Caltech Seismologist Hiroo Kanamori Awarded Kyoto Prize by Inamori Foundation

Hiroo Kanamori, one of the world's leading authorities on earthquakes, has been awarded the 23rd annual Kyoto Prize by the Inamori Foundation of Japan. The announcement was made today in Kyoto.

Astronomers Find Their Third Planet With Novel Telescope Network

Astronomers using the Trans-atlantic Exoplanet Survey (TrES) network of small telescopes are announcing today their discovery of a planet twice the mass of Jupiter that passes in front of its star every 31 hours. The planet is in the constellation Hercules and has been named TrES-3 as the third planet found with the TrES network.

Some Earth-like Worlds May Have Foliage of Colors Other Than Green, Researchers Say

In the next decade, when scientists are able to study Earth-sized worlds around other stars, they may find that foliage on some of the planets is predominantly yellow—or orange, or red. It all depends on the color of the star the planet orbits and the stuff that makes up the planet's atmosphere.

Caltech's Planet Hunter Mike Brown Wins Annual Feynman Prize for Teaching

On a campus where scientific research can be pretty challenging for the uninitiated, Mike Brown's search for new bodies in the outer solar system is as refreshingly straightforward as, well, the brightly colored marble spheres that sit on his shelf. Each sphere represents a Kuiper-belt object he has found in the last few years, including Eris, which led to the demotion of Pluto to the status of "dwarf planet."

Kuiper-belt Object Was Broken up by Massive Impact 4.5 Billion Years Ago, Study Shows

In the outer reaches of the solar system, there is an object known as 2003 EL61 that looks like and spins like a football being drop-kicked over the proverbial goalpost of life.

Astronomers Puzzled by Spectra of Transiting Planet Orbiting Nearby Star

A team of astronomers led by Carl Grillmair of the California Institute of Technology has discovered some puzzling things about a Jupiter-sized planet that passes in front of a nearby star in the constellation Vulpecula.

Geologists Provide New Evidence for Reason Behind Rise of Life in Cambrian Period

Geologists have uncovered evidence in the oil fields of Oman that explains how Earth could suddenly have changed 540 million years ago to favor the evolution of the single-celled life forms to the multicellular forms we know today.

Anticipating Another Sumatran Tsunami

Research by the California Institute of Technology, the University of Southern California, and Indonesian scientists indicates that within the next few decades another big tsunami could flood densely populated sections of western coastal Sumatra, south of those that suffered from the tsunami of December 2004.

Geobiologists Solve "Catch-22 Problem" Concerning the Rise of Atmospheric Oxygen

Two and a half billion years ago, when our evolutionary ancestors were little more than a twinkle in a bacterium's plasma membrane, the process known as photosynthesis suddenly gained the ability to release molecular oxygen into Earth's atmosphere, causing one of the largest environmental changes in the history of our planet. The organisms assumed responsible were the cyanobacteria, which are known to have evolved the ability to turn water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight into oxygen and sugar, and are still around today as the blue-green algae and the chloroplasts in all green plants.

Watson Lecture: Natural Disasters

The recent devastations caused by earthquakes in south and southwest Asia, by the Indian Ocean tsunami, and by hurricane Katrina offer dramatic proof that communities all over the world are both unaware of, and unprepared for, natural hazards. Unfortunately, while scientists understand much about these natural hazards, that knowledge commonly is not used to reduce the risks.


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