Scientific Discovery

Caltech fosters an atmosphere of scientific discovery through its innovative research and interdisciplinary labs.  Here's a sampling of what's going on in our labs:


John Dabiri, Caltech professor of aeronautics and bioengineering, applies bioinspired engineering research to wind technology.  His field tests with Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWTs) have shown that by optimizing the placement of the turbines the output can be increased tenfold.  Read more about the Biological Propulsion Laboratory or check out the video, Caltech Researchers Find Wind-turbine Placement Produces 10-fold Power Increase.
Francis Arnold, Dick and Barbara Dickinson Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry, is working to develop ways to replace fossil fuels.  Her team is using directed evolution processes to optimize the proteins that drive the biomass breakdown process and make biofuels more affordable. Read more on the Frances H. Arnold Research Group website.
Michael Hoffmann, James Irvine Profrssor of Environmental Sciences, was recently awarded a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant to develop a solar-powered sanitation system.  The solar-powered portable toilet will convert waste into fuel and will help solve a major health problem in developing countries.  Read more at Caltech Today.
John Eiler , Robert P. Sharp Professor of Geology and Professor of Geochemistry and Rob Eagle, Postdoctoral Scholar in Geochemistry, have developed a new approach to determine the body temperatures of dinosaurs.  By analyzing isotopic concentrations in the teeth of sauropods, they discovered that the dinosaurs were about as warm as modern mammals.  Read more at Caltech Today or watch the video.
Niles Pierce, Associate Professor of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Bioengineering has engineered a fundamentally new way to combat cancer cells.  The process uses RNA cells that are programmed to attack only specific cancer cells and making the cancer cells self-destruct.  Read more on The Pierce Lab website.
Heather Knutson, Assistant Professor of Planetary Science, plans to study the atmospheres of two exoplanets, using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.  Her work with an international team of astronomers, is the biggest study of exoplanets undertaken with the Hubble.  Read more at Caltech Today.

Watch a slideshow of Caltech's Scientific Milestones or read a sampling of some of Caltech's historic achievements in science.