Letter from Richard Carlson: A look back on 41 years of scientific development and discovery at the Earth and Planets Laboratory

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As the year ends, the desire to reflect on the past always surfaces.  In this letter, I’ll be looking further back than usual as my 41 years of employment as postdoc, staff scientist, and director at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) and now the Earth and Planets Laboratory (EPL) are coming to a close.


Rock physicist Ningli Zhao awarded first Dr. Paul G. Silver Postdoctoral Fellowship

Paul Silver

On August 7, 2009, Carnegie seismologist and geophysicist, Paul Gordon Silver and his daughter Céline were killed in a tragic automobile accident in North Carolina. Silver’s death was a loss to the scientific community as well as to all who were lucky enough to know him. Now, Carnegie honors his legacy with the appointment of rock physicist Ningli Zhao as the first Paul G. Silver Postdoctoral Fellow. The named fellowship is designed to fuel an early-career scientist’s passion in seismology and geophysics.


Year end round up: The top 30 questions at the Earth and Planets Laboratory in 2021

A Closer Look at EPL Banner

Throughout 2021, we showcased stories from the six main research areas we explore at the Carnegie Earth and Planets Laboratory campus—from astrophysics to extreme materials—as a part of our “Closer Look” campaign. Each month we highlighted the big questions in the spotlighted research area, explored Carnegie history, updated you on projects, and introduced you to some of the scientists and staff who drive our work forward.

In this round-up, we have collected all of the top questions that the scientists at the Earth and Planets Laboratory explored during this campaign.


Earth And Planets Laboratory Director Richard Carlson Retires, Will Be Succeeded By Deputy Director Michael Walter

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Earth and Planets Laboratory Director Richard Carlson, who has served Carnegie with distinction for more than 40 years and whose work has transformed our understanding of the Earth and our Solar System, will step down as Director and retire as an emeritus staff member from Carnegie effective December 31, 2021. He will be succeeded by the current Deputy Director, Michael Walter, who is an experimental petrologist and expert on the origin and evolution of planetary interiors.


EPL at AGU 2021

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This year, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting will be held as a hybrid online and in-person event from December 13-17, 2021. Earth and Planets Laboratory scientists will be presenting their latest scientific discoveries in areas including seismology, planetary science, mineralogy, data analysis, and cosmochemistry. 


New ultrahard diamond glass synthesized

Application of low heat and high pressure in the lab can turn this fullerene C60 into ultrahard diamond glass. Image purchased from Shutterstock.

Carnegie’s Yingwei Fei and Lin Wang were part of an international research team that synthesized a new ultrahard form of carbon glass with a wealth of potential practical applications for devices and electronics. It is the hardest known glass with the highest thermal conductivity among all glass materials. Their findings are published in Nature.