For Cells, Internal Stress Leads to Unique Shapes

Caltech biologist Elliot Meyerowitz and colleagues have found that the unusual shape of pavement cells, found on the leaves of flowering plants, represents a state of balance—an individual cell's tug-of-war to maintain structural integrity.

Antennae Help Flies "Cruise" In Gusty Winds

Caltech researchers uncover a mechanism for how fruit flies regulate their flight speed, using both vision and wind-sensing information from their antennae.

A New Tool for Unscrambling the Rock Record

A lot can happen to a rock over the course of two and a half billion years. It can get buried and heated; fluids remove some of its minerals and precipitate others; its chemistry changes. So if you want to use that rock to learn about the conditions on the early Earth, you have to do some geologic sleuthing: You have to figure out which parts of the rock are original and which came later. That is a tricky task, but now a team of Caltech researchers has developed and applied a unique technique that removes much of the guesswork.

Gravity Measurements Confirm Subsurface Ocean on Enceladus

Using gravity measurements collected by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, scientists have confirmed that Saturn's moon Enceladus harbors a large subsurface ocean near its south pole, fueling plumes first seen in 2005.

Quantum Photon Properties Revealed in Another Particle—the Plasmon

For years, researchers have been interested in developing quantum computers—the theoretical next generation of technology that will outperform conventional computers. Instead of holding data in bits, the digital units used by computers today, quantum computers store information in units called "qubits." One approach for computing with qubits relies on the creation of two single photons that interfere with one another in a device called a waveguide.

New Method Could Improve Ultrasound Imaging

One day while casually reading a review article, Caltech chemical engineer Mikhail Shapiro came across a mention of gas vesicles—tiny gas-filled structures used by some photosynthetic microorganisms to control buoyancy. It was a light-bulb moment. Shapiro is always on the lookout for new ways to enhance imaging techniques such as ultrasound or MRI, and the natural nanostructures seemed to be just the ticket to improve ultrasound imaging agents.

BICEP2 Discovers First Direct Evidence of Inflation and Primordial Gravitational Waves

Astronomers announced today that they have acquired the strongest confirmation yet of cosmic inflation theories, which say the universe expanded by 100 trillion trillion times in less than the blink of an eye.

An Equation to Describe the Competition Between Genes

"The thing that makes this study really interesting is that we did our calculations before we ever did any experiments," says Rob Phillips, the Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology at Caltech.

Research Update: Battling Infection With Microbes

In the recent study the researchers found that beneficial gut bacteria were necessary for the development of innate immune cells—specialized types of white blood cells that serve as the body's first line of defense against invading pathogens.

Bending the Light with a Tiny Chip

Imagine that you pull out your cell phone to show a presentation or a video on YouTube. But you don't use the tiny screen; your phone projects a bright, clear image onto a wall or a big screen. Such a technology may be on its way, thanks to a new light-bending silicon chip.


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