Caltech

Caltech At Caltech, scholars expand human knowledge and benefit society through bold, collaborative explorati

As a private research university that was founded on the premise of learning through discovery, Caltech challenges students intellectually, builds analytical skills, develops character, and cultivates the knowledge needed to inspire and execute powerful ideas.

What’s so amazing, that keeps us stargazing? / What do we think we’ll see? 🌈Techers are dreamers of the scientific varie...
01/10/2024

What’s so amazing, that keeps us stargazing? / What do we think we’ll see? 🌈

Techers are dreamers of the scientific variety, and the things we see propel us to continue exploring! 🔭 🔬

📷 : Joan Sullivan

By combining several years of observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope along with conducting computer modelling, ...
01/10/2024

By combining several years of observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope along with conducting computer modelling, astronomers, including Caltech postdoctoral fellow Jack Skinner, have found evidence for massive cyclones and other dynamic weather activity swirling on a hot, Jupiter-sized planet 880 light-years away.

The planet, called WASP-121 b, is not habitable. But this result is an important early step in studying weather patterns on distant worlds, and perhaps eventually finding potentially habitable exoplanets with stable, long-term climates.

The Jupiter-sized planet WASP-121 b is no place to call home. For starters, it orbits very close to a star that is brighter and hotter than the Sun. The planet is so dangerously close to its star that its upper atmosphere reaches a blazing 3,400 degrees Fahrenheit – hotter than a steel blast furna...

How Caltech undergraduate Raha Riazati came to work on Caltech’s Space Solar Power Demonstrator.
01/09/2024

How Caltech undergraduate Raha Riazati came to work on Caltech’s Space Solar Power Demonstrator.

by Ker Than When the seven-minute window of opportunity finally opened, Raha Riazati was ready.   This May, Caltech researchers tested an important step toward an ambitious plan to beam energy from an orbiting satellite down to Earth. Riazati, then a third-year undergraduate at the Instit

As more planetary bodies in our solar system and beyond are investigated for their potential to host conditions favorabl...
01/08/2024

As more planetary bodies in our solar system and beyond are investigated for their potential to host conditions favorable to life, researchers are debating how to characterize habitability.

A new paper in Nature Astronomy emphasizes the importance of investigating complex geophysical factors that can be used to predict the long-term maintenance of life. These factors include how energy and nutrients flow throughout the planet.

A collaboration between geophysicists and astrobiologists exemplifies the cross-disciplinary research required in the search for habitable environments on other planets

An interdisciplinary project at Caltech has designed catheters that reduce the risk of bacterial infection by 100-fold.
01/05/2024

An interdisciplinary project at Caltech has designed catheters that reduce the risk of bacterial infection by 100-fold.

In Science Journeys, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars explore a range of scientific topics aimed to spark you...
01/04/2024

In Science Journeys, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars explore a range of scientific topics aimed to spark young peoples' curiosity and to support science educators in sharing a passion for scientific exploration. Programs are designed especially for middle and high school students, but everyone is welcome to attend.

Physicist A***n Jadbabaie shares his personal story and teaches students about particle physics, the origins of the universe, and the asymmetry of matter and anti-matter in a new video from Caltech. Learn about the Science Journeys outreach program and register today.

As more planetary bodies in our solar system and beyond are investigated for their potential to host conditions favorabl...
01/04/2024

As more planetary bodies in our solar system and beyond are investigated for their potential to host conditions favorable to life, researchers are debating how to characterize habitability.

A collaboration between geophysicists and astrobiologists exemplifies the cross-disciplinary research required in the search for habitable environments on other planets

01/03/2024

Caltech postdoc Jess Kanwal is a 2023 L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Honoree. She studies a tiny insect called the rove beetle to help understand core functions of the human brain. Watch to learn more about Jess’s work and the story behind the science. Via

NASA’s Deep Space Optical Communications experiment beamed an ultra-high definition streaming video on Dec. 11 from a re...
01/03/2024

NASA’s Deep Space Optical Communications experiment beamed an ultra-high definition streaming video on Dec. 11 from a record-setting 19 million miles away (31 million kilometers, or about 80 times the Earth-Moon distance). Caltech is proud that our Palomar observatory could be the receiver for this first-of-its-kind test, which will expand deep space communication capabilities!

