california institute of technology
2016 in science - Wikipedia

A few samples:

7 January: Mathematicians, as part of the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, report the discovery of a new prime number: 274,207,281 − 1.

14 January:  Astronomers report that ASASSN-15lh, first observed in June 2015, is likely the brightest supernova ever detected. Twice as luminous as the previous record holder, at peak detonation it was as bright as 570 billion Suns

18 January: Light-activated nanoparticles able to kill over 90% of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are demonstrated at the University of Colorado Boulder.

20 January: Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology present the strongest evidence yet that a ninth planet is present in the Solar System, orbiting the Sun every 15,000 years.

26 January: Researchers at the University of Washington announce a new handheld, pen-sized microscope that could identify cancer cells in doctor’s offices and operating rooms.

27 January: Google announces a breakthrough in artificial intelligence with a program able to beat the European champion of the board game Go.

28 January: Research into the nature of time by Griffith University’s Centre for Quantum Dynamics shows how an asymmetry for time reversal might be responsible for making the universe move forward in time.

11 February: Scientists at the LIGO, Virgo and GEO600 announce the first direct detection of a gravitational wave predicted by the general relativity theory of Albert Einstein.

13 April: A quadriplegic man, Ian Burkhart from Ohio, is able to perform complex functional movements with his fingers after a chip was implanted in his brain.

20 June:  China introduces the Sunway TaihuLight, the world’s fastest supercomputer, capable of 93 petaflops and a peak performance of 125 petaflops.

30 June:The first known death caused by a self-driving car is disclosed by Tesla Motors.

4 July: NASA scientists announce the arrival of the Juno spacecraft at the planet Jupiter.

5 July: China completes construction on the world’s largest radio telescope.

2 May:  A study in PNAS concludes that Earth may be home to 1 trillion species, with 99.999 percent remaining undiscovered.

10 May: NASA’s Kepler mission verifies 1,284 new exoplanets – the single largest finding of planets to date.

18 May: At the I/O developer conference, Google reveals it has been working on a new chip, known as the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), which delivers “an order of magnitude higher performance per watt than all commercially available GPUs and FPGA.

3 June June: NASA and ESA jointly announce that the Universe is expanding 5% to 9% faster than previously thought, after using the Hubble Space Telescope to measure the distance to stars in 19 galaxies beyond the Milky Way.

27 July:  Neonicotinoids, the world’s most widely used insecticide, are found to reduce bee sperm counts by almost 40%, as well as cutting the lifespan of bee drones by a third.

29 July:The seafloor in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone – an area in the Pacific Ocean being targeted for deep-sea mining – is found to contain an abundance and diversity of life, with more than half of the species collected being new to science.

4 August: A team at the University of Oxford achieves a quantum logic gate with record-breaking 99.9% precision, reaching the benchmark required to build a quantum computer.

5 August: Research by Imperial College London suggests that a new form of light can be created by binding it to a single electron, combining the properties of both.

11 August: The Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) is found to be the longest-lived vertebrate, able to reach a lifespan of nearly 400 years.

10 September:The second largest meteorite ever found is exhumed near Gancedo, Argentina. It weighs 30 tonnes and fell to Earth around 2000 BC.

16 September: The development of 1 terabit-per-second transmission rates over optical fiber is announced by Nokia Bell Labs, Deutsche Telekom T-Labs and the Technical University of Munich.

21 September: Scientists report that, based on human DNA genetic studies, all non-African humans in the world today can be traced to a single population that exited Africa between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago.

11 October: Scientists identify the maximum human lifespan at an average age of 115, with an absolute upper limit of 125 years old.

4 November: Researchers in the UK announce a genetically modified "superwheat” that increases the efficiency of photosynthesis to boost yields by 20 to 40 percent. Field trials are expected in 2017.

8 November: Lab-grown mini lungs, developed from stem cells, are successfully transplanted into mice by researchers at the University of Michigan Health System.

13 November: The University of East Anglia reports that global emissions of CO2 did not grow in 2015 and are projected to rise only slightly in 2016, marking three years of almost no growth.

28 November: Scientists at the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry officially recognizes names for four new chemical elements: Nihonium, Nh, 113; Moscovium, Mc, 115; Tennessine, Ts, 117 and Oganesson, Og, 118.

15 December: Scientists use a new form of gene therapy to partially reverse aging in mice. After six weeks of treatment, the animals looked younger, had straighter spines and better cardiovascular health, healed quicker when injured, and lived 30% longer.

