Bring In the (Nano) Noise

At the forefront of nanotechnology, researchers design miniature machines to do big jobs, from treating diseases to harnessing sunlight for energy. But as they push the limits of this technology, devices are becoming so small and sensitive that the behavior of individual atoms starts to get in the way. Now Caltech researchers have, for the first time, measured and characterized these atomic fluctuations—which cause statistical noise—in a nanoscale device. 

Stone Awarded Goddard Astronautics Award

Ed Stone, the David Morrisroe Professor of Physics at Caltech and lead scientist on the Voyager 1 and Voyager deep-space probe missions since 1972, was awarded the Goddard Astronautics Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) at a gala ceremony on May 11 in Washington, DC.

Caltech Faculty Receive Early Career Grants

Four Caltech faculty members are among the 65 scientists from across the nation selected to receive Early Career Research Awards from the Department of Energy. The grant winners are Guillaume Blanquart, Julia R. Greer, Chris Hirata, and Ryan Patterson. The Early Career Research Program is designed to bolster the nation's scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.

Caltech's Ed Stone Profiled in the LA Times

In a front-page story that ran on April 14, The Los Angeles Times profiled Caltech's Ed Stone. As the mission's project scientist since 1972, Stone has been with Voyager since the beginning, and like the robot explorers, which are now venturing into interstellar space, he's still going and going.

 

Physicists Discover New Way to Visualize Warped Space and Time

When black holes slam into each other, the surrounding space and time surge and undulate like a heaving sea during a storm. This warping of space and time is so complicated that physicists haven't been able to understand the details of what goes on—until now.

Caltech Math for the Win

March has been a good month for Caltech mathematics. Caltech placed first in the Mathematical Association of America's William Lowell Putnam Competition, one of the premier undergraduate mathematics contests. Also this past month, Michael Aschbacher, the Shaler Arthur Hanisch Professor of Mathematics, was awarded the Rolf Schock Prize in Mathematics.

Ellis Awarded Gold Medal

Richard Ellis, the Steele Family Professor of Astronomy, has received the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. Awarded annually since 1824, the Gold Medal is the society's highest honor and one of the premier prizes in astronomy.

Astronomers Discover Close-knit Pairs of Massive Black Holes

Astronomers at Caltech, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and University of Hawaii (UH) have discovered 16 close-knit pairs of supermassive black holes in merging galaxies. These black-hole pairs are about a hundred to a thousand times closer together than most that have been observed before, providing a glimpse into how they and their host galaxies merge—crucial for understanding the evolution of the universe. The discovery is being presented today in Seattle at the meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Make Your Own Flake

With little more than a plastic soda bottle, some fishing line, a sponge, and dry ice, anyone can make it snow, make it snow, make it snow...one flake at a time. So says Caltech physicist-turned-snowflake-guru Ken Libbrecht, who recently walked listeners of NPR's Science Friday through a do-it-yourself snowflake-making tutorial.

 

Caltech Physicists Demonstrate a Four-Fold Quantum Memory

Caltech researchers, led by William L. Valentine Professor and professor of physics H. Jeff Kimble, have made an important achievement in the field of quantum information. Their proof-of-principle experiment, in which they demonstrate quantum entanglement with a four-part system, helps pave the way toward quantum networks and quantum computers, machines much faster than conventional, silicon-based ones.

 

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