California Institute of Technology

How iron feels the heat

As you heat up a piece of iron, the arrangement of the iron atoms changes several times before melting. This unusual behavior is one reason why steel, in which iron plays a starring role, is so sturdy and ...

Feb 13, 2015
4.9 / 5 (16) 1

How to study high-speed flows

Joanna Austin (MS '98, PhD '03) does not just go with the flow. She picks it apart and analyzes it. One of the newest faculty members in Caltech's Division of Engineering and Applied Science is a gas dynamicist, ...

Feb 09, 2015
4 / 5 (3) 0

The importance of building small things

Strong materials, such as concrete, are usually heavy, and lightweight materials, such as rubber (for latex gloves) and paper, are usually weak and susceptible to tearing and damage. Julia R. Greer, professor ...

Jan 22, 2015
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How do you make a greasy protein?

Every cell is encapsulated and protected by a thin membrane made of greasy molecules called lipids. Assemblies of equally greasy protein molecules span the membrane, forming passageways that control the flow ...

Jan 07, 2015
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Can binary terrestrial planets exist?

The possible existence of Earth-like binary planets is being described today at the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Tucson, AZ. Two bodies, each of mass similar ...

Dec 03, 2014
4.5 / 5 (37) 17

How photosynthesis changed the planet

Two and a half billion years ago, single-celled organisms called cyanobacteria harnessed sunlight to split water molecules, producing energy to power their cells and releasing oxygen into an atmosphere that ...

Nov 20, 2014
5 / 5 (1) 0