The 15-second clip shows the first ultra-high-definition video sent via laser from deep space, featuring a cat named Taters chasing a laser with test graphics overlayed.

This 15-second ultra-high-definition video featuring a cat named Taters was streamed via laser from deep space by NASA on Dec. 11, 2023. It was part of the t...

12/29/2023

From cutting-edge labs to the athletic fields, library stacks to the Red Door, the Caltech community is looking forward...to 2024 and beyond! ⏳ 🥳

From furthering humanity's knowledge of and response to viruses, to refining the use of autonomous technologies, to leve...
12/28/2023

From furthering humanity's knowledge of and response to viruses, to refining the use of autonomous technologies, to leveraging advanced instrumentation to bring greater clarity on our universe and our place within it, Caltech continues to powerfully and meaningfully shape understanding of and interaction with the world. Here are some highlights.

As the end of 2023 draws near, Caltech News looks back at our coverage of the research, discoveries, events, and experiences that shaped the Institute. Here are some highlights.

In the spirit of Capra's holiday classic, here are some of the ways, big and small, that the Caltech community made an i...
12/27/2023

In the spirit of Capra's holiday classic, here are some of the ways, big and small, that the Caltech community made an impact on other people's lives in 2023:

Here are some of the ways, big and small, that the Caltech community made an impact on other people’s lives in 2023.

A new Caltech-led study examining a particular type of carbon-based molecule, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), e...
12/22/2023

A new Caltech-led study examining a particular type of carbon-based molecule, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), extracted from samples that were returned from the asteroid (162173) Ryugu finds the first evidence to support the theory that PAHs were formed within cold molecular clouds in interstellar space.

The research required novel techniques in analytical chemistry developed at Caltech by postdoctoral scholar Sarah Zeichner (MS '20, PhD '24), the study's first author.

Using a novel technique in analytical chemistry, Caltech researchers examine organic molecules from an asteroid and provide evidence of their origins in the early solar system

In a paper appearing in the journal Science, Caltech's Alireza Marandi, an assistant professor of electrical engineering...
12/21/2023

In a paper appearing in the journal Science, Caltech's Alireza Marandi, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and applied physics, describes a new method developed by his lab for making a mode-locked laser on a photonic chip.

Article via ScienceAlert :

To accurately measure the Universe on the smallest scales, you need a laser with the perfect mix of power and precision.

In preparation for the quantity and range of data delivered by the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, NASA - National Ae...
12/20/2023

In preparation for the quantity and range of data delivered by the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration has granted funding to five project infrastructure teams (PITs), which will write software, run simulations, and plot out optimal uses of the telescope's data stream.

Three of these PITs, each of which has received five-year, multimillion-dollar grants for their work, are based in Pasadena and affiliated with Caltech faculty and staff.

Three project infrastructure teams (PITs) are ramping up in Pasadena, preparing to clean, analyze, and disseminate data from NASA's Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, set to launch in three years.

12/19/2023

This past summer, astronomers, engineers, and technicians dismantled the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory's telescope, located in Submillimeter Valley below the peak of Maunakea in Hawai'i. Still remaining on the mountain is the helmet-like dome of the observatory. Its removal, paused due to winter weather, will continue in the spring of 2024.

"What was once the site of one of the world's premier submillimeter telescopes will be home to lichens and insects and be indistinguishable from the mauna around it," says Sunil Golwala, director of CSO since 2013 and a professor of physics at Caltech. "We are grateful for the time we spent there."

Ultimately, astronomers plan to ship the telescope to the Atacama Desert in Chile, where it will be reassembled and renamed the Leighton Chajnantor Telescope.

Read more details about the telescope's decommissioning, the dismantling, and the history of the observatory: https://www.caltech.edu/about/news/telescope-dismantled-and-heading-to-new-mission-in-chile?utm_medium=social-organic&utm_campaign=institute-news&utm_source=facebook&utm_content=&utm_term=

Joy Shi, a Caltech senior majoring in computer science will join the 2024 class of Schwarzman Scholars. The class of 150...
12/18/2023

Joy Shi, a Caltech senior majoring in computer science will join the 2024 class of Schwarzman Scholars. The class of 150 fully funded scholars will study global affairs at Tsinghua University.