22 December: A study finds the VSV-EBOV vaccine against the Ebola virus between 70–100% effective, and thus making it the first proven vaccine against the disease. 

and a lot more…

Ava Helen Pauling (1903-1981) was a peace activist involved in numerous causes, particularly concerning the rights of women and minorities, as well as international peace. She introduced her husband, Linus Pauling, to the field of peace studies, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1962.

She studied home economics and chemistry, and went on to work as a laboratory assistant at the California Institute of Technology. She was a member of multiple women’s rights groups, and helped organize the “Women’s Peace March” in Europe. She also campaigned heavily for nuclear disarmament, which eventually led to the end of above-ground testing of nuclear weapons.

California Institute of Technology

During these last few weeks of high school, let’s have some fun here! Anyone know any good jokes? Here’s one I love:

Q: What’s the integral of 1/cabin with respect to cabin? 
A: Log cabin!
Q: No, it’s a houseboat! You forgot to add the C! 

Commenter: Q: What is the first derivative of a cow?
A: A prime rib!

Oh CowTech. Always charming.

Astronomers are homing in on the whereabouts of a hidden giant planet in our solar system, and could discover the unseen beast in roughly a year.

The hunt is on to find “Planet Nine”—a large undiscovered world, perhaps 10 times as massive as Earth and four times its size—that scientists think could be lurking in the outer solar system. After Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, two planetary scientists from the California Institute of Technology, presented evidence for its existence this January, other teams have searched for further proof by analyzing archived images and proposing new observations to find it with the world’s largest telescopes.

Just this month, evidence from the Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn helped close in on the missing planet. Many experts suspect that within as little as a year someone will spot the unseen world, which would be a monumental discovery that changes the way we view our solar system and our place in the cosmos. “Evidence is mounting that something unusual is out there.

This false-color view from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shows clouds in Saturn’s northern hemisphere. The view was produced by space imaging enthusiast Kevin M. Gill, who also happens to be an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The view was made using images taken by Cassini’s wide-angle camera on July 20, 2016, using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to infrared light at 750, 727 and 619 nanometers.

Filters like these, which are sensitive to absorption and scattering of sunlight by methane in Saturn’s atmosphere, have been useful throughout Cassini’s mission for determining the structure and depth of cloud features in the atmosphere.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Object Names:Infrared Saturn Clouds

Image Type:  Astronomical

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/Kevin M. Gill/Cassini

Time And Space



In 1966 the California Institute of Technology released the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies produced by Halton Arp. Interactions between and within galaxies can produce a wide varieties of curious configurations. There are a total of 338 nearby galaxies in his catalog. Obviously, countless more peculiar sights are littered throughout the universe. Here’s a small sample of atlas entries. Click on the images for ID and credits.

JN Ph7.5


G E N E R A T I O N   K I L L   A U   |   T h e   M a r t i a n

         ↳ meet the crew

  • CDR. Nathaniel Fick; Fick graduated with honors from the US Naval Academy. He will be the youngest commander to lead a mission to Mars.
  • Brad Colbert; Colbert graduated high school at sixteen, and won NASA’s largest hackathon at seventeen before moving on to MIT for dual undergraduate degrees in math and computer science. 
  • Ray Person; Person applied to the NASA Astronaut Candidate Program and was selected for his outstanding academic accomplishments, dedication and service to community, and an exemplary record of professional achievements.
  • Walt Hasser; Hasser holds a master’s degree in both chemistry and astrophysics as well as a doctorate in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. A noted scientist and experience astronaut, he will serve as the navigtor on the Hermes.
  • Antonio Espera; Espera earned a bachelor of science in astronautical engineering at the United States Air Force Academy. He now joins the Ares 3 crew as pilot after eleven decorated years of service in the United States Air Force.
  • DR. Timothy Bryan; Bryan graduated cum laude from the Yale School of Medicine. Since joining NASA, Timothy Bryan has made two trips to SpaceXStation and completed five spacewalks (EVAs.)

Illusions in the Cosmic Clouds: Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon where people see recognizable shapes in clouds, rock formations, or otherwise unrelated objects or data. There are many examples of this phenomenon on Earth and in space.

When an image from NASAs Chandra X-ray Observatory of PSR B1509-58 a spinning neutron star surrounded by a cloud of energetic particles was released in 2009, it quickly gained attention because many saw a hand-like structure in the X-ray emission.

In a new image of the system, X-rays from Chandra in gold are seen along with infrared data from NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer telescope in red, green and blue. Pareidolia may strike again as some people report seeing a shape of a face in WISEs infrared data. What do you see?

NASAs Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, also took a picture of the neutron star nebula in 2014, using higher-energy X-rays than Chandra.

PSR B1509-58 is about 17,000 light-years from Earth.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the WISE mission for NASA. NASAs Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandras science and flight operations.

Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech


So we’ve all seen the first two photos: Hiro has obviously GROWN from the time Tadashi is alive to the time when the plot gets moving and Hiro moves out of his depressive state… but the question is, how long was our baby child in a state of depression?

A little research helped this along for me (simple google searches etc) and here’s what I found:

Going off of Caltech (California Institute of Technology, which I assumed would have basically the same frame as SFIT would) : Application Process is done by January 3, the Spring Semester begins on March 30. The fall semester begins mid September.

K, great to know! But I was confused. If Hiro applied in January and got accepted, why were there trees in full bloom with Tadashi (picture 3) and cherry blossom trees in full bloom after his depressive state (picture 4)? I live in Ontario Canada, and January is cold and snow, so was this in the summer? But then there’s the cherry blossoms, which come in spring… not fall, when school usually starts. Excuse my ignorance, but I had to consult the interweb some more.

So, google search helped me know weather in San Francisco:

Weather: Cherry blossoms bloom in spring- April to May. January still has trees in full bloom in San Francisco and is a very wet month.

Conclusion? If we go off of a regular school’s calendar as well as San Francisco weather patterns, it can be assumed that the Showcase was in January. In San Francisco and along the warm south-east cost, trees still have full foliage in the winter months. January is also a very wet month in San Francisco; hence rain at Tadashi’s funeral. Hiro was alone and depressed from January to May, when the Spring semester starts. His friends are all super smart so they would have assumedly all been at school for the spring semester too. Also, we see many cherry blossom trees in bloom. Cherry blossom trees bloom April- May. Now why Hiro was accepted into the Spring and not Fall semester is up for debate, but it he probably got some kind of early acceptance. Callaghan recognized his uniquely genius mind and probably used his superiority to get Hiro in ASAP. Maybe he even recognized that Hiro would want to be with Tadashi at school most of the time anyways so he put him right in. That may also be another reason a school like SFIT would call a few times to say that Hiro is still welcome. On average, if a regular college/ university student doesn’t show up for classes, they get an email, if that. See, if they’ve already paid it’s there loss, not the school’s if they don’t show up. This leads to wondering why SFIT actually called Hiro more than once to say he’s still welcome to come!  So Hiro got some kind of special acceptance and personal loss is understood in schools as reason for absence, but SFIT probably wanted Hiro to know that the offer still stands. They wanted him in their school. They could see that he’s an extremely valuable student to have.  

All that jubberjabber asside, here’s the real thing to take away: Hiro grew over five months of being alone in a state of depression. Our baby child was depressed for FIVE MONTHS people! This is NOT okay!!
Magnetic mystery of Earth's early core explained
Competing ideas suggest how sloshing motions could maintain a primordial magnetic field.

Geophysicists call it the new core paradox: They can’t quite explain how the ancient Earth could have sustained a magnetic field billions of years ago, as it was cooling from its fiery birth.

Now, two scientists have proposed two different ways to solve the paradox. Each relies on minerals crystallizing out of the molten Earth, a process that would have generated a magnetic field by churning the young planet’s core. The difference between the two explanations comes in which particular mineral does the crystallizing.

Silicon dioxide is the choice of Kei Hirose, a geophysicist at the Tokyo Institute of Technology who runs high-pressure experiments to simulate conditions deep within the Earth. “I’m very confident in this,” he reported on 17 December at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, California.

But David Stevenson, a geophysicist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, says that magnesium oxide — not silicon dioxide — is the key to solving the problem. In unpublished work, Stevenson proposes that magnesium oxide, settling out of the molten early Earth, could have set up the buoyancy differences that would drive an ancient geodynamo.

The core paradox arose in 2012, when several research teams reported that Earth’s core loses heat at a faster rate than once thought1, 2. More heat conducting away from the core means less heat available to churn the core’s liquid. That’s important because some studies suggest Earth could have had a magnetic field more than 4 billion years ago —  just half a billion years after it coalesced from fiery debris swirling around the newborn Sun. “We need a dynamo more or less continuously,” Peter Driscoll, a geophysicist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC, said at the meeting.

Continue Reading.


Powerful #GirlsWithToys Campaign Proves Once And For All That Women Have A Place In STEM

Here’s yet another reminder that women totally kick ass in any field they want.

Shrinivas Kulkarni, astronomy and planetary science professor at the California Institute of Technology, was featured in an interview with NPR on Saturday. While speaking on astronomers, the professor said, “many scientists … are what I call ‘boys with toys.’ I really like playing around with telescopes. It’s just not fashionable to admit it.”

See more photos from #GirlsWithToys here.