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.
This summer, several undergraduate students at Caltech had the opportunity to help optimize a promising technique that can make tissues and organs—even entire organisms—transparent for study. As part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, these students worked in the lab of Assistant Professor of Biology Viviana Gradinaru, where researchers are developing such so-called clearing techniques that make it possible to peer straight through normally opaque tissues rather than seeing them only as thinly sectioned slices that have been pieced back together.
Results from NASA's Kepler planet-hunting mission have indicated that the most common planets in the galaxy are super-Earths—those that are bigger than Earth but smaller than Neptune. We have no examples of these planets in our own solar system, so Heather Knutson, assistant professor of planetary science at Caltech, and her colleagues are using space telescopes to try to find out more about these worlds. They hope to shed some light on the processes of planet formation and evolution and to be able to say something about how common or rare our solar system is when compared to those found throughout the universe.
Thomas Anthony Tombrello, Caltech's Robert H. Goddard Professor of Physics, passed away on September 23, 2014, at age 78. His studies of nuclear reactions in the 1960s helped show how chemical elements are created.
Methane-breathing microbes that inhabit rocky mounds on the seafloor could be preventing large volumes of the potent greenhouse gas from entering the oceans and reaching the atmosphere, according to a new study by Caltech researchers.
David Hsieh, an assistant professor of physics at Caltech, is searching for new forms of matter that exhibit weird quantum properties in bulk. Find out the why, where, and how at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 15, in Caltech's Beckman Auditorium. Admission is free.
Domniki Asimaki, professor of mechanical and civil engineering in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, is interested in the behavior of geotechnical systems under the influence of forces such as wind, waves, and seismological activity. Using this information, she hopes to make predictive computer models that can lead to the design of an infrastructure that is resilient to natural and man-made hazards.
Gerry Neugebauer, Caltech's Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Physics, Emeritus, passed away on September 26, 2014, of complications from spinocerebellar ataxia, a neurodegenerative disease. He was 82.
Jamie Bock, professor of physics at Caltech and a senior research scientist at JPL, and Caltech Professor of Physics Christopher Martin were among those receiving NASA Honor Awards in a ceremony on Tuesday, September 16.