Looking Forward to 2020 . . . on Mars

Ken Farley, Caltech's W.M. Keck Foundation Professor of Geochemistry and chair of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, is serving as project scientist for Mars 2020. We recently sat down with him to talk about the mission and his new role.

Biology Made Simpler With "Clear" Tissues

Thanks to new techniques developed at Caltech, scientists can now see through tissues, organs, and even an entire body, offering new insights into the cell-by-cell makeup of organisms—and the promise of novel diagnostic medical applications.

Future Electronics May Depend on Lasers, Not Quartz

Caltech researchers stabilize microwave oscillators with optical frequencies from a silicon chip. The approach could ultimately replace more conventional methods that rely on crystal references—a technology in use since the 1920s.

Corals Provide Clues for Climate Change Research

Just as growth rings can offer insight into climate changes occurring during the lifespan of a tree, corals have much to tell about changes in the ocean. At Caltech, climate scientists Jess F. Adkins and Nivedita Thiagarajan use manned submersibles, like Alvin operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, to dive thousands of meters below the surface to collect these specimens—and to shed new light on the connection between variance in carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the deep ocean and historical glacial cycles.

Neuroeconomists Confirm Warren Buffett's Wisdom

Investment magnate Warren Buffett has famously suggested that investors should try to "be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy only when others are fearful." That turns out to be excellent advice, according to the results of a new study by researchers at Caltech and Virginia Tech that looked at the brain activity and behavior of people trading in experimental markets where price bubbles formed. In such markets, where price far outpaces actual value, it appears that wise traders receive an early warning signal from their brains—a warning that makes them feel uncomfortable and urges them to sell, sell, sell.

Sorting Out Emotions

Evaluating another person's emotions based on facial expressions can sometimes be a complex task. As it turns out, this process isn't so easy for the brain to sort out either. Building on previous studies targeting the amygdala, a region in the brain known to be important for the processing of emotional reactions, a team of researchers from Caltech, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, have found that some brain cells recognize emotions based on the viewer's preconceptions rather than the true emotion being expressed.

Kip Thorne Discusses First Discovery of Thorne-Żytkow Object

In 1975, Kip Thorne (BS '62, and the Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus) and then-Caltech postdoctoral fellow Anna Żytkow sought the answer to an intriguing question: Would it be possible to have a star that had a neutron star as its core—that is, a hot, dense star composed entirely of neutrons within another more traditional star? Nearly 40 years later, astronomers believe they may have found such an object: a star labeled HV 2112 and located in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy that is a near neighbor of the Milky Way and visible to the naked eye. We recently sat down with Thorne to ask how it feels to have astronomers discover something whose existence he postulated decades before.

Watching Nanoscale Fluids Flow

Researchers at Caltech have applied a new imaging technique called four-dimensional (4D) electron microscopy to studying nanofluid dynamics. In a paper appearing in the June 27 issue of Science, Ahmed Zewail, the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemistry and professor of physics, and Ulrich Lorenz, a postdoctoral scholar in chemistry, describe how they visualized and monitored the flow of molten lead within a single zinc oxide nanotube in real time and space.

Caltech-Led Team Develops a Geothermometer for Methane Formation

A team of scientists led by Caltech geochemist John M. Eiler has developed a new technique that can, for the first time, determine the temperature at which a natural methane sample formed.

Growing Unknown Microbes One by One

A new technique developed at Caltech helps grow individual species of the unknown microbes that live in the human body.


Subscribe to RSS - research_news