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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  • 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.

    Explore this Story

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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Carnegie researchers recently constructed genetically encoded FRET sensors for a variety of important molecules such as glucose and glutamate. The centerpiece of these sensors is a recognition element derived from the superfamily of bacterial binding protiens called periplasmic binding protein (...
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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...
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Chris Field is a co-principal investigator of the Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve in northern California. The site, designed to exploit grasslands as models for understanding how ecosystems may respond to climate change, hosts a number of studies of the...
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Special Events
Monday, November 20, 2017 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm

It's July 1945. Germany is in defeat and the Manhattan Project’s atomic bombs are on their way to Japan. Under the direction of physicist Samuel Goudsmit, the Allies are holding some of the top...

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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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Viktor Struzhkin develops new techniques for high-pressure experiments to measure transport and magnetic properties of materials to understand aspects of geophysics, planetary science, and condensed-matter physics. Among his goals are to detect the transition of hydrogen into a high-temperature...
Meet this Scientist
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...
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Steven Farber
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...
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November 17, 2017

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017: 

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Sunday, November 12, 2017:

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Thursday, November 9, 2017:

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Monday, November 6, 2017:

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 the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate

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

Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science, European Southern Observatory, ESO/M. Kornmesser
November 8, 2017

Pasadena, CA— 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, published by Nature, completely confounds existing knowledge of a star’s end of life, and Konidaris’ instrument-construction played a crucial role in analyzing the phenomenon.  

In September 2014, the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory team of astronomers detected a new explosion in the sky, iPTF14hls.

The light given off by the event was analyzed in order to understand the speed and

November 20, 2017

It's July 1945. Germany is in defeat and the Manhattan Project’s atomic bombs are on their way to Japan. Under the direction of physicist Samuel Goudsmit, the Allies are holding some of the top German nuclear scientists—among them Werner Heisenberg, Otto Hahn, and Walter Gerlach—captive in Farm Hall, an English country manor near Cambridge, England. As secret microphones record their conversations, the scientists are unaware of why they are being held or for how long. Thinking themselves far ahead of the Allies, how will they react to the news of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? How will these famous scientists explain to themselves and to the world their failure to achieve

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 scientists participate in NASA's Kepler missions, the first mission capable of finding Earth-size planets around other stars. The centuries-old quest for other worlds like our Earth has been rejuvenated by the intense excitement and popular interest surrounding the discovery of hundreds of planets orbiting other stars. There is now clear evidence for substantial numbers of three types of exoplanets; gas giants, hot-super-Earths in short period orbits, and ice giants.

The challenge now is to find terrestrial planets (those one half to twice the size of the Earth), especially those in the habitable zone of their stars where liquid water and possibly life might exist. Image

The High Pressure Collaborative Access Team (HPCAT) was established to advance cutting-edge, multidisciplinary, high-pressure science and technology using synchrotron radiation at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) of Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.

The integrated HPCAT facility has established four operating beamlines in nine hutches An array of novel X-ray diffraction—imaging at tiny scales--and spectroscopic techniques to reveal chemistry,  has been integrated with high pressure and extreme temperature instrumentation.

With a multidisciplinary approach and multi-institution collaborations, the high-pressure program at the HPCAT has enabeld myriad scientific

Carnegie is renowned for its post-doctoral and graduate student fellowship programs, which operate on each of the Carnegie campuses. Our fellows participate fully in the institution’s vigorous intellectual life, and have complete access to the laboratory instruments and facilities at the institution. The fellowships are extremely competitive, and are prized for their independence and for the resources they afford the fellows. The fellowships vary in duration depending on the research area. Each fellow is key to ehnancing the Carnegie mission and expanding Carnegie's influence of unfettered, imaginative scientific research into the next generations.  For information about opportunities in

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.

Steroids are important hormones in both animals and plants. They bulk up plants just as they do human athletes, but the pathway of molecular signals that tell the genes to boost growth and development is more complex in plant cells than in animal cells. Unlike animals, plants do not have glands to produce and secrete hormones. Rather, each plant cell has the ability to generate hormones. Another difference is that animal cells typically have receptor molecules that respond to select steroids located within a cell's nucleus. In plants, steroid receptors are anchored to the outside surface of a cell’s outer membrane—the membrane that delineates a cell as a single unit.

Zhiyong Wang

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

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

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 fingerprints of