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.

Earth-Building Bridgmanite

"The most abundant mineral of the earth now has an official name," says Chi Ma, a mineralogist and director of the Geological and Planetary Sciences division's Analytical Facility at Caltech.

Surprising Results from Game Theory Studies

If you're trying to outwit the competition, it might be better to have been born a chimpanzee, according to a study by researchers at Caltech, which found that chimps at the Kyoto University Primate Research Institute consistently outperform humans in simple contests drawn from game theory.

JCAP Stabilizes Common Semiconductors For Solar Fuels Generation

Caltech researchers at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis have devised a way to protect technologically important semiconductors from corrosion even as the materials continue to absorb light efficiently.

Miniature Truss Work

This image shows the latest example of what Julia Greer, professor of materials science and mechanics, calls a fractal nanotruss. Greer's group has developed a three-step process for building such complex structures very precisely.


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