Caltech senior Joy Shi has been named a Schwarzman Scholar and will spend the 2024–25 academic year at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

Betty Irene Moore—co-founder of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and honorary life member of the Caltech community—...
12/14/2023

Betty Irene Moore—co-founder of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and honorary life member of the Caltech community—passed away on December 12, 2023. She was 95 years old.

"Betty's vision, compassion, and generosity helped to shape Caltech's future," says David Thompson (MS '78), chair of Caltech's Board of Trustees. "The Moores enabled the Institute to pursue ambitious goals and serve the community."

Betty Irene Moore—co-founder of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and honorary life member of the Caltech community—passed away on December 12, 2023. She was 95 years old.

Fred Culick, the Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Professor of Jet Propulsion, E...
12/13/2023

Fred Culick, the Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Professor of Jet Propulsion, Emeritus, passed away on December 11 at age 90.

During his tenure, Culick's research focused on the dynamics of combustion chambers. Understanding those dynamics is important because unsteady motion in a combustion chamber can lead to uneven combustion and unpredictable thrust in rockets and jet engines. He also served in advisory capacity at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which Caltech manages for NASA, assisting with spacecraft engineering and design.

Fred Culick, the Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Professor of Jet Propulsion, Emeritus, has died at age 90.

Finding high-energy electrons, identified by the X-rays they generate, in magnetically accelerated jets of plasma surpri...
12/12/2023

Finding high-energy electrons, identified by the X-rays they generate, in magnetically accelerated jets of plasma surprised Caltech professor Paul Bellan. Now, researchers the Bellan lab believe they've identified the cause and have developed a model that can exemplify the phenomenon.

When Paul Bellan encountered unexpected X-rays during plasma research, he set out to develop a theory explaining why.

Today, Caltech and Broadcom announce a partnership to advance quantum science research and discoveries. A significant in...
12/11/2023

Today, Caltech and Broadcom announce a partnership to advance quantum science research and discoveries. A significant investment from Broadcom will support the partnership, which includes the establishment of the Broadcom Quantum Laboratory at Caltech and an annual symposium that will gather scientists and engineers from both organizations.

Investment will create an innovation, collaboration hub to support world-leading scientists and engineers in quantum science, computing, and related fields.

Jessleen (Jess) Kanwal, a postdoctoral scholar research associate at Caltech, is one of five fellowship recipients selec...
12/08/2023

Jessleen (Jess) Kanwal, a postdoctoral scholar research associate at Caltech, is one of five fellowship recipients selected to receive the L'Oréal USA For Women in Science award. The award recognizes her work determining how organisms integrate multi-sensory information to distinguish friend from foe. Kanwal's work also includes future STEM outreach to teenagers through workshops on dance and neuroscience.

Jess Kanwal, a third-year postdoc in biology, wins prestigious L'Oréal for Women in Science Award, enabling her to further support her research at Caltech and support women scientists.

A week from today, Professor Wei Gao will discuss his work on chemical biosensors that analyze human sweat to track impo...
12/06/2023

A week from today, Professor Wei Gao will discuss his work on chemical biosensors that analyze human sweat to track important health measures such as metabolites, nutrients, hormones, proteins, and medication levels.

The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in Beckman Auditorium. Gather as early as 6 pm on Beckman Mall to see prototypes from Gao's lab and to enjoy food, drinks, and music with friends and fellow attendees.

Learn more: https://www.caltech.edu/about/news/watson-lecture-wei-gao?utm_medium=social-organic&utm_campaign=watson-lectures&utm_source=facebook&utm_content=&utm_term=

CaltechLive

In this Watson Lecture, Wei Gao, assistant professor of medical engineering, Heritage Medical Research Institute Investigator, and Ronald and JoAnne Willens Scholar, will discuss his work on chemical biosensors that analyze human sweat to track important health measures such as metabolites, nutrie...

Research from Caltech professor Yuki Oka is featured in this story from NPR.
12/04/2023

Research from Caltech professor Yuki Oka is featured in this story from NPR.

Scientists say two separate brain circuits control how much salt we consume.

