Caltech Physicists are Awarded New Funding from the Simons Foundation

For nearly 20 years, the Simons Foundation has worked to advance mathematics and the physical sciences through grants and educational programs. Now the organization is taking its support of research one step further by naming 21 scientists as the first-ever Simons Investigators. Caltech physicists Chris Hirata and Hirosi Ooguri are among this inaugural group of recipients, each of whom are eligible to receive more than $1.3 million over the next ten years to fund innovative research.

A New Kind of Amplifier

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have developed a new type of amplifier for boosting electrical signals. The device can be used for everything from studying stars, galaxies, and black holes to exploring the quantum world and developing quantum computers.

Peering Into the Heart of a Supernova

Using computer simulations, Caltech researchers have determined that if the interior of a dying star is spinning rapidly just before it explodes in a magnificent supernova, two different types of signals emanating from that stellar core will oscillate together at the same frequency. This could be a piece of "smoking-gun evidence" that would lead to a better understanding of supernovae.

Caltech at the LHC

Maria Spiropulu and Harvey Newman, both professors of physics at Caltech, lead the Caltech team of 40 physicists, students, and engineers that is part of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Physicists Discover a New Particle that May Be the Higgs Boson

Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva, Switzerland, have discovered a new particle that may be the long-sought Higgs boson, the fundamental particle that is thought to endow elementary particles with mass.

X-ray Telescope Takes First Image

NASA's NuSTAR space telescope has taken its first image, snapping a shot of the high-energy X rays from a black hole in the constellation Cygnus. NuSTAR—short for Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array—was launched on June 13, and is the first telescope that can focus high-energy X rays. It will explore black holes, the dense remnants of dead stars, energetic cosmic explosions, and even our very own sun.

Put a Seismometer in Your Living Room

Back in the 1960s, Charlie Richter (PhD '28) installed a seismometer in his living room. It was bigger than his TV set, and it didn't go with the sofa, but it saved him a lot of late-night drives into the Seismo Lab and was a great conversation piece. Now, if you live in the Pasadena area, you can have one, too.

Caltech Graduate Student Wins DOE Fellowship for Computational Science

Caltech graduate student Melissa Yeung has been selected as one of 21 students nationally to receive a Department of Energy (DOE) Computational Science Graduate Fellowship. The honor covers up to four years of support for graduate studies in fields that focus on the use of high-performance computing technology to solve complex problems in science and engineering.

Physicists Close in on a Rare Particle-Decay Process

In the biggest result of its kind in more than ten years, physicists have made the most sensitive measurements yet in a decades-long hunt for a hypothetical and rare process involving the radioactive decay of atomic nuclei. If discovered, the researchers say, this process could have profound implications for how scientists understand the fundamental laws of physics and help solve some of the universe's biggest mysteries.

 

Notes from the Back Row: "An Explosion of Explosions"

In his Watson Lecture given on April 25, Shri Kulkarni, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Science and the director of the Caltech Optical Observatories, described how Caltech's fully automated Palomar Transient Factory—Kulkarni calls it "Transients 'R' Us"—is revolutionizing how we explore the changing sky.

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