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Carnegie Earth and Planets Director Richard Carlson

Richard Carlson, director of Carnegie Science’s Earth and Planets division, has been chosen to receive the Geochemical Society’s highest honor, the Victor Moritz Goldschmidt Award, in recognition of his forefront research into the formation of the Solar System and the geologic history of the Earth.

Fetal Oocyte Attrition prevention, courtesy Marla Tharp and Navid Marvi.

A woman’s supply of eggs is finite, so it is crucial that the quality of their genetic material is ensured. New work from Carnegie’s Marla Tharp, Safia Malki, and Alex Bortvin elucidates a mechanism by which, even before birth, the body tries to eliminate egg cells of the poorest quality. Their findings describing this mechanism are published by Nature Communications.

Artist’s concept by Robin Dienel, courtesy of Carnegie Institution for Science

A “cold Neptune” and two potentially habitable worlds are part of a cache of five newly discovered exoplanets and eight exoplanet candidates found orbiting nearby red dwarf stars by a team led by Carnegie’s Fabo Feng and Paul Butler. The two potentially habitable planets are among the nearest stars to our own Sun, making them prime targets for observations by next-generation space- and land-based telescopes. 

Carbon-boron clathrate cage with strontium inside, courtesy Tim Strobel

 An entirely new class of “superdiamond” carbon-based materials with tunable mechanical and electronic properties was predicted and synthesized by Carnegie’s Li Zhu and Timothy Strobel. Their work is published by Science Advances.

A fluorescence image of the sea anemone Exaiptasia, courtesy of Tingting Xiang

Corals depend on their symbiotic relationships with the algae that they host. But how do they keep algal population growth in check? The answer to this fundamental question could help reefs survive in a changing climate.

Vera Rubin, courtesy of the Carnegie Institution for Science

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and its joint funding agencies, the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy, announced Monday that it will be renamed the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in honor of the late Carnegie astronomer whose research confirmed the existence of dark matter. Rubin received the National Medal of Science in 1993 for her “significant contributions to the realization that the universe is more complex and more mysterious than had been imagined.” She died in 2016.

Every school child learns about the water cycle—evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection. But what if there were a deep Earth component of this process happening on geologic timescales that makes our planet ideal for sustaining life as we know it? New work published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences demonstrates that a key mineral called stishovite is capable of storing and transporting large amounts of water even under extreme conditions like those found in Earth’s lower mantle.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, JPL, SSI, Cassini Imaging Team

Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus is of great interest to scientists due to its subsurface ocean, making it a prime target for those searching for life elsewhere. New research led by Carnegie’s Doug Hemingway reveals the physics governing the fissures through which ocean water erupts from the moon’s icy surface, giving its south pole an unusual “tiger stripe” appearance.

Artist’s conception of Kepler-432b, courtesy of MarioProtIV/Wikimedia Commons.

A surprising analysis of the composition  of gas giant exoplanets and their host stars shows that there isn’t a strong correlation between their compositions when it comes to elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, according to new work led by Carnegie’s Johanna Teske. This finding has important implications for our understanding of the planetary formation process. 

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) elected Carnegie molecular biologist Steven Farber and retired biologist and science educator Toby Horn as AAAS fellows. This year 443 members were awarded this honor for their “scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.”

Patellar tendon 30 days after an injury courtesy of Tyler Harvey.

The buildup of scar tissue makes recovery from torn rotator cuffs, jumper’s knee, and other tendon injuries a painful, challenging process, often leading to secondary tendon ruptures. New research reveals the existence of tendon stem cells that could potentially be harnessed to improve tendon healing and even to avoid surgery.

The sea anemone Aiptasia, photo by Ken Caldeira

Bleached anemones—those lacking symbiotic algae—do not move toward light, a behaviour exhibited by healthy, symbiotic anemones. Published in Coral Reefs, this finding from Carnegie’s Shawna Foo, Arthur Grossman, and Ken Caldeira, along with Lauren Liddell of the NASA Ames Research Center, is a fascinating case study for exploring the concept of control in a symbiotic relationship.

Illustration by James Josephides, courtesy of Swinburne Astronomy Productions.

A star traveling at ultrafast speeds after being ejected by the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy was spotted by an international team of astronomers including Carnegie’s Ting Li and Alex Ji. Hurtling at the blistering speed of 6 million kilometers per hour, the star is moving so fast that it will leave the Milky Way and head into intergalactic space.

Ancient gas cloud courtesy of the Max Planck Society.

The discovery of a 13 billion-year-old cosmic cloud of gas enabled a team of Carnegie astronomers to perform the earliest-ever measurement of how the universe was enriched with a diversity of chemical elements.  Their findings reveal that the first generation of stars formed more quickly than previously thought. 

Champion for wildlife conservation, arts, history and culture, and a Carnegie trustee from 1980 until 2014, Robert Guestier “Bobby” Goelet died at the age of 96 on October 8, 2019, at his home in New York.

Artist's conception by Robin Dienel, courtesy of the Carnegie Institution for Sc

What does a gestating baby planet look like? New research in Nature by a team including Carnegie’s Jaehan Bae investigated the effects of three planets in the process of forming around a young star, revealing the source of their atmospheres. “This could really help us understand how the architecture of a planetary system comes to be and maybe even unlock mysteries about the evolution of our own Solar System,” explained Bae.

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