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Caltech Physicists Win Sloan Research Fellowships

Three Caltech assistant professors are among the 126 early-career scientists awarded 2014 Sloan Research Fellowships by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Clifford Cheung, assistant professor of theoretical physics, Philip Hopkins, assistant professor of theoretical astrophysics, and David Hsieh, assistant professor of physics, each will receive $50,000 from the Sloan Foundation to further their research. The recipients are selected based on their research accomplishments, creativity, and potential to become leaders in their respective fields.

Cheung, a member of the Caltech Particle Theory Group, received his PhD from Harvard University in 2009 and joined the Caltech faculty in 2012. Caltech professor of physics and former executive officer for physics Kenneth G. Libbrecht says he expects Cheung to assume a leadership role in the theoretical particle physics field as new discoveries at the Large Hadron Collider and other facilities "cause scientists to revise their current understanding of the laws of nature at the most fundamental level."

Phillip Hopkins received his PhD from Harvard in 2008 and became a member of the Caltech faculty in 2013. A theoretical and computational astrophysicist, Hopkins studies the formation and evolution of galaxies, stars, and supermassive black holes throughout the universe. According to Caltech professor of theoretical astrophysics and executive officer for astronomy E. Sterl Phinney, Hopkins has a "unique ability to synthesize vast quantities of complicated observational data, identify physical and computational models that will improve our understanding of that data, and communicate this to the world in a way that inspires further investigation."

David Hsieh received his PhD from Princeton University in 2009 and joined the Caltech faculty in 2012. Hsieh's research focuses on spectroscopic investigations of topologically ordered electronic systems. According to Libbrecht, Hsieh is well-known in the physics research community for his expertise in angle-resolved photo-emission spectroscopy measurements. "He is clearly a gifted experimental physicist, and he seems destined to become a central figure in the emerging study of 3-D topological materials."

"Caltech has a well-established reputation for excellence in physics research and education," says B. Thomas Soifer, professor of physics and chair of Caltech's Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy. "The fact that three early-career Caltech physicists were chosen to receive Sloan Research Fellowships for 2014 is a sign of the Institute's strength in this area, and it shows great promise for the future."

Each year the Sloan Foundation awards fellowships to researchers in eight scientific and technical fields: chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, evolutionary and computational molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences, and physics.

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Brian Bell
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Monday, April 7, 2014
Center for Student Services 360 (Workshop Space) – Center for Student Services

Planning Session for the Fall 2014 Teaching Conference

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Beckman Institute Auditorium – Beckman Institute

The Art of Scientific Presentations

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Beckman Institute Auditorium – Beckman Institute

Juggling Teaching at a Community College and Research at Caltech

NOvA Sees First Long-distance Neutrinos

The NOvA experiment, centered at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) near Chicago has detected its first neutrinos.

Ryan Patterson, assistant professor of physics at Caltech and principal investigator for the Caltech NOvA team of eight researchers, states, "With these first neutrinos in hand, we celebrate the official start of our physics run. The data we collect with NOvA will provide a brand-new window on how neutrino masses arise and relate to one another, and whether there are new physical laws lurking in the neutrino sector of the standard model of particle physics."

Neutrinos are curious particles that travel near the speed of light, rarely interacting with matter. The NOvA experiment, a collaboration of 208 scientists from 38 institutions, is scheduled to run for six years. It includes the Fermilab accelerator and two receivers, one located near Fermilab, the other some 500 miles away in Ash River, Minnesota, near the Canadian border.

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Gerald B. Whitham

1927–2014

Gerald B. Whitham, Charles Lee Powell Professor of Applied Mathematics, Emeritus, passed away on Sunday, January 26. He was 86 years old.

Whitham, a pioneer in the area of nonlinear waves whose research focused on fluid dynamics and the study of wave phenomena, including sonic booms, supersonic flow and shock-wave dynamics, and ocean waves, received his BSc in 1948, MSc in 1949, and PhD in 1953, all from the University of Manchester. He came to Caltech in 1961 as a visiting professor of applied mathematics, was a professor of aeronautics and mathematics from 1962 to 1967, a professor of applied mathematics from 1967 to 1983, and the Powell Professor until his retirement in 1998.

Whitham, who was instrumental in setting up Caltech's applied mathematics program in 1962, served as the executive officer for applied mathematics from 1971 to 1980. He was a fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Society of London.

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In Our Community
Friday, March 14, 2014
Avery Dining Hall – Avery House

Workshop: Comedy as a Teaching Tool

Caltech's "Secrets" to Success

Everyone who really knows Caltech understands that it is unique among universities around the world. But just what makes Caltech so special? We've asked that question before, and the numbers don't tell the full story. So, is it our focus? Our culture? Our people?

The UK's Times Higher Education magazine recently tackled the topic, asking more specifically, "How does a tiny institution create such an outsized impact?" Caltech faculty share their perspectives in the cover story of the magazine's latest issue.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Teaching Statement Workshop - 2-Part Event

Monday, May 12, 2014
Center for Student Services 360 (Workshop Space) – Center for Student Services

Teaching Statement Workshop - 2-Part Event

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