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.
In James Eisenstein's Watson lecture on January 18, 2012, he uses vivid analogies and nifty animations to lead us through the basics of quantum electronics to his own work with some very bizarre particles—even for quantum mechanics.
Astronomers have found celestial objects called quasars that bend and distort the light coming from galaxies behind them. The discovery may finally allow astronomers to determine the masses of galaxies that host quasars.
An international team of physicists—including several from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech)—has detected and measured, for the first time, a transformation of one particular type of neutrino into another type. The finding, physicists say, may help solve some of the biggest mysteries about the universe, such as why the universe contains more matter than antimatter—a phenomenon that explains why stars, planets, and people exist at all.
MOSFIRE, a new near-infrared spectrometer is now on its way to the W. M. Keck Observatory, atop Mauna Kea. The instrument will be the newest weapon in the Keck's arsenal to survey the cosmos, helping astronomers learn about star formation, galaxy formation, and the early universe.