Four from Caltech Named to National Academy of Sciences

PASADENA-Three members at the California Institute of Technology faculty and one former faculty who is now a visiting associate are among the 72 new members and 18 foreign associates being named to the National Academy of Sciences today. The election was announced during the 142nd annual meeting of the Academy in Washington, D.C.

Caltech's newest members are Richard Andersen, the Boswell Professor of Neuroscience; James Eisenstein, the Roshek Professor of Physics; and Wallace Sargent, the Bowen Professor of Astronomy. Roger Blandford, a former Caltech faculty member and current visiting associate in physics, is also among the electees.

Membership in the National Academy of Sciences is considered one of the most important honors that a scientist can achieve. In addition to the 1,976 active members of the academy following today's election, 360 foreign associates are also listed in the organization's roster as nonvoting members.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. It was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln that calls on the Academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.

Andersen is a neuroscientist who has garnered considerable attention in recent years for his progress toward the goal of controlling prosthetic devices with brain signals. Much of his current work focuses on severely paralyzed human patients who can think about making movements, but due to brain lesions from trauma, stroke, or peripheral neuropathies, can no longer make movements. His approach is to create brain-implant technology that will act as an interface between a patient's thoughts for movement and artificial limbs, computers, or other devices, that would "read out" the patient's desires.

Eisenstein is a specialist in condensed-matter physics, which involves the exploration of the fundamental laws of nature as they apply to atoms and molecules that comprise solid matter. His most significant research accomplishment in the last year has been his demonstration that unusual particles known as "excitons" can inhabit solid semiconductor materials in such a way that each exciton loses its individual identity and, in certain ways, a large collection of excitons becomes a single quantum entity.

Sargent is particularly well-known in the astrophysical community for his work in spectroscopy. His research in extragalactic spectroscopy provided the first evidence for a black hole in galaxy M87, and his work on intergalactic gas has led to new insights on the primeval materials of the early universe. His work in the stellar spectroscopy of A-type stars led to the discovery of the He3 isotope in the star 3 Centauri.

Blandford is a former faculty member in the Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy at Caltech. He is currently a visiting associate in physics at Caltech and the Pehong and Adele Chen Professor of Physics and Stanford Linear Accelerator Center at Stanford University, where he is also director of the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Cosmology.

Today's election brings the total number of Caltech faculty members of the National Academy of Sciences to 70.

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Five from Caltech Faculty Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

PASADENA, Calif.-Five faculty members at the California Institute of Technology are among this year's newly elected fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. They join 191 other Americans and 17 foreign honorees as the 225th class of fellows of the prestigious institution that was cofounded in 1780 by John Adams.

This year's new Caltech inductees are Barry Barish, the Linde Professor of Physics and director of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO); Andrew Lange, the Goldberger Professor of Physics; Barry Simon, the IBM Professor of Mathematics and Theoretical Physics; David Tirrell, chair of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and McCollum-Corcoran Professor and professor of chemistry and chemical engineering; and William Bridges, the Braun Professor of Engineering, Emeritus.

The five from Caltech join an illustrious list of fellows, both past and present. Other inductees in the 225th class include Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Angels in America author Tony Kushner, Academy Award-winning actor Sidney Poitier, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw, Washington Post CEO Donald Graham, and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman. Past fellows have included George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Albert Einstein, and Winston Churchill.

According to the academy's president, Patricia Meyer Spacks, the fellows were chosen "through a highly competitive process that recognizes individuals who have made preeminent contributions to their disciplines and to society at large."

"Throughout its history, the Academy has convened the leading thinkers of the day, from diverse perspectives, to participate in projects and studies that advance the public good," said Executive Officer Leslie Berlowitz.

The academy is an independent policy research center that focuses on complex and emerging problems such as scientific issues, global security, social policy, the humanities and culture, and education.

The new fellows and foreign honorary members will be formally recognized at the annual induction ceremony on October 8 at the academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

 

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Caltech Physicist Kip ThorneWins 2005 Common Wealth Award

PASADENA, Calif.--Kip Thorne, a physicist who is famed for his work on the cosmic consequences of relativity, is one of five winners of the 2005 Common Wealth Award.

This year's other winners are former secretary of state Colin Powell, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet, World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, and novelist Amy Tan.

Thorne, who has been a faculty member at the California Institute of Technology since 1966, is currently the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics. The Common Wealth Trust cited him for his longtime efforts toward "opening new windows on the universe for scientists and lay audiences alike."