Caltech researchers, led by Professor Pamela Björkman, have imaged an elusive HIV protein structure at the atomic scale,...
12/01/2023

Caltech researchers, led by Professor Pamela Björkman, have imaged an elusive HIV protein structure at the atomic scale, offering unprecedented insights into the HIV infection process. This work may lead to new avenues for therapeutic design.

On the 35th annual World AIDS Day, we remember those who have lost their lives to the disease and celebrate the scientists like those in Björkman’s lab who remain committed to work that enhances treatment and protection from the disease.

Caltech researchers have developed a protocol for taking the first images of HIV as it undergoes a complex shape-shifting process.

The ambition of the Schmidt Academy is to transform the relationship between science and software. Learn how the first f...
11/30/2023

The ambition of the Schmidt Academy is to transform the relationship between science and software. Learn how the first four years of the Schmidt Academy at Caltech have brought young computer programmers into labs across the Institute to develop the future of software for science.

The Schmidt Academy at Caltech trains software engineers and helps provide scientists with the software tools they need to accelerate pathbreaking scientific research.

11/29/2023

A new study answers developmental biology questions about an unusual type of plant.

Having the right amount of sodium in your body is so crucial, in fact, that parts of your brain work hard to make sure y...
11/27/2023

Having the right amount of sodium in your body is so crucial, in fact, that parts of your brain work hard to make sure you're getting the salt that you need. Now, new research from Caltech scientists is showing us more about how the brain regulates when the flavor of salt is yuck or yum.

Researchers have discovered neurons that regulate a “tolerance” to highly salty tastes that would normally be aversive

One of the most obvious and visible examples of atmospheric aerosols is smog. Human activities are not the only source o...
11/21/2023

One of the most obvious and visible examples of atmospheric aerosols is smog. Human activities are not the only source of aerosol particles, however. A new study (conducted by researchers in the laboratories of John Seinfeld, Brian Stoltz, and Paul Wennberg at Caltech) is revealing for the first time key details about how volatile organic compounds released by trees are transformed into aerosols through atmospheric chemistry.

A joint effort by three Caltech labs uncovers the chemistry of how natural aerosols form in the earth's atmosphere.

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History of Caltech

The California Institute of Technology is a small, independent university of research and teaching in science and engineering, with 900 Ph.D. level researchers, including almost 300 regular faculty, 900 undergraduates, and 1,000 graduate students. In spite of its small size, it has become one of the world’s leading institutions of scientific research and education.

Caltech’s beginnings are rooted in a modest little college founded in Pasadena in 1891 by wealthy former abolitionist and Chicago politician Amos Throop. Initially named Throop University, the school changed its name to Throop Polytechnic Institute in 1893. In its first fifteen years, Throop served the local community, teaching a great variety of subjects, from arts and crafts to zoology, with considerable emphasis on vocational training. By 1906, Throop needed a fresh sense of purpose. The American astronomer George Ellery Hale, the first director of the nearby Mount Wilson Observatory and a newcomer to Pasadena, would provide it.

A scientist bubbling over with educational, architectural, and civic ideas, Hale was elected to the school’s board of trustees in 1907 and promptly set about to transform it. He persuaded school officials to abandon Throop’s high school and other programs and concentrate on expanding and developing the college along engineering lines; recruited James A. B. Scherer, who served as Throop’s president between 1908 and 1920; and enticed Arthur A. Noyes, former president of MIT and the nation’s leading physical chemist, to join him in Pasadena. In Noyes, Hale saw not only an opportunity to bring chemistry at Throop College (Throop officially changed its name to Throop College of Technology in 1913) up to a level with that at MIT but also to put Throop itself in the national limelight. The third member of Hale’s scientific troika was the physicist Robert A. Millikan who began, in 1917, to spend several months a year at Throop as director of physical research.

The three of them spent the World War I years in Washington, organizing and recruiting scientists to work on military problems, but also building a superb network of contacts that would later serve the school well. Collectively ambitious for American science, eager to see their country play a larger role on the world’s scientific stage, and determined to put Throop on the map, Hale, Millikan, and Noyes had become a formidable scientific triumvirate by 1918. By Armistice Day, they had set the stage to transform the engineering school into an institution that put pure science first.