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Astronomers Discover Close-knit Pairs of Massive Black Holes
01/12/2011

Astronomers Discover Close-knit Pairs of Massive Black Holes

Marcus Woo

Astronomers at Caltech, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and University of Hawaii (UH) have discovered 16 close-knit pairs of supermassive black holes in merging galaxies. These black-hole pairs are about a hundred to a thousand times closer together than most that have been observed before, providing a glimpse into how they and their host galaxies merge—crucial for understanding the evolution of the universe. The discovery is being presented today in Seattle at the meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Make Your Own Flake
12/20/2010

Make Your Own Flake

Lori Oliwenstein

With little more than a plastic soda bottle, some fishing line, a sponge, and dry ice, anyone can make it snow, make it snow, make it snow...one flake at a time. So says Caltech physicist-turned-snowflake-guru Ken Libbrecht, who recently walked listeners of NPR's Science Friday through a do-it-yourself snowflake-making tutorial.

 

Caltech Physicists Demonstrate a Four-Fold Quantum Memory
11/17/2010

Caltech Physicists Demonstrate a Four-Fold Quantum Memory

Marcus Woo
Caltech researchers, led by William L. Valentine Professor and professor of physics H. Jeff Kimble, have made an important achievement in the field of quantum information. Their proof-of-principle experiment, in which they demonstrate quantum entanglement with a four-part system, helps pave the way toward quantum networks and quantum computers, machines much faster than conventional, silicon-based ones.
Eugene W. Cowan, 90
11/09/2010

Eugene W. Cowan, 90

Kathy Svitil

Eugene W. "Bud" Cowan, professor of physics, emeritus, at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), passed away November 4 in Menlo Park, California. He was 90.

Discovering New Worlds
10/20/2010

Discovering New Worlds

Marcus Woo

As a kid, Assistant Professor of Astronomy John Johnson wasn't interested in astronomy—or even science for that matter. But now, as an assistant professor of astronomy, he's discovering entirely new worlds. In an interview, he talks about the search for planets and the rapidly evolving field of exoplanet astronomy.

John Johnson
Ralph W. Kavanagh, 86
08/23/2010

Ralph W. Kavanagh, 86

Ralph W. Kavanagh, professor of physics, emeritus, at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) passed away August 16 in Pasadena, California. He was 86.

Two Caltech Scientists Receive 2010 NIH Director's Pioneer Awards
08/18/2010

Two Caltech Scientists Receive 2010 NIH Director's Pioneer Awards

Lori Oliwenstein

Two scientists from Caltech have been recognized by the National Institutes of Health for their innovative and high-impact biomedical research programs. Michael Roukes, professor of physics, applied physics, and bioengineering, and co-director of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute, and Pamela Bjorkman, Caltech's Max Delbrück Professor of Biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, now join the 81 Pioneers who have been selected since the program's inception in 2004.

 

LISA Gravitational-Wave Mission Strongly Endorsed by National Research Council
08/17/2010

LISA Gravitational-Wave Mission Strongly Endorsed by National Research Council

Kathy Svitil

The National Research Council (NRC) has strongly recommended the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) as one of NASA's next two major space missions, to start in 2016 in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA). LISA will study the universe in a manner different from any other space observatory, by observing gravitational waves. The recommendation was announced August 13 in a press conference at the Keck Center of the National Academies in Washington, D.C.

NRC Recommends Three Astronomy/Astrophysics Projects with Potential Major Caltech Roles
08/15/2010

NRC Recommends Three Astronomy/Astrophysics Projects with Potential Major Caltech Roles

Kathy Svitil

In an announcement August 13, the National Research Council recommended three space- and ground-based astronomy and astrophysics projects with potential major roles for researchers at Caltech: CCAT, a giant submillimeter telescope that will help unravel the origins of stars, planets, and galaxies; LISA, designed to detect gravitational waves; and the development of a Giant Segmented Mirrored Telescope—the Thirty Meter Telescope being one of two such telescopes under development.

Caltech Astronomer Finds Planets in Unusually Intimate Dance around Dying Star
07/27/2010

Caltech Astronomer Finds Planets in Unusually Intimate Dance around Dying Star

Kathy Svitil

Hundreds of extrasolar planets have been found, most solitary worlds orbiting their parent star in seeming isolation. Further observation has revealed that planets come in bunches. Most systems contain planets orbiting too far from one another to feel each other's gravity. In a handful of cases, planets have been found near enough to one another to interact gravitationally. Now, however, Caltech's John A. Johnson and his colleagues have found two systems with pairs of gas giant planets locked in an intimate orbital embrace.