Thorne is a cofounder of and intellectual force in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), an NSF-funded project to detect gravitational waves and use them to probe the "dark side" of the universe. Gravitational waves were predicted almost 90 years ago by Einstein, but have not yet been detected. They are theorized to come from exotic astrophysical phenomena such as colliding black holes and neutron stars being torn apart by black holes.

LIGO is now a collaboration of 500 scientists in eight nations, headquartered at Caltech and directed by Caltech's Barry Barish and Stan Whitcomb.

Thorne earned his bachelor's degree from Caltech in 1962 and his doctorate in physics from Princeton University in 1965. He returned to his alma mater the following year and quickly rose through the faculty ranks, becoming a full professor of theoretical physics in 1970.

He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1972 and the National Academy of Sciences in 1973. He has been awarded the Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society (1996), the Karl Schwarzschild Medal of the German Astronomical Society (1996), the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award in Physics and Astronomy (1969 and 1994), and the Phi Beta Kappa Science Writing Award (1994).

He has been a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, a Danforth Foundation Fellow, a Fulbright Lecturer, and a Guggenheim Fellow, and has served on the International Committee on General Relativity and Gravitation, the Committee on US-USSR Cooperation in Physics, and the National Academy of Sciences' Space Science Board.

The Common Wealth Awards of Distinguished Service were first presented in 1979 by the Common Wealth Trust, created under the will of the late Ralph Hayes, an influential business executive and philanthropist. Hayes conceived the awards to reward and encourage the best of human performance worldwide.

Now in their 26th year, the awards have conferred more than $3.5 million in prize money on 153 honorees of international renown. Past award winners include archbishop and human rights leader Desmond Tutu, the late actor Christopher Reeve, primatologist Jane Goodall, former CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite, and Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison. In addition to Tutu, Morrison, and former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, eight other Nobel laureates have also won the award.

 

 

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Caltech Physics Team Invents DeviceFor Weighing Individual Molecules

PASADENA, Calif.-Physicists at the California Institute of Technology have created the first nanodevices capable of weighing individual biological molecules. This technology may lead to new forms of molecular identification that are cheaper and faster than existing methods, as well as revolutionary new instruments for proteomics.

According to Michael Roukes, professor of physics, applied physics, and bioengineering at Caltech and the founding director of Caltech's Kavli Nanoscience Institute, the technology his group has announced this week shows the immense potential of nanotechnology for creating transformational new instrumentation for the medical and life sciences. The new devices are at the nanoscale, he explains, since their principal component is significantly less than a millionth of a meter in width.

The Caltech devices are "nanoelectromechanical resonators"--essentially tiny tuning forks about a micron in length and a hundred or so nanometers wide that have a very specific frequency at which they vibrate when excited. Just as a bronze bell rings at a certain frequency based on its size, shape, and composition, these tiny tuning forks ring at their own fundamental frequency of mechanical vibration, although at such a high pitch that the "notes" are nearly as high in frequency as microwaves.

The researchers set up electronic circuitry to continually excite and monitor the frequency of the vibrating bar. Intermittently, a shutter is opened to expose the nanodevice to an atomic or molecular beam, in this case a very fine "spray" of xenon atoms or nitrogen molecules. Because the nanodevice is cooled, the molecules condense on the bar and add their mass to it, thereby lowering its frequency. In other words, the mechanical vibrations of the now slightly-more-massive nanodevice become slightly lower in frequency--just as thicker, heavier strings on an instrument sound notes that are lower than lighter ones.

Because frequency can be measured so precisely in physics labs, the researchers are then able to evaluate extremely subtle changes in mass of the nanodevice, and therefore, the weight of the added atoms or molecules.

Roukes says that their current generation of devices is sensitive to added mass at the level of a few zeptograms, which is few billionths of a trillionth of a gram. In their experiments this represents about thirty xenon atoms-- and it is the typical mass of an individual protein molecule.

"We hope to transform this chip-based technology into systems that are useful for picking out and identifying specific molecules, one-by-one--for example certain types of proteins secreted in the very early stages of cancer," Roukes says.

"The fundamental problem with identifying these proteins is that one must sort through millions of molecules to make the measurement. You need to be able to pick out the 'needle' from the 'haystack,' and that's hard to do, among other reasons because 95 percent of the proteins in the blood have nothing to do with cancer."

