Unlocking a Mystery of Human Disease . . . in Space

An experiment just launched into orbit by Caltech researchers could be an important step toward understanding the protein that causes Huntington's disease—a devastating and untreatable hereditary disorder.

Hyperbolic Homogeneous Polynomials, Oh My!

Apart from the inherent joy of pushing number theory forward through another generation, Dinakar Ramakrishnan points out that this field has interesting applications in both science and everyday life. "Quite often in science, you are counting..."

Caltech Researchers Discover the Seat of Sex and Violence in the Brain

As reported in a paper published online today in the journal Nature, Caltech biologist David J. Anderson and his colleagues have genetically identified neurons that control aggressive behavior in the mouse hypothalamus.

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.

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