California Institute of Technology

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

Converting data into knowledge

When a movie-streaming service recommends a new film you might like, sometimes that recommendation becomes a new favorite; other times, the computer's suggestion really misses the mark. Yisong Yue, assistant ...

Nov 17, 2014
2.3 / 5 (3) 0

Studying the physics of galaxies

Assistant Professor of Astronomy Evan Kirby arrived on campus in August. Born and raised in New Orleans, Kirby earned his BS in 2004 from Stanford University; his undergraduate thesis involved trips to Pasadena ...

Nov 03, 2014
4.7 / 5 (9) 1