The new method might ultimately permit the creation of microchips, each possessing arrays of miniature mass spectrometers, which are devices for identifying molecules based on their weight. Today, high-throughput proteomics searches are often done at facilities possessing arrays of conventional mass spectrometers that fill an entire laboratory and can cost upwards of a million dollars each, Roukes adds. By contrast, future nanodevice-based systems should cost a small fraction of today's technology, and an entire massively-parallel nanodevice system will probably ultimately fit on a desktop.

Roukes says his group has technology in hand to push mass-sensing technology to even more sensitive levels, probably to the point that individual hydrogen atoms can be weighed. Such an intricately accurate method of determining atomic-scale masses would be quite useful in areas such as quantum optics, in which individual atoms are manipulated.

The next step for Roukes' team at Caltech is to engineer the interfaces so that individual biological molecules can be weighed. For this, the team will likely collaborate with various proteomics labs for side-by-side comparisons of already known information on the mass of biological molecules with results obtained with the new method.

Roukes announced the technology in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 24, at a news conference during the annual American Physical Society convention. Further results will be published in the near future.

The Caltech team behind the zepto result included Dr. Ya-Tang Yang, former graduate student in applied physics, now at Applied Materials; Dr. Carlo Callegari, former postdoctoral associate, now a professor at the University of Graz, Austria; Xiaoli Feng, current graduate student in electrical engineering; and Dr. Kamil Ekinci former postdoctoral associate, now a professor at Boston University.

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Hard X-Ray telescope up for final NASA review; project will be led by Caltech's Fiona Harrison

PASADENA, Calif.--If all goes well with a technical study approved by NASA for this year, an innovative telescope should be orbiting Earth by the end of the decade and taking the first focused high-energy X-ray pictures of matter falling into black holes and shooting out of exploding stars. Not only will the telescope be 1,000 times more capable of finding new black holes than anything previously launched into space, but it will also give us an unprecedented look at the origins of the heavy elements we're all made of.

Named the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array--or NuSTAR, for short--the project has just been pegged by NASA for detailed study in the competitive Small Explorer Program (SMEX), which seeks out new technologies and new proposals for space missions that can be launched at low cost. NASA announced earlier this week that an unrelated mission called the Interstellar Boundary Explorer will be launched by 2008, and that NuSTAR will be given an up-or-down decision by next year for launch in 2009.

According to California Institute of Technology astrophysicist Fiona Harrison, the principal investigator of the NuSTAR project, an April high-altitude balloon flight in New Mexico should help to demonstrate whether the advanced sensors invented and built at Caltech are ready for space.

The balloon phase of the project sports the intuitive acronym HEFT (for High-Energy Focusing Telescope), and will mark the first time that focused pictures at "hard X-ray" wavelengths will have been returned from high altitudes. In fact, the HEFT data from the balloon is expected to be superior to any data returned so far from satellites at high X-ray energies.

NuSTAR will be much better than the balloon experiment, Harrison explains, because it's necessary to get above Earth's atmosphere for extended periods to get a good view of the X-ray sky. NuSTAR will orbit Earth at an altitude of about 300 miles or so for at least three years.

The reason that the new technology will be superior to that employed by existing X-ray satellites for certain observations is that high-energy, or hard, X rays, tend to penetrate the gas and dust of galaxies much better than the soft X rays observed by NuSTAR's forerunners. Thus, NuSTAR will get the first focused hard X-ray images for three basic science goals:

--The taking of a census of black holes at all scales. NuSTAR will not only count them, but will also measure the "accretion rate" at which material has fallen into them over time, and the rate supermassive black holes have grown.

--The detecting and measuring of radioactive stuff in recently exploded stars. These remnants of supernovae will provide a better idea of how elements are formed in supernova explosions and then mixed in the interstellar medium, which is the space between stars. NuSTAR will be especially good at observing the decay of titanium to calcium, which tends to be produced in the region of a supernova where material either is ejected forever from the explosion or falls back inward to form a compact remnant of some sort. NuSTAR will thus be an especially good probe of this region, and the data returned will contribute directly to NASA's "Cycles of Matter and Energy" program.

--The observing and imaging of the highly energetic jets that stream out of certain black holes at nearly the speed of light. Coupled with observations from the Gamma-Ray Large-Area Space Telescope (GLAST), NuSTAR will provide data to help scientists explain this still-enigmatic but powerful phenomenon.

