Carnegie Institution of Washington

  • DC


1530 P Street, NW
United States

About Us

The Carnegie Institution of Washington (, a private nonprofit organization, has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research since 1902. It has six research departments: the Geophysical Laboratory and the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, both located in Washington, D.C.; The Observatories, in Pasadena, California, and Chile; the Department of Plant Biology and the Department of Global Ecology, in Stanford, California; and the Department of Embryology, in Baltimore, Maryland.

About the Institution: Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Institution of Washington in 1902 as an organization for scientific discovery. His intention was for the institution to be home to exceptional individuals—men and women with imagination and extraordinary dedication capable of working at the cutting edge of their fields. Some of Carnegie’s leading researchers from the early and middle years of the 20th century are well known: • Edwin Hubble, who revolutionized astronomy with his discovery that the universe is expanding and that there are galaxies other than our own Milky Way; • Charles Richter, who created the earthquake measurement scale; • Barbara McClintock, who won the Nobel Prize for her early work on patterns of genetic inheritance; • Alfred Hershey, who won the Nobel Prize for determining that DNA, not protein, harbors the genetic recipe for life; • Vera Rubin, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Science for her work confirming the existence of dark matter in the universe; and • Andrew Fire, who with colleagues elsewhere opened up the world of RNA interference, for which he shared a Nobel Prize in 2006. Today, Carnegie scientists continue to be at the forefront of scientific discovery. Working in six scientific departments on the West and East Coasts, Carnegie investigators are leaders in the fields of plant biology, developmental biology, earth and planetary sciences, astronomy, and global ecology. They seek answers to questions about the structure of the universe, the formation of our solar system and other planetary systems, the behavior and transformation of matter when subjected to extreme conditions, the origin of life, the function of genes, and the development of organisms from single-celled egg to adult.