"I study the smallest galaxies we know about...These galaxies are interesting because they are part of our cosmic story. The first galaxies to form were small ones, and over time they got smashed together to build up bigger ones."
Caltech chemists have used the resources of the Molecular Observatory to take a crucial step toward unlocking the mystery of how bacteria use an enzyme called nitrogenase to convert nitrogen—an essential component of all living systems—into a form that living systems can use.
The inauguration of President Thomas F. Rosenbaum marks the beginning of a new era of leadership at Caltech. And yet, many of the traditional events associated with the inauguration ceremony itself are actually quite old.
John Tracy, chief technology officer and senior vice president of engineering, operations, and technology for the Boeing Company, is the 2014 recipient of the International von Kármán Wings Award. The honor—bestowed annually by the Aerospace Historical Society, which is part of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories of the California Institute of Technology (GALCIT)—acknowledges outstanding contributions by international innovators, leaders, and pioneers in aerospace.
Caltech junior Edward Fouad spent 10 weeks this summer as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program working in the lab of Aaron Parness, a group leader at JPL, where researchers are designing, prototyping, and refining technology for a device called a microspine gripper. Looking something like a robotic circular foot with many toes extending radially outward, such a gripper has the ability to grab onto a rocky surface and cling to it even when hanging upside down.
Caltech oceanographer Andrew Thompson, who uses autonomous underwater instruments and numerical models to study ocean currents and eddies, has been awarded a Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering.
Thanks to a $9 million grant from the National Science Foundation and matching funds from the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) collaboration, a new camera is being built at Caltech's Palomar Observatory that will be able to survey the entire Northern Hemisphere sky in a single night, searching for supernovas, black holes, near-Earth asteroids, and other objects. The digital camera will be mounted on the Samuel Oschin Telescope, a wide-field Schmidt telescope that began its first all-sky survey in 1949. That survey, done on glass plates, took nearly a decade to complete.