Latest Stories

07/22/2014 16:58:59
Douglas Smith
Caltech's Murray Gell-Mann simplified the world of particle physics in 1964 by standing it on its head. He theorized that protons—subatomic particles as solid as billiard balls and as stable as the universe—were actually cobbled together from bizarre entities, dubbed "quarks," whose properties are unlike anything seen in our world. Unlike protons, quarks cannot be separated from their fellows and studied in isolation; despite this, our understanding of the universe is built on their amply documented existence.
Murray Gell-Mann
07/22/2014 11:09:20
Douglas Smith
Ed Stone, Caltech's David Morrisroe Professor of Physics, has won the aerospace equivalent of an Oscar. On Wednesday, July 16, the American Astronautical Society (AAS) presented him its sixth Lifetime Achievement Award for his "sustained and extraordinary contributions to America's space programs, including innovative planetary missions."
Edward C. Stone
07/17/2014 10:13:48
Jessica Stoller-Conrad
Caltech researchers stabilize microwave oscillators with optical frequencies from a silicon chip. The approach could ultimately replace more conventional methods that rely on crystal references—a technology in use since the 1920s.
07/15/2014 14:23:55
Katie Neith
Just as growth rings can offer insight into climate changes occurring during the lifespan of a tree, corals have much to tell about changes in the ocean. At Caltech, climate scientists Jess F. Adkins and Nivedita Thiagarajan use manned submersibles, like Alvin operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, to dive thousands of meters below the surface to collect these specimens—and to shed new light on the connection between variance in carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the deep ocean and historical glacial cycles.
07/07/2014 12:00:03
Kimm Fesenmaier
Investment magnate Warren Buffett has famously suggested that investors should try to "be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy only when others are fearful." That turns out to be excellent advice, according to the results of a new study by researchers at Caltech and Virginia Tech that looked at the brain activity and behavior of people trading in experimental markets where price bubbles formed. In such markets, where price far outpaces actual value, it appears that wise traders receive an early warning signal from their brains—a warning that makes them feel uncomfortable and urges them to sell, sell, sell.
07/03/2014 09:30:39
Jessica Stoller-Conrad
The symposium, titled "From the Brain to the Body and Back: A Celebration of Paul Patterson's Life in Science," was held on June 30.
07/01/2014 12:19:52
Douglas Smith
Frederick Burtis Thompson, professor of applied philosophy and computer science, emeritus, passed away on May 27, 2014. The research that Thompson began in the 1960s helped pave the way for today's "expert systems" such as IBM's supercomputer Jeopardy! champ Watson and the interactive databases used in the medical profession. His work provided quick and easy access to the information stored in such systems by teaching the computer to understand human language, rather than forcing the casual user to learn a programming language.
Caltech Professor of Applied Science and Philosophy Frederick B. Thompson
06/30/2014 14:11:10
Katie Neith
Evaluating another person's emotions based on facial expressions can sometimes be a complex task. As it turns out, this process isn't so easy for the brain to sort out either. Building on previous studies targeting the amygdala, a region in the brain known to be important for the processing of emotional reactions, a team of researchers from Caltech, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, have found that some brain cells recognize emotions based on the viewer's preconceptions rather than the true emotion being expressed.
06/30/2014 12:12:54
Jessica Stoller-Conrad
The Anne P. and Benjamin F. Biaggini Professor of Biological Sciences, Emeritus, at Caltech passed away on Wednesday, June 25.
06/27/2014 18:15:22
Cynthia Eller
In 1975, Kip Thorne (BS '62, and the Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus) and then-Caltech postdoctoral fellow Anna Żytkow sought the answer to an intriguing question: Would it be possible to have a star that had a neutron star as its core—that is, a hot, dense star composed entirely of neutrons within another more traditional star? Nearly 40 years later, astronomers believe they may have found such an object: a star labeled HV 2112 and located in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy that is a near neighbor of the Milky Way and visible to the naked eye. We recently sat down with Thorne to ask how it feels to have astronomers discover something whose existence he postulated decades before.
06/26/2014 16:11:48
Kimm Fesenmaier
Researchers at Caltech have applied a new imaging technique called four-dimensional (4D) electron microscopy to studying nanofluid dynamics. In a paper appearing in the June 27 issue of Science, Ahmed Zewail, the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemistry and professor of physics, and Ulrich Lorenz, a postdoctoral scholar in chemistry, describe how they visualized and monitored the flow of molten lead within a single zinc oxide nanotube in real time and space.