06/19/2009 19:00:00
Kathy Svitil

Physicists at Caltech have developed a new tool that can be used to search for quantum effects in an ordinary object.

06/18/2009 07:00:00
Lori Oliwenstein

The cells in our body are constantly receiving mixed messages. An epithelial cell might be exposed to one signal telling it to divide and, simultaneously, another telling it to stop dividing. The tug-of-war between these two sets of influences, and the effects they have on tissue growth, are explained and explored in a paper authored by scientists from Caltech and published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

06/15/2009 19:00:00
Kathy Svitil

By squeezing a typical metal alloy at pressures hundreds of thousands of times greater than normal atmospheric pressure, scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have created a material that does not expand when heated, as does nearly every normal metal, and acts like a metal with an entirely different chemical composition. 

06/15/2009 16:00:00
Jon Weiner

An innovative sky survey has begun returning images that will be used to detect unprecedented numbers of powerful cosmic explosions–called supernovae–in distant galaxies, and variable brightness stars in our own Milky Way.

06/11/2009 18:00:00
Kathy Svitil

The twirling seeds of maple trees spin like miniature helicopters as they fall to the ground. Because the seeds descend slowly as they swirl, they're carried aloft by the wind and dispersed over great distances. Just how the seeds manage to fall so slowly, however, has mystified scientists. In research published in the June 12 Science, researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands and Caltech describe the aerodynamic secret of the enchanting swirling seeds.

06/11/2009 07:00:00
Kathy Svitil

Roughly a billion years from now, the ever-increasing radiation from the sun will have heated Earth into uninhabitability; the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that serves as food for plant life will disappear, pulled out by the weathering of rocks; the oceans will evaporate; and all living things will disappear.

Or maybe quite so soon, say researchers from Caltech, who have come up with a mechanism that doubles the future lifespan of the biosphere.

06/10/2009 07:00:00
Lori Oliwenstein

Championing the modern-day use of solar eclipses to solve a set of modern problems is the goal of a review article written by Jay Pasachoff, visiting associate at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams College. The review is the cover story of the June 11 issue of Nature, as part of its coverage of the International Year of Astronomy.

06/04/2009 07:00:00
Lori Oliwenstein

Physicists at Caltech have developed a nanoscale device that can be used for force detection, optical communication, and more. The device exploits the mechanical properties of light to create an optomechanical cavity in which interactions between light and motion are greatly strengthened and enhanced. These interactions, notes Oskar Painter, associate professor of applied physics at Caltech, and the principal investigator on the research, are the largest demonstrated to date.  

05/29/2009 07:00:00
Lori Oliwenstein

Theta oscillations are a type of brain rhythm that orchestrates neuronal activity in the hippocampus, a brain area critical for the formation of new memories. For several decades these oscillations were believed to be "in sync" across the hippocampus, timing the firing of neurons like a sort of central pacemaker. A new study conducted by researchers at Caltech shows that, instead, theta oscillations sweep along the length of the hippocampus as traveling waves.  

05/19/2009 07:00:00
Lori Oliwenstein

You can tell without looking whether you've been stuck by a pin or burnt by a match. But how? In research that overturns conventional wisdom, a team of scientists from Caltech and UCSF, have shown that this sensory discrimination begins in the skin at the very earliest stages of neuronal information processing, with different populations of sensory neurons--called nociceptors--responding to different kinds of painful stimuli.