Postdoc Spotlight - Ryan C. Porter

Ryan Porter

Ryan C. Porter grew up in Seattle with a knack for white water rafting. While working as a raft guide in Alaska the summer after his freshman year at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, he was blown away by the mountains and glaciers surrounding him. As he was gliding downriver describing the rugged terrain to his tour groups, he realized he really didn’t know much about how the Earth around him evolved into the landscape seen today. When Ryan returned to school that fall, he immediately switched his major to geophysics and hasn’t turned back.


Geoscientist Richard Carlson Awarded the Arthur L. Day Medal


Carnegie Institute for Science Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) geochemist Richard Carlson was awarded the prestigious Arthur L. Day Medal at the Geological Society of America (GSA) meeting in Denver, Colorado on Monday, 28 October 2013. The Day Medal is awarded to recognize a geoscientist for his/her outstanding achievement in the contribution to geologic research through the utilization of physics and chemistry in addressing geologic problems.

Carnegie President, Richard Meserve, remarked, “Rick is very deserving of this distinction, he is highly accomplished in his field and is an exceptional mentor. He typifies a Carnegie scientist.”


Kent Ford & Vera Rubin's Image Tube Spectrograph named in Smithsonian's "101 Objects that Made America"

101 Objects that Made America

In the early 1970s, astronomer Vera Rubin and Kent Ford at the Carnegie Institution for Science attached the Image Tube Spectrograph to several large telescopes to analyze distant spiral galaxies. This state-of-the-art instrument allowed telescopes to observe objects that were many times fainter than those that had been previously studied. What they found would change our understanding of the universe: The galaxies’ outer arms were rotating at velocities that should have made their stars fly away—but didn’t. The only explanation, Rubin decided, was that the galaxies contained far more mass than we could see. It was the strongest evidence yet for the existence of dark matter, now believed to make up 26.8 percent of all the stuff that exists.

Rubin and DTM collaborators Ford, Norbert Thonnard, and John Graham were among the first astronomers to examine the systemic velocities of galaxies to see if there are large-scale motions of galaxies, superposed on the general expansion of the universe. Their early work, and more recent work by others, suggests that such motions exist.


How to Communicate Science with a Story

Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science

On Thursday, October 17th 2013, Lydia Franco-Hodges and Christie Nicholson of Stony Brook University's Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science came to the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism’s (DTM) campus and gave a workshop to the DTM Postdoctoral fellows on how to passionately and effectively communicate their scientific research and engage an audience.

The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science works to enhance the understanding of science by training the next generation of scientists and health professionals to communicate more effectively with the public, public officials, the media and others outside their own discipline. But why is communicating science important?


Found: Planets Skimming a Star’s Surface

Brian Jackson

A new planet-hunting survey has revealed planetary candidates with orbital periods as short as four hours and so close to their host stars that they are nearly skimming the stellar surface. If confirmed, these candidates would be among the closest planets to their stars discovered so far. DTM Post Doctoral Fellow, Brian Jackson, presented his team’s findings, which are based on data from NASA’s Kepler mission, at the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Sciences meeting Tuesday.


DTM Joins SOME to Celebrate 35 Years of Feeding the Homeless in Washington, D.C.


On Sunday, 6 October 2013, So Others Might Eat (SOME) held its 35th anniversary celebration at the Copley Formal Lounge at Georgetown University where the Georgetown University Gospel Choir and the Georgetown A Cappella Group, The GraceNotes, both paid tribute to SOME’s work. DTM’s Director, Lindy Elkins-Tanton, her husband James, and Daniela Power, were among the honored guests that night.