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Caltech Engineers Develop One-way Transmission System for Sound Waves

Katie Neith

While many hotel rooms, recording studios, and even some homes are built with materials to help absorb or reflect sound, mechanisms to truly control the direction of sound waves are still in their infancy. However, researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have now created the first tunable acoustic diode-a device that allows acoustic information to travel only in one direction, at controllable frequencies.


Caltech-Led Astronomers Discover the Largest and Most Distant Reservoir of Water Yet

Marcus Woo

Water really is everywhere. Two teams of astronomers, each led by scientists at Caltech, have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe. Looking from a distance of 30 billion trillion miles away into a quasar—one of the brightest and most violent objects in the cosmos—the researchers have found a mass of water vapor that's at least 140 trillion times that of all the water in the world's oceans combined, and 100,000 times more massive than the sun.


Bring In the (Nano) Noise

Marcus Woo

At the forefront of nanotechnology, researchers design miniature machines to do big jobs, from treating diseases to harnessing sunlight for energy. But as they push the limits of this technology, devices are becoming so small and sensitive that the behavior of individual atoms starts to get in the way. Now Caltech researchers have, for the first time, measured and characterized these atomic fluctuations—which cause statistical noise—in a nanoscale device. 


Experiments Settle Long-Standing Debate about Mysterious Array Formations in Nanofilms

Kathy Svitil

Caltech scientists have conducted experiments confirming which of three possible mechanisms is responsible for the spontaneous formation of 3-D pillar arrays in nanofilms. These protrusions appear suddenly when the surface of a molten nanofilm is exposed to an extreme temperature gradient and self-organize into hexagonal, lamellar, square, or spiral patterns. 


Stone Awarded Goddard Astronautics Award

Kathy Svitil

Ed Stone, the David Morrisroe Professor of Physics at Caltech and lead scientist on the Voyager 1 and Voyager deep-space probe missions since 1972, was awarded the Goddard Astronautics Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) at a gala ceremony on May 11 in Washington, DC.


Caltech Faculty Receive Early Career Grants

Kathy Svitil

Four Caltech faculty members are among the 65 scientists from across the nation selected to receive Early Career Research Awards from the Department of Energy. The grant winners are Guillaume Blanquart, Julia R. Greer, Chris Hirata, and Ryan Patterson. The Early Career Research Program is designed to bolster the nation's scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.


Caltech's Ed Stone Profiled in the LA Times

Marcus Woo

In a front-page story that ran on April 14, The Los Angeles Times profiled Caltech's Ed Stone. As the mission's project scientist since 1972, Stone has been with Voyager since the beginning, and like the robot explorers, which are now venturing into interstellar space, he's still going and going.



Physicists Discover New Way to Visualize Warped Space and Time

Marcus Woo

When black holes slam into each other, the surrounding space and time surge and undulate like a heaving sea during a storm. This warping of space and time is so complicated that physicists haven't been able to understand the details of what goes on—until now.


Caltech Math for the Win

Marcus Woo

March has been a good month for Caltech mathematics. Caltech placed first in the Mathematical Association of America's William Lowell Putnam Competition, one of the premier undergraduate mathematics contests. Also this past month, Michael Aschbacher, the Shaler Arthur Hanisch Professor of Mathematics, was awarded the Rolf Schock Prize in Mathematics.


ACS Honors Zewail

On March 29, the world's largest scientific society will bestow its highest honor on Ahmed H. Zewail, Caltech's Linus Pauling Professor of Chemistry and professor of physics.