New Faculty Profiles

04/02/2014 18:35:26
Cynthia Eller

To a large extent, the brain remains a black box. Taking it out of its case inside the skull and examining it—as in an autopsy—reveals some things, but not how the brain works in a living, functioning being.

02/05/2013 10:54:30
Marcus Woo

Almost immediately after the Big Bang—roughly after ten trillionths of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second—the universe suddenly grew. Very fast.

12/19/2012 06:24:16
Marcus Woo
Quantum computers—computers that harness the bizarre laws of quantum mechanics to become vastly more powerful than conventional computers—have been touted as the next leap in technology. Although useful quantum-computing technology is probably years—and possibly decades—away, physicists like Jason Alicea, who joined Caltech's faculty this fall as an associate professor of theoretical physics, are working hard to make it a reality. Alicea's research involves translating purely theoretical ideas into real-life experiments and applications. He recently answered a few questions about himself and his research.
12/05/2012 16:10:01
Marcus Woo
When you lift a paper clip off a table with a small magnet, you're accomplishing a remarkable feat: the tiny magnet is overcoming the gravitational pull from the entire Earth. Why does gravity seem so weak compared to electromagnetism and the other fundamental forces of nature? This vast discrepancy in scale—how a small magnet can beat out a whole planet—is related to what physicists call the hierarchy problem. Cliff Cheung—who joined Caltech this fall as an assistant professor of theoretical physics—is fascinated by this "very deep puzzle" (which may be solved through supersymmetry, a class of theories in which every fundamental particle has a partner particle, as well as by dark matter, the mysterious stuff that accounts for nearly a quarter of the universe). Recently, Cheung—who also plays guitar and piano, sings, and writes music—answered a few questions about coming to Caltech and his passion for physics.
11/13/2012 07:28:49
Kimm Fesenmaier
This fall, Andrei Faraon (BS '04) returned to his alma mater to take a position as an assistant professor of applied physics and materials science. In his work, he builds devices that attempt to use light to manipulate single quantum systems in solids. Faraon recently answered some questions about his research and returning to Caltech.
10/28/2012 16:38:27
Marcus Woo
This fall, Jennifer Jahner joined Caltech as an assistant professor of English. As an undergraduate, she planned to study environmental science at Western Washington University. But as a lifelong reader, she couldn't elude the lure of literature, and she ended up majoring in English instead, receiving her BA in 1998. Afterward, she spent several years as a book editor before returning to academia as a graduate student at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she took a seminar on medieval literature—a class that she says changed her life. Discovering a passion for the time period and for studying old, rare manuscripts, she got her MA in 2005 and then went to the University of Pennsylvania, where she received her PhD last spring. Jahner recently answered a few questions about her research and her thoughts on joining Caltech.
09/26/2012 09:33:44
Marcus Woo
Matthew Elliott is Caltech's newest assistant professor of economics. Born in England, he earned his BA and MPhil from Oxford in 2002 and 2004. After receiving his PhD from Stanford in 2011, he spent a year at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before arriving in Pasadena this fall.
09/26/2012 08:54:30
Kimm Fesenmaier
Venkat Chandrasekaran, an assistant professor of computing and mathematical sciences, arrived at Caltech in early September.
09/26/2012 16:23:21
Marcus Woo
David Hsieh, an assistant professor of physics, is one of Caltech's newest faculty members. Hsieh grew up in Hong Kong before hopping the Pacific to earn his BS in physics and mathematics in 2003 from Stanford. Hsieh then received his PhD from Princeton in 2009 and was a Pappalardo Fellow at MIT before joining Caltech's faculty on September 1. He recently answered a few questions about his work—and some culinary experiments.
07/11/2012 07:00:00
Kimm Fesenmaier

Gregory C. Fu, a new faculty member and the Altair Professor of Chemistry at Caltech, uses his intuition and creativity to develop new chemical reactions that make chemical conversions more efficient—enabling organic chemists to convert reactants into their desired products in fewer steps or with higher yields than previously possible, for example. He talks about the creative aspects of organic chemistry, some of his current work, and making the move to Caltech.

03/23/2012 07:00:00
Marcus Woo

Chris Shannon, the Richard Merkin Professor of Economics and Mathematics, is one of Caltech's newest faculty members. Her research involves developing mathematical models to understand financial markets and other mechanisms that allocate goods, such as auctions.

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