Caltech Question of the Month

Question of the Month Submitted by John Propst, Fullerton, California.

Answered by Ken Libbrecht, Caltech professor of physics.

Light travels at the speed of light, and is created traveling at light speed. When Einstein invented the theory of special relativity, he postulated that the speed of light was a constant.

Caltech Biologists Pin Down Chain of Reactions That Turn On the Duplication of DNA

Caltech biologists have pinpointed the sequence of reactions that triggers the duplication of DNA in cells. Caltech Biologists Pin Down Chain of Reactions That Turn On the Duplication of DNA October 1997 97

Caltech Scientists Devise First Neurochip

Caltech researchers have invented a "neurochip" that connects a network of living brain cells wired together to electrodes incorporated into a silicon chip. Caltech Scientists Devise First Neurochip October 1997 97

3-D Images of Martian Terrain To Be Shown To the Tune of Holst

Dramatic 3-D pictures of Mars will be shown during a performance of Gustav Holst's "Mars" at the first Caltech-Occidental Concert Band performance of the season. 3-D Images of Martian Terrain To Be Shown To the Tune of Holst October 1997 97

First Fully Automatic Design of a Protein Achieved by Caltech Scientists

In the October 3 issue of the journal Science, Stephen L. Mayo, an Assistant Professor of Biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Assistant Investigator, and chemistry graduate student Bassil I. Dahiyat report on their success in constructing a protein of their choice from scratch.

Possible Planet-Forming Disk imaged by Caltech Radio Astronomers

A giant disk of gas and dust over 10 times the size of our own solar system has been detected rotating around a young star in the constellation of Auriga. Possible Planet-Forming Disk imaged by Caltech Radio Astronomers August 1997 97

Caltech Question of the Week: Will Future Mars Colonies Utilize Local Martian Rocks and Soil for Building Materials?

Question of the Month Submitted through e-mail by Dave Cooley, Costa Mesa, California, and answered by Albert Yen, Caltech grad student in planetary science; and Peter Goldreich, professor of astrophysics and planetary physics.

Caltech Named Recipient of Federal Computational Science and Simulation Contract

The California Institute of Technology has been awarded a multimillion-dollar contract as part of a major new Department of Energy (DOE) effort to advance computational modeling. Caltech Named Recipient of Federal Computational Science and Simulation Contract July 1997 97

Caltech Question of the Week: How does molten lava in the center of Earth replenish itself?

Question of the Month Submitted by Greg McNeil, Monrovia, California.

Answered by Thomas Ahrens, professor of geophysics, Caltech.

The replenishment of lava—the molten rock which flows out on the surface from the rocky silicate mantle of the Earth, back into the Earth—is a key process that appears to be unique to our planet (relative to the other silicate mantle planets with iron cores: Mars, Venus, and Mercury).

Caltech Installs New High-Performance HP Exemplar System at Center for Advanced Computing Research

PASADENA—At a dedication ceremony to be held Monday, June 9, the California Institute of Technology will showcase the most powerful technical computing system developed by the Hewlett-Packard Company, a 256-CPU Exemplar technical server. The Exemplar system, which features peak performance of 184 gigaflops, 64 gigabytes of memory, and one terabyte of attached disk capacity, will serve as the premiere computing resource for Caltech's Center for Advanced Computing Research (CACR) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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