The technical difficulties of obtaining hard X-ray images has been overcome with groundbreaking work in various Caltech labs, including that of famed inventor Carver Mead, who is the Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus, at Caltech. Both HEFT and NuSTAR will rely on an array of coaligned conical mirrors that will focus X rays from about 20 to 100 kilo-electron-volts on a pixel detector made of cadmium zinc telluride. The sensor is segmented into squares of about half a millimeter each, and these will take thousands of individual readings of X-ray photons and turn them into electronic signals.

"With this mission, we'll open the hard X-ray frontier and look at things never seen before," says Harrison, who is an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Caltech.

In addition to Caltech, the other participating organizations and universities are the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (managed by Caltech for NASA), Columbia University, the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC), the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Sonoma State University, the University of California at Santa Cruz, and the Danish Space Research Institute. NuSTAR's spacecraft will be built by General Dynamics Spectrum Astro.

JPL handles project management, the metrology system, and the extensible mast, and is involved in the mission's science. The mast is based on a previous JPL mission, the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission.

The selected proposals were among 29 SMEX and eight mission-of-opportunity proposals submitted to NASA in May 2003. They were in response to an Explorer Program Announcement of Opportunity issued in February 2003. NASA selected six proposals in November 2003 for detailed feasibility studies.

The Explorer Program is designed to provide frequent, low-cost access to space for physics and astronomy missions with small to mid-sized spacecraft. NASA has successfully launched six SMEX missions since 1992. The missions include the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager, launched in February 2002, and the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, launched in April 2003 and led by Caltech physics professor Chris Martin.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., manages the Explorer Program for the Science Mission Directorate.

 

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Retired Caltech Physicist Robert Walker Dies; Worked on Manhattan Project as Grad Student

PASADENA, Calif.-Robert Walker, a retired physics professor at the California Institute of Technology, died January 4 in New Mexico. A graduate student who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II, he was 85 years old at the time of his death.

Born June 29, 1919, in St. Louis, Walker earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Chicago and was a doctoral student at Cornell University when he joined the effort to produce the atomic bomb. While on the Manhattan Project he worked both at Los Alamos and the University of Chicago. He finished his doctorate in physics in 1948, and after an additional year at Cornell as a postdoctoral researcher he was hired as an assistant professor at Caltech.

Walker became an associate professor in 1953 and a full professor in 1959. During his time on the faculty he served as executive officer for physics. He retired in 1981 and moved to the Santa Fe area.

Walker's specialty was experimental high-energy physics, and for many years he worked on the Caltech synchrotron, first as one of the co-developers with colleagues Robert V. Langmuir and Bruce Rule, and as a researcher for the accelerator's entire 30-year lifetime. For many years, he was also the principal investigator of Caltech's contract with the Department of Energy and its predecessors to do experimental and theoretical research in elementary particle physics.

According to Charles Peck, a professor emeritus of physics at Caltech who earned his doctorate under Walker's tutelage, Walker's collaborative research utilizing the synchrotron helped lay the foundation work that led to what is now known as the Standard Model of elementary particle physics. In particular, Peck said, Walker's work involved pion photoproduction (in which a proton or neutron is bombarded with a high-energy photon which converts into a pi meson). His research was also useful to his longtime Caltech colleague Richard Feynman in his theoretical studies of the underlying mechanisms of particles.

"Bob was also a superb teacher," Peck said. "He taught a course in the mathematical methods of physics, and also courses in quantum mechanics and particle phenomena."

Walker also co-wrote a textbook, Mathematical Methods of Physics, with Jon Mathews.

After retiring from Caltech, Walker built harpsichords at his home near Santa Fe, Peck said.

He is survived by two children, Robert Craig Walker and Jan Walker Roenisch.

 

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Physicists at Caltech, UT Austin ReportBose-Einstein Condensation of Cold Excitons

PASADENA, Calif.-Bose-Einstein condensates are enigmatic states of matter in which huge numbers of particles occupy the same quantum state and, for all intents and purposes, lose their individual identity. Predicted long ago by Albert Einstein and Satyendranath Bose, these bizarre condensates have recently become one of the hottest topics in physics research worldwide.

Now, physicists at the California Institute of Technology and the University of Texas at Austin have created a sustained Bose-Einstein condensate of excitons, unusual particles that inhabit solid semiconductor materials. By contrast, most recent work on the phenomenon has focused on supercooled dilute gases, in which the freely circulating atoms of the gas are reduced to a temperature where they all fall into the lowest-energy quantum state. The new Caltech-UT Austin results are being published this week in the journal Nature.

