Team to Compete in Project Enterprise Ideas Contest on PBS

It all started last fall, in a classroom at Caltech. A team of students in Visiting Professor of Mechanical Engineering Ken Pickar's course, Product Design for the Developing World, decided to create wheelchairs for people in developing countries that could tackle the rugged terrain. With two bicycles and three creative brains contributing, the project took off.

Alice on Trial, Redux

When Alice revs her engine at the start of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Urban Challenge qualifying rounds on October 27, multitudes of cameras will be pointing at her. But she'll only care about the eight cameras that will be facing away.

Caltech Scientists Create Breakthrough Sensor Capable of Detecting Individual Molecules

Applied physicists at the California Institute of Technology have figured out a way to detect single biological molecules with a microscopic optical device. The method has already proven effective for detecting the signaling proteins called cytokines that indicate the function of the immune system, and it could be used in numerous medical applications, such as the extremely early detection of cancer and other diseases, as well as in basic biological research.

On-Chip Optics Makes Continuous Visible Light from Low-Power Infrared

If you shine a red laser pointer through a glass window you wouldn't expect it to come out blue on the other side, but with a much brighter beam it just might. At high intensities light energy tends to combine and redistribute, so that red light really can produce blue.

Early Rocketeer Homer Stewart Dies

Homer Stewart, an early pioneer of rocket research who helped develop Explorer I, America's first satellite, died Saturday, May 26, at his home in Altadena, California. He was 91.

Twisted Flux Tubes Expel "Wrong-Way" Ions

Physicists seeking to tame plasma have figured out yet another of its wily ways. Knowing how plasma escapes the grip of magnetic fields may help researchers design better magnetic bottles to contain it. Magnetic confinement could be a crucial technology for electric power plants that harness nuclear fusion, the powerful process fueling the sun.

Mechanical Engineering at Caltech Celebrates Centennial

Typical universities have mechanical engineering faculty who teach and conduct occasional consulting projects on the side, but the California Institute of Technology is not like most universities and its ME department is anything but typical.

Negative Refraction of Visible Light Demonstrated; Could Lead to Cloaking Devices

For the first time, physicists have devised a way to make visible light travel in the opposite direction that it normally bends when passing from one material to another, like from air through water or glass. The phenomenon is known as negative refraction and could in principle be used to construct optical microscopes for imaging things as small as molecules, and even to create cloaking devices for rendering objects invisible.

Researchers Create DNA Logic Circuit That Work in Test Tubes

Computers and liquids are not very compatible, as many a careless coffee-drinking laptop owner has discovered. But a new breakthrough by researchers at the California Institute of Technology could result in future logic circuits that literally work in a test tube—or even in the human body.

Microfuidic Device Used for Multigene Analysis of Individual Environmental Bacteria

When it comes to digestive ability, termites have few rivals due to the gut activities that allow them to literally digest a two-by-four. But they do not digest wood by themselves—they are dependent on the 200 or so diverse microbial species that call termite guts home and are found nowhere else in nature.

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