Sustaining the Next Generation of Energy Scientists

Training the next generation of scientists is a critical component of the mission of Caltech's Resnick Institute. And although the institute is not yet two years old, it has already begun to fulfill that mission, thanks to the newly developed Resnick Fellowship program. The first two Resnick Fellows began their work in the fall of 2010; last week, the institute put out a call for applications for the next set of two-year awards.

Caltech Geobiologists Uncover Links between Ancient Climate Change and Mass Extinction

About 450 million years ago, Earth suffered the second-largest mass extinction in its history—the Late Ordovician mass extinction, during which more than 75 percent of marine species died. Exactly what caused this tremendous loss in biodiversity remains a mystery, but now a team led by researchers at Caltech has discovered new details supporting the idea that the mass extinction was linked to a cooling climate.

Obama Touts Caltech Research

In last night's State of the Union Address, President Obama said, "We're issuing a challenge. We're telling America's scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we'll fund the Apollo projects of our time. At the California Institute of Technology, they're developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars.

New Reactor Paves the Way for Efficiently Producing Fuel from Sunlight

Using a common metal most famously found in self-cleaning ovens, Sossina Haile hopes to change our energy future. The metal is cerium oxide—or ceria—and it is the centerpiece of a promising new technology developed by Haile and her colleagues that concentrates solar energy and uses it to efficiently convert carbon dioxide and water into fuels.

Caltech and the Clean-Energy "Sputnik Moment"

The quest for clean energy, and our country's competitiveness both now and in the future is, according to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, our "Sputnik Moment."

 

Alternative Transportation Programs Honored

Caltech's commuter- and environmentally friendly programs haven't gone without notice. Indeed, the university recently was singled out for a corporate Blue Diamond Award by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Caltech/JPL Experiments Improve Accuracy of Ozone Predictions in Air-Quality Models

A team of scientists led by researchers from Caltech and JPL have fully characterized a key chemical reaction that affects the formation of pollutants in smoggy air. The findings suggest that in the most polluted parts of Los Angeles—and on the most polluted days in those areas—current models are underestimating ozone levels, by between 5 to 10 percent.

Capturing the Sun

An encounter with summer smog in Yosemite National Park led Caltech graduate student and accomplished nature photographer William Chueh to take action through science. His resulting research could help reduce the planet's dependence on fossil fuels, not to mention clean the air over Yosemite.

Caltech-led Team Gets up to $122 Million for Energy Innovation Hub

As part of a broad effort to achieve breakthrough innovations in energy production, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman announced an award of up to $122 million over five years to a multidisciplinary team of top scientists, led by Caltech, to establish an Energy Innovation Hub aimed at developing revolutionary methods to generate fuels directly from sunlight.  

Something in the Air

For the past month, Caltech scientists have been zigzagging across the Los Angeles basin. Using an orange and white DeHavilland Twin Otter aircraft packed with instruments, the researchers have been sampling the air, measuring particles and pollutants to help policymakers improve air quality and dampen the impacts of climate change.

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