Submitted by mrogers on Tue, 2012-02-21 08:00
The field of study of Andrew Thompson, assistant professor of environmental science and engineering at Caltech, presents not only theoretical challenges but logistical ones as well. That's because he is interested in the circulation and ecology of the Southern Ocean and the role it plays in global climate. The hostile environment of this area makes long-term research difficult, so he's part of a team that is seeking to monitor the region with autonomous underwater vehicles called gliders.
Submitted by mwoo on Wed, 2012-02-15 18:00
Using high-speed cameras to look at jets of plasma in the lab, Caltech researchers have made a discovery that may be important in understanding phenomena like solar flares and in developing nuclear fusion as a future energy source.
Submitted by admin on Fri, 2012-02-10 08:00
With the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) well on its way to Mars, the newest members of its science team have been announced. Two Caltech professors—Kenneth Farley and Bethany Ehlmann—are among 18 researchers who have been selected as funded participating scientists on the mission.
Submitted by katien on Wed, 2012-02-08 08:00
Our bodies are full of tiny superheroes—antibodies that fight foreign invaders, cells that regenerate, and structures that ensure our systems run smoothly. One such structure is myelin, a material that forms a protective cape around the axons of our nerve cells so that they can send signals quickly and efficiently. But myelin becomes damaged in demyelinating diseases like multiple sclerosis, leaving neurons without their sheaths. Researchers from Caltech now believe they have found a way to help the brain replace damaged myelin.
Submitted by lmarkle on Mon, 2012-02-06 08:00
It's time to go to Hawaii—at least, if you're MOSFIRE, a new near-infrared spectrometer that's now on its way to the W. M. Keck Observatory, atop Mauna Kea. But the powerful new instrument, six feet in diameter, about a dozen feet in length, and weighing in at 4,500 pounds—10,000 if you include the mount and packing crate—isn't going there to surf. MOSFIRE 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.
Submitted by admin on Wed, 2012-02-01 08:00
Our genetic information is under constant attack. Luckily, repair proteins are typically hard at work, locating and fixing damaged DNA. Over the past decade, Caltech chemist Jacqueline Barton has been exploring a model that describes how repair proteins might work together in this scouting mission to efficiently home in on lesions or mismatches within the DNA. Recent results from her lab support the model.
Submitted by katien on Wed, 2012-01-25 08:00
A key feature of human and animal brains is that they are adaptive; they are able to change their structure and function based on input from the environment and on the potential associations, or consequences, of that input. To learn more about such neural adaptability, researchers at Caltech have explored the brains of insects and identified a mechanism by which the connections in their brain change to form new and specific memories of smells.
Submitted by kfesenma on Mon, 2012-01-23 08:00
Our cognitive abilities and decision-making skills can be dramatically hindered in social settings where we feel that we are being ranked or assigned a status level, such as classrooms and work environments, according to new findings from a team of researchers from Caltech and four other institutions. The finding flies in the face of long-held ideas about intelligence and cognition that regard IQ as a stable, predictive measure of mental horsepower.
Submitted by kfesenma on Fri, 2012-01-13 08:00
A team of researchers at Caltech has devised a new method for making complex molecules. The reaction they have come up with should enable chemists to synthesize new varieties of a whole subclass of organic compounds called nitrogen-containing heterocycles, thus opening up new avenues for the development of novel pharmaceuticals and natural products ranging from chemotherapeutic compounds to bioactive plant materials such as morphine.
Submitted by mwoo on Thu, 2012-01-12 15:00
Astronomers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of Arizona have released the largest data set ever collected that documents the brightening and dimming of stars and other celestial objects—two hundred million in total.