John Chambers & Jacqueline Mitton's New Book on the Origin and Evolution of Our Solar System is Published

John Chambers From Dust to Life

DTM Staff Scientist John Chambers, has published a new book entitled, "From Dust to Life: The Origin and Evolution of Our Solar System" with coauthor Jacqueline Mitton, a writer, editor, and media consultant in astronomy.

From Dust to Life is a must-read for anyone who desires to know more about how the solar system came to be. This enticing book takes readers to the very frontiers of modern research, engaging with the latest controversies and debates. It reveals how ongoing discoveries of far-distant extrasolar planets and planetary systems are transforming our understanding of our own solar system's astonishing history and its possible fate.

To purchase your copy of the book, click here


Acid Rain and Ozone Depletion Contributed to Ancient Extinction

Siberia Project

Around 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period, there was a mass extinction so severe that it remains the most traumatic known species die-off in Earth’s history. Some researchers have suggested that this extinction was triggered by contemporaneous volcanic eruptions in Siberia. New results from a team including Director of Carnegie's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism Linda Elkins-Tanton show that the atmospheric effects of these eruptions could have been devastating. Their work is published in Geology.

The mass extinction included the sudden loss of more than 90 percent of marine species and more than 70 percent of terrestrial species and set the stage for the rise of the dinosaurs. The fossil record suggests that ecological diversity did not fully recover until several million years after the main pulse of the extinction.


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.