Ceramics Don't Have To Be Brittle

Caltech materials scientist Julia Greer and her students have developed a method for constructing new structural materials by taking advantage of the unusual properties that solids can have at the nanometer scale, where features are measured in billionths of meters. In a paper published in the September 12 issue of the journal Science, the Caltech researchers explain how they used the method to produce a ceramic (e.g., a piece of chalk or a brick) that contains about 99.9 percent air yet is incredibly strong, and that can recover its original shape after being smashed by more than 50 percent.

Tipping the Balance of Behavior

Caltech researchers have discovered a seesaw-like circuit in the brain that controls the choice between social and repetitive self-oriented behaviors in mice.

Textbook Theory Behind Volcanoes May Be Wrong

In the typical textbook picture, volcanoes, such as those that are forming the Hawaiian islands, erupt when magma gushes out as narrow jets from deep inside Earth. But that picture is wrong, according to a new study.

Seeing Protein Synthesis in the Field

Caltech researchers have developed a novel way to visualize proteins generated by microorganisms in their natural environment—including the murky waters of Caltech's lily pond.

Measuring Earthquake Shaking with the Community Seismic Network

This summer, Caltech junior Kevin Li has been working with computational scientists and seismologists to refine the Community Seismic Network (CSN) by developing a machine-learning system that can accurately estimate the magnitude of an earthquake within seconds of its detection.

GPS Names a New Division Chair

On September 1, John Grotzinger, the Fletcher Jones Professor of Geology, became the new chair of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences (GPS).

Checking the First Data from OCO-2

Caltech researchers work to make sure that NASA's newly launched satellite provides accurate data about carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere.

Atwater to Receive Applied Physics Prize

The annual prize recognizes researchers who have made "an outstanding and innovative contribution" to the field of applied physics.

Programmed to Fold: RNA Origami

Researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark and Caltech have developed a new method for organizing molecules on the nanoscale. Inspired by techniques used for folding DNA origami—first invented by Paul Rothemund, a senior research associate in computation and neural systems in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech—the team, which includes Rothemund, has fabricated complicated shapes from DNA's close chemical cousin, RNA.

Superstring Theorist Honored with Science Writing Prize

Caltech's Hirosi Ooguri has been selected to receive the Kodansha Prize for Science Books, Japan's only major prize for science books, for his popular science work, Introduction to Superstring Theory.

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