Eugene W. Cowan, 90

Eugene W. "Bud" Cowan, professor of physics, emeritus, at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), passed away November 4 in Menlo Park, California. He was 90.

Discovering New Worlds

As a kid, Assistant Professor of Astronomy John Johnson wasn't interested in astronomy—or even science for that matter. But now, as an assistant professor of astronomy, he's discovering entirely new worlds. In an interview, he talks about the search for planets and the rapidly evolving field of exoplanet astronomy.

Ralph W. Kavanagh, 86

Ralph W. Kavanagh, professor of physics, emeritus, at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) passed away August 16in Pasadena, California. He was 86.

Two Caltech Scientists Receive 2010 NIH Director's Pioneer Awards

Two scientists from Caltech have been recognized by the National Institutes of Health for their innovative and high-impact biomedical research programs. Michael Roukes, professor of physics, applied physics, and bioengineering, and co-director of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute, and Pamela Bjorkman, Caltech's Max Delbrück Professor of Biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, now join the 81 Pioneers who have been selected since the program's inception in 2004.

 

LISA Gravitational-Wave Mission Strongly Endorsed by National Research Council

The National Research Council (NRC) has strongly recommended the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) as one of NASA's next two major space missions, to start in 2016 in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA). LISA will study the universe in a manner different from any other space observatory, by observing gravitational waves. The recommendation was announced August 13 in a press conference at the Keck Center of the National Academies in Washington, D.C.

NRC Recommends Three Astronomy/Astrophysics Projects with Potential Major Caltech Roles

In an announcement August 13, the National Research Council recommended three space- and ground-based astronomy and astrophysics projects with potential major roles for researchers at Caltech: CCAT, a giant submillimeter telescope that will help unravel the origins of stars, planets, and galaxies; LISA, designed to detect gravitational waves; and the development of a Giant Segmented Mirrored Telescope—the Thirty Meter Telescope being one of two such telescopes under development.

Caltech Astronomer Finds Planets in Unusually Intimate Dance around Dying Star

Hundreds of extrasolar planets have been found, most solitary worlds orbiting their parent star in seeming isolation. Further observation has revealed that planets come in bunches. Most systems contain planets orbiting too far from one another to feel each other's gravity. In a handful of cases, planets have been found near enough to one another to interact gravitationally. Now, however, Caltech's John A. Johnson and his colleagues have found two systems with pairs of gas giant planets locked in an intimate orbital embrace.

Astronomers Discover an Unusual Cosmic Lens

Astronomers at Caltech and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have discovered the first known case of a distant galaxy being magnified by a quasar acting as a gravitational lens. The discovery, based in part on observations done at the W. M. Keck Observatory on Hawaii's Mauna Kea, is being published July 16 in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

A Mine for Dark Matter

Deep in a mine 230 stories underground, physicists are trying to detect dark matter, the mysterious stuff that makes up nearly a quarter of the universe. Last December, tantalizing rumors of a major discovery by the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) set the physics world abuzz. The Caltech collaborators describe their experiment. 

Astronomical Society of the Pacific Honors Caltech Achievements

A constellation of Caltechers has been honored this week by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the world's largest general astronomy society. The ASP announced eight 2010 awards for "excellence in astronomy research and education," four of them recognizing people and programs affiliated with the Caltech community.

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