Methane, a key greenhouse gas, has more than doubled in volume in Earth's atmosphere since 1750. Its increase is believed to be a leading contributor to climate change. But where is the methane coming from? Research by atmospheric chemist Paul Wennberg of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) suggests that losses of natural gas—our "cleanest" fossil fuel—into the atmosphere may be a larger source than previously recognized.
Everyone who really knows Caltech understands that it is unique among universities around the world. But just what makes Caltech so special? We've asked that question before, and the numbers don't tell the full story. So, is it our focus? Our culture? Our people?
In the Earth Surface Dynamics Lab at Caltech the behavior of rivers is modeled through the use of artificial rivers—flumes—through which water can be pumped at varying rates over a variety of sediments while drag force and acceleration are measured.
Caltech alumna Laurie Leshin (MS '89, PhD '95), has been named the new president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts. Leshin, previously the dean of the School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), will be the first woman to lead WPI in the university's 150-year history.
Since the magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake 20 years ago, researchers at Caltech have learned much more about where earthquakes are likely to happen, and how danger to human life and damage to property might be mitigated when they do occur.
South-central Idaho and the surface of Mars have an interesting geological feature in common: amphitheater-headed canyons. These U-shaped canyons with tall vertical headwalls are found near the Snake River in Idaho as well as on the surface of Mars, according to photographs taken by satellites.
Although researchers have determined the ages of rocks from other planetary bodies, the actual experiments—like analyzing meteorites and moon rocks—have always been done on Earth. Now, for the first time, researchers have successfully determined the age of a Martian rock—with experiments performed on Mars.
Today Caltech announced the appointment of Thomas F. Rosenbaum as the Institute's ninth president. Dr. Rosenbaum is currently the John T. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor of Physics and provost at the University of Chicago.