12/21/2010 08:00:00

What do scientific studies and national boundary lines have in common? According to Caltech geobiologist and graduate student Jeff Marlow, both reflect something unique and profound about humanity: our need to explore. Marlow sees parallels between what we've been discovering about our world and the way we've spread across it. At next month's TEDxCaltech conference, he'll present an analysis of what drives us to explore—including what it suggests about the essence of being human.

12/21/2010 08:00:00

TED is an annual conference dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge and ideas. Curated by a nonprofit organization, the conference originally focused on the worlds of technology, entertainment, and design (hence the acronym), but in the quarter-century since its founding, its thrust has become more diverse. 

12/20/2010 08:00:00
Lori Oliwenstein

With little more than a plastic soda bottle, some fishing line, a sponge, and dry ice, anyone can make it snow, make it snow, make it flake at a time. So says Caltech physicist-turned-snowflake-guru Ken Libbrecht, who recently walked listeners of NPR's Science Friday through a do-it-yourself snowflake-making tutorial.


12/17/2010 08:00:00
Marcus Woo

After winning back-to-back games for the first time in 13 years, the Caltech men’s basketball team has a chance to make history again with a victory on Saturday. The Beavers face the Banana Slugs of UC Santa Cruz at 3:00 p.m. in Braun Gym, as part of the SCIAC Classic. All Techers are encouraged to come and support their team.

12/16/2010 17:00:00
Kathy Svitil

Armed with tarantulas, snakes, and horror-movie clips, Caltech neuroscientists, together with collaborators at the University of Iowa and the University of Southern California (USC), have studied a woman who is unable to experience the emotion of fear, providing the first in-depth investigation of how the experience of fear depends on a specific brain region called the amygdala and offering new insight into our conscious experience of emotions.

12/15/2010 08:00:00
Marcus Woo

Last Wednesday morning, Caltech received a rather large delivery. About 50 feet long and 5 feet wide, a big black chunk of metal was unloaded from a truck and slowly pushed into the Central Engineering Services Building.

12/10/2010 16:00:00

Ken Pickar's class, "Product Design for the Developing World," challenges Caltech students to solve some basic problems of the world's poor. The catch: in ten weeks, they must turn rough concepts into workable designs, including financial and market assessments. On December 7, this year's students presented their results. Their visual aids included a typically Caltech-like hodgepodge of pipes, motors, and fans—but as Pickar reminded the audience, "Prototypes aren't supposed to be elegant. They're supposed to be crude and quick."

12/09/2010 16:00:00

As many as a third of the residents of the prosperous southern Indian state of Kerala live at or below the poverty level. Professor Ken Pickar is spearheading a Caltech-based effort to solve some of their most dire problems, through engineering. In collaboration with an engineering school in Kerala, his students spent the fall term devising novel engineering concepts to better the lives of indigent Keralites. On December 7, as the final exam for Pickar's class, "Product Design for the Developing World," they presented their designs.

12/07/2010 08:00:00
Marcus Woo

Caltech basketball won its first game of the season on Saturday, when the men’s team defeated American Sports University 74-67 in the Fulmer Tournament at the University of Redlands. The victory snaps a 44-game losing streak dating back to January 5, 2009.

12/05/2010 08:00:00
Lori Oliwenstein

Caltech freshman Erika DeBenedictis was invited to the first-ever White House Science Fair after winning the top prize in the Intel Science Talent Search as a high-school senior, thanks to her work on a software system to help spacecraft navigate the solar system. Here, DeBenedictis—daughter of Caltech alumnus Erik DeBenedictis, BS '78, PhD '83—tells the story of the presidential meeting that almost wasn't.