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Michael Aschbacher Wins Wolf Prize in Mathematics

Marcus Woo

Michael Aschbacher, the Shaler Arthur Hanisch Professor of Mathematics, will share the 2012 Wolf Prize in mathematics. The award recognizes his role in classifying types of mathematical objects called finite simple groups. According to the prize citation, "His impact on the theory of finite groups is extraordinary in its breadth, depth, and beauty."


AAS Honors John Johnson for Observational Astronomical Research

Allison Benter

John Johnson, assistant professor of astronomy at Caltech, has been named the recipient of the American Astronomical Society's 2012 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize, which is awarded for outstanding achievement in observational astronomical research based on measurements of radiation from an astronomical object.


Astronomers Release Unprecedented Data Set on Celestial Objects that Brighten and Dim

Marcus Woo

Astronomers from Caltech and the University of Arizona have released the largest data set ever collected that documents the brightening and dimming of stars and other celestial objects—two hundred million in total.


Aschbacher Receives Steele Prize

Marcus Woo

Michael Aschbacher, the Shaler Arthur Hanisch Professor of Mathematics, has been awarded the 2012 Leroy P. Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition by the American Mathematical Society (AMS). Aschbacher, along with coauthors Richard Lyons of Rutgers University, Steve Smith of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Ronald Solomon of Ohio State University, were recognized for a paper on the classification of certain types of groups, which are fundamental mathematical objects.




Ironing Out the Details of the Earth's Core

Katie Neith
A team led by mineral-physics researchers at Caltech has honed in on how iron behaves under the conditions found in Earth's core by conducting extremely high-pressure experiments.

The "Supernova of a Generation" Shows Its Stuff

Marcus Woo

It was the brightest and closest stellar explosion seen from Earth in 25 years, dazzling professional and backyard astronomers alike. Now, thanks to this rare discovery—which some have called the "supernova of a generation"—astronomers have the most detailed picture yet of how this kind of explosion happens. Known as a Type Ia supernova, this type of blast is an essential tool that allows scientists to measure the expansion of the universe and understand the very nature of the cosmos.


More Clues in the Hunt for the Higgs

Marcus Woo

Physicists have announced that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has produced yet more tantalizing hints for the existence of the Higgs boson. The European Center for Nuclear Research  in Geneva, the international team of thousands of scientists—including many from Caltech—unveiled for the first time all the data taken over the last year from the two main detectors at the LHC, the Compact Muon Solenoid and ATLAS. The results represent the largest amount of data ever presented for the Higgs search.


High-Energy Physicists Set Record for Network Data Transfer

Marcus Woo

Researchers have set a new world record for data transfer, helping to usher in the next generation of high-speed network technology. The international team was able to transfer data in opposite directions at a combined rate of 186 gigabits per second (Gbps) in a wide-area network circuit. The rate is equivalent to moving two million gigabytes per day, fast enough to transfer nearly 100,000 full Blu-ray disks—each with a complete movie and all the extras—in a day.


Snowflake Science

Kimm Fesenmaier

We've all heard that no two snowflakes are alike. Caltech professor of physics Kenneth Libbrecht will tell you that this has to do with the ever-changing conditions in the clouds where snow crystals form. Now Libbrecht, widely known as the snowflake guru, has shed some light on a grand puzzle in snowflake science: why the canonical, six-armed "stellar" snowflakes wind up so thin and flat.


Voyager I Surveys Outer Reaches of the Solar System

Katie Neith

The Voyager I spacecraft, which was built at JPL and launched in 1977, has reached a previously unexplored region between our solar system and interstellar space.  Data collected from this zone indicates very little solar wind, a strong magnetic field, and a possible leak of high-energy particles from our solar system into the interstellar space. The latest findings from the mission were announced today at the American Geophysical Union's fall meeting in San Francisco.