According to Jim Eisenstein, who is the Roshek Professor of Physics at Caltech and co-lead author of the paper, exciton condensation was first predicted over 40 years ago but has remained undiscovered until now because the excitons usually decay in about a billionth of a second. In this new work, the researchers created stable excitons, which consist of an electron in one layer of a sandwich-like semiconductor structure bound to a positively charged "hole" in an adjacent layer. A hole is the vacancy created when an electron is removed from a material.

Bound together, the electron and hole form a "boson," a type of particle that does not mind crowding together with other similar bosons into the same quantum state. The other type of particle in the universe, "fermions," include individual protons and electrons and neutrons. Only one fermion is allowed to occupy a given quantum state.

The picture is complex, but if one imagines two layers of material, one containing some electrons, the other completely empty, the results are somewhat easier to visualize. Begin by transferring half of the electrons from the full layer to the empty one. The resulting situation is equivalent to a layer of electrons in parallel with a layer of holes. And because the electron has a negative charge, the taking away of an electron means that the hole in which it once existed has a positive charge.

The difficult thing about the procedure is that the layers have to be positioned just right and a large magnetic field has to be applied just right in order to avoid swamping the subtle binding of the electron and hole by other forces in the system. The magnetic field is also essential for stabilizing the excitons and preventing their decay.

Eisenstein says that the simplest experiment consists of sending electrical currents through the two layers in opposite directions. The "smoking gun" for exciton condensation is the absence of the ubiquitous sideways force experienced by charged particles moving in magnetic fields. Excitons, which have no net charge, should not feel such a force.

One mystery that remains is the tendency of the excitons to dump a small amount of energy when they move. "We find that, as we go toward lower temperatures, energy dissipation does become smaller and smaller," Eisenstein says. "But we expected no energy dissipation at all.

"Therefore, this is not really an ideal superfluid--so far it is at best a bad one."

The other author of the paper is Allan MacDonald, who holds the Sid W. Richardson Foundation Regents Chair in physics at UT Austin and is a specialist in theoretical condensed matter physics.

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Internet Speed Quadrupled by International Team During 2004 Bandwidth Challenge

PITTSBURGH, Pa.--For the second consecutive year, the "High Energy Physics" team of physicists, computer scientists, and network engineers have won the Supercomputing Bandwidth Challenge with a sustained data transfer of 101 gigabits per second (Gbps) between Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. This is more than four times faster than last year's record of 23.2 gigabits per second, which was set by the same team.

The team hopes this new demonstration will encourage scientists and engineers in many sectors of society to develop and deploy a new generation of revolutionary Internet applications.

The international team is led by the California Institute of Technology and includes as partners the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), Fermilab, CERN, the University of Florida, the University of Manchester, University College London (UCL) and the organization UKLight, Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ), the state universities of São Paulo (USP and UNESP), the Kyungpook National University, and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI). The group's "High-Speed TeraByte Transfers for Physics" record data transfer speed is equivalent to downloading three full DVD movies per second, or transmitting all of the content of the Library of Congress in 15 minutes, and it corresponds to approximately 5% of the rate that all forms of digital content were produced on Earth during the test.

The new mark, according to Bandwidth Challenge (BWC) sponsor Wesley Kaplow, vice president of engineering and operations for Qwest Government Services exceeded the sum of all the throughput marks submitted in the present and previous years by other BWC entrants. The extraordinary achieved bandwidth was made possible in part through the use of the FAST TCP protocol developed by Professor Steven Low and his Caltech Netlab team. It was achieved through the use of seven 10 Gbps links to Cisco 7600 and 6500 series switch-routers provided by Cisco Systems at the Caltech Center for Advanced Computing (CACR) booth, and three 10 Gbps links to the SLAC/Fermilab booth. The external network connections included four dedicated wavelengths of National LambdaRail, between the SC2004 show floor in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles (two waves), Chicago, and Jacksonville, as well as three 10 Gbps connections across the Scinet network infrastructure at SC2004 with Qwest-provided wavelengths to the Internet2 Abilene Network (two 10 Gbps links), the TeraGrid (three 10 Gbps links) and ESnet. 10 gigabit ethernet (10 GbE) interfaces provided by S2io were used on servers running FAST at the Caltech/CACR booth, and interfaces from Chelsio equipped with transport offload engines (TOE) running standard TCP were used at the SLAC/FNAL booth. During the test, the network links over both the Abilene and National Lambda Rail networks were shown to operate successfully at up to 99 percent of full capacity.

