Snowflake Science

We've all heard that no two snowflakes are alike. Caltech professor of physics Kenneth Libbrecht will tell you that this has to do with the ever-changing conditions in the clouds where snow crystals form. Now Libbrecht, widely known as the snowflake guru, has shed some light on a grand puzzle in snowflake science: why the canonical, six-armed "stellar" snowflakes wind up so thin and flat.

Caltech-Led Team of Astronomers Finds 18 New Planets

Discoveries of new planets just keep coming and coming. A team of astronomers led by scientists at Caltech have found 18 Jupiter-like planets in orbit around massive stars.

Caltech Ranked First in Physical Sciences

Caltech's physical-sciences program is number one among world universities in this year's Times Higher Education rankings, sharing the top spot with Princeton.

Particles and Pants

Two new faculty members have joined the Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy. Ryan Patterson, assistant professor of physics, studies the elusive neutrino, a mysterious particle that could hold the clues to some of the universe's biggest questions. Vladimir Markovic, professor of mathematics, is trying to understand the shapes and structures of mathematical spaces called manifolds. In particular, he's worked with a mathematical object that resembles a pair of pants.

Oceans of Water in a Planet-Forming Disk

Astronomers have detected massive quantities of water in a planet-forming gas disk around a young star. The water—which is frozen in the icy outer regions of the disk—could fill Earth's oceans several thousand times over. The discovery could help explain how Earth got its oceans and suggests that our planet may not be the only watery world in the cosmos.

Thorne Selected to Receive Graduate Education Award

Kip Thorne, Caltech's Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus, has been selected to receive the 2012 John David Jackson Excellence in Graduate Physics Education Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT).

Caltech Awarded $12.6 Million for New Institute for Quantum Information and Matter

Caltech has been awarded $12.6 million in funding over the next five years by the National Science Foundation to create a new Physics Frontiers Center. Dubbed the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM), the center will bring physicists and computer scientists together to push theoretical and experimental boundaries in the study of exotic quantum states.

Caltech Named World's Top University in New Times Higher Education Global Ranking

Caltech has been rated the world's number one university in the 2011–2012 Times Higher Education global ranking of the top 200 universities, displacing Harvard University from the top spot for the first time in the survey's eight-year history. 

Astronomers Discover a Black Hole Ripping a Star Apart

Astronomers—including several from Caltech—have discovered a black hole millions of times more massive than the sun that's tearing a star to shreds.

 

 

New LIGO Executive Director Named

David Reitze has been named executive director of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), designed and operated by Caltech and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Reitze has also been named a senior research associate at Caltech.

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