If you're trying to outwit the competition, it might be better to have been born a chimpanzee, according to a study by researchers at Caltech, which found that chimps at the Kyoto University Primate Research Institute consistently outperform humans in simple contests drawn from game theory.
The 59th Annual Staff Service Awards will be presented in Beckman Auditorium on Monday, June 2, at 10 a.m. During the ceremony, more than 250 staff members whose service ranges from 10 to 50 years will be honored. A full list of awardees can be found here.
This week we are featuring Caltech staff members who will be recognized for 40 and 45 years of service to the Institute.
Mark E. Davis, the Warren and Katharine Schlinger Professor of Chemical Engineering at Caltech, has been named one of three recipients of the 2014 Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research. Davis was recognized, along with Avelino Corma Canós and Galen D. Stucky, for contributions to the development of microporous and mesoporous materials and various applications of these materials from the petrochemical industry to healthcare.
Caltech researchers at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) have devised a method for protecting technologically important semiconductors from corrosion even as the materials continue to absorb light efficiently. The finding paves the way for the use of these materials in solar-fuel generators.
This image shows the latest example of what Julia Greer, professor of materials science and mechanics, calls a fractal nanotruss—nano because the structures are made up of members that are as thin as five nanometers (five billionths of a meter); truss because they are carefully architected structures that might one day be used in structural engineering materials. Greer's group has developed a three-step process for building such complex structures very precisely. Taking advantage of some of the size effects that many materials display at the nanoscale, these nanotrusses can have unusual, desirable qualities.
Supernovae—stellar explosions—are incredibly energetic, dynamic events. It is easy to imagine that they are uncommon, but the universe is a big place and supernovae are actually fairly routine. The problem with observing supernovae is knowing just when and where one is occurring and being able to point a world-class telescope at it in the hours immediately afterward, when precious data about the supernova's progenitor star is available. Fortunately the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) operated by Caltech scans the sky constantly in search of dramatic astrophysical events. In 2013, it caught a star in the act of exploding.
"Would Thomas Edison Receive Tenure?" This was the provocative title for a panel at the 2013 Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), an organization founded in 2010 in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
During this annual spring rite seniors ditch their classes and vanish from campus, leaving behind complex, carefully planned out puzzles and challenges—known as “stacks”—designed to occupy the underclass students and prevent them from wreaking havoc on the seniors’ rooms.