Ready for Your Close-Up?

As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words." For people in certain professions—acting, modeling, and even politics—this phrase rings particularly true. Previous studies have examined how our social judgments of pictures of people are influenced by factors such as whether the person is smiling or frowning, but until now one factor has never been investigated: the distance between the photographer and the subject. According to a new study by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), this turns out to make a difference—close-up photo subjects, the study found, are judged to look less trustworthy, less competent, and less attractive.

Working Optimally

Venkat Chandrasekaran, an assistant professor of computing and mathematical sciences, arrived at Caltech in early September.

A Worthy Endeavor

The space shuttle Endeavour's final flight ended Friday, September 21, when it landed at Los Angeles International Airport en route to its new life as an exhibit at the California Science Center. But without Caltech professors Christopher Brennen and Allan Acosta and alumnus Sheldon Rubin, the entire endeavor might not have been possible.

Caltech Awards International Aerospace Honor to Satellite Pioneer

Sir Martin Sweeting, founder and executive chairman of Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) and director of the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey, is the 2012 recipient of the International von Kármán Wings Award. The award—presented annually by the Aerospace Historical Society, which is part of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories at Caltech (GALCIT)—acknowledges outstanding contributions by international innovators, leaders, and pioneers in aerospace.

Notes from the Back Row: "Taming Turbulence"

"Turbulence is everywhere," says Beverley McKeon—from continent-spanning weather systems down to the swirls of air your car leaves behind itself as you drive. "I think about things like ships, planes, and pipelines," she explains, noting that about half of the energy consumed by each of those three transportation systems goes to counteract turbulence-induced drag.

 

Caltech Wins Toilet Challenge

Caltech's solar-powered toilet has won the Reinventing the Toilet Challenge issued by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Caltech engineer Michael Hoffmann and his colleagues were awarded $100,000 for their design, which they demonstrated at the Reinvent the Toilet Fair, a two-day event held August 14–15 in Seattle.

White House Honors Caltech and JPL Scientists and Engineers

Chiara Daraio, professor of aeronautics and applied physics, and Christopher Hirata, professor of astrophysics, both at Caltech, and Ian Clark of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)—which is managed by Caltech—are winners of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. This is the highest award given by the United States government to science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Medusa Reimagined

When one observes a colorful jellyfish pulsating through the ocean, Greek mythology probably doesn't immediately come to mind. But the animal once was known as the medusa, after the snake-haired mythological creature its tentacles resemble. The mythological Medusa's gaze turned people into stone, and now, thanks to recent advances in bio-inspired engineering, a team led by researchers at Caltech and Harvard University have flipped that fable on its head: turning a solid element and muscle cells into a freely swimming "jellyfish."

Caltech Students Work on Proposed Space Mission for Final Project

Forget problem sets and exams. For their homework and final assignments, students in Caltech's Aerospace Engineering course work on a proposed space mission.

SEM Honors Rosakis

The Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM) has selected Caltech's Ares Rosakis as the recipient of the P.S. Theocaris Award.

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