Los Angeles has had bouts of smog since the turn of the 20th century. Angelenos might now be living in a state of perpetual midnight—assuming we could live here at all—were it not for the work of Caltech professor Arie Jan Haagen-Smit.
Chemists at Caltech and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory believe they can now explain one of the remaining mysteries of photosynthesis, the chemical process by which plants convert sunlight into usable energy and generate the oxygen that we breathe.
Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA) has named Theodor Agapie, an assistant professor of chemistry at Caltech, a 2013 Cottrell Scholar.
The Cottrell Scholar Awards were instituted by RCSA in 1994 to recognize early-career individuals for innovative research and teaching excellence. The awards are named in honor of scientist, inventor, and philanthropist Frederick Gardner Cottrell who, in 1912, founded the organization that came to be known as RCSA.
The Southern California Section of the American Chemical Society (SCALACS) has selected John E. Bercaw, the Centennial Professor of Chemistry at Caltech, to receive the 2012 Tolman Medal. According to SCALACS, the Tolman Medal honors chemists for "achievements in fundamental studies; achievements in chemical technology; significant contributions to chemical education; or outstanding leadership in science on a national level." Awardees need not be residents of Southern California, but their award-related accomplishments must have been made here.
Caltech chemistry professor Frances Arnold will be honored by the California Legislative Women's Caucus at its inaugural Breaking the Glass Ceiling awards ceremony in Sacramento, California, on March 4.
The ceremony, to be held in the Assembly chambers at the California State Capital, is part of the Legislative Women's Caucus commemoration of Women's History Month. Following the ceremony, Arnold and other awardees will attend a reception at the governor's office.
Every great structure, from the Empire State Building to the Golden Gate Bridge, depends on specific mechanical properties to remain strong and reliable. Rigidity—a material's stiffness—is of particular importance for maintaining the robust functionality of everything from colossal edifices to the tiniest of nanoscale structures. In biological nanostructures, like DNA networks, it has been difficult to measure this stiffness, which is essential to their properties and functions. But scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have recently developed techniques for visualizing the behavior of biological nanostructures in both space and time, allowing them to directly measure stiffness and map its variation throughout the network.
Caltech senior Andrew Meng has been selected to receive a Churchill Scholarship, which will fund his graduate studies at the University of Cambridge for the next academic year. Meng, a chemistry and physics major, was one of only 14 students nationwide who were chosen to receive the fellowship this year.
Frances H. Arnold, a leader in the field of protein engineering and a member of the faculty at Caltech, was one of 11 inventors to be awarded the 2011 National Medal of Technology and Innovation. President Barack Obama presented Arnold with the medal on February 1 in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.
The recent renovations of the Jorgensen Laboratory included many upgrades that were designed to reflect Caltech's commitment to sustainability. Now the building has achieved LEED Platinum certification, the highest honor of the U.S. Green Building Council.