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Last week, scientists from around the world were all about building a deeper understanding of the nature of biology, including modeling the origins of life on an abstract level starting from prebiotic conditions on Earth and, possibly, on other planets. The Geophysical Laboratory hosted Re-conceptualizing the Origin of Life, a week-long conference at our Washington, D.C. headquarters, exploring experimental, interdisciplinary and computational windows on the core concepts.

Using a variety of advanced techniques including x-ray diffraction, tomography, and molecular dynamics simulations, a team including the Geophysical Laboratory's Qiaoshi “Charles” Zeng, was able to create a model that describes both the observed short-range order in metallic glasses and encompasses long-range structural details.

Geophysical Laboratory alum Yoko Kebukawa was awarded the Geochemical Society of Japan Award for Young Researcher.  This award honors outstanding contributions to the advancement of geochemistry, cosmochemistry and environmental sciences. 

Using diamond-anvil cell technology combined with X-ray absorption spectroscopy, a research team led by the Geophysical Laboratory's Reinhard Boehler was able to demonstrate a melting temperature for iron of 3,090 K (about 5,100 degrees Fahrenheit) in the 100-gigapascal pressure range (about a million times normal atmospheric pressure).

Washington, D.C., 1 September 2015— As astronomers continue finding new rocky planets around distant stars, high-pressure physicists are considering what the interiors of those planets might be like and how their chemistry could differ from that found on Earth. New work from the Geophysical Laboratory's Sergey Lobanov, Nicholas Holtgrewe, and Alexander Goncharov demonstrates that different magnesium compounds could be abundant inside other planets as compared to Earth.

Washington, D.C., 26 August 2015—New research from a team led by the Geophysical Laboratory's Robert Hazen predicts that Earth has more than 1,500 undiscovered minerals and that the exact mineral diversity of our planet is unique and could not be duplicated anywhere in the cosmos.

Washington, D.C., 12 August 2015—Colossal magnetoresistance (CMR) is a property with practical applications in a wide array of electronic tools including magnetic sensors and magnetic RAM. New research from the Geophysical Laboratory's Maria Baldini, Dave Mao, Takaki Muramatsu, and Viktor Struzhkin successfully used high-pressure conditions to induce CMR for the first time in a pure sample of a compound called lanthanum manganite, LaMnO3.

Washington, D.C., 15 June 2015— New work from the Geophysical Laboratory's Stewart McWilliams and Alexander Goncharov used laboratory techniques to mimic stellar and planetary conditions, and observe how noble gases behave under these conditions, in order to better understand the atmospheric and internal chemistry of these celestial objects.

June 26, 2015 marks the inaugural Geophysical Laboratory (GL) and DTM poster gathering at the Broad Branch Road campus.  The Geophsyical Laboratory's own Charles Le Losq, Ileana Perez-Rodriguez and Zachary Geballe were the masterminds behind the poster gathering, organizing the event and encouraging everyone on campus to participate. 

Washington, D.C., 22 June 2015—New research from a team including the Geophysical Laboratory’s Alexander Goncharov focuses on the physics underlying the formation of the types of ice that are stable under the paradoxical-seeming conditions likely to be found in planetary interiors. Their work could challenge current ideas about the physical properties found inside icy planetary bodies.

Washington, D.C.— The Geophysical Laboratory’s Christopher Glein has revealed the pH of water spewing from a geyser-like plume on Saturn’s moon Enceladus. His findings are an important step toward determining whether life could exist, or could have previously existed, on the sixth planet’s sixth-largest moon.

Washington, D.C., 28 April 2015—The high-resolution mass spectrometer “Panorama” built by Nu Instruments, Ltd. was installed in the Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, UCLA in March. Panorama was paid for with funds from the Deep Carbon Observatory, University of California Los Angeles, US National Science Foundation, US Department of Energy, Shell Projects and Technologies, Emerging Technologies Group, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The Geophysical Laboratory's Doug Rumble is a co-investigator of the project.

Washington, D.C., 22 April 2015— New work from the Geophysical Laboratory's Russell Hemley and Ivan Naumov hones in on the physics underlying the recently discovered fact that some metals stop being metallic under pressure.

Washington, D.C., 14 April 2015— The cores of terrestrial planets and satellite bodies, including the Moon, all contain large quantities of iron.  New work from the Geophysical Laboratory's Yingwei Fei provides new measurements of iron at lunar core conditions that will help build a direct compositional and velocity model of the Moon’s core in conjunction with limited lunar seismic data.

Washington, D.C., 20 March 2015— A team led by Geophysical Laboratory scientists was able to discover five new forms of silica under extreme pressures at room temperature.