The Bandwidth Challenge allowed the scientists and engineers involved to preview the globally distributed grid system that is now being developed in the US and Europe in preparation for the next generation of high-energy physics experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), scheduled to begin operation in 2007. Physicists at the LHC will search for the Higgs particles thought to be responsible for mass in the universe and for supersymmetry and other fundamentally new phenomena bearing on the nature of matter and spacetime, in an energy range made accessible by the LHC for the first time.

The largest physics collaborations at the LHC, the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), and the Toroidal Large Hadron Collider Apparatus (ATLAS), each encompass more than 2000 physicists and engineers from 160 universities and laboratories spread around the globe. In order to fully exploit the potential for scientific discoveries, many petabytes of data will have to be processed, distributed, and analyzed. The key to discovery is the analysis phase, where individual physicists and small groups repeatedly access, and sometimes extract and transport, terabyte-scale data samples on demand, in order to optimally select the rare "signals" of new physics from potentially overwhelming "backgrounds" from already-understood particle interactions. This data will be drawn from major facilities at CERN in Switzerland, at Fermilab and the Brookhaven lab in the U.S., and at other laboratories and computing centers around the world, where the accumulated stored data will amount to many tens of petabytes in the early years of LHC operation, rising to the exabyte range within the coming decade.

Future optical networks, incorporating multiple 10 Gbps links, are the foundation of the grid system that will drive the scientific discoveries. A "hybrid" network integrating both traditional switching and routing of packets, and dynamically constructed optical paths to support the largest data flows, is a central part of the near-term future vision that the scientific community has adopted to meet the challenges of data intensive science in many fields. By demonstrating that many 10 Gbps wavelengths can be used efficiently over continental and transoceanic distances (often in both directions simultaneously), the high-energy physics team showed that this vision of a worldwide dynamic grid supporting many-terabyte and larger data transactions is practical.

While the SC2004 100+ Gbps demonstration required a major effort by the teams involved and their sponsors, in partnership with major research and education network organizations in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific, it is expected that networking on this scale in support of largest science projects (such as the LHC) will be commonplace within the next three to five years.

The network has been deployed through exceptional support by Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard, Newisys, S2io, Chelsio, Sun Microsystems, and Boston Ltd., as well as the staffs of National LambdaRail, Qwest, the Internet2 Abilene Network, the Consortium for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC), ESnet, the TeraGrid, the AmericasPATH network (AMPATH), the National Education and Research Network of Brazil (RNP) and the GIGA project, as well as ANSP/FAPESP in Brazil, KAIST in Korea, UKERNA in the UK, and the Starlight international peering point in Chicago. The international connections included the LHCNet OC-192 link between Chicago and CERN at Geneva, the CHEPREO OC-48 link between Abilene (Atlanta), Florida International University in Miami, and São Paulo, as well as an OC-12 link between Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, Géant, and Abilene (New York). The APII-TransPAC links to Korea also were used with good occupancy. The throughputs to and from Latin America and Korea represented a significant step up in scale, which the team members hope will be the beginning of a trend toward the widespread use of 10 Gbps-scale network links on DWDM optical networks interlinking different world regions in support of science by the time the LHC begins operation in 2007. The demonstration and the developments leading up to it were made possible through the strong support of the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, in cooperation with the agencies of the international partners.

As part of the demonstration, a distributed analysis of simulated LHC physics data was done using the Grid-enabled Analysis Environment (GAE), developed at Caltech for the LHC and many other major particle physics experiments, as part of the Particle Physics Data Grid, the Grid Physics Network and the International Virtual Data Grid Laboratory (GriPhyN/iVDGL), and Open Science Grid projects. This involved the transfer of data to CERN, Florida, Fermilab, Caltech, UC San Diego, and Brazil for processing by clusters of computers, and finally aggregating the results back to the show floor to create a dynamic visual display of quantities of interest to the physicists. In another part of the demonstration, file servers at the SLAC/FNAL booth in London and Manchester also were used for disk-to-disk transfers from Pittsburgh to England. This gave physicists valuable experience in the use of the large, distributed datasets and to the computational resources connected by fast networks, on the scale required at the start of the LHC physics program.

