During his 20 years as a professor of geophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sean Carl Solomon has led students toward a greater understanding of the principles of planetary seismology. Now, as the new director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM), he will have the opportunity to encourage his fellow scientists in the same direction.

In September, Solomon will oversee the Washington D.C.-based DTM, one of five research departments of the Carnegie Institution. The newly appointed director says his mix of expertise as both a seismologist and a planetary geophysicist will widen the focus of the lab staff of 50 to 60 people.

"The overriding philosophy of the Carnegie Institution is that the most significant advances in science come from the inspiration of creative individuals, and not from expert panels or government agencies," Solomon says. "I will, of course, continue that tradition--but will guide DTM to...

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