"It all started for me at Caltech. Caltech had a wonderful community of people who were willing to not only put up with my addiction but to also nurture it. At Caltech, my impulses and my ideas became many things. They became an international organization, they became lifelong friendships, and they became my family."
How to Grip an Asteroid
Caltech junior Edward Fouad spent 10 weeks this summer as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program working in the lab of Aaron Parness, a group leader at JPL, where researchers are designing, prototyping, and refining technology for a device called a microspine gripper. Looking something like a robotic circular foot with many toes extending radially outward, such a gripper has the ability to grab onto a rocky surface and cling to it even when hanging upside down.
Improving The View Through Tissues and Organs
This summer, several undergraduate students at Caltech had the opportunity to help optimize a promising technique that can make tissues and organs—even entire organisms—transparent for study. As part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, these students worked in the lab of Viviana Gradinaru, where researchers are developing such so-called clearing techniques that make it possible to peer straight through normally opaque tissues rather than seeing them only as thinly sectioned slices that have been pieced back together.
Getting To Know Super-Earths
Results from NASA's Kepler planet-hunting mission have indicated that the most common planets in the galaxy are super-Earths—those that are bigger than Earth but smaller than Neptune. Heather Knutson and her colleagues are using space telescopes to try to find out more about these worlds.
NuSTAR Discovers Impossibly Bright Dead Star
Astronomers working with NuSTAR have found a pulsating dead star beaming with the energy of about 10 million suns. The object, previously thought to be a black hole because it is so powerful, is in fact a pulsar—the incredibly dense rotating remains of a star.
In The Media
April 15, 2015
NFL players file for bankruptcy just as often as Americans overall
Researchers in Colin Camerer's neuroscience lab collaborated in a study of the finances of retired professional football players and found that a surprising number of them fall into bankruptcy disputing the economic models based on the notion that people act rationally and that a person anticipating an income reduction in retirement will dutifully seek to save money.
April 15, 2015
The Origins of Saturn's Massive Superstorms Solved
Using data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, Caltech planetary science researchers explain the origin and progress of massive storms on Saturn. The researchers say the storms, which produce lighting and powerful wind, are caused by the convection of water vapor in the ringed planet's atmosphere.
April 15, 2015
How Capitalism Created 'Cool'
Caltech neuroscience researcher Steven Quartz and neuromarketing expert Anette Asp wrote the book on cool. Indeed, their book Cool: How the Brain's Hidden Quest for Cool Drives Our Economy and Shapes Our World explores the inner workings of consumers' brains as they make decisions about which products to buy. Their research disputes myths and commonly held assumptions about consumerism.
April 13, 2015
What's shakin'? Smartphones could help detect earthquakes
Caltech collaborated with USGS, NASA, the University of Houston, and Carnegie Mellon University to study whether smartphones could be used as part of an earthquake early warning system. Equipped with GPS technology, smartphones can detect very large ground movements and send crowdsourced data to a central computer.
April 12, 2015
Unequal, Yet Happy
Caltech professor of neuroscience and philosophy Steven Quartz co-authored an opinion piece with political scientist Anette Asp looking at public attitudes about income inequality. Unlike the earlier Gilded Age when people reacted to inequality with a drive for progressive change, present-day people are taking it in stride. Quartz discusses the neuroscience of consumerism and how the pursuit of "the cool" has fundamentally altered the relationship of "happiness" and income inequity.
April 07, 2015
Caltech Wants To Turn Your Phone Into a 3D Scanner
The Caltech High-Speed Integrated Circuits lab, headed by Ali Hajimiri, has produced another innovation that may be coming to the smartphone in your pocket one day in the near future. The new chip is a "coherent imager" that can capture superfine 3D images of objects. The data can be fed into a 3D printer to generate an almost exact replica of the original.
April 06, 2015
Metamaterials With Unusual Mechanics
Researchers in Julia Greer's materials science lab have developed a technique for making ceramic structures that spring back into shape after being crushed. Greer's technique for making ceramics that are lightweight, strong, and resilient revolves around assembling materials at nano-scale in microscopic trusses and lattice formations.
April 05, 2015
Caltech wants to equip phones with built-in 3D scanners
Caltech microchip innovators have created a small and inexpensive camera chip with light detection and ranging sensors that have superfine resolution. The chips can be used as 3D scanners in smartphones and other devices and may even help self-driving cars avoid collisions.
April 03, 2015
Early Solar System Planets Destroyed by Jupiter Made Room for Earth, Mercury, Venus and Mars
Caltech planetary scientist Konstantin Batygin ran models on the rotation of planets around the sun, while also studying other star systems in our galaxy, and concluded that our early solar system included "super-Earths," planets between the size of Earth and Neptune. That is, until Jupiter wiped out these early inner-solar-system planets.
March 31, 2015
How Jupiter helped form the solar system we know today
Caltech planetary scientist Konstantin Batygin discusses his latest research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, theorizing that our early solar system was occupied by 'super-Earths' which were swept away by the dominant player in the solar system, the gas giant Jupiter.
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