The team used the MonALISA (MONitoring Agents using a Large Integrated Services Architecture) system developed at Caltech to monitor and display the real-time data for all the network links used in the demonstration. MonALISA (http://monalisa.caltech.edu) is a highly scalable set of autonomous, self-describing, agent-based subsystems which are able to collaborate and cooperate in performing a wide range of monitoring tasks for networks and grid systems as well as the scientific applications themselves. Detailed results for the network traffic on all the links used are available at http://boson.cacr.caltech.edu:8888/.

Multi-gigabit/second end-to-end network performance will lead to new models for how research and business is performed. Scientists will be empowered to form virtual organizations on a planetary scale, sharing in a flexible way their collective computing and data resources. In particular, this is vital for projects on the frontiers of science and engineering, in "data intensive" fields such as particle physics, astronomy, bioinformatics, global climate modeling, geosciences, fusion, and neutron science.

Harvey Newman, professor of physics at Caltech and head of the team, said, "This is a breakthrough for the development of global networks and grids, as well as inter-regional cooperation in science projects at the high-energy frontier. We demonstrated that multiple links of various bandwidths, up to the 10 gigabit-per-second range, can be used effectively over long distances.

"This is a common theme that will drive many fields of data-intensive science, where the network needs are foreseen to rise from tens of gigabits per second to the terabit-per-second range within the next five to 10 years," Newman continued. "In a broader sense, this demonstration paves the way for more flexible, efficient sharing of data and collaborative work by scientists in many countries, which could be a key factor enabling the next round of physics discoveries at the high energy frontier. There are also profound implications for how we could integrate information sharing and on-demand audiovisual collaboration in our daily lives, with a scale and quality previously unimaginable."

Les Cottrell, assistant director of SLAC's computer services, said: "The smooth interworking of 10GE interfaces from multiple vendors, the ability to successfully fill 10 gigabit-per-second paths both on local area networks (LANs), cross-country and intercontinentally, the ability to transmit greater than 10Gbits/second from a single host, and the ability of TCP offload engines (TOE) to reduce CPU utilization, all illustrate the emerging maturity of the 10Gigabit/second Ethernet market. The current limitations are not in the network but rather in the servers at the ends of the links, and their buses."

Further technical information about the demonstration may be found at http://ultralight.caltech.edu/sc2004 and http://www-iepm.slac.stanford.edu/monitoring/bulk/sc2004/hiperf.html A longer version of the release including information on the participating organizations may be found at http://ultralight.caltech.edu/sc2004/BandwidthRecord

 

New Home for Astronomers

PASADENA, Calif. - For almost 100 years, Caltech has been at the forefront of astronomy and astrophysics, pioneering research that has led to greater understanding of the earth, the solar system, and the Universe. Now the Institute is about to help its world-renowned astronomers and other investigators continue their groundbreaking discoveries well into the 21st century.

Thanks to a lead gift from Charles H. Cahill and Aniko Dér Cahill, plus support from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation and other Institute friends, Caltech will soon begin construction of an estimated 100,000-square-foot facility that will provide a much needed collective and collaborative home for its astronomers, instrument builders, and theorists who now work in numerous buildings on campus.

With an imposing view of the southern facade of Caltech with the San Gabriel Mountains beyond, the new $50 million Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics will be located on the south side of California Boulevard, between the Institute's athletic facilities on the south and the rest of the campus on the north. Internationally recognized architect Thom Mayne and his firm, Morphosis, based in Santa Monica, CA, have been chosen to design what promises to be a visually impressive structure and a facility that will be extremely functional.

The recipient of 52 awards from the American Institute of Architects, Mayne has designed both consumer products and buildings, including the striking new Caltrans District 7 headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. Mayne will design a structure for Caltech that will complement the aesthetics of the campus and the surrounding neighborhood while meeting the practical needs of scientists.

Plans call for the Cahill Center to be composed of five floors, two of them underground. The building will contain space for offices, laboratories, remote observing rooms, conference rooms, a library, an auditorium, and classrooms. The design is expected to be completed by the spring.

"An institution conducting cutting-edge research in astronomy and astrophysics should have a facility that advances those investigations," said Caltech president David Baltimore. "Thom Mayne and Morphosis is an exciting choice that will provide the campus and Pasadena with a highly visible icon. By bringing investigators together from across campus, the center will engender the kinds of collaborations that are Caltech's hallmark, and which lead to breakthrough discoveries."

Since the time of George Ellery Hale, Caltech astronomers have been housed in the elegant Robinson building, opened in 1932 and distinguished by its rooftop astronomical dome. Generations of occupants have discovered remarkable phenomena, including the cosmological nature of quasars, the incredibly bright beacons in the sky indicating the presence of very distant galaxies, millisecond pulsars, and brown dwarfs, also known as "failed stars." This year alone, Caltech astronomers found the largest object orbiting the sun since the discovery of Pluto in 1930, and the most distant galaxy in the Universe.

Over the years, the Institute's astronomy program has increased in size, overfilling the Robinson building, so that other astrophysical programs began to occupy neighboring physics laboratories. Despite their many successes, Caltech astronomers and astrophysicists have been limited by the physical separation between research groups. "Pulling together the division's many activities in astronomy and astrophysics to achieve optimal synergy has been our goal for some time," says Tom Tombrello, chair of the Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy. "The Cahill Center is an essential step in this progression and, naturally, a top priority for us. We greatly appreciate the gift by the Cahills and other Caltech friends that will help us tackle some of the remaining questions in astronomy."

Caltech's observing facilities, which span almost the entire electromagnetic spectrum, are unmatched by any other institution in the world. Its optical observatories stretch from the Palomar Observatory, which includes the famous 200-inch telescope built in the 1930's, to the twin 10-meter Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea. A recently proposed Thirty Meter Telescope is now being designed. To this impressive list of world-leading optical telescopes is added the nation's largest millimeter wave radio interferometer, and submillimeter wave single dish. The list goes on, including balloon-borne and land-based cosmic background detection facilities, an ultraviolet sky survey satellite, European Space Agency satellites and NASA satellites, and an airborne telescope.

"The Cahill Center will enable the inventors of all these devices to be brought together under one roof, no doubt fostering exciting new discoveries," says Tombrello. "Caltech is known worldwide for its leadership in astronomy. It's the unique quality of Caltech's education that promotes these discoveries, which will help improve our understanding of the Universe."

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Manhattan Project Physicist Robert Bacher Dies

PASADENA, Calif.-Robert Fox Bacher, a renowned California Institute of Technology physicist who headed the experimental physics division at Los Alamos Laboratory during the Manhattan Project, died Thursday, November 18, in Montecito, California. He was 99.

Bacher was affiliated with MIT's Radiation Laboratory when the Manhattan Project began, and took a leave of absence to head the experimental physics division and, once the bomb-production phase began, the bomb physics division. After the war he became one of the first members of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, and also served on the President's Science Advisory Committee during the Eisenhower Administration.

A close associate of former Caltech president Lee DuBridge while both were at MIT, Bacher joined the Caltech faculty in 1949, three years after DuBridge became president. Bacher remained at Caltech for the remainder of his career, serving as chairman of the physics, math, and astronomy division from 1949 to 1962, as provost from 1962 to 1969, and as vice president and provost from 1969 to 1970. He took emeritus status in 1976.

His colleague Robert Christy, also a former provost and emeritus professor of physics at Caltech who worked on the Manhattan Project, said that, next to Robert Andrews Millikan, Bacher was the person most important to the early growth of Caltech's reputation in physics and astronomy. "He was responsible for building Caltech physics after the war, and for making Caltech physics what it is today," Christy said.

Born August 31, 1905, in Loudonville, Ohio, Bacher earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1926 and his doctorate in 1930. He first came to Caltech in 1930 for a one-year appointment as a National Research Council Fellow, and afterward held postdoctoral positions at MIT and the University of Michigan before joining the faculty at Columbia University in 1934. He moved to the Cornell University physics department in 1935, where he became a full professor of physics and director of the Laboratory of Nuclear Studies. He was affiliated with MIT's Radiation Laboratory and the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos from 1940 to 1945, while on the Cornell faculty.

As chairman of the Caltech Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy, Bacher shaped the program in the burgeoning field of high-energy physics, and was responsible for bringing both Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann to Caltech. He also initiated the program in radio astronomy with the creation of the Owens Valley Radio Observatory, which to this day is one of the leading radio astronomy facilities in the world.

Bacher was president of the American Physical Society in 1964, president of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics from 1969 to 1972, and winner of the President's Medal for Merit in 1946. In addition, he was a member of the U.S. delegation to the nuclear test ban negotiations in 1958, and a member at various times of committees and panels for the State Department, Department of Defense, the Atomic Energy Commission, and the National Academy of Sciences.

Bacher's wife of 64 years, Jean Dow Bacher, died in 1994. He is survived by a son, Andrew Dow Bacher of Bloomington, Indiana; a daughter, Martha Bacher Eaton of Santa Barbara; and two grandchildren.

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