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"Like It or Not, We Are Living on This Planet"
02/11/2011

"Like It or Not, We Are Living on This Planet"

Heidi Aspaturian

The number of large destructive earthquakes in 2010, plus a flurry of medium magnitude quakes in California, led many people to ask, Are we in a period of heightened temblor activity, and is it likely to continue? E&S sat down with Hiroo Kanamori, the Smits Professor of Geophysics, Emeritus, and Joe Kirschvink, the Van Wingen Professor of Geobiology, to hear their thoughts.

Asteroids Ahoy! Jupiter Scar Likely from Rocky Body
01/31/2011

Asteroids Ahoy! Jupiter Scar Likely from Rocky Body

Allison Benter

A hurtling asteroid about the size of the Titanic caused the scar that appeared in Jupiter's atmosphere in July 2009. Data from three infrared telescopes enabled scientists to observe the warm atmospheric temperatures and unique chemical conditions associated with the impact debris. An international team of scientists was able to deduce that the object was more likely a rocky asteroid than an icy comet.

Caltech Geobiologists Uncover Links between Ancient Climate Change and Mass Extinction
01/27/2011

Caltech Geobiologists Uncover Links between Ancient Climate Change and Mass Extinction

Marcus Woo

About 450 million years ago, Earth suffered the second-largest mass extinction in its history—the Late Ordovician mass extinction, during which more than 75 percent of marine species died. Exactly what caused this tremendous loss in biodiversity remains a mystery, but now a team led by researchers at Caltech has discovered new details supporting the idea that the mass extinction was linked to a cooling climate.

Caltech Establishes Four Research Programs
12/31/2010

Caltech Establishes Four Research Programs

Marcus Woo

Caltech is embarking on four research programs that intend to produce clean energy, probe the bizarre phenomena of quantum physics, understand the genetic and neural wiring behind complex behaviors, and save lives during earthquakes. To support these projects, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation recently allocated a total of $17.5 million, part of the Foundation’s $300 million commitment made to Caltech in 2001.

Exploring the Earth . . . and Beyond
12/21/2010

Exploring the Earth . . . and Beyond

What do scientific studies and national boundary lines have in common? According to Caltech geobiologist and graduate student Jeff Marlow, both reflect something unique and profound about humanity: our need to explore. Marlow sees parallels between what we've been discovering about our world and the way we've spread across it. At next month's TEDxCaltech conference, he'll present an analysis of what drives us to explore—including what it suggests about the essence of being human.

New Flume On the Block
12/15/2010

New Flume On the Block

Marcus Woo

Last Wednesday morning, Caltech received a rather large delivery. About 50 feet long and 5 feet wide, a big black chunk of metal was unloaded from a truck and slowly pushed into the Central Engineering Services Building.

Thomas J. Ahrens, 74
12/01/2010

Thomas J. Ahrens, 74

Marcus Woo

Thomas J. Ahrens, the Fletcher Jones Professor of Geophysics, Emeritus, at Caltech, died at his home in Pasadena on November 24. He was 74.

 

Recent News on the Debate over Pluto's Planethood
11/29/2010

Recent News on the Debate over Pluto's Planethood

Kathy Svitil

Earlier this month, Eris—the distant world first discovered by Caltech's Mike Brown and colleagues back in 2005, paving the way for the eventual demotion of Pluto from planet to dwarf planet—passed fortuitously in front of a faint star in the constellation Cetus. That passage, or occultation, allowed the first direct measurement of Eris's size.

ShakeOut 2010
10/18/2010

ShakeOut 2010

Margaret Vinci

On October 21 at 10:21 a.m., businesses, nonprofits, schools, governments, neighborhoods, organizations, families, and others throughout the state will practice the "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" protocol as part of the Great California ShakeOut statewide earthquake drill.

Caltech Receives $10 Million in Gifts to Help Launch New Terrestrial Hazard Center
09/14/2010

Caltech Receives $10 Million in Gifts to Help Launch New Terrestrial Hazard Center

Jon Weiner

Caltech has established the Terrestrial Hazard Observation and Reporting Center (THOR), funded by $6.7 million from Foster and Coco Stanback, and $3.35 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore matching program.