Although the Carnegie departments work across a range of topics, there are many places where our scientific interests overlap. Carnegie's Venture Grant program was designed to bring together scientists of different backgrounds to address new and interesting questions. This spring four such grants were approved including two that involve Observatories' scientists. For the first project, Andrew McWilliam and Johanna Teske will bring a new infrared spectrograph to our Magellan telescopes to try to detect molecules important for life in the atmospheres of exoplanets. Our second Venture Grant involves instrument builder Nick Konidaris, who is working with scientists at Carnegie's Department of Global Ecology to adopt new developments in spectroscopy to instruments that will map the structure of plants in forest canopies and can also be used at our telescopes at Las Campanas. Additionally, Juna Kollmeier and Guillermo Blanc won a Venture Grant last year to apply a new astronomical data extraction technique to optical astronomy data sets that are currently inaccessible.You can find more details about all of these projects elsewhere in this newsletter. The Venture Grant program is possible because of generous gifts by Carnegie trustee Michael Wilson and his wife, Jane, and the Monell Foundation.
Dr. John Mulchaey
Crawford H. Greenewalt Chair and Director
Illustration of exoplanets by Robin Dienel / Carnegie Institution for Science