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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  • 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.

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    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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A team of Carnegie high-pressure physicists have created a form of carbon that’s hard as diamond, but amorphous, meaning it lacks the large-scale structural repetition of a diamond’s crystalline structure. Their findings are reported in Nature Communications.

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  • The amount of time it takes for an ecosystem to recover from a drought is an important measure of a drought’s severity. During the 20th century, the total area of land affected by drought increased, and longer recovery times became more common, according to new research published in Nature by a group of scientists including Carnegie’s Anna Michalak and Yuanyuan Fang.

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Monitoring tropical deforestation and forest degradation with satellites can be an everyday activity for non-experts who support environmental conservation, forest management, and resource policy development. Through extensive observation of user needs, the Greg Asner team developed CLASlite ( the...
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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....
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Stem cells make headline news as potential treatments for a variety of diseases. But undertstanding the nuts and bolts of how they develop from an undifferentiated cell  that gives rise to cells that are specialized such as organs, or bones, and the nervous system, is not well understood.  The...
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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...

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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...

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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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Geochemist and director of Terrestrial Magnetism, Richard Carlson, looks at the diversity of the chemistry of the early solar nebula and the incorporation of that chemistry into the terrestrial planets. He is also interested in questions related to the origin and evolution of Earth’s continental...
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Yixian Zheng’s lab has a long-standing interest in cell division. In recent years, their findings have broadened their research using animal models, to include the study of stem cells, genome organization, and lineage specification—how stem cells differentiate into their final cell forms. They use...
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Alan Boss is a theorist and an observational astronomer. His theoretical work focuses on the formation of binary and multiple stars, triggered collapse of the presolar cloud that eventually made  the Solar System, mixing and transport processes in protoplanetary disks, and the formation of gas...
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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—

Carnegie Academy for Science Education students conduct hands-on research.
September 5, 2017

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. Globally, ABE is expected to reach nearly 900,000 high school students by 2020 in 18 regions around the world. Building on program’s success, Amgen and Carnegie Academy for Science Education will engage D.C. high school students with proven hands-on science labs

For nearly 30 years, ABE has empowered high school science teachers to implement real-world biotechnology labs in their classrooms, helping their students better

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 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 the brain and spinal cord.

The zebrafish is ideal for these studies because its basic body plan is set within 24 hours of fertilization. By day five, young larvae are able to feed and swim, and within three months they are ready to reproduce. They are also prolific breeders. Most importantly the embryos are transparent, allowing scientists to watch the nervous system develop and to

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 reputation for scientific greatness by recruiting and supporting the very best secondary education math teachers.

Here in Washington DC, the majority of secondary school students are not math proficient.  Only about two thirds of secondary school math teachers are fully certified.Our goals follow:

Recruit candidates with strong math knowledge and teaching aptitude, which enhances the

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

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.

The Donald Brown laboratory uses  amphibian metamorphosis to study complex developmental programs such as the development of vertebrate organs. The thyroid gland secretes thyroxine (TH), a hormone essential for the growth and development of all vertebrates including humans. To understand TH, director emeritus Donald Brown studies one of the most dramatic roles of the hormone, the control of amphibian metamorphosis—the process by which a tadpole turns into a frog. He studies the frog Xenopus laevis from South Africa.

 Events as different as the formation of limbs, the remodeling of organs, and the resorption of tadpole tissues such as the tail are all directed by TH. The hormone

Devaki Bhaya wants to understand how environmental stressors, such as light, nutrients, and viral attacks are sensed by and affect photosynthetic microorganisms. She is also interested in understanding the mechanisms behind microorganism movements, and how individuals in groups communicate, evolve, share resources. To these ends, she focuses on one-celled, aquatic cyanobacteria, in the lab with model organisms and with organisms in naturally occurring communities.

 Phototaxis is the ability of organisms to move directionally in response to a light source.  Many cyanobacteria exhibit phototaxis, both towards and away from light. The ability to move into optimal light for

Yixian Zheng’s lab has a long-standing interest in cell division. In recent years, their findings have broadened their research using animal models, to include the study of stem cells, genome organization, and lineage specification—how stem cells differentiate into their final cell forms. They use a wide range of tools, including genetics in different model organisms, cell culture, biochemistry, proteomics, and genomics.

Cell division is essential for all organisms to grow and live. During a specific time in a cell’s cycle the elongated apparatus consisting of string-like micro-tubules called the spindle is assembled to move the chromosomes into two new cells. Another structure

Plants are not as static as you think. David Ehrhardt combines confocal microscopy with novel visualization methods to see the three-dimensional movement  within live plant cells to reveal the other-worldly cell choreography that makes up plant tissues. These methods allow his group to explore cell-signaling and cell-organizational events as they unfold.

These methods allow his lab to investigate plant cell development and structure and molecular genetics to understand the organization and dynamic behaviors of molecules and organelles. The group tackles how cells generate asymmetries and specific shapes. A current focus is how the cortical microtubule cytoskeleton— an interior