
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Globular clusters are spherical systems of some 100,000  gravitationally bound stars. They are among the oldest components of our galaxy and are key to understanding the age and scale of the universe. Previous measurements of their distances have compared the characteristics of different types of...
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Timothy Strobel subjects materials to high-pressures to understand chemical processes  and interactions, and to create new, advanced energy-related materials. For instance, silicon is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust and a mainstay of the electronics industry. But normal...
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November 22, 2017

Washington, DC— New research on oxygen and iron chemistry under the extreme conditions found deep inside the Earth could explain a longstanding seismic mystery called ultralow velocity zones. Published in Nature, the findings could have far-reaching implications on our understanding of Earth’s geologic history, including life-altering events such as the Great Oxygenation Event, which occurred 2.4 billion years ago.

Sitting at the boundary between the lower mantle and the core, 1,800 miles beneath Earth’s surface, ultralow velocity zones (UVZ) are known to scientists because of their unusual seismic signatures. Although this region is far too deep for researchers to ever observe

November 20, 2017

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We’ve all seen the photos. Long panel tables full of people from around the globe hashing out the intricacies of how to best fight climate change for endless grueling hours.

But what’s it like to be in the room?

Carnegie’s Geeta Persad will be there and she’ll checking in with us periodically to offer an insider’s look at the 3rd Conference of

Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science, Robin Dienel, SDSS-V, Sloan Digital Sky Survey
November 16, 2017

Pasadena, CA— The next generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-V), directed by Carnegie’s Juna Kollmeier, will move forward with mapping the entire sky following a $16 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The grant will kickstart a groundbreaking all-sky spectroscopic survey for a next wave of discovery, anticipated to start in 2020.

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey has been one of the most-successful and influential surveys in the history of astronomy, creating the most-detailed three-dimensional maps of the universe ever made, with deep multi-color images of one third of the sky, and spectra for more than three million astronomical objects.

“For more

Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science, National Science Review
November 13, 2017

Washington, DC— Reservoirs of oxygen-rich iron between the Earth’s core and mantle could have played a major role in Earth’s history, including the breakup of supercontinents, drastic changes in Earth’s atmospheric makeup, and the creation of life, according to recent work from an international research team published in National Science Review.

The team—which includes scientists from Carnegie, Stanford University, the Center for High Pressure Science and Technology Advanced Research in China, and the University of Chicago—probed the chemistry of iron and water under the extreme temperatures and pressures of the Earth’s core-mantle boundary.

When the action of plate

December 4, 2017

The great challenge of our time is to build and nurture sustainable communities, designed in such a manner that their ways of life, physical structures, and technologies do not interfere with nature's inherent ability to sustain life. To do so, requires a new ecological understanding of life, as well as a new kind of "systemic" thinking. In this lecture, Dr. Capra will show that such a new understanding of life in terms of complexity, networks, and patterns of organization, has recently emerged at the forefront of science. He will emphasize, in particular, the urgent need of of systemic thinking for dealing with our global ecological crisis and protecting the continuation andflourishing

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

January 16, 2018

Charles Darwin said evolution was too slow to be observed, but modern studies have corrected this assertion. The Grants will discuss their decades of work studying Darwin’s finches on the Galápagos Island of Daphne Major, as chronicled in the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time. Their research showed that Darwin’s finches evolve repeatedly when the environment changes. They have even observed the initial stages of new species formation!

Drs. Peter and Rosemary Grant, Professors emeriti, Princeton University

#DarwinsFinches

The Capital Science Evenings are made possible with support from Margaret & Will Hearst and

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 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the Institution's laboratories, located in Washington, DC and around the country.

In 1989, Maxine Singer, then president of Carnegie, founded First Light, a Saturday science school for children. This was the start of the Carnegie Academy for Science Education (CASE) whose goal is to encourage interest in science among school children and

In mammals, most lipids, such as fatty acids and cholesterol, are absorbed into the body via the small intestine. The complexity of the cells and fluids that inhabit this organ make it very difficult to study in a laboratory setting. The goal of the Farber lab is to better understand the cell and molecular biology of lipids within digestive organs by exploiting the many unique attributes of the clear zebrafish larva  to visualize lipid uptake and processing in real time.  Given their utmost necessity for proper cellular function, it is not surprising that defects in lipid metabolism underlie a number of human diseases, including obesity, diabetes, and atherosclerosis.

The Farber

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

Fresh water constitutes less than 1% of the surface water on earth, yet the importance of this simple molecule to all life forms is immeasurable. Water represents the most vital reagent for chemical reactions occurring in a cell. In plants, water provides the structural support necessary for plant growth. It acts as the carrier for nutrients absorbed from the soil and transported to the shoot. It also provides the chemical components necessary to generate sugar and biomass from light and carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. While the importance of water to plants is clear, an understanding as to how plants perceive water is limited. Most studies have focused on environmental conditions

Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution for Science, Carnegie Institution

Greg Asner is a staff scientist in Carnegie's Department of Global Ecology and also serves as a Professor in the Department of Earth System Science at Stanford University. He is an ecologist recognized for his exploratory and applied research on ecosystems, land use, and climate change at regional to global scales.

Asner graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1991. He earned master's and doctorate degrees in geography and biology, respectively, from the University of Colorado in 1997. He served as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Stanford University until he joined the

Timothy Strobel subjects materials to high-pressures to understand chemical processes  and interactions, and to create new, advanced energy-related materials.

For instance, silicon is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust and a mainstay of the electronics industry. But normal silicon is not optimal for solar energy. In its conventional crystalline form, silicon is relatively inefficient at absorbing the wavelengths most prevalent in sunlight.  Strobel made a discovery that may turn things around.  Using the high-pressure techniques pioneered at Carnegie, he created a novel form of silicon with its atoms arranged in a cage-like structure. Unlike normal silicon, this

With the proliferation of discoveries of planets orbiting other stars, the race is on to find habitable worlds akin to the Earth. At present, however, extrasolar planets less massive than Saturn cannot be reliably detected. Astrophysicist John Chambers models the dynamics of these newly found giant planetary systems to understand their formation history and to determine the best way to predict the existence and frequency of smaller Earth-like worlds.

As part of this research, Chambers explores the basic physical, chemical, and dynamical aspects that led to the formation of our own Solar System--an event that is still poorly understood. His ultimate goal is to determine if similar

Alycia Weinberger wants to understand how planets form, so she observes young stars in our galaxy and their disks, from which planets are born. She also looks for and studies planetary systems.

Studying disks surrounding nearby stars help us determine the necessary conditions for planet formation. Young disks contain the raw materials for building planets and the ultimate architecture of planetary systems depends on how these raw materials are distributed, what the balance of different elements and ices is within the gas and dust, and how fast the disks dissipate.

Weinberger uses a variety of observational techniques and facilities, particularly ultra-high spatial-