Today's Earth Week feature highlights three cross-disciplinary research centers where Caltech scientists and engineers collaborate on projects that will have a positive impact on energy, the environment, and Earth's sustainable future.
At Caltech, hydrophilic researchers in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences take to the salty seas to gather data, explore the deep, and get a firsthand view of the beasts at the bottom. The briny treasures they collect along the way are helping them learn more about past, present, and future environmental conditions and hazards.
By analyzing stalagmites, a team of Caltech researchers has determined that the climate signature in the tropics through four glacial cycles looks different in some ways and similar in others when compared to the climate signature at high latitudes. The results suggest that Earth's climate system might have two modes of responding to significant changes.
One of Caltech's oldest buildings, the Linde + Robinson Laboratory for Global Environmental Science, is the recipient of a 2012 Los Angeles Conservancy Preservation Award. The building, an astronomy lab built in 1932 that has undergone extensive renovations over the past two years, is the nation's first lab constructed in an existing historic building to earn LEED Platinum rating.
The field of study of Andrew Thompson, assistant professor of environmental science and engineering at Caltech, presents not only theoretical challenges but logistical ones as well. That's because he is interested in the circulation and ecology of the Southern Ocean and the role it plays in global climate. The hostile environment of this area makes long-term research difficult, so he's part of a team that is seeking to monitor the region with autonomous underwater vehicles called gliders.
A catastrophic landslide 22,500 years ago dammed the upper reaches of northern California's Eel River, forming a 30-mile-long lake—which has since disappeared—and leaving a living legacy found today in the genes of the region's steelhead trout, according to scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of Oregon.
In a collaborative effort with 32 other leading U.S. institutions, Caltech has helped launch the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, an initiative to invest a cumulative total of one billion dollars to fund energy-efficiency upgrades on campuses across the country.
In a strategic move to strengthen fundamental science and technology and foster transformational advances in renewable energies, the Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW) and Caltech have established a $10 million partnership.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected Caltech to create a clean-energy entrepreneurial competition in the western United States. Caltech's winning proposal is one of six that were awarded regionally as part of a three-year, $2 million program to develop competitions that inspire students to come up with innovative business plans involving